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Environment

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2018
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EDITO
Sunday, 23 September 2018
Climate change has already had a serious impact on some countries. Tuvalu is one of them. If nothing is done, this country of several islands in the Pacific Ocean, is likely to disappear as the sea level rises. Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia, was in Parliament Thursday and spoke to us about his hopes that the Copenhagen summit will get an agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
European nations are set to pledge around six billion euros to help poor nations tackle global warming at a summit in Brussels on 11th December, but the funding will be provided on a voluntary basis as a result of worrying debt problems in countries like Greece. Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish prime minister and current holder of the EU's six-month rotating residency, said he was confident that the sums would be found. More than half of the EU's 27 member states have already promised so-called 'fast-start' funding for the next three years until 2013, he explained. But the Swedish premier warned that contributions would only be made on a voluntary basis, as countries are in very different budgetary positions. "We have EU member states with International Monetary Fund programmes, with huge budget deficits. This is on a voluntary basis, and already more than half of the states have provided figures", Reinfeltd told a press conference in Brussels on the 10th December.
On the 7th of December, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development invited all Europeans to cast their vote in the final stage of the EU organic logo competition. The website http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/logo/index.htm hosts the online vote where the three final logos will be displayed until 31 January. The new logo aims to enhance consumer protection and promote organic farming. Unlike the current logo, the winning entry will be obligatory for all pre-packaged organic products that derive from the 27 Member States and meet the labelling standards.
Monday, 14 December 2009
On Friday 4 December representatives of the Swedish Presidency and the European Commission held consultations with the Ambassadors to Brussels of the 78 ACP countries. This was the most recent in a series of such meetings held during the Swedish Presidency, and the last one before the Copenhagen Conference. The main objective of the meeting was to identify key issues and areas where the EU and the ACP countries-together an alliance of 105 states-share interests and should work together during and after the Copenhagen Conference. The EU side-Ola Sohlström, Chair of the Council's ACP Working Party, and Stefano Manservisi, Director General for Development in the European Commission-outlined the EU's main objectives and priorities going into the negotiations. This was followed by a constructive debate during which ACP Ambassadors, chaired by the Malawi Ambassador HE Brave Ndisale, stressed the need for an ambitious outcome and one that allowed immediate action.
Friday, 11 December 2009
Would the tax on financial transactions advocated by Foreign Affairs minister Bernard Kouchner and appropriated by the G20 be used to help poor countries develop, to fight climate change or to make the international financial system sounder? The French minister, who is campaigning vigorously for the development option, is now attempting to seize the initiative to prevent his plans going astray. His agenda on Thursday 3 December was to outline his "International Solidarity Contribution" to twenty-five NGOs (Attac, Action contre la faim, Greenpeace, Médecins du monde, Oxfam, Sidaction, etc.) and set out the conditions ensuring optimum use of the money collected. The proposal provides for a 0.005% charge on financial transactions.
On the 4th December 2009 Spain has become the third donor to the UN-REDD Programme, following the Governments of Norway and Denmark, by pledging €15 million to the trust fund. Yemi Katerere, Head of UN-REDD, commented that “there is a growing interest in the UN-REDD Programme by developing and developed countries and a clear recognition that reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) cannot happen without this partnership. Donor contributions support developing countries in building their capacity and readiness for REDD+, including methods for measuring and monitoring emissions, stakeholder consultations, and establishing linkages with existing national programmes. Donor funds also contribute to the Programme’s global activities to develop common approaches, analyses and guidelines, as well as to provide guidance and share knowledge on how to implement REDD+.
Intermón’s policy paper outlines specific policy asks for the Spanish government to push at the EU level during its presidency, starting on January 2010. These include the following: - To support and defend within the G20 and prior to the IMF - World Bank Spring Meetings, the setting up of a multilateral and automatic information exchange models; - To support the inclusion of a Financial Transaction Tax at the International level and to include during 2010, at least in the Euro-zone, a Currency Transaction Tax of 0,005% to finance ODA; - To promote a reform in the International Accounting Standard Board (IASB) governance in order to increase its accountability and the political control from the EU and from the National Authorities; - To ensure that the coming IFRS 8 review (in 2010) becomes the opportunity to bind Multinational Corporations (MNCs) to submit, in the annual report, their accounting information on country by country (C-B-C) basis and to ensure that the already engaged procedure for a new IASB norm for the Extractive Industries (replacing the current IFRS 6) will include a compulsory C-B-C reporting requirement for MNCs; - To support the introduction of C-B-C reporting as a compulsory requirement for MNCs of all sectors through the Directive 2004/109/EC (TOD Directive) review, that will probably take place during the first half of 2010.
At their meeting in Brussels on 17th November, European development ministers displayed once again the double standards that all too often prevail when it comes to rich countries’ positions on development policies. On the table for discussion were key challenges ahead for 2010, including financial support for climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries; improvements on EU’s aid effectiveness; and enhanced coherence between EU’s financial policies and development objectives. Council conclusions show how EU ministers are seriously backtracking on their promises on climate finance, and doing very little to ensure that EU’s financial (un)regulation plugs the leaks that allow $1 trillion a year to flow from the South to the North.
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Paul McCartney has called on Europeans to make at least one day a week meat-free in order to save the planet. Speaking in the European Parliament last Thursday, the former Beatle warned that eating meat was doing more damage to the earth's climate than any other activity. "The livestock industry produces more greenhouse gases than all of transport put together - cars planes trains trucking," he said. "They used to be what we thought were the villains, but it turns out the livestock industry is worse," he continued, noting that agriculture as a whole was responsible for between 20 and 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. One of the world's most famous vegetarians and author of some of the world's most well-known tunes, he said that meat production was incredibly wasteful and contributed to deforestation. He also highlighted the intense water use involved in meat production." "To produce one burger requires the amount of water used in a four-hour shower," he added, speaking alongside Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a vegetarian as well.
Tuesday, 08 December 2009
The principle of "differentiated responsibility" for reducing greenhouse gas emissions should be ratified by the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, says a resolution adopted by the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) MPs and Members of the European Parliament in Luanda (Angola) last Thursday. The JPA also condemned a coup d'état in Madagascar and debated the institutional crisis in Niger. The JPA sees helping developing countries to cope with climate change challenges as the key issue for the UN-backed Copenhagen conference, which starts on 7 December. It says the post-Kyoto protocol should be a legally-binding agreement which emphasizes equity and social justice and relies on "common but differentiated responsibility". In line with this principle, industrialised countries should set an example by substantially reducing their emissions. Developing countries and emerging economies should, for their part, undertake to introduce mitigation measures within their power, even if greenhouse gas emissions have considerably increased.