Tiempo Climate Newswatch
Week ending September 20th 2009
The Blue Carbon Portal brings together the latest knowledge and resources on the role of oceans as carbon sinks.
WalkIt provides walking routes between user-defined points in selected British cities, with an estimate of the carbon savings.
Joto Afrika is a series of printed briefings and online resources about adapting to climate change in sub-Saharan Africa.
The CoolClimate Art Contest presents iconic images that address the impact of climate change.
About the Cyberlibrary
The Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary was developed by Mick Kelly and Sarah Granich on behalf of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the International Institute for Environment and Development, with sponsorship from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.
While every effort is made to ensure that information on this site, and on other sites that are referenced here, is accurate, no liability for loss or damage resulting from use of this information can be accepted.
Japan has strengthened its proposed national emissions cut for the year 2020 to a 25 per cent reduction below 1990 levels, the most ambitious target advanced by a major industrialized nation. The outgoing government had proposed an eight per cent reduction. "We can't stop climate change just by setting our own emissions target," said Japan's new prime minister Yukio Hatoyama. "Our nation will call on major countries around the world to set aggressive goals." Connie Hedegaard, Danish minister for climate and energy, commented that "for a long time, everybody has been waiting for everybody else to move in the negotiations. Japan has taken a bold step forward and set an ambitious target. I hope this will inspire other countries to follow suit."
Government delegates from over twenty Asian nations have endorsed the Manila Declaration on Green Industry at a meeting in the Philippines. The Manila Declaration encourages Asian countries to establish an appropriate institutional and policy framework to further the transition to resource-efficient and low-carbon industries. It promotes increased use of renewable energy and energy-efficient processes in the industrial sector, research and development programmes that will lead to green innovation, and investment in and financing of low-carbon and resource-efficient manufacturing industries. The associated Framework of Action calls for the establishment of a communications strategy to enhance awareness towards green industry performance tools and for the development of a network of green industries by setting up an energy management standard. It is envisaged that the Declaration and Framework of Action will contribute to the ongoing climate negotiating process. Philippines' environment secretary Lito Atienza said that "the declaration will make the voice of developing countries louder enough for Western countries to hear during the [climate negotiating] meeting in Copenhagen."
Corporate control of seeds is limiting the coping strategies available to developing country farmers in the face of climate change, according to a new report from researchers in the United Kingdom, China, India, Kenya, Panama and Peru. "Where farming communities have been able to maintain their traditional varieties, they are already using them to cope with the impacts of climate change," says project leader Krystyna Swiderska of the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, United Kingdom. "But more commonly, these varieties are being replaced by a smaller range of 'modern' seeds that are heavily promoted by corporations and subsidized by governments. These seeds have less genetic diversity yet need more inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers and more natural resources such as land and water."
The international treaty on the protection of new varieties of plants (UPOV) may protect the profits of powerful private corporations, but it fails to recognize and protect the rights and knowledge of poor farmers, the report concludes. "Western governments and the seed industry want to upgrade the UPOV Convention to provide stricter exclusive rights to commercial plant breeders," comments Swiderska. "This will further undermine the rights of farmers and promote the loss of seed diversity that poor communities depend on for their resilience to changing climatic conditions." Moreover, technologies that restrict customary rights to freely save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seeds - Genetic Use Restriction Technologies - pose a serious threat to farmers' ability to conserve and adapt their varieties.
Tim Flannery, chair of the Copenhagen Climate Council, rates the chances of a successful outcome to the December climate negotiations, a global agreement, as 50:50. Contributing to the Reuters Climate Change and Alternative Energy Summit, he warned of "full climatic destabilization" in the absence of an international deal. Nevertheless, he is more optimistic than for a number of years, for a number of reasons. "The first is that [United States] President Obama has taken an interest in this issue, and also the Chinese have shown real leadership, so that gives us hope," he said.
In another contribution to the Summit, Martin Rees, president of the British Royal Society, advised that the issue of birth control may have to be tackled if the world's growing population is not to exacerbate the climate problem. "I think population issues need to be higher up the agenda because population beyond 2050 is very uncertain. There should not be any stigma against stronger efforts to give women in Africa more empowerment," he said. He also called for more emphasis on new technologies. "Without new technologies we will never meet the 2050 target," he argued. "Alternative energy, biofuels, genetic modification, fourth generation nuclear power, fusion, battery technology should all be developed with urgency. By throwing more money at problems you can in many cases speed up progress."
General Electric plans to cut solar installation costs by half
Project 90 by 2030 supports South African school children and managers reduce their carbon footprint through its Club programme
Bath & North East Somerset Council in the United Kingdom has installed smart LED carriageway lighting that automatically adjusts to light and traffic levels
The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Public Gardens Association are mounting an educational exhibit at Longwood Gardens showing the link between temperature and planting zones
The energy-efficient Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers hotel is powered by renewable and sustainable sources, including integrated solar photovoltaics and guest-powered bicycles
El Hierro, one of the Canary Islands, plans to generate 80 per cent of its energy from renewable sources
The green roof on the Remarkables Primary School in New Zealand reduces stormwater runoff, provides insulation and doubles as an outdoor classroom
The Weather Info for All project aims to roll out up to five thousand automatic weather observation stations throughout Africa
SolSource turns its own waste heat into electricity or stores it in thermal fabrics, harnessing the sun's energy for cooking and electricity for low-income families
The Wave House uses vegetation for its architectural and environmental qualities, and especially in terms of thermal insulation
The Mbale compost-processing plant in Uganda produces cheaper fertilizer and reduces greenhouse gas emissions
At Casa Grande, Frito-Lay has reduced energy consumption by nearly a fifth since 2006 by, amongst other things, installing a heat recovery system to preheat cooking oil
Tiempo Climate Newswatch