Tag Archives: global warming

COP17 gets underway in Durban

 

The much-anticipated COP17 climate change conference, regarded as one of the world’s most significant events, got underway in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal province.

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) started yesterday and ends on 9 December.

The conference has gathered together industry professionals from all over the world to debate strategies to the growing threat of global climate change.

Roughly 20 000 individuals are expected to assemble in Durban to participate in the climate talks, among them heads of state, government representatives, international organisations, entrepreneurs, businessmen, academics, activists and NGOs.

 

Conference outcomes

 

The primary goal of the discussions is to move forward the implementation of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, in addition to the Bali Action Plan, agreed upon at COP13 in 2007, as well as the Cancun Agreements, reached at COP16 last year.

“We have come a considerable ways since Copenhagen and Cancun. Durban must take us many steps forward towards a resolution that saves tomorrow today,” said President Jacob Zuma, welcoming the delegates to COP17.

A great many anticipate that the Kyoto Protocol is probably going to dominate the talks, as 2012 marks the conclusion of the first commitment period for the agreement which had been signed in 1997.

The Kyoto Protocol at present places legal commitments on nations, except for the US, China, India and Brazil who happen to be non signatories to the treaty, to cut back on greenhouse emissions by 5.2%.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, is positive that governments have arrived in Durban with the understanding of the incredible importance of the Kyoto Protocol.

 

“For this reason, I strongly believe that there will be an attempt to move into a second commitment period,” Figueres said, talking at a media gathering in Durban in advance of COP17’s opening day.

Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa stated that the necessity to renew and revise the Kyoto Protocol has grown to be vital.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who concluded a three-kilometre walk along Durban’s beachfront over the past weekend to boost consciousness with regards to rising sea levels, pointed out that South Africa was hoping to secure a legally binding agreement during the COP17 negotiations.

In a statement, Motlanthe asserted that strategies to climate change will need global input.

“The Kyoto Protocol can come to an end and that is certainly a very good reason why there ought to be another endorsement. No single nation can tackle climate change, we require a coordinated effort,” he explained.

President Jacob Zuma stated it was vital for COP17 to make sure that the Cancun Agreements, which included the establishment of a Green Climate Fund, started to be operational.

 

Essential for Africa

 

Molewa pointed out that despite the fact that Africa has added the least to the build up of greenhouse gases globally, the negative effects of climate change might possibly be felt most significantly on the continent.

As outlined by Molewa, the average African generates roughly 13 times less greenhouse gases when compared with his equal in North America. In 2007, the continent made up less than 4% of the globe’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Having said that, without mitigation and adaptation measures these statistics could quite possibly increase.

 

 

She asserted that Africa requires more sustainable development with new, clean technologies in order to avoid the environmental blunders of the developed world.

“Taking into account that 550-million people in Africa do not have access to electricity, there exists tremendous scope for Africa to become a world leader in alternative energy sources,” she explained.

These types of developments can aid in eliminating the vulnerability of African societies, and in many cases make certain that Africa becomes climate resilient.

 

Global cooperation and accountability

 

Molewa declared that a response to climate change demands global cooperation and accountability.

“The South African government acknowledges its position as the leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions on the continent. We are to blame for 38% of Africa’s total emissions,” she mentioned.

South Africa promises to change this.

 

 

The National Climate Change Response White Paper sets out government’s commitment to decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 34% below a business as usual trajectory in 2020, and also by 40% in 2025 prior to stabilising emissions in absolute terms, and in the long run reducing them.

The African Union has partnered with South Africa to make certain that the African Pavilion at COP17 effectively presents the issues of climate change that Africa is having difficulties with.

“The effects of climate change know no border, and it has been a motivator for cooperation amongst African governments,” said Molewa.

 

More climate change consciousness

 

The UN’s Figueres explained to reporters that there is increasing momentum amongst rich and developing nations to do something to protect against global warming.

Developed countries have passed a lot more legislation and governments as well as businesses are at the same time boosting awareness on the subject of climate change.

Figueres stated it is encouraging to see governments and civil society taking action.

“Durban should mark the next milestone in the climate talks. We anticipate that a great many of the issues that leaders agreed upon in Mexico will find a way of being carried through here,” she said, “and included in this are the Green Climate Fund in addition to other matters.”

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com

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Environment and You?

Environmental thinking is an evolutionary step forward in the way that we human beings think and behave. It has become increasingly apparent that the more we allow the Earth’s eco-systems to become damaged and disrupted, the greater the negative knock-on effect on human beings.

Because we did not pay sufficient attention to this simple fact in the past, we are now facing a number of serious threats to human health and wellbeing including:

  • Climate Change and Global Warming,
  • Pollution of our Air, Water and Soil
  • Loss of Marine Life and Earths Biodiversity
  • Natural resources being used up faster than the Earth can recover or reproduce.

While we do need to take remedial action to deal with these threats, it is important that we also look at the underlying causes. We need to recognise that all of these threats are symptoms and effects of the mind-set and value systems that caused them. If we wish to fix these symptoms and effects, then we have to begin by ‘changing our minds’.

Or as Albert Einstein put it ‘The world today has problems that cannot be solved by thinking in the same way we thought when we created them’. We need to shift our thinking into more appropriate (Eco-Logical) values and ways of thinking.

The first logical step therefore is to identify the thinking and values that are driving and creating these ecological problems. Some appear obvious –

Destructive Drivers

  • Ignorance – simply not knowing any better
  • Short-term thinking – not taking the long term consequences into consideration.
  • Isolated or Insular thinking – not recognising that everything is interconnected and that therefore certain actions which may be beneficial for one aspect or part may actually be harmful when looked at in context of the whole.
  • Selfish thinking – not caring about the consequences and effect on others.
  • Greed – taking much more than you need.
  • Dogma – insisting on doing things in a particular way (irrespective of the consequence) because that’s the way they have always been done in the past or because that’s the way a certain Authority says that they should be done.
  • Combative attitudes – whilst competition can be healthy as it encourages growth and improvement, excessive and unnecessary competition (involving damage to or destruction of, a competitor or their resources) is not healthy for people or the environment.
  • Consumer culture – It is a recognised fact that human beings are currently consuming quantities of Earths resources faster than the Earth can recover or replenish these resources. This is driven by a cultural value system that implies that the more you have, consume and own, the higher your position in society. Each individual is therefore directly motivated by this culture to acquire an ever increasing quantity of material assets.

“If you keep doing what you have always done – don’t be surprised if you keep getting the same results”.

So if these values and mind-sets are the underlying drivers of our environmental and social troubles, then the next logical step is to identify the opposite eco-logical thinking and values that can guide our actions toward a healthier planet and society.

Business Benefits

  • Reduced overheads: Becoming Eco-Logical translates into using fewer resources in the running of your business. By encouraging your staff to cut down on paper, ink, petrol, electricity and water usage, you find your overheads considerably reduced and profits proportionally increased.
  • Improved efficiency: An Eco-Logical business is based on efficient systems, checks and balances. This increases the overall productivity of your business, as well as cutting down on waste and over consumption of resources.
  • Staff attraction and retention: An increasing number of dynamic and talented people are attracted to working in and with ethical businesses. By becoming an Eco-Logically sustainable business, you are more likely to attract higher quality employees and partners with integrity, and are likely to retain them longer too.
  • Improved staff health and productivity: Creating an environmentally healthy office environment is an eco-logical thing to do because it improves staff health, attendance and productivity. Encouraging employees to cycle to work or work from home, filling your office with plants, developing a flexi-time policy are also examples of Eco-Logical practices that lead to happy staff, and a more productive office environment.
  • Marketing advantage: when you achieve real, measurable progress in creating a more Eco-Logically sustainable business, you can then legitimately use your achievements as an effective marketing tool. There are a growing number of consumers and companies making buying choices based on the environmental behaviour and profile of service providers. In this way your Eco-Logical policies and practices distinguish you from other business, and open the door for greater market share.

Domestic benefits

  • Reduced utility bills: Developing water and energy saving habits at home, reduces your utility bills considerably. This leaves more money available for other important investments.
  • Detoxification: Using Eco-Logically friendly cleaning products in your home, and safely disposing of existing toxic cleaning materials, paints and varnishes, creates a safer space for you and your children.
  • Savings on groceries: Growing your own food is very rewarding. You can supplement your weekly grocery shop by growing fruit, greens and vegetables, spending money only on seed and compost. This cost can be further reduced by producing your own compost for free, using kitchen scraps.
  • A beautiful home and garden: Eco-Logical living also includes integrating the beauty of nature into your home and garden. By building with renewable materials and growing indigenous plants and veggies in the garden, you improve the aesthetic beauty and financial value of your home and garden.

Health benefits

  • Getting fit naturally: Instead of spending time and money in gyms and shopping malls, making use of the natural environment around us for exercise and recreational purposes is Eco-Logical from both a health and financial perspective. Outdoor activities such as walking, swimming, climbing and cycling are excellent for the health of your mind, body and financial well being.
  • Eating well: Fresh, ethically and sustainably produced food is not only good for the planet, but is better for your body than processed, mass produced food. Organically grown food contains no pesticides and chemical fertilizers or antibiotics (in the case of meat), which have been proved to contribute to high levels of cancer, ill health and infertility.
  • Lower stress levels: Constantly running to get the latest gizmo or a bigger, better whatnot is expensive, and exhausting on both yourself and the environment. Instead of spending all your time working to generate the money to buy an increasing amount of ‘stuff’, Eco-Logical living encourages finding the balance between work and relaxation, wealth and excess. Eco-logical behaviour promotes living in an un-cluttered, end elegantly simple way of life that is consistent with your core values.

Keeping it sweet and simple.

We will brings you daily tips how you, no matter how small, can make a difference to your world and the the world around you.

Thank you to Enviropaedia for a wealth of knowledge and articles.

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