Archive for November, 2011

Not-So-Great Expectations

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Not-So-Great Expectations

On the eve of the 17th UN Climate Change
Conference in Durban, South Africa (28 November
to 9 December), what’s the least we should expect to see coming out of
this? Expectations have been dampened, especially when hopes have been raised
too high in the past. Here’s our wish list – our Plan A – and we have
supporting articles on practically all of this:

A global commitment to a new (or renewed) Kyoto Protocol – retitled as the
“Durban Declaration 2011” – to stop greenhouse gas emissions in their tracks.

Allow every nation to fix its own way forward, through a carbon price, clean energy
investment or a mix of measures, but committing to verifiable emissions targets
and actions.

Advance REDD mechanism into international law as the best way to stop deforestation and
open up investment into clean energy, forest carbon & sustainable

Act to get the Global Green Fund up and running to provide adequate funding to
developing and vulnerable countries to undertake mitigation and adaption
measures immediately.

There are plenty of health and humanitarian reasons to act. Solar
is rising to the top of renewable energy options for the future. Energy
efficiency is still the most cost effective and quickest way to reduce
emissions. Europe’s aviation emission plans are questioned and the shipping
industry is being told to act. Environmental pioneer Sir Jonathon Porritt makes
a welcome appearance and business is showing its sustainability shine.
Australia moves to protect the Coral Sea and Alaskans mount a fight against
“big oil”. China moves ahead on clean energy and green jobs, while the role and
opportunity for media is advanced.  The pen is mightier than the sword after all!– Ken

Profile: Sir Jonathon Porritt

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Profile: Sir Jonathon Porritt

Britian’s environmental pioneer Sir Jonathon Porritt is
leading the charge to get the shipping industry to acknowledge the emissions
it’s responsible for and do something about it. Forum of the Future started the
Sustainable Shipping Initiative, which was launched in London late October. Now
with its launch in Singapore Vision2040 goes global.

Sir Jonathon Porritt is leading the charge on his latest
global campaign. This time to get the shipping industry to acknowledge the emissions
it’s responsible for and do something about it. His Forum of the Future started
the Sustainable Shipping Initiative, which was launched in London in October.
Now its vision2040 goes global.   See
separate article on shipping emissions.

We met and talked to Jonathon – as this Knight is happy to
be addressed – and we discussed his early days in New Zealand where his father
was Governor General for a time.

He was born in 1950. He describes his younger years
thus:  “The next couple of decades flowed
by effortlessly at Eton, Magdalen College, Oxford, and dossing around planting
trees and farming in New Zealand and Australia.”

He first got involved with environmental issues in 1974 –
that makes him a definitive pioneer – at the same time as he became a teacher
in a West London comprehensive, which he says he “absolutely loved”.

Ten years later, he left teaching to become Director of Friends
of the Earth where he stayed until 1991, just prior to the Earth Summit in Rio
de Janeiro in 1992, which he describes as “a life-changing experience”.

In 1996, he was instrumental in setting up the Forum for the
Future, which remains his ‘home base’ in terms of all the different things  he does these days do today. He is also Co-Director
of the Prince of Wales’s Business & Sustainability Programme, and was Chair
of the UK Sustainable Development Commission between 2000 and 2009.

In inveterate campaigner, lobbyist and advocate for all
things environmental and sustainable, he has taken to blogging in a big way.

“I’ve been blogging for a long time, but that’s only a small
part of all the different things I’m involved in these days. It’s a funny old
mix. Part advising, part campaigning, part writing and broadcasting, part
lecturing and giving talks. And all done with a funny old mix of companies,
NGOs, Universities and public sector bodies. It’s mostly through Forum for the
Future, but through all sorts of other organizations too – as you’ll see”.

His involvement with government used to be much greater than
it is today. Up until July 2009, he was Chair of the UK Sustainable Development
Commission, a post to which he was appointed by Tony Blair back in 2000.

“The Commission itself is no more, Jonathon says in
exasperation, “as the Coalition Government idiotically decided to get rid of it
which demonstrated, early on, just how utterly vacuous its commitment to being
‘the greenest government ever’ looks like in practice.”

More glimpses into the life and times of Jonathon Porritt
through one of the many biographical portraits on him:

Co-Founder of Forum for the Future, he is an eminent writer,
broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development.  Established in 1996, Forum for the Future is
now the UK’s leading sustainable development charity, with 70 staff and over
100 partner organisations including some of the world’s leading companies.

In addition, he is Co-Director of The Prince of Wales’s
Business and Sustainability Programme which runs Seminars for senior executives
around the world.  He is a Non-Executive
Director of Wessex Water, and of Willmott Dixon Holdings.  He is a Trustee of the Ashden Awards for
Sustainable Energy, and is involved in the work of many NGOs and charities as
Patron, Chair or Special Adviser.

He was formerly Director of Friends of the Earth (1984-90);
co-chair of the Green Party (1980-83) of which he is still a member; chairman
of UNED-UK (1993-96); chairman of Sustainability South West, the South West
Round Table for Sustainable Development (1999-2001); a Trustee of WWF UK (1991-2005),
a member of the Board of the South West Regional Development Agency

He stood down as Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development
Commission in July 2009 after nine years providing high-level advice to
Government Ministers.

His latest books are Capitalism As If The World Matters
(Earthscan, revised 2007), Globalism & Regionalism (Black Dog 2008) and
Living Within Our Means (Forum for the Future 2009).

Jonathon received a CBE in January 2000 for services to
environmental protection.

Here’s what he reports on his work for the Sustainable
Development Commission (2000-2010):

“Between 2000 and 2009, a big chunk of my working life was
dedicated to the Sustainable Development Commission, as its first Chair.

“The SDC was set up by Tony Blair to be the principal source
of independent advice to all branches of government – and across the whole of
the UK. It started small, but gradually established its role, and after the
publication of 2005 Sustainable Development Strategy (which transferred responsibility
for scrutiny of government performance from Defra to the SDC), it grew to an
organisation of about 70 people.

“It is now widely recognised that this put the UK out in
front in terms of equivalent SD initiatives elsewhere in the world. And in a way
that surprised a lot of people, both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown absolutely
respected the independence of the Commission – though they didn’t always like
the advice we gave them!

“We were also allowed to reflect the full breadth of the SD
agenda, with as much of a focus on education, health, the economy and
governance issues as on climate change, land use, transport, food and farming
and so on. And we did a huge amount of stuff on SD strategies, Departmental
Action Plans, procurement, policy appraisal – and all sorts of geeky things that
never saw the light of day!

“The essence of the SDC’s success was an extraordinary
combination of a really smart, highly-motivated Secretariat, and the
Commissioners themselves – all experts in their own respective fields, all
sharing a passion for sustainable development as ‘the central organising
principle’ for the whole of government.

“Sadly, the SDC is no more. It fell foul of the incoming Coalition
Government’s ‘quango cull’ – or, to be more accurate,  it fell foul of some deep ideological
prejudices and a craven reluctance to expose government performance to any kind
of independent scrutiny. As was subsequently confirmed when the Government also
got rid of the Audit Commission.

“I’m still spitting
with rage one year on from this act of cretinous vandalism  – as is still reflected in my blogs from

“To get a better sense of what we were able to achieve
through the SDC’s ten year span, you can still check out the archive website

Jonathon might appear in every respect as an important
English gentlemen, maybe even resembling a British businessman (which he is) or
even a “conservative” politician, which he is certainly not!

Here’s a delightful
piece he wrote on:

Trees In The Blood

I often wonder how trees get into one’s blood. Neither of my
parents had the remotest interest in trees, and my mother would endlessly wax
lyrical about the landscapes of Lincolnshire (where she grew up) which for me
border on the god-forsaken precisely because they are so tree-less.

I grew up in London – more particularly, near Hampstead
Heath, a precious oasis of semi-natural green in the middle of London. It’s
small, in real terms, no more than a couple of hundred acres. But through the
eyes of an eight-year old boy, it was absolutely huge and much too large to be
properly encompassed at ground level.

So my first relationship with trees started predictably: God
had obviously put them on Earth for me to climb. I first learned about nature
and my interdependence with nature hanging precariously out of the branches of
those wonderful, long-suffering trees, taking equal pleasure in the sense of
danger, the sense of isolation and the sense of being utterly at home.

From that time on, I was completely hooked, and remain an
unreconstructed dendrophile to this day. I’ve encountered many trees, many
woods, many forests since then, and fashioned many intimate relationships with
those trees. I have found myself replenished and enriched in more ways than I
could begin to describe.

In the early 1970s, over three separate years, I ended up
(for all sorts of peculiar reasons) planting a 70-acre patch of scrubby land
just outside Auckland in New Zealand with tens of thousands of radiata pine.

I have to say I felt very good about every aspect of that
process. I revelled in the planting, month after month, often in high wind and
pouring rain; I loved watching the trees grow, thinning them out pretty
ruthlessly, pruning them rigorously to maximise end value; I even enjoyed (in a
rather more confused and painful way) the moment when they were all cut down at
the end of a normal cycle of 30 years.

So I love trees as much as the next person. But I’m not
sentimental about cutting them down – at the right time – and managing them
properly until that time. As long as there’s respect – and even awe – embedded
in that relationship.

That’s why the Coalition Government’s crass,
ideologically-inspired decision in 2010 to flog off the whole of the Public
Forest Estate instantly enraged me. It was both arrogant and cheap at the same
time; it was equally contemptuous of local communities (with their own
particular set of loyalties and affinities for their woodlands), and of the
Forestry Commission, which had transformed itself into a highly effective
manager/regulator after the “bad days” of the 1980s. It was despicably
care-less – as were the craven reactions of the national NGOs that so
unquestioningly went along with this sell-off proposal.

And that’s why I helped set up Our Forests – with an
eclectic bunch of people who all care as deeply about England’s woods and
forests as I do, albeit for all sorts of different reasons.

And that’s why I’m still determined to see things through,
even though the Government would appear to have backtracked on its original
proposals. I don’t trust them an inch, and though I think that the big NGOs
have now got the measure both of this Government and of the general public’s
determination to protect its woodlands and the Public Forest Estate in general,
I’m not sure I can quite trust them either on this particular issue.

I know that’s not a very “friendly” position to be adopting,
and it’s obviously caused some strain between myself and many others in today’s
Green Movement. Not least because I know that most of the individual members of
those organisations care about forests and woodlands in pretty much the same
way as I do, and would instantly resonate with these powerful words from John

“No religion is the only religion, no church the true
church; and natural religion, rooted in the love of nature, is no exception.
But in all the long-cultivated and economically-exploited lands of the world,
our woodlands are the last fragments of comparatively unadulterated nature, and
so the most accessible providers of the relationship, the feeling, the
knowledge that we are in danger of losing.”

Jonathon received a CBE in January 2000 for services to
environmental protection.

Not expecting Sir Jonathon Porritt to ever stop in his
efforts to set the world on a greener or more sustainable path, he gathers a
lot earnest and well-connected people around him.

He has not only successfully spread the word, but also his
influence, and as with his latest Sustainable Shipping Initiative he brings
together movers and skakers in the business world, who see this is the right
thing to do.

He might be one of Britain’s environmental pioneers, but he
is unlikely to see that his job is done for a long time yet.  A knight in shining armour?  He wouldn’t see it that way. But he is a man
who means business and gets things done.
Just what’s needed to lead the “action for a sustainable world”.


Carbon Price Ok , Now Let’s Save the Coral Sea

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Carbon Price Ok , Now Let’s Save the Coral Sea

A price on carbon is essential to combating global warming,
to stimulate clean energy development and greater energy efficiency,  says a report by the Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), coming out as the international
community prepares for the Durban conference on climate change. Meanwhile,
Australia, with its carbon price legislation tied up, has committed to
establish the world’s largest protected marine area in the Coral Sea, covering
989,842 square kilometres off the north east coast of the Queensland,

By David Wroe, Canberra, in The Age (25 Noveber 2011):

A price on carbon is essential to combating global warming,
a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has
found, giving a boost to the federal government after weeks of debate on the
carbon tax.

As the international community prepares for the Durban
conference on climate change, set to start in South Africa on Monday, the
OECD’s environmental outlook to 2050 urges countries to adopt carbon prices to
stimulate clean energy development and greater efficiency.

”A significant carbon price is needed to induce
technological change,” the report said.

Carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes would ”provide a
dynamic incentive for innovation and private investment in low-carbon,
climate-resilient infrastructure, plant and equipment,” the report states.

In one of the gloomiest recent forecasts, the report found
that without more ambitious policies, the atmospheric concentration of carbon
dioxide equivalents would reach nearly 685 parts per million by 2050 – much
more than the 450 ppm scientists believe is needed for the world to have a
chance at keeping the average global temperature rise to 2 degrees. If this
happens, the global temperature is likely to rise by 3 to 6 degrees by the end
of the century, which would ”continue to alter precipitation patterns, melt
glaciers, cause sea-level rise and intensify extreme weather events to
unprecedented levels”.

The latest global climate conference in Durban is widely
expected to deliver no new international treaty for binding carbon dioxide
cuts. However, the report by the OECD – a collection of 34 developed nations –
is likely to help inject some sense of urgency into discussions, warning that
delays will make climate action costlier in years ahead.

”Delay is costly and could become unaffordable. The further
we delay action, the costlier it will be to stay within 2 degrees,” the report
found, ”450 ppm is still achievable, but the costs are rising every day, month
and year that passes to compensate for the increased emissions.”

The report came as China confirmed it was establishing seven
pilot carbon market schemes in the cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and
Shanghai, as well as the industrial regions of Shenzhen, Hubei and Guangdong –
covering as many as 200 million people.

A spokesman for Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the
OECD report confirmed that ”putting a price on carbon is the most effective
policy because it creates dynamic incentives for investment in cleaner
technologies and infrastructure”.


By Matthew Knight on CNN (25 November 20110:

The Australian government has announced plans to establish
the world’s largest protected marine area in the Coral Sea.

The proposed Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve will
cover 989,842 square kilometers (around 380,000 square miles) — an area
roughly one tenth the size of the U.S.

“Australia’s vast oceans provide a source of food and
resources, and are a place of recreation. But we cannot afford to be
complacent,” Australia’s environment minister Tony Burke said.

“In the space of one lifetime, the world’s oceans have
gone from being relatively pristine to being under increasing pressure.

The environmental significance of the Coral Sea lies in its
diverse array of coral reefs, sandy cays, deep sea plains and canyons.

Tony Burke, Australia’s environment minister

“The environmental significance of the Coral Sea lies
in its diverse array of coral reefs, sandy cays, deep sea plains and canyons.
It contains more than 20 outstanding examples of isolated tropical reefs, sandy
cays and islands,” he added.

The Coral Sea is located off Australia’s northeast coast and
stretches from the Great Barrier Reef to Papua New Guinea in the north and the
Solomon Islands in the east.

Its shallow reef systems, say the Australian government,
support tropical ecosystems abundant in hard and soft corals, sponges, algae,
fish communities and other creatures such as nautilus and sea stars.

The largely uninhabited islands also support critical
nesting sites for green turtles and a range of seabird species.

Protect Our Coral Sea — a environmental campaign group
supported by several conservation organizations — described the announcement
as “a good start,” but said the plans fall short of full protection
for coral and marine life.

“Only the eastern half of this ocean treasure has been
set aside as a safe haven for marine life. The western half contains most of
the species-rich coral reefs and critical spawning sites for black marlin and
threatened tuna,” Darren Kindleysides from the Australian Marine
Conservation Society said in a statement.

There now follows a 90-day public consultation period which
the government says will assist in finalizing the proposals.


REDD Alert: Who Can’t See the Wood for the Trees?

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

REDD Alert: Who Can’t See the Wood for the Trees?

There is a clear consensus around the forest preserving
scheme REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and
it offers the best chance for progress on UN climate change negotiations, said
Louis Verchot, scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research
(Cifor). While WWF Indonesia says officials must consider the safety mechanisms
and financing of REDD+ including the MRV – measurable, reportable and
verifiable – programmes in the country, with special attention paid to the
negotiation process.

Written by Michelle Kovacevic (23 November 2011):

There is a clear consensus around the forest preserving
scheme REDD+ and it offers the best chance for progress on U.N. climate change
negotiations to be held in Durban next week, said Louis Verchot, scientist with
the Center for International Forestry Research.

“REDD+ offers a better chance for progress than other
proposed climate initiatives being discussed at COP17,” said Verchot in an interview.

“Certainly there is a clear consensus around REDD — we’ve
been discussing it for 7 years now and we’ve got a number of decisions that are
already in place that will allow that to move forward.”

REDD+ is a set of steps designed to use financial incentives
in order to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and
forest degradation. It was first proposed at COP11 in 2005 as a way to tackle
issues associated with land use change emissions which, due to their
complexity, the Kyoto Protocol could not address.

Many countries including the United States, Japan and Russia
have stated that they will not sign up to a second commitment period of the
Kyoto Protocol – a scheme focused on emissions reductions – leaving the door
wide open for decisions on REDD+ to progress at the negotiations.

While many countries
are already implementing REDD+ pilot projects, a number of issues still need to
be addressed, such as how REDD will be financed, how carbon emissions will be
reported and verified, and how safeguards will be reported and enforced. These
will be the focus of negotiations to advance with REDD+ at next week’s

Countries need long-term funds they can count on

“As it now stands,” said Verchot, “there is an agreement on
the part of developing countries to implement REDD+ and reduce emissions, and
on the part of the developed countries to provide financial and technical
assistance to achieve this. But there is not yet an agreement on the mechanisms
for how that’s going to happen – whether it will be market based or publicly
financed — and there is no agreement on the magnitude of the assistance or the
goal for emissions reductions.

“A number of countries are putting in place REDD
actions…they want to know what sort of funds they can count on and what’s the
plan for the long term.”

“At Durban we would like to [see an agreement on] how the
money is going to get into the hands of governments and communities to
implement the program and how we are going to ensure the sustainability of the
financial stream so this is not just a 5 year project, but a long-term
component of the solution to climate change. “

There is also some concern that, in the absence of a second
phase of the Kyoto protocol, market mechanisms may not work in a world where
there are no emissions reductions obligations. Verchot assures however, that
there are legally binding emissions reductions agreements already in place.

“Europe already has legally binding unilateral decisions
about emissions reduction, the North-eastern states of the US have committed to
emissions reductions and California will allow credits from REDD into their
emissions reductions scheme. The question is whether we use markets to help
implement (emissions reductions) and whether REDD can tap into those markets
and benefit from them.”

How do you measure something that does not happen?

Quantifying carbon emissions has been an ongoing area of
research – in the case of REDD+, carbon emissions refer to those that do not
happen i.e. emissions that would have happened in a business-as-usual scenario
without REDD+.

This can then be calculated in two different ways: one
focused on total carbon dioxide emitted due to deforestation, not counting any
uptake by trees that continue to grow; or as the net balance between carbon
dioxide that is currently being emitted by deforestation and forest degradation
and that which is being taken up by the forests.  While this might seem like an arcane
difference, it affects how you set up accounting systems and how you reward
emissions reductions.

“We would like to see some clarity on this issue,” says
Verchot, “and we have put on the table an idea about a tiered approach which is
already in the draft text that’s going to the negotiators.”

The idea behind a tiered approach is that there is a simple
means to estimating business as usual emissions that all countries could do
with existing data, but this approach is not particularly accurate,” explains

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization is already
collecting deforestation data from countries but those data are not as actively
updated as would be required for a compliance mechanism.

“But as countries put in place national forest inventories
and begin collecting spatial data on their forests, they could start simply and
progressively set their reference emissions level with greater certainty and
less error, which would then allow them to get into the REDD+ mechanism, said

“We would like to see a minimum standard of what would be
required for a country to enter into the REDD+ mechanism as well as the steps
that countries could go through to get up to what’s considered good practice
for this carbon accounting.”

Safeguards must be reported and enforced

Safeguards are a series of conditions that REDD+ must
respect so community rights, biodiversity conservation and governance are not
compromised under this mechanism. “While all these safeguards have been agreed
upon, there is still disagreement as to how they are going to be reported and
enforced”, says Verchot.

“Countries have agreed that they actually need to report to
the UNFCCC on how they are implementing these safeguards, but there is no
agreement on what that reporting consists of. How will it be monitored, does it
need to be quantitative and do remediated measures need to be foreseen if we find
we are not achieving a certain level of performance?”

Will Durban be a “summit of small steps”?

What seems to be most important, says Verchot, is ensuring
that countries who are already implementing REDD+ will see some progress on
these issues at the forthcoming negotiations.

“Countries are implementing REDD+ already. They need some
assurance that this is not going to all disappear in the rhetoric and discussions.

While we may not get full closure on all of these issues, we
at least need to have some concrete proposals on the table and a deadline for
these activities to start being functional on the ground.”

CIFOR will have a team of experienced writers covering the
climate change negotiations and events of COP17 to be held in Durban, South
Africa from November 28 to December 9.

Source: and


The Jakarta Post (23 November 2011):

Environmental NGO World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia
has urged that improvements be made to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation
and Forest Degradation (REDD+) infrastructure and management.

“The development of those components on the national level
is necessary to accompany any environmental agreements on the international
level,” WWF Indonesia director of climate change and energy Nyoman Iswarayoga
said on Tuesday.

Nyoman added that Indonesian officials should participate in
the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa,
this month.

WWF Indonesia suggested that officials consider the safety
mechanisms and financing of REDD+ and MRV (measurable, reportable and
verifiable) programs in the country, with special attention paid to the
negotiation process, at the meeting.

Additionally, WWF Indonesia also asked officials to consider
the dissemination and mapping of climate change and the engagement of civil
society and local communities, to access funds on environmental initiatives in
the country.


Who’s To Blame for Pollution, Warming, Storms & Loss of Sea Ice?

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Who’s To Blame for Pollution, Warming, Storms & Loss of Sea Ice?

The battle between some of the world’s most powerful energy
companies and an Alaskan village that’s losing ground to climate change heads to
federal appeals court on Monday. Nine Kivalina residents, having survived the
recent mega-storm that walloped western Alaska, will be watching their lawyers
argue that ExxonMobil Corp., BP, ConocoPhillips and other corporate Goliaths
owe the village at least US$95 million in damages.

Alex DeMarban in Alaska Dispatch (25 November 211)

Kivalina attempts to contain storm panic

The battle between some of the world’s most powerful energy
companies and an Alaska village that’s losing ground to climate change heads to
federal appeals court on Monday.

Nine Kivalina residents, having survived the recent
mega-storm that walloped western Alaska, will be at the Ninth US Circuit Court
of Appeals in San Francisco to watch their lawyers argue that ExxonMobil Corp.,
BP, ConocoPhillips and other corporate Goliaths owe the village at least $95
million in damages.

A key Kivalina argument charges that the energy companies
are engaged in a conspiracy to cover up the link between their emissions and
the earth’s warming temperatures. A similar argument proved pivotal decades ago
in helping smokers prevail in court against tobacco giants.

The Northwest Alaska village lost the first round of its
lawsuit in 2009, when a US District Court dismissed it, saying climate-change
pollution needs to be regulated by Congress and the administration, not courts.
The village lacked standing, the court said, because it could not show the
companies’ emissions caused the erosion threatening the village.

But Kivalina is optimistic this time around.

“What we have going for us is the science is changing
by the day,”  and the causal
connection between greenhouse-gas emissions and the climate is clarifying, said
Heather Kendall-Miller, an attorney for Kivalina and head of the Alaska office
of the Native American Rights Fund.

Alaska spokespeople for ConocoPhillips and BP, and a
ConocoPhillips attorney named in the case, would not comment about the
companies’ arguments.

A storm’s brewing

The effect of climate change on Alaska’s coastal villages
was back in the news during last week’s monster storm, called the worst to
strike western Alaska in four decades.

As it bore down on Kivalina, many residents feared for their
safety and wondered how much coastline this latest storm would wipe out, said
Colleen Swan, a city councilwoman.

The Inupiat village of 375, founded in the early 1950s when
the federal government built a school there, clings to a low-lying barrier
island about 80 miles northwest of Kotzebue.

In recent years, warmer temperatures have removed a
wave-dampening layer of coastal sea ice, leading to increased erosion, the US
Army Corps of Engineers has reported.

Seven years ago, fall storms ripped away some 80 feet of
land, destroying some teacher housing and other infrastructure, according to
the Corps. Four years ago, during another storm, residents evacuated the
village and waves punched out part of a new sea wall.

In this latest tempest, despite dire National Weather
Service warnings that the village faced serious danger, Kivalina was largely
unscathed. At the storm’s height, winds howled from a favorable direction. And
a new 14-foot seawall did its job, preventing erosion even though the Chukchi
Sea nearly topped it.

“We escaped by a hair,” said Swan.

Finding a new home

The quarter-mile-long rock revetment, installed in 2009 by
the Army Corps, will buy the village an estimated 10 to 15 years before it must

But in 2019, what then?

The village is trying to find a new site where it can
rebuild, out of harm’s way. But when it does, how will it pay to build a
school, homes and other facilities, and to scrape roads and an airstrip on the

That’s where the lawsuit comes in. Moving could cost between
$95 million and $400 million, according to figures from the Army Corps of
Engineers and the General Accountability Office. That’s at least $350,000 to
$1.4 million for each village resident.

The city and tribe hope their lawsuit — Kivalina v.
ExxonMobil — forces about 20 of the world’s largest oil, power and coal
companies to cough up the cash.

The village has prevailed against industry before. In 2008,
with legal help from the San Francisco-based Center on Race, Poverty and the
Environment, Kivalina forced mining giant Teck-Cominco to settle a lawsuit and
spend $120 million on a pipeline to protect drinking water.

The center is involved in this case too, playing a lead role
along with the Native American Rights Fund’s Alaska office.

Are oil companies to blame for Kivalina’s woes?

To win, the village doesn’t have to trace emission molecules
to prove which company caused what damage, said Matt Pawa, Kivalina’s lawyer
from the East Coast.

“All we have to prove, like other victims of
pollution,” is that the defendants contributed to overall pollution, he

There’s a critical second part to the lawsuit that makes it
similar to the tobacco cases that smokers eventually won in the 1980s, said

The village alleges industry is engaged in a conspiracy –
in part by funding junk science — to cover up the link between their emissions
and the rise in global temperatures.

Lawsuits against the tobacco companies weren’t successful
until it was shown they intentionally hid the link between smoking and the
health problems, including lung cancer, it caused.

“There was the same question at that time: How is it
possible to prove this?” said Kendall-Miller. “Back then people
smoked all the time, and they did it voluntarily. The courts kept throwing
cases out, until it was discovered that tobacco companies were engaged in a
conspiracy. They knew all along it was bad for one’s health but they had PR
campaigns to say it was not.”

The revelation that they had covered up the truth ultimately
led to a huge settlement, she added.


Each Year of Delay Makes Failure More Expensive & Harder to Avoid

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Each Year of Delay Makes Failure More Expensive & Harder to Avoid

GreenBiz reports that the vast majority of US business
executives in a recent survey – 83% — view a multi-lateral climate change
agreement as a prerequisite to address the issue, but just 13% believe it will
happen in Durban — or anytime soon. Sad, but true. And the UK’s Guardian
newspaper says in an editorial that the will to act on climate change is out of
political energy, running on empty. But inaction is not an option.

Editorial in The Guardian (25 November 2011):

The will to act on climate change is out of political
energy, running on empty. The problem is (relatively) distant, complex and
intractable. The solution is costly, immediate, and the gains uncertain. It is
the kind of slow-burn crisis that democratic politicians only tackle under
sustained popular pressure and right now western voters have other things on
their minds. Here, the government that promised to be the greenest ever is
allowing emission-cutting policies to appear an indulgent hangover from a more
prosperous age. Starting on Monday, when the 17th climate change conference
opens in Durban, Africa has the opportunity to remind the rest of us why
inaction is not an option.

Expectations for the summit have already been managed down
so far that the debate now appears to be whether it is better to disagree on
what to do, or to agree to do nothing. Although the energy secretary, Chris
Huhne, insists that he has not given up on reaching a deal that could be
implemented from 2016, the EU’s climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, sounds
much less positive. She insists nothing is possible unless everyone signs up,
and not on the old north-south terms of the expiring Kyoto agreement which she
argues no longer reflects reality.

In the world in 1998, when the Kyoto deal was struck, the
developed countries were required to cut emissions while the developing
countries – with much lower emissions – were only required to adopt mitigating
measures. Now the Europeans point to the rise of China, Russia and India up the
emissions scale – even the per capita emission figures are beginning to reflect
economic growth – and want the less developed countries to move beyond
mitigation and start to cut emissions.

China – nationally now topping the emissions chart, but
actually dropping down the table of emissions per capita – argues instead for a
new version of Kyoto. But even if progress were possible here, President Barack
Obama, a year away from an election, cannot face down the Republican-controlled
Congress where they think climate activists are a sect dedicated to destroying
the American way of life.

Reduced to numbers, the minimum target should be a date for
peak emissions. Most of the world’s governments have already agreed that, to
avoid disaster, the global temperature rise must be limited to 2ºC. To have an
even chance of success, global emissions will need to start to fall within the
next five years or so. Each year of delay makes failure more expensive and
harder to avoid. This is another stand-off between the strong and the
vulnerable, and there is talk of an Occupy Durban. It needs an objective. Then
the talking can really begin.



By Tilde Herrera in Green Biz.Com (17 November 2011):

Is there hope that an international climate change deal will
emerge at the upcoming U.N. negotiations in Durban, South Africa?

Don’t hold your breath, many business leaders might tell

That’s not to say one isn’t needed. The vast majority of
business executives in a recent survey — 83 percent — view a multi-lateral
climate change agreement as a prerequisite to address the issue, but just 13
percent believe it will happen in Durban — or anytime soon.

The down economy complicates the upcoming talks, according
to the new report from Ernst & Young, “Durban Dynamics: Navigating for
progress on climate change.”  The
report offers a nice primer of the contextual backdrop of the negotiations,
which are scheduled to run Nov. 28 through Dec. 9.

One of the major factors that promises to stymie the talks
is the persistently terrible economy. Climate change efforts will suffer as a
result, with the report finding that current austerity measures will leave a
big gap in the amount of funding devoted to mitigation.

The US, for example, will spend about $2 billion less on
climate change efforts between 2011 and 2015, compared to 2010. Overall, 10
large economies tracked in the report will spend $22.5 billion less on climate
change in the coming years than historical levels.

While governments are pulling back on funding, business
leaders are more bullish, the report found. E&Y surveyed more than 300
business executives and found that 88 percent said their sustainability spending
has stayed the same or grown over the past year. More than half indicated that
a climate deal provide lots of opportunities for business, but prospects are

The report also addresses many lingering questions
surrounding the Durban talks, including the fate of the Kyoto Protocol, the
existing climate change agreement that ends next year. The US and developing
countries are not bound under Kyoto to reduce their emissions.

E&Y gives a relatively positive spin to the future of
global carbon markets should parties fail to produce a successor to the Kyoto
Protocol. The largest player is the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU
ETS), The world’s biggest cap-and-trade program was created to help European
nations meet their Kyoto commitments.

“Although the prospects of a global carbon deal will
recede in the absence of a successor to the Kyoto Protocol,” the report
said, “carbon trading will continue as long as there is demand and a
market for it.”


Adapt to Climate Change to Reduce Vulnerability for People & Eco-systems

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Adapt to Climate Change to Reduce Vulnerability for People & Eco-systems

Adaptation experts Sven Harmeling of Germanwatch, and
Sandeep Charmeling of the World Wide Fund for Nature WWF) say that as mitigation
measures have failed, climate change adaptation should now become compulsory to
reduce vulnerability for people and the eco-systems they inhabit, reports the UN
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Human life, productive
land, physical infrastructure and biological diversity are all vulnerable to
climate change, but there is no consensus on which are more or most important.

IRIN Humanitarian news and analysis, from the UN Office for
the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (16 November 2011):

JOHANNESBURG – The western world’s financial crisis is
leaving governments less inclined to make deep cuts to the production of
greenhouse gases if that means greater short-term costs to their economies.

That has added to the gloom around the likely outcome of the
global climate change conference in Durban later in November, where governments
will decide on the future direction of the Kyoto Protocol, the first commitment
phase of a deal to reduce emissions, which expires in 2012.

Some rich countries have started backing out. At the last
round of UN climate talks, in Panama in October 2011, Canada, Japan and Russia
indicated that they did not want to be part of the second commitment phase.
British media have reported that the UK favours postponing the deal to 2020,
and has been lobbying emerging economies China and India to join them.

The second commitment phase aims to restrict carbon dioxide
emissions in the atmosphere to a level that would keep a rise in global
temperature below two degrees Celsius.

But the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that
within the next five years such irreversible damage could have been done to the
climate that we could see global temperatures soar by two degrees Celsius and
beyond by the turn of the century.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and
other climate scientists regard global warming of two degrees as catastrophic,
bringing water stress in arid and semi-arid countries, more floods in low-lying
coastal areas, coastal erosion in small island states, and the elimination of
up to 30 percent of animal and plant species.

“To prevent that scenario, all future energy needs would
effectively have to be zero-carbon,” said Antony Froggatt, an energy expert at
British think-tank Chatham House. But, taking into account the number of fossil
fuel power plants already under construction and the financial outlay, he said
this would be “highly unlikely, if not impossible”.

In this scenario, “adaptation is unavoidable” even for rich
countries, said Saleemul Huq, lead author on the subject in the IPCC’s last two
assessment reports on climate change.

Adaptation experts Sven Harmeling of Germanwatch, and
Sandeep Charmeling of the World Wide Fund for Nature, said with mitigation
having failed, adaptation should now become compulsory to reduce vulnerability
for people and the eco-systems they inhabit.

Given these circumstances, becoming more familiar with
“adaptation” could be useful.

Cancun Adaptation Framework

Uncertainty around climate change will constantly change the
parameters of vulnerability. The last formal round of UN climate talks in 2010,
in Cancun, Mexico, was a turning point for countries seeking support to help
them adapt to climate change. After three years of negotiations, the forum
stated that adaptation should be given the same priority as mitigation.

A framework was adopted to help countries set up programmes
and actions to reduce vulnerability and make them more resilient. It identifies
countries that are most vulnerable and establishes how to address loss and damage
on account of a changing climate.

The framework has five clusters: implementation, support,
institutions, principles and stakeholder engagement. These cover issues such as
providing financial and technical support in drawing up adaptation plans, ensuring
that the process is country-driven, gender-sensitive and uses best science, and
draws on indigenous knowledge.

Adaptation Committee

This is envisioned as the driver of adaptation in the UNFCCC
process and will elaborate the Framework. As the advisory body on adaptation it
also provides technical support to UNFCCC countries.

Membership of the committee has yet to be decided. Harmeling
said they hoped it would become operational at the meeting in South Africa, and
thought it could become a key institution beyond the UNFCCC, “building up
coherence and consistency in the international response”.

Loss and damage

Inclusion of the words “loss and damage” in the
Cancun Agreements and the Cancun Adaptation Framework, which could allude to
compensation and a legal obligation on the part of developed countries, cheered
many poor countries.

The Alliance of Small Island States, many of whose members
are threatened by storm surges and sea-level rise brought on by climate change,
have suggested a multi-window mechanism, including components that deal with
compensation and insurance. The UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Implementation has
been asked to suggest approaches to loss and damage, and will report back at
COP 17.


Deciding on the criteria that determine which country is
more vulnerable to ensure they are first in the line for technical and
financial support has been hugely contentious.

“Vulnerability’ means different things to different people.
Human life, productive land, physical infrastructure and biological diversity
are all vulnerable to climate change, but there is no consensus on which are
more or most important,” said scientist Richard Klein, who is leading
preparation of the chapter on adaptation for the upcoming IPCC assessment

He told IRIN that science cannot resolve the issue, and
negotiators should not rely on external experts to “develop a definitive,
objective and unchallengeable method to rank countries according to their
vulnerability to climate change”. The solution will have to be arrived at
politically, with a consensus “reflecting different and biased interpretations
of vulnerability”.

Scientist Atiq Rahman, who led Bangladesh’s efforts to draw
up an adaptation strategy, agreed that “It is not a beauty contest,” but thinks
the issue will be resolved by the end of 2012.

Vulnerability analysis is a complex and often contradictory
field. During recent droughts in Afghanistan the highest levels of malnutrition
were found among the children of relatively wealthy shopkeepers and
moneylenders who lost their capital and income when farmers couldn’t repay
loans, but who weren’t eligible for relief from aid agencies, wrote Marcus
Monech, president of the international body, Institute for Social and
Environmental Transition, in a new paper.

Existing approaches to measure vulnerability are “often of
little use: at best, they reiterate what we already know; at worst, they are
used to justify entrenched agendas. To be truly useful as a basis for dialogue,
action and accountability, the meaning of ‘vulnerability’ must be clarified,
and the methods for analysing it greatly strengthened,” he suggested.

However, Nanki Kaur, a researcher at the International
Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), noted that “a ‘static’
approach to defining vulnerability is pointless. Uncertainty around climate
change will constantly change the parameters of vulnerability.”

She advocates the approach Nepal has taken: a constant
monitoring and evaluation process that aims to track changes to the parameters
of vulnerability and adapt plans in response, beginning with the local
government level and moving up.

Adaptation Fund

Set up exclusively to finance adaptation projects in
vulnerable countries, the Fund started disbursing money in 2010. Unlike other
UNFCCC mechanisms, it allows countries to have control over how they spend the

The Fund receives direct contributions from developed
countries and also raises money from a levy of about 2 percent on credits
generated by the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) established under the Kyoto

The mechanism allows industrialized countries to earn and
trade emission credits by implementing projects in developed or developing
countries; they can then put the credits towards meeting their greenhouse gas
emission targets.

The Fund has raised more than US$138 million through the
levy, according to an independentclimate fund watch website run by two
think-tanks, the Heinrich Boll Stiftung and the Overseas Development

Insufficient funds are an ongoing concern. The UNFCCC has
said that by 2030 poor countries would need $28-59 billion a year to adapt; the
World Bank puts the amount at $20-100 billion; the European Union Commission
says it will take $10-24 billion a year by 2020; and the African Group of
climate change negotiators think more than $67 billion a year will be needed by

Saleemul Huq, from IIED, noted that although “money is
available in the short term for initial projects”, there could be
“bottlenecks as more countries submit project proposals” .

Green Climate Fund

It was decided in Cancun to set up a fund with thematic
windows to address the varying needs of countries to deal with climate change.
A Transitional Committee was established to design the Green Climate Fund and
will report back in Durban, said Klein.

“However, at the last meeting of the Transitional Committee…
no consensus was reached about the final text of the ‘Governing Instrument’ to
be forwarded to COP 17. On the insistence of the US and Saudi Arabia, the draft
Governing Instrument will therefore not be forwarded with a recommendation to
COP 17 to adopt it, but instead it will be submitted for consideration by COP
17, which in practice means that it will be reopened for negotiation.”

The proposed design was seen as “too closely linked” to the
UNFCCC, which US negotiators felt would be unacceptable to the Republican
majority in Congress.

This view was expressed in a joint blog by Pa Ousman Jarju
of Gambia, Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group (LDC); Fred Onduri
Machulu, Former Chair of the LDC Expert Group at the UNFCCC; Munjurul H. Khan,
a member of the Bangladesh government delegation to the UNFCCC; Carol Mwape LDC
Transitional Committee member from Zambia and LDC group finance coordinator; and
Benito Müller, Director of Energy & Climate Change at the Oxford Institute
for Energy Studies.

“Unfortunately, a link with the UN seems not the only taboo
on Capitol Hill. ‘Climate change’ – or rather, ‘global warming’, in local
parlance – and ‘multilateral’ (in the sense of sending taxpayers’ money abroad)
are regarded as equally objectionable. So, short of turning the Green Climate
Fund into a domestic fund for non-climate purposes, Congress is not going to
appropriate funding for it in the foreseeable future,” they said.

“This must no doubt be painful for the present
[Democrat] Administration, who we believe would very much wish to play a more
positive role in these negotiations.”

Nairobi Work Programme (NWP)

The NWP was set up under the UNFCCC in 2005 to help
developing countries understand, assess and adapt to the impact of climate
change. Any country can become a partner and use the NWP data base to engage
with other countries and the private sector to develop their own programmes. It
maintains an evolving inventory on adaptation knowledge.

At Cancun the Parties decided to continue the Nairobi Work
Programme – initially a five- year programme – pending a review, which was
presented in Bonn in June 2011, said Klein.

The programme will feed into the Framework, and will now
examine new sector-specific needs and cross-sectoral activities to be
strengthened, including water, food security, ecosystems, infrastructure and
human settlements.

Community-based adaptation (CBA)

This is a new concept. It recognizes that small communities
are the most vulnerable and inadequately resourced to handle climate change.
Projects are designed with the input of the community and take into account
their needs and indigenous knowledge – many communities have generations of
experience in coping with climate variability.

Adaptation projects look much like any other standard
development project. “The difference lies not in what the intervention is,
but in the inputs to the intervention. It is not what the community is doing
but why, and with what knowledge,” said Huq, who is also a senior fellow at

“The adaptation element introduces the community to the
notion of climate risk and then factors that into their activities. This makes
them more resilient both to immediate climate variability and long-term climate
change.” But there are very few existing CBA projects, he said, and
“they have hardly been tested for resilience to climate variability, let
alone to climate change”.


Reduced Emissions Good for Health, Security, Economy & Climate

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Reduced Emissions Good for Health, Security, Economy & Climate

Paul R. Epstein, a Harvard Medical School public health
expert and physician who helped illuminate the connections between climate
change and the spread of infectious disease, has died aged 67. His death might
draw greater attention to health impacts of climate change. He was one of the
first to talk about the multiple benefits of reducing greenhouse gases. In 1992,
he linked a cholera epidemic in Peru to algal blooms caused by warming sea
surface temperatures and nutrient discharge.

By Juliet Eilperin in Washington Post (16 November 2011):

Paul R. Epstein, a Harvard Medical School public health
expert and physician who helped illuminate the connections between climate
change and the spread of infectious disease, died Nov. 13 at his home in
Boston. He was 67.

The cause of death was lymphoma, said his wife, Andy

Dr. Epstein, who served as the associate director of Harvard
Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, produced a
series of seminal papers examining the public health implications of climate
change and its impacts.

Rather than confine his work to academic circles, he devoted
much of his career to speaking publicly about humans’ need to curb greenhouse
gas emissions or risk facing disastrous consequences. Dr. Epstein was an
adviser to former vice president Al Gore for the 2006 Oscar-winning documentary
film “An Inconvenient Truth.”

In an e-mail, Gore said that Dr. Epstein “always found the
time to make sure that the latest research was relayed to the public.”

“His rare ability to communicate the subtleties and
complexities of his field in layman’s terms and his strong desire to reach out
and educate people about the climate crisis are a lasting part of his legacy,”
Gore said.

Dr. Epstein’s work sparked controversy, in part because it
is harder to connect climate impacts such as extreme weather and rising
temperatures to the spread of disease than to more straightforward developments
such as ocean acidification. But his dogged work helped transform the popular
understanding of global warming, by demonstrating how an environmental
phenomenon could exact a human toll.

Raised in a progressive family in Manhattan, Dr. Epstein was
advised by his pediatrician father to combine his passion for social justice
with a medical career.

“No matter what you do — you can do politics, you can lead a
revolution — but no matter what, be a doctor,” Andy Epstein, a nurse, recalled
in an interview Tuesday, “which I thought was good advice.”

Dr. Epstein managed to do both. Living in Mozambique from
1978 to 1980 with his wife and their two children, he saw how citizens
struggled to get adequate medical care in the aftermath of that nation’s bitter
war of independence with Portugal.

He devoted much of his early career to providing health-care
access to poor Americans. As a medical student at New York’s Albert Einstein
College of Medicine, he co-led a group of medical, nursing and social work students
in a federally funded project to foster community medicine. He later worked in
clinics in East Boston and Cambridge, Mass.

In the 1980s, Dr. Epstein led a group of American and
Russian medical students to Kenya, where epidemiologists there said they were
discovering malaria at higher altitudes than ever before.

He turned his attention to how changes in Earth’s climate
could affect human health, releasing a report at the 1992 U.N. Earth Summit in
Rio de Janeiro that linked a cholera epidemic going on at the time in Peru to
algal blooms caused by warming sea surface temperatures and nutrient discharge.

“There was a sense that physicians had a very important role
to play in helping people to understand the gravity and implications of these
climatic changes that were underway,” said Eric Chivian, who attended the
summit with Dr. Epstein and now directs Harvard’s Center for Health and the
Global Environment. Dr. Epstein co-founded the center in 1996.

Dr. Epstein went on to publish papers in prominent scientific
journals on topics ranging from how warming can speed the outbreak of
mosquito-borne diseases and the growth of ragweed to the connection between the
rise in asthma and the soot from power plants and diesel trucks.

He also plunged into the public debate over global warming,
publishing opinion pieces, giving interviews and delivering a Power­Point
lecture to investors and policymakers on the multiple benefits of reducing
greenhouse gases.

“This can be good for public health, good for the security,
good for the economy, and we hope it’ll stabilize the climate,” he told an
audience of lawyers in a speech that aired on National Public Radio in 2007.
Later he told the reporter, “Reverend William Sloane Coffin said, and I
slightly paraphrase, hope is the passion for the possible.”

Paul Robert Epstein was born Nov. 16, 1943, to Nathan
Epstein and Edith Hillman Boxill, a music therapist. He graduated from Cornell
University with a degree in physics in 1965 and received his medical degree
from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1969. He earned a master’s
degree in public health from Harvard in 1982.

Survivors include his wife of 44 years, Andy Gates Epstein
of Boston; two children, Benjamin Epstein of New Orleans and Jesse Epstein of
Brooklyn; and a sister.

Despite the contentious nature of climate research, Dr.
Epstein was known for his gentle manner and the fact that he was, in the words
of MIT atmospheric scientist Kerry Emanuel, “kind and very concerned with

Even as he fell seriously ill this summer, he published four
pieces in the Atlantic and continued to blog about his work.

“He knew his time was very short, and he wanted to say what
he needed to say in the time he had left,” Chivian said. “His work is so
important — now perhaps even more important — because there is such a lack of
understanding about what’s happening globally.”


Sustainable Targets For Shipping as 90% of World’s Trade Goes by Sea

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

Sustainable Targets For Shipping  as 90% of World’s Trade Goes by Sea

Sustainabile Shipping Initiative came to Singapore on its
way to becoming a global movement with the support of 15 major players in the
shipping industry -  with Carnival the
only cruise company to sign up – along with Forum of the Future and WWF.  Meanwhile, the International Chamber of
Shipping (ICS) – which represents all sectors and trades of the global shipping
industry and more than 80% of the world merchant fleet – has produced a
briefing document for government climate change
negotiators attending the Durban conference.

Ken Hickson reports on the Singapore launch on the
Sustainable Shipping Initiative:

Launched in Singapore 23 November  after its London launch four weeks earlier,
the Sustainabile Shipping Initiative is going global with the support of 15 major
players in the shipping industry, along with Forum of the Future and WWF.

Those of us who attend the Singare launch heard Sir Jonathn
Porrit give an overview of the initiative from its beginnigs and its progress
to date. He told us why sustainability is an imperative for the shipping
industry and how the industry is getting involved in making it a reality. He
also set out the Vision for a Sustainable Shipping Industry in 2040 and why the
Sustainable Shipping Initiative is needed now and what companies can do to
ensure success.

Also speaking at the Singapore launch was Kim Kyung Soo,
Deputy Chief Executive Officer of IMC Industrial Group and Tim Blackburn,
Managing Director of The China Navigation Co, a member of the Swire group of
companies. They talked about what the SSI Vision and collaborative group mean
to them.

Shipping affects the lives of billions of people, with 90%
of the world’s international trade travelling by sea. The industry accounts for
three to four percent of global CO2 emissions and there is growing scrutiny of
its wider social and environmental impacts.

The industry now faces a range of social and environmental
challenges, such as rising and volatile fuel prices, shifting markets and
patterns of trade,and changing governance structures, which are explored in the
Case for Action.

Many key players in the industry are aware of these factors,
but, unlike the aviation and auto sectors, have not yet acted decisively to
prepare shipping for this new world. Shipping has a compelling case as the most
energy-efficient freight service, but any return to growth will be
unsustainable if the industry does not innovate to cut costs and reduce its
environmental impacts.

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative is designed to help the
industry make long-term plans for future success. An industry with long-lived
assets needs long-term thinking, and the SSI aims to help members think beyond
the next regulation or design tweak.

Founding members of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative are:

ABN-AMRO, BP Shipping, BUNGE, Cargill, Carnoval Corporation,
China Navigation/Swire, DSME, Gearbulk, Lloyd’s register, Maersk Line, Rio
Tinto, RSA, Tsakos Energy Navigation, Wartsila and Unilever.


Carnival backs sustainable shipping initiative

Travel Weekly (1 November 2011):

Carnival Corporation is the only cruise company to sign up
to an initiative co-ordinated by Forum for the Future to map out a sustainable
future for international shipping.

Seventeen global companies, including freight lines and
marine insurers, are backing the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) designed
to lay out a ‘vision for 2040’ for the industry.

The SSI is to address three principal challenges identified
as facing the industry: rising oil prices, structural shifts in world trade and
growing scrutiny of the industry’s social and environmental performance.

Five key objectives identified include diversifying the
international shipping industry’s energy mix. They aim for greater efficiency,
“dramatic reductions” in greenhouse gases and to ensure responsible governance
of the oceans.

The Initiative’s 17 members claim to have a combined market
value of half a trillion dollars.

Jonathon Porritt, founder director of non-profit
organisation Forum for the Future, described shipping as having reached a

He said: “After years of focusing on a commodity-focused
‘boom and bust’ business model, leaders in the industry have aligned to ask
more of themselves – emphasising the urgent need to take the lead in reshaping
the entire industry ahead of regulation.”

David Dingle, chief executive of Carnival’s British arm
Carnival UK, said: “From Carnival’s perspective the Sustainable Shipping
Initiative should support an expanding, well-rewarded and supported workforce
and network of suppliers and to enhance significantly the economies and
services of the communities its ships visit.

“From an industry perspective it will ensure that future
growth across the shipping industry is maintained economically, socially and

“It is a tough challenge but one to which we are fully


Maritime Reporter and Engineering News (15 November 2011):

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) – which
represents all sectors and trades of the global shipping industry and more than
80% of the world merchant fleet – has produced a briefing document for
government climate change  negotiators,
in advance of the next United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 17).   The Document entitled ‘Shipping, World Trade
and the Reduction of CO2 Emissions’ is being distributed via ICS member
national shipowners’ associations and can be downloaded at

ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe explained: “The
international shipping industry is firmly committed to reducing its CO2
emissions by twenty per cent by 2020, with significant further reductions
thereafter. However, the Durban Climate Change Conference needs to give the
International Maritime Organization a clear mandate to continue its vital work
to help us deliver further emission reductions through the development of
Market Based Measures.”

The shipping industry hopes that governments at COP 17 will
respond positively to the significant IMO agreement, in July 2011, to adopt a
package of technical measures to reduce shipping’s CO2 emissions – which by
2030 should reduce  ships’ emissions by
25-30% compared to ‘business as usual’. This is the first ever international
agreement containing binding and mandatory measures to reduce CO2 emissions
that has so far been agreed for an entire industrial sector.

Most importantly– and without prejudice to what governments
might agree at UNFCCC – the shipping industry believes that IMO is now very
well placed to continue the real progress it is making on Market Based Measures
to help deliver  further emissions
reductions. This includes a possible shipping industry environmental
compensation fund – with possible linkages to any ‘Green Fund’ agreed by
UNFCCC. This could address the Kyoto Protocol principle of ‘Common But  Differentiated Responsibility’ (CBDR) by
directing the lion’s share of any funds raised from international shipping to
environment related projects in developing countries, including climate change
mitigation and adaptation.

The shipping industry wishes governments to understand that
in the absence of a global framework agreed by IMO there is a serious risk of
regional or unilateral measures attempting to regulate CO2 emissions for
shipping. This would have  a seriously
distorting effect on international shipping markets, but would also be much
less effective in delivering meaningful reductions in CO2 emissions by the
global shipping sector as a whole. The ICS Document explains why shipping is a
global industry requiring global regulation, and contains details of the
measures that the industry and its international regulator (IMO) are taking to
reduce ship emissions; means by which IMO
might take account of the UNFCCC CBDR principle; and the reasons why
shipping does not lend itself to inclusion in national CO2 emissions targets.

For over 65 years, Maritime Reporter and Engineering News
has provided unparalleled coverage of the maritime industry. Over 38094
decision makers rely on it for current news and insightful editorial!



China Strategy to Clean Industry & Energy, Creating Millions of Green Jobs

Posted by admin on November 27, 2011
Posted under Express 156

China Strategy to Clean Industry & Energy,  Creating Millions of Green Jobs

China’s climate negotiators fired off a pre-emptive volley,
with the most detailed report to date on the progress the country has made to
ease greenhouse gases, and the strategy it will adopt at the climate talks in
Durban. A few days earlier it was reported that China can make a net gain of
9.5m jobs over the next five years if it phases out its dirtiest, energy
intensive industries and replaces them with renewable technology and other
“green” businesses.

White paper outlining China’s recent achievements seen as
attempt to minimise blame if talks in Durban break down

Jonathan Watts on (22 November 2011):

China has been battling against its greenhouse gas
emissions. China’s climate negotiators fired off a pre-emptive volley, with the
most detailed report to date on the progress the country has made to ease
greenhouse gases, and the strategy it will adopt at next week’s climate talks
in Durban.

With the world’s biggest carbon emitter expected to come
under intense pressure in South Africa, the government released the white paper
to highlight its achievements on renewables, afforestation and industrial
efficiency, and set the stage for closer collaboration with Europe and developing

It is both a last-ditch attempt to salvage a deal and a
political insurance policy aimed at minimising blame – and most likely
deflecting it to the US – if the talks break down.

The document released by the State Council – China’s cabinet
– contained no new details, but it spelled out the measures the government has
taken to meet the commitment made at Copenhagen: a reduction in carbon
emissions relative to GDP by 40-45% between 2005 and 2020.

The paper also spells out the steps that will be taken over
the next five years to increase forest cover by 12.5m hectares and lift the
non-fossil fuel share of energy consumption to 11.4%.

Despite widespread pessimism about the prospects for a deal,
Xie Zhenhua, the head of the Chinese delegation to Durban, said China wanted to
overcome the impasse between rich and poor countries by getting Europe to
commit to a renewal of the Kyoto Protocol, and other nations – who are
unwilling to sign – to make comparable voluntary cuts or provide technology and
financial assistance.

Xie said an extension to the Kyoto Protocol – the first
commitment phase of which is currently set to end in 2012 – was crucial:
“How to solve this problem is actually a very central, very key problem at
the Durban meeting”.

A comprehensive deal still looks elusive and the Guardian
reported this week that rich countries have privately admitted that no new
global climate agreement will be reached before 2016 at the earliest, but hopes
have been rekindled by signs that Europe, China and the G77 group of developing
nations have been working constructively in recent months. There is a faint
possibility that Europe may agree to a new commitment period if China and the
G77 promise to accept binding cuts by 2015 or 2020.

Yang Fuqiang, senior climate adviser to the US-based Natural
Resource Defence Council, said the paper showed a more co-operative and
transparent approach.

“This new white paper shows China’s new policy towards
climate change is more constructive, more flexible,” he said. “This
white paper will help to release the pressure if China is unfairly accused in

Other NGO analysts concurred. Wu Changhua, the greater China
director of the Climate Group, said: “I don’t think this white paper will
influence the process of the Durban conference, but it is a form of
communication with the world. It shows what China has done.”

Other observers saw hints of a more fundamental shift,
including a recognition by the government that its existing approach is
insufficient because the economy is growing so fast that even if China achieves
its carbon intensity goals the overall amount of emissions will surge.

Li Yan of Greenpeace said she was encouraged that Xie was
talking openly about the need to control total energy consumption, rather than
just its intensity relative to GDP.

“I think Xie admitted the China’s energy structure is
the big problem for China carbon emission. To control the use of coal energy is
key to control carbon emissions,” Li said. “The central government
has the policy, but the problem is how to implement it.”

But most noted the strategic role of the paper in highlight
how much China has done in recent years compared to the US and other so-called
“boulder nations” that are increasingly seen as obstacles to

Report urges China to replace dirty, energy intensive
industries with renewable technology and other ‘green’ businesses

Jonathan Watts on (18 November 2011):

If China phases out energy-intensive technology it can great
millions of jobs, a report says.

China can make a net gain of 9.5m jobs over the next five
years if it phases out its dirtiest, energy intensive industries and replaces
them with renewable technology and other “green” businesses,
according to an influential advisory body.

The potential for green growth was flagged up in a report
that highlights the “Jeckyl and Hyde” nature of the environmental
situation in China, which can claim both the world’s biggest investment in new
energy and the most dangerous levels of pollution. The report was released this
week by the China Council of International Co-operation on Environment and
Development, which is headed by Li Keqiang – widely tipped to become the next
prime minister – and includes 200 domestic and overseas experts and leading
figures in the United Nations and other world bodies.

On the economics of a shift to a more sustainable
development path, it is brimful of ambition and optimism. The council advises
the government to spend 5.8 trillion yuan (£61bn) on measures to save energy,
protect the environment and replace polluting industries with hi-tech firms. It
estimates this would create 10.6m jobs, boost GDP by 8 trillion yuan and result
in energy savings worth another 1.4 trillion yuan. These gains, it says, would
far exceed the costs of eliminating the dirtier sectors of the economy, which
are calculated as a loss of 950,000 jobs and 100bn yuan in output.

At their annual meeting, the council emphasised the need to
shift track – a process that the government has tried to promote in its latest
five-year plan. “The industrial sector is still the prime energy consumer
and a major cause of pollution, so greening the sector is key for China’s green
transformation,” Li Ganjie, vice minister of environmental protection and
the council’s secretary general was quoted as saying by the China Daily.

On the environmental situation, however, the report painted
a far bleaker picture for the next 10 years of worsening levels of toxic waste,
ecological degradation and water shortages. At the release of the report, Achim
Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, praised China’s
$49bn (£31bn) investment last year in renewable energy, but said the country is
also paying an alarming health cost for the past three decades of dirty growth.
“They are paying a price first of all individually by premature deaths …
Respiratory diseases and premature deaths in the hundreds of thousands,”
he said.

The report – which was three years in the making – placed
much of the blame on an obsession with GDP expansion, particularly at a local
government level, which has resulted in lax implementation of environmental
goals. “The blind pursuit of economic growth has now become a huge
obstacle for China’s green growth,” it says.

It suggests the introduction of a carbon tax and new pricing
mechanisms that would encourage more efficient use of scarce resources such as
water. The central government says it is also trying to rebalance environmental
quality with economic quantity, partly by setting new goals to reduce pollution.

In the latest promise of improvement, the Ministry of
Environmental Protection said it will tighten air quality monitoring and
include PM2.5 small particulate matter in the index for the first time. Zhou
Shengxian, the environment minister, told the council that China would move
towards international standards of monitoring, but warned that there was still
a long way to go. “It will be a gradual process, and won’t be achieved all
at once,” Zhou said while outside Beijing was shrouded in a thick haze.