"November 14th News: Eurozone Crisis May Hinder Durban Climate Talks; EPA to be GOP target in 2012"
Other stories below: Africa’s Nile at Risk from Climate Change
Ahead of the Durban climate change talks beginning Nov 28, experts are worried that Eurozone crisis may curtail the billions of dollars of funding from industrialised countries to their poorer counterparts to adapt to climate change.
Money is expected to be a bone of contention between developing and developed countries at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties 17 (COP 17) Nov 28-Dec 9.
With financial crisis deepening in Europe — spreading from Greece to Italy — and the US economy also going through a troubled phase, the money pledged by developed countries is nowhere to be seen.
“The financial crisis in Europe will definitely affect the flow of money promised by the rich countries and this is going to be a big fight in Durban,” Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of the Centre for Science and Environment, told IANS.
According to Bhushan, with the troubled financial scenario in the West, developing countries can forget about any money coming their way, at least in the near future.
“Developed countries have already started re-labelling development aid and loans as climate finance, but there is no new money coming in,” he said.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged world leaders on Monday to finalize the financing for a multibillion-dollar fund to fight the effects of climate change.
Delegates at a U.N.-sponsored climate-change conference that starts Nov. 28 in Durban, South Africa, are to consider ways to raise $100 billion a year for the Green Climate Fund created last December to help countries cope with global warming.
Ban told the opening session of a climate meeting in Bangladesh’s capital that the world should make a concerted effort to finance the fund.
“Governments must find ways — now — to mobilize resources up to the $100 billion per annum pledged,” he said. “An empty shell is not sufficient.”
Representatives of about 30 nations in the Climate Vulnerable Forum are meeting for two days in Dhaka to formulate a united stand on funding for schemes to limit the damage from global warming.
Climate change is likely to lead to increased average rainfall in the world’s major river basins but weather patterns will be fickle and the timing of wet seasons may change, threatening farming and foodstocks, experts said Monday.
Furthermore, some river systems in Africa — southern Africa’s Limpopo, north Africa’s Nile and West Africa’s Volta — are set to receive less rain than they do at the moment, hitting food production and fuelling international tensions.
The outlook for rain-fed agriculture was particularly bleak in the Limpopo basin, which covers parts of Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and is home to 14 million people.
“In some parts of the Limpopo even widespread adoption of innovations like drip irrigation may not be enough to overcome the negative effects of climate change on water availability,” said Simon Cook of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.
Asia-Pacific nations pledged to establish a list of so-called green goods that will be subject to a maximum 5 percent tariff and agreed to reduce energy intensity to help overcome economic and environmental challenges in the region.
Leaders vowed to accelerate “the transition toward a global low-carbon economy in a way that enhances energy security and creates new sources of economic growth and employment,” according to a joint statement after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu. The 21-member forum set a target to reduce energy intensity by 45 percent by 2035.
APEC leaders also vowed new measures to open markets and enhance regional trade, laying out plans to exempt low-value exports from customs duties and free up air-cargo services to boost trade. President Barack Obama used his role as summit host to underscore his administration’s pivot toward Asia, a region experiencing rising commercial importance as China’s economic power increases.
Pang Sen, a deputy director-general at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called the energy intensity target “aspirational.”
Royal Dutch Shell PLC says one of its pipelines running through Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta has spilled crude oil in the region, causing unknown damage.
Shell issued a statement Sunday saying the spill on its subsidiary Adibawa pipeline was discovered on Saturday. Shell said it had sent out a team which had stopped the leak and was now looking at the damage and trying to clean up the spill.
Shell said the pipeline was part of its Okordia-Rumuekpe line that runs through Bayelsa state. A fire struck that line earlier this month, as Shell says spills come from oil thefts the majority of the time.
The Environmental Protection Agency is likely to play an unusually prominent role in the 2012 presidential election, reflecting ongoing partisan debate in Congress over the ties between environmental regulations and jobs.
“What we’re going to see in this cycle is a lot of bitterness. … It’s going to be more partisan than it’s ever been,” said GOP environmental strategist Chelsea Maxwell. “So the energy and environment issues will definitely creep into that.”
It goes against conventional campaign wisdom — environmental issues rarely play a large role in shifting the electorate.
But this year, the conversation has taken a new turn. The message of nearly all campaigns nationwide is jobs with a capital “J.” Republicans have spent lots of time and effort targeting the “job-killing EPA” for a landslide of regulations that they say hurt businesses and the American economy with dubious returns on health.