planet CLIMATE CHANGE Copenhagen: seal the deal BAN KI-MOON THE SKY IS THE LIMIT LARS LØKKE RASMUSSEN Taking Responsibility and Taking Action - PDF

our planet The magazine of the United Nations Environment Programme - December 2009 BAN KI-MOON THE SKY IS THE LIMIT LARS LØKKE RASMUSSEN Deadline Copenhagen Bharrat Jagdeo A convenient truth MOHAMED NASHEED

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our planet The magazine of the United Nations Environment Programme - December 2009 BAN KI-MOON THE SKY IS THE LIMIT LARS LØKKE RASMUSSEN Deadline Copenhagen Bharrat Jagdeo A convenient truth MOHAMED NASHEED CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER GORDON BROWN ENGINE OF GROWTH HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON Taking Responsibility and Taking Action CLIMATE CHANGE Copenhagen: seal the deal Our Planet, the magazine of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) PO Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya Tel: (254 20) Fax: (254 20) To view current and past issues of this publication online, please visit ISSN Director of Publication : Satinder Bindra Editor : Geoffrey Lean Coordinator : Geoff Thompson Special Contributor : Nick Nuttall Editorial Assistant : Wambui Munge Distribution Manager : Manyahleshal Kebede Design : Amina Darani Produced by : UNEP Division of Communications and Public Information Printed by : Progress Press Distributed by : SMI Books The contents of this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of UNEP or the editors, nor are they an official record. The designations employed and the presentation do not imply the expressions of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNEP concerning the legal status of any country, territory or city or its authority or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. * All dollar ($) amounts refer to US dollars. Cover Photo: Atlantide Phototravel/Corbis 2 UNEP promotes environmentally sound practices globally and in its own activities. This magazine is printed on 100% recycled paper, using vegetable-based inks and other eco-friendly practices. Our distribution policy aims to reduce UNEP s carbon footprint. Ban Ki-Moon : The sky is the limit Describes the opportunities, as well as the threats, posed by climate change. page 6 LARS LØKKE RASMUSSEN : Deadline Copenhagen Addresses the global challenge of climate change and our common response. page 8 BHARRAT JAGDEO : A convenient truth Explains how leaving forests standing combats climate change, and calls for a new global commitment to facilitate this. page 10 MOHAMED NASHEED : Clear and present danger Describes how the Maldives is threatened by climate change and how it aims to be the world s first carbon-neutral country. page 12 GORDON BROWN : Engine of growth Explains how moving to a low-carbon economy will bring huge economic benefits while combating climate change. page 16 also books reflections people verbatim and numbers products awards and events www star page 4 page 5 page 14 page 19 page 22 page 26 page 33 PAGE 34 HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON : Taking responsibility and taking action Describes the United States commitment to combating climate change. YVO DE BOER : Decisive moment Sets out the requirements for success in Copenhagen. page 23 page 20 TASNEEM ESSOP : Remember the grass roots Describes how poverty and the climate crisis are two sides of the same coin. page 27 DURWOOD ZAELKE : The fast, forgotten half Explains how fast-action strategies to reduce non-co2 causes of climate change could delay warming by up to 40 years. page 30 3 books Environmental Assessment of the Gaza Strip Following the Escalation of Hostilities in December 2008 This report presents the initial action undertaken by UNEP immediately following the cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip in January 2009, and summarizes the scientific findings of the complex assessment process carried out by UNEP during the spring and early summer of Recommendations are provided for the remediation of environmental damage caused by the recent escalation of hostilities, as well as for longer-term improvement of the environment in the Gaza Strip. Towards Sustainable Production and Use of Resources: Assessing Biofuels The use of biofuels is a widely debated field with uncertainty about their risks and benefits. This report provides a thorough review of biofuels, based on research of recent publications and the involvement of many experts worldwide. Focusing on first generation biofuels, it provides policy-related information on the environmental and social costs and benefits of biofuels, considering all competing applications of biomass, including food, fibres and fuels. It examines both the concerns of critical developments, and describes the options for a more sustainable use of biomass and measures to increase resource productivity. An Assessment of Assessments: Findings of the Group of Experts The Assessment of Assessments is a start-up phase towards a Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment. It stems from an agreement by governments at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development to address the issue of significant gaps in our understanding and management of the vital but complex processes at work in the Earth s oceans and seas. This report is a recommendation to the UN General Assembly on a course of action on the Regular Process. It calls for a mechanism that builds on existing global, regional and national institutions and processes while integrating all available information, including socioeconomic data, on how our seas and oceans are actually being used. Blue Carbon: The Role of Healthy Oceans in Binding Carbon This is a Rapid Response Report that puts some hard figures on the carbon-capturing potential of marine ecosystems such as mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses and on the impact of marine degradation on climate change. For example, it estimates that theses ecosystems capture and store half the annual emissions of the global transport sector. It also outlines the way markets might begin paying developing countries for conserving and enhancing the marine environment s carbon capture and storage services, and the links between healthy oceans and adaptation to climate change. Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Co-operation: Policy Guidance (OECD Publishing, 2009) This book provides essential information and advice on how to facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation into development processes. It aims to promote an understanding of the implications of climate change on development practice and the need to mainstream climate adaptation in development. The book identifies approaches for integrating climate change adaptation into development policies at all levels and offers practical ways for donors to support developing country partners to reduce their vulnerability to climate variability and climate change. Carbon Sinks and Climate Change: Forests in the Fight Against Global Warming Colin A.G. Hunt (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2009) In this book, Colin Hunt deals comprehensively with the present and future role of forests in climate change policy and practice. He provides signposts for the way ahead in climate change policy and offers practical examples of forestry s role in climate change mitigation in both developed and tropical developing countries. Topics covered include measuring carbon in plantations, biodiversity benefits, potential for biofuel production, an analysis of the complexity of forestry markets and a review of the workings of carbon markets. 4 Climate Change and Energy Insecurity: The Challenge for Peace, Security and Development Edited by Felix Dodds, Andrew Higham and Richard Sherman with a foreword by Achim Steiner (Earthscan, 2009) This book offers the most comprehensive international assessment of the challenges and solutions for tackling the global insecurity arising from climate change and the energy supply crunch. It brings together leading thinkers from academia, government and civil society to analyse global energy and security threats and challenges related to climate change. 100 Per Cent Renewable: Energy Autonomy in Action Edited By Peter Droege (Earthscan, 2009) A 100 per cent renewable world is seen by many as an impossible dream in anything but the very long term. Nonetheless, a growing number of initiatives and plans have already achieved it. This book explains the challenges and presents a roadmap towards a 100% renewable reality. It showcases a series of pioneering efforts and their champions, and the paths to their successes. It features initiatives by individuals to visions for companies, communities and entire countries showing how the schemes work economically and with available technology. have been part of that change and challenge. We have striven with UN colleagues and across such fields as science, business, energy and natural resource management to illuminate the wealth of options and choices that governments have in unleashing markets and triggering innovation. reflections Achim Steiner UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UNEP Seventeen years after the first United Nations climate treaty was signed in Rio the world is coming together again in Copenhagen to evolve its international response to a higher and more decisive level. No other gathering of governments on an environmental agreement has attracted more public attention. Billions of people around the globe will be waiting, and watching, to see what heads of state and ministers from over 190 nations finally decide. The UN climate change convention meeting has brought the world together in a way perhaps not witnessed since World War II and it has brought the UN together too. Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General has worked tirelessly to make a new, scientifically credible agreement a defining moment in human affairs. He has realized from the start that climate change represents the most extraordinary threat and disruption to security, development and human well-being. But he has also understood that it presents an inordinate opportunity to catalyse a low-carbon, resourceefficient Green Economy, able if swiftly and comprehensively addressed to meet the needs and aspirations of 6 billion people, rising to 9 billion by The mobilization of the UN system towards this end, and to securing a new agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, has been unprecedented, and UNEP and its staff The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, co-hosted by UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization, is the benchmark on the reality of rising greenhouse gas emissions. Through the UNEP Finance Initiative, insurers, banks and investors have been mobilized to foster investments that move markets towards low-carbon companies. Industry-wide collaboration has also accelerated: one example is a new global initiative to accelerate the use of energy-saving light bulbs with market leaders Osram and Phillips with funding from the Global Environment Facility. Mobilizing public opinion through initiatives such as the Billion Tree Campaign and the Seal the Deal campaign have given a voice to millions who felt unable to speak. The Global Green New Deal initiative launched last year as a way of dealing with multiple crises, including climate change has resonated in capital cities from Seoul to Beijing and from Canberra to London, Berlin and Washington. The central, but often overlooked, role of ecosystems in mitigating climate change, and assisting economies to adapt to it, has been brought centre stage. Only a few weeks ago UNEP s Blue Carbon report underlined the role coastal and marine ecosystems such as mangroves, sea grasses and salt marshes can play. A combination of reducing deforestation on land and restoring the coverage and health of these ecosystems could deliver up to 25 per cent of the emissions reductions needed to avoid dangerous climate change. And they would also improve coastal defences, fish nurseries, water purity, tourism and employment prospects in developing and developed countries alike. Climate change is not going to simply go away like waking from a bad nightmare if governments walk away from Copenhagen without a serious deal. You can stop the negotiators clocks, but you cannot stop the climate clock ticking without transformative and committed action. And the longer the world waits, the more difficult, costly and damaging climate change will become. Copenhagen represents the opportunity to plan the future in a managed and considered way. Otherwise the future will plan itself. And that may well overwhelm the coping capacities of national and global institutions, forcing societies to scramble to deal with events that are already unfolding and challenging the very foundations upon which modern civilization depends. 5 Janie Airey/Getty Images The sky is the limit Ban Ki-Moon Secretary-General of the United Nations Towards the end of September, as more than 100 Heads of State and Government gathered in New York to consider their response to climate change, nearly four million people in Kenya the home of the UN Environment Programme stood in urgent need of food aid. Across the Horn of Africa, 24 million people were dependent on food assistance. As the Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai noted at the time, insecurity and environmental mismanagement play a significant role, but climate change provides an overarching backdrop. As its impacts increase, it threatens to deliver personal tragedy and social and economic turmoil across the globe. This was the message I delivered to world leaders at UN Climate Change Summit. I told them that the world s leading scientists warn that we have less than ten years to halt the rise in global greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst-case scenarios projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I called on the leaders of the industrialized countries to take significant first 6 steps forward so that others would take bold measures of their own, and I asked leaders from developing countries to accelerate their own efforts. If we are to beat the climate challenge all countries must do more now. The consequences of failure are chilling to contemplate. Climate change threatens markets, economies and development gains. It can deplete food and water supplies, provoke conflict and migration, destabilize fragile societies and even topple governments. Hyperbole? Not to the impoverished pastoralists of northern Kenya or the increasingly beleaguered farmers of California. Not to the citizens of the Maldives, already wondering how long they will have a country, or the tens of millions of people in cities as far apart as Shanghai and New Orleans, Amsterdam and Karachi, who face inundation as seas rise. Not to the hundreds of millions of the world s poorest people who have little defence against storms, floods and droughts that each year seem to get more intense. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, climate-related disasters drove 20 million people from their homes last year, nearly four times as many as were displaced by conflicts. Such statistics demonstrate that climate change is the pre-eminent geopolitical issue of our era. It is a food crisis, a humanitarian crisis and a financial crisis rolled into one. Yet, it is also an opportunity. As realization dawns that business as usual is no longer an option, the world s best minds are working overtime to find creative solutions. Geo-engineers are looking to white roofs to cool cities and algae to absorb carbon. Entrepreneurs are racing to capitalize on the growing demand for clean and renewable A deal in Copenhagen can and must provide the policy signals needed to deliver it. It must also support adaptation, for no matter how creative and ambitious our mitigation efforts, the fact remains that we have started processes that may take decades or more to slow and reverse. energy. Policy specialists are considering the impact of energy subsidies and the potential of carbon markets. Many government stimulus packages devised in the wake of the global economic downturn feature a strong green component. Countries such as China, the United States and my own country, the Republic of Korea, have recognized that by working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions we can also boost job creation and kick-start the industries of the future. Other countries are looking at the vast potential of forests and other ecosystems to soak up carbon emissions. Scientists, entrepreneurs and policymakers around the globe are realizing that there are almost limitless possibilities to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable prosperity. Given the right incentives, a green economy is within our grasp. A deal in Copenhagen can and must provide the policy signals needed to deliver it. It must also support adaptation, for no matter how creative and ambitious our mitigation efforts, the fact remains that we have started processes that may take decades or more to slow and reverse. Climate change is upon us. It will affect the most vulnerable nations first and worst. At the September climate summit world leaders discussed a fast-track funding mechanism for adaptation, as well as a $100 billion per annum fund that would support mitigation and adaptation needs over the next decade. Instead of suffering the impacts of climate change, developing countries, such as those in East Africa, can be part of the solution. Kenya, for example, has abundant geothermal resources that can be harnessed to generate electricity that can power an electrification programme that could underpin significant progress towards its Millennium Development Goal targets. It has forested highlands that, if protected and restored, can guarantee the water supplies its cities, agriculture and tourism industry need. The story is the same elsewhere in Africa. Rwanda has substantial methane reserves and has chosen to invest heavily in green growth. The Democratic Republic of Congo is working with the World Bank to generate hydropower that could in theory supply much of Europe. Similar schemes to harness the solar energy potential of the Sahara are also under consideration. With imagination, the sky is the limit. We must harness the political will needed to overcome inertia and realize these and other transformative changes. There is only one change we should fear climate change. That is why I will keep climate change at the top of my priority list until we have an ambitious, fair and comprehensive political solution to the defining challenge of our generation. 7 Deadline Lars Løkke Rasmussen Prime Minister of Denmark Copenhagen Bruno Perousse/thebiggerpicture The call for global urgent action on climate change is loud and clear. Apathy is not an option. It is my sincere hope that the world lives up to its responsibility at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in December in Copenhagen and that the Conference will be remembered as a landmark event in our efforts to turn developments around. At COP15 we have a choice to make. The moment will be in our hands. We can either seize it or we can let it go. Whatever we choose there is no doubt that future generations will judge us on our ability to make COP15 a decisive moment of change. Panoramic Images/Getty Images 8 No individual, no community and no state can today escape the effects of climate change. Climate change knows no boundaries and is felt across the world. The recipe to be used when combating the negative consequences of climate change will have to be truly global in scale and in nature. The international community, individual countries, the private sector and civil society must all work together to fight climate change with resolve and determination. The impacts of a changing climate can be observed in many different ways, and unmitigated climate change poses grave threats to us all. If it continues at its current pace it will mean increasingly severe challenges to economic and social development processes. We can already observe more extreme, intense and unpredictable weather conditions such as severe droughts, more floods and heavy storms. Even a stabilization of temperatures at 2 C above pre-industrial temperatures will imply new weather patterns with global consequences. It is an unjust paradox but
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