Category Archives: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The U.S. is trying to get out of paying climate damages to poor countries

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

A blog by Emily Atkin at Heated World

Activists say the Paris agreement will be “on the verge of collapse” if rich countries don’t commit to paying poor countries for devastating climate-related losses.


This is what climate activist Greta Thunberg said . . .

After a three week catamaran journey  across the Atlantic Ocean—and a train ride from Portugal—famed youth climate activist Greta Thunberg arrived in Madrid, Spain on Friday for the United Nations climate change conference known as COP25: the last time nations will come together before the Paris climate agreement is officially implemented in 2020.

Thunberg’s immediate message was one of frustration and urgency.

“We have been striking for over a year, and basically nothing has happened,” she told activists shortly after her arrival, and shortly before leading a march of 500,000 people  through Madrid. “The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power, and we cannot go on like this.”

There are people who will take Thunberg’s statement as a knock on her own activist movement. But those people willingly misinterpret her intention. Clearly, Thunberg is not saying that the climate strikes haven’t changed public opinion and understanding about climate change.

She’s saying that, despite a sea change in public opinion and understanding about the climate crisis, no one with any true power to change the global emissions trajectory has yet done anything about it. She’s saying that no one with any true power at the U.N. climate talks seems to understand the urgency of this crisis.

And she’s right. As an example, just look at what the United States is doing at COP25.

A proposal to avoid paying for climate impacts on the vulnerable

Last night, a source at the U.N. climate talks sent HEATED a photograph of a proposal being floated by the Trump administration’s diplomatic team. The proposal surrounds the problem of “loss and damage,” which refers to the “unavoidable and irreversible impacts of climate change, where mitigation has failed, and adaptation is not possible.”

I’m not sharing the photograph directly because it contains identifying information about the person who shared it, which would put that person’s job at risk. But here’s what the U.S. proposal on loss and damage says—and fair warning, to anyone who isn’t intricately involved with international climate politics, it reads like complete gibberish:

The decision package from the WIM to serve the COP in addition to the CMA could have the following components:

1. Serves both the CMA and COP as a single-consulted body with a single agenda, in accordance with past COP decisions/Paris Agreement

2. The agreement in paragraph 51 of 1/CP.21 on liability and compensation apples to work of the WIM serving the CMA and the COP

3. All Parties to the Convention (including those that are not Parties to Paris) and eligible to serve on the Excom

4. Annual report by the Excom to the COP and CMA considered jointly by the SBI and SBSTA in a single joint contact group


Fortunately, Harjeet Singh helped translate the document into real person words. Singh is the global lead on climate change for ActionAid, and has been following the U.N. negotiations about how to deal with climate loss and damage for a decade.

With this proposal, Singh said, “The U.S. is now attempting to add further protections for itself and fossil fuel companies against liability claims into the complex web of international climate legislation.”

And if this proposal is adopted at COP25 this week, Singh said, “the countries least responsible for the crisis, but are suffering the most, could stand even less chance of receiving financial support to recover from the devastating impacts of increasingly frequent and severe droughts, flooding and sea level rise.”

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Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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How in the world is that what the proposal says?

The U.S. proposal surrounds the WIM—that is, the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. This mechanism was established by the U.N. in 2013, so that rich countries that are most responsible for the climate crisis could help financially support poorer countries already experiencing climate disasters, since those countries hold far less responsibility for the crisis.

The WIM sounds pretty cool, but there’s always been a problem with it. The WIM has never had a finance mechanism —meaning, there’s been no way for rich countries like the U.S. to actually pay into it, because it doesn’t say how much countries like the U.S. should compensate countries for the impacts of global warming.

So that’s one thing countries are trying to figure out at the U.N. climate talks this week: How to fix the WIM so that the most vulnerable people on the planet don’t have to pay for billions—or more likely, trillions—in climate damages they didn’t cause.

The U.S.’s proposal, however, doesn’t attempt to add a financing mechanism to the WIM. Instead, Singh said, “The U.S. is using the opportunity to make changes to the way the WIM is governed, to cover its own back and keep developing countries hit by climate disasters mired in debt and poverty.”

This is making climate justice activists—not to mention people from actual developing countries—very mad.

At a press conference at the U.N. on Monday morning, Singh didn’t cite the U.S. proposal explicitly, but warned that wealthy countries were trying to get out of creating a financing mechanism for the WIM, and therefore avoid the obligation for paying poor countries for the damage they caused.

“If rich countries do not allow this architecture to be created … the Paris agreement is on the verge of collapse before it properly begins next year,” he said.

An unsurprising development

It’s not particularly surprising that the United States government would try to avoid financial responsibility for other countries’ climate damages—nor is the attempt unique to the Trump administration, said Taylor Billings, the press secretary for Corporate Accountability, a group that launches global campaigns on holding fossil fuel companies and other corporations accountable for climate change.

“The U.S. is always trying to get out of its historical responsibility for climate change,” she said.

Indeed, as the New York Times reported last year, industrialized nations including the U.S. have routinely failed on their promises to help poor countries deal with devastating climate effects.

In 2009, they pledged to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 for that purpose. But that money “has been slow to materialize,” the Times reported, “with only $3.5 billion actually committed  out of $10.3 billion pledged to a prominent United Nations program  called the Green Climate Fund.” Both Obama and Trump failed to fulfill pledges, the Times reported—though Trump has been much worse. Not only is he attempting to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement; last year, he straight-up canceled $2 billion in promised climate aid to poor countries.

With this new proposal, Billings said, “The U.S. is trying to torch the Paris agreement on its way out.” Justice for poor and developing nations “is the core of what the Paris agreement should do,” she said. “If the U.S. gets its way, that won’t happen.”

The week ahead

Whether the U.S. proposal on loss and damage will be adopted is anyone’s guess. Obviously, it’s in developed countries’ interest to avoid creating a financing mechanism for the WIM—but developing countries will depend on that mechanism for their survival. Meetings on proposals like this tend to be closed to press, so the outcome will likely depend on whether representatives from developing countries push back strongly enough.

Meanwhile, activists like Thunberg are trying to direct some media attention away from themselves and toward those countries currently experiencing unjust loss and damage from the climate crisis.

“We have noticed there is some media attention,” Thunberg said at a press conference at the U.N. this morning. “And we thought it is our moral duty to use that media attention .. .to lend our voices to those who need to tell their stories.

We are privileged, and our stories have been told many times over and over again. It is not our stories that need to be told and listened to.

It is the others, especially from the Global South and Indigenous communities who need to tell their stories. Because the climate emergency is not just something that will impact us in the future. It is not something that will have an impact on children living today when they grow up. It is already affecting countless people today. People are suffering and dying from it today.

So that’s why we’ve created this event, to hope it will be some kind of platform to share the stories that need to be shared.

Six justice activists shared their stories at the press conference. You can listen to them all by clicking HERE.

We’ll have more on their stories this week, along with the promised investigation into fossil fuel advertising in news media. Stay tuned—and don’t forget to subscribe!

Nepal urges concrete plans to tackle climate emergency

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An article by Lok Raj Joshi based on articles in The Himayan Times, The Kathmandu Post , the UN climate Summit and the United Nations Climate Change website.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Conference of Parties, COP-25) is in progress in Madrid, Spain. The event started on December 2 and will conclude on December 13. Heads of state/governments and environment ministers from 197 countries as well as representatives of various organizations working in the climate change sector are participating. The conference aims to negotiate plans to limit global warming in line with the Paris Agreement. Under the Paris Agreement, governments had agreed to update their climate plans by 2020.


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However, it has been reported that a little (not much) progress has been made till now in COP-25 on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement that calls for minimizing unfair carbon markets. It needs to be noted that carbon emission is the prime cause of global warming. It has also been reported that responsible parties are far from finding compromise positions on mobilizing finance and support for loss and damage. This has drawn huge attention from the victims of global warming, climate scientists, social justice protesters and people around the globe. An estimated 500,000 people, led by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg marched through Madrid on Friday night. One million people marched in Santiago, Chile.

A government team from Nepal led by the Minister for Forests and Environment, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, is taking part in COP-25. He is scheduled to address the special session of COP-25 on Wednesday. Nepal is going to propose formulating a plan for coping with the adverse conditions resulting from global warming. Nepal is also lobbying for the Green Climate Fund. Highly affected countries like Nepal are entitled to receive it as compensation from the responsible countries that are releasing large quantity of carbon into the atmosphere.

Although Nepal has not been able to raise the issue of global warming strongly in the international forums, Nepal is serious about the disasters caused by it. Scientific evidence clearly shows that Nepal is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the planet and it is already facing the disasters of the man-made global warming. The latest landmark study in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region, which covers 3,500 kilometres across Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan, has projected an alarming future for economically and geographically challenged developing countries like Nepal. The study by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has concluded that the region would lose one-third of the region’s glaciers by the end of the century.

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Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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Considering the geographical and economic characteristics of Nepal, climate change is an urgent matter for Nepalese people. First, its northern region is comprised of the snow-covered Himalaya mountains including the top of the earth Sagarmatha (internationally famous as The Mount Everest) and the south is the Terai (plain area). The middle hilly region is mostly dependent on water flowing from the Himalayas and the crops from the Terai. The Terai itself depends on water from the north and supplies food to the rest of the nation. This relationship makes the adverse effects of global warming even more complex, more intense and more widespread creating a vicious cycle of disasters in Nepal. Second, agriculture and tourism based on natural beauties including the Himalayas, rivers, glaciers, lakes, jungles and wild animals are the major sources of income for Nepal. Hydroelectricity is the most potential area that is expected to contribute to realization of the Nepalese dream of prosperity. Unfortunately, these all have been the first targets of global warming.

For us, the Nepalese people, it is unfortunate to see the reluctance of the responsible parties to accept the scientific conclusions regarding global warming and to internalize the gravity of the adversities caused by it. Its serious adverse effects which are unpredictable at the same time, have threatened the livelihood of the Nepalese people. In the most recent instance of extreme weather events in the country, incessant heavy rainfalls, floods and landslides claimed more than five dozen lives in various parts of the country. 


The Prime Minister of Nepal, KP Oli has said, “The country is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change although our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is negligible. Rising temperature, retreating glaciers, erratic rainfall and extreme weather events are causing damages to our people and economy. The climate is becoming more vulnerable and unpredictable. We received a delayed monsoon. We also had first tornado in our recorded history. As a result of rapid industrialization, the adverse impact of climate change is also increasing. Some countries are well prepared to deal with them, but countries like Nepal are most vulnerable. I urge scientists to consider small mountainous and small-island nations while preparing the report.” This is what Prime Minister Oli said addressing the Second Lead Authors Meeting of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC Working Group (II) held in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, in July this year.

More than 260 climate scientists from more than 60 countries and bureau members IPCC had gathered to discuss the pressing issue. As an intergovernmental body of the United Nations, the IPCC provides scientific evidence of climate change; its impact on various sectors. It also informs about the natural, political and economic impacts of global warming along with possible solutions. “Meeting here in Kathmandu reminds us in a very direct way of the strong interdependence of human and natural systems, and how both are threatened by climate change. Key aspects of our report and reasons to act on climate change are very evident here,” said Working Group II Co-Chair Debra Roberts.

From the global viewpoint, no country in the world is going to benefit from global warming in the long run. Therefore, it is in the best interest of all people around the world to tackle this issue wisely and timely. No development can be called a real development when it does not care about the future of humanity and the home planet. Also, it is not only a pure environmental issue; it is a case of social injustice too. Innocent people are facing the dreadful consequences of irresponsible activities by others. It is high time that all environmental scientists, youths, civil societies, political leaders and all responsible citizens around the world raise their voice to make all the concerned parties realize the gravity of the issue and take appropriate actions without any delay.

Catholic church denounces ‘attacks’ on Amazon people and forest

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An article by Chloé Farand from Climate Change News

The Catholic church in the Amazon has denounced attacks on the environment and the life of indigenous people — setting out on a collision course with Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro.

Catholic bishops from the Amazon region committed to a more active role in the world’s most important forest following three weeks of discussions at the first Amazon synod in Rome.


Pope Francis with indigenous representatives in Rome for the first Amazon synod. (Photo: Amazon Synod of Bishops)

In a statement  concluding the synod on Saturday, they called on countries to stop considering the forest as “an inexhaustible pantry” and to end large scale extractive activities such as mining and forest extraction, large infrastructure projects and the promotion of monoculture and extensive livestock farming.

Bishops agreed that “one of the main causes of destruction in the Amazon is predatory extractivism that responds to the logic of greed,” which they said had been “at the root of conflicts” in the region.

“In this way,” the statement said, “the church undertakes to be an ally of the Amazonian people to denounce the attacks on the life of the indigenous communities, the projects that affect the environment, the lack of demarcation of their territories, as well as the economic model of predatory and ecocidal development.”

The synod, which was called by Pope Francis in 2017, was the result of a two-year consultation process by the Catholic church across the Amazon basin, asking more than 80,000 people how the church should engage in the region.

Bishops agreed the need for an alternative development plan for the Amazon, focused on indigenous rights and environmental protection – in stark opposition to Brazilian president Bolsonaro’s own plan for the forest.

The Amazon basin is located across nine countries but about 60% of the forest cover is contained within Brazil’s borders, the country with the largest Catholic population in the world.

Bolsonaro was elected on a campaign pledge to open-up the Amazon for mining and developments. Although land disputes across the Amazon are not new, his rhetoric against indigenous people has emboldened land-grabbers, loggers and miners to encroach indigenous territories, leading to violence and murders.

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Question for this article

Indigenous peoples, Are they the true guardians of nature?

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spike in deforestation  and the degradation of the world’s largest tropical rainforest has also sparked serious concerns the Amazon is releasing more carbon than it is absorbing. Indigenous communities have been widely recognised as the most effective guardians against the destruction of the forest [See Brazil’s indigenous tribes protest Bolsonaro assimilation plan].

Under the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous people, indigenous communities have a right to “own, use, develop and control” their lands and states must “give legal recognition and protection to these lands”.

Across the Amazon region, these rights have come under growing pressure from farming and extracting industries, something the synod described as “scandalous”.

In Brazil, the constitution entrenches indigenous land rights in law but Bolsonaro is expected to announce a raft of draft measures  to revise indigenous demarcations in favour of the agribusiness industry.

Paulo Moutinho, a co-founder and senior scientist at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), told Climate Home News the synod’s proposals had “potential to create a conflict between the church and the Brazilian government administration” but also the “potential to reach a great audience” given the church’s presence across the region.

“If the Bolsonaro administration will listen to what the church is saying, that is another story,” he said.

Under the church’s plan, a development model would be established in partnership with Amazon communities and scientific institutions to support “sustainable economy, circular and ecological” projects, such as bio-production cooperatives and sustainable forest reserves.

Reverend Augusto Zampini, director of development and faith at the Vatican who was involved in the organisation of the synod, told Climate Home News the meeting was focused on concrete actions the church could take “to respond to the destruction of the biological heart of the planet and its people”.

“There is no way you can respond by doing the same thing that we have been doing for ages,” he said, citing the need for cross-border structures across the region. “We have to change and we want the world to change as well.”

Proposed changes also include the ordination of married men as priests and to re-open the debate on ordaining women as deacons to address the scarcity of clergy in the region.

For the church to become “an ally” of the indigenous people also means that it has to take into account “their own knowledge and their own wisdom,” Zampini said. “We want a model that creates value for the land, for the people and for the economy.”
While he acknowledged the move was in direct contradiction with Bolsonaro’s policies, he insisted the church was “not against anybody nor against the right of nations to decide what they want for their countries”.

“Countries have the right to develop themselves but they don’t have the right to destroy their own people. There are laws in Brazil that need to be respected,” he added. “If we don’t save the Amazon, we won’t save the planet.”

In a major win for the environment, world’s largest bank says goodbye to fossil fuel financing

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An article from Nation of Change

Environmentalists have a reason to celebrate this week. The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced on Thursday that it will phase out its financing completely for fossil fuels within the next two years.


A power station in Poland. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The bank’s decision to end all financing of oil, gas, and coal projects after 2021 will make it the first multilateral lender to rule out financing for projects that contribute to the climate crisis.

EIB’s board voted on the decision on Thursday. They hope that this step will make EIB, which is the world’s largest multilateral financial institution, the world’s first “climate bank.”

“Climate is the top issue on the political agenda of our time,” said the bank’s president, Werner Hoyer. “We will stop financing fossil fuels and launch the most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere.”

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Question for this article:

Divestment: is it an effective tool to promote sustainable development?

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EIB’s vice president, Andrew McDowell, went even further, calling this step “an important first step – not the last step, but probably one of the most difficult.”

Environmentalists are praising the bank’s decision. Bill McKibben of 250.org called it a “truly amazing win” and Friends of the Earth Europe said  the decision is a “significant victory for the climate movement.”

The decision is part of the bank’s new energy lending policy, passed with overwhelming support, and doesn’t outright ban fossil fuel projects but makes most of them impossible by instilling the following guidelines:

“Energy projects applying for EIB funding will need to show they can produce one-kilowatt hour of energy while emitting less than 250 grams of carbon dioxide, a move which bans traditional gas-burning power plants.”

According to Reuters, “Gas projects are still possible, but would have to be based on what the bank called “new technologies,” such as carbon capture and storage, combining heat and power generation or mixing in renewable gases with the fossil natural gas.”

Although the announcement is a year later than climate activists were hoping for, it calls for limited approval for projects already under appraisal by the bank. This could cause massive problems for the oil and gas industry, which according to The Guardian  has more than $200 billion in liquified natural gas projects planned over the next five years.

Regardless of the timing, the blow to fossil fuel industries is sure to be massive. Environmental groups have estimated that between 2013 and 2018 EIB handed out €6.2m every day to fossil fuel companies.

In the words of 350 Action Germany campaigned Kate Cahoon, this is “the beginning of the end of climate-wrecking fossil fuel finance.”

December Climate Strikes: Getting Started

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An article from The Sunrise Movement

On December 6th, young people across America will join a national #ClimateStrike to take the September strike’s momentum to our elected officials’ doorsteps.

When we striked in September, many politicians shared nice words of encouragement. But we need more than just kind words–we need clear commitments to action.

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Question for this article:

The youth climate strikes: Are they effective?

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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Getting ready to organize a Dec 6 strike in your town is easy as 1, 2, 3:

Step 1: Register for this call!

Step 2: Find 3 friends who are excited to strike and down to watch the call with you!

Step 3: Watch the call together in one place — and have everyone bring a phone or laptop!

On the call, you’ll get to learn from people who organized Sept 20th strikes, and you’ll leave with a concrete plan to strike for a Green New Deal in your community!

REGISTER FOR THE CALL HERE!

A Worldwide Revolution Is Underway

…. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ….

An article from Democracy Now (The original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.)

Puerto Rico. Hong Kong. Ecuador. Haiti. Lebanon. Iraq. And now, Chile. People are rising up around the world against austerity and corruption, defying police forces unleashed to suppress them. Many of these mass movements share a fierce critique of capitalism. In Santiago, Chile, more than 1 million people flooded the streets last weekend, and mass protests continue. There, the brutal Pinochet dictatorship from 1973-1990, during which thousands of progressive activists and leaders were tortured, disappeared and murdered, was followed by decades of neoliberal policies, with rampant privatization, union busting, stagnant wages and increased costs for education, health care, transportation and other services. Chile, among the richest countries in South America, is also one of the most unequal. At least 20 people have been killed during recent protests there, further angering and emboldening the crowds. 

These global protests also occur at a critical inflection point in history, with as few as 10 years remaining for humanity to transition from a fossil fuel economy to one powered by renewable energy. On Wednesday, Chile’s embattled, billionaire president, Sebastian Pinera, abruptly announced that his country was cancelling plans to host two major international summits, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in mid-November, and the United Nations climate summit, the 25th “Conference of the Parties,” or COP25, in the first two weeks of December.

Carolina Schmidt, Chile’s COP25 president-designate, said, “The citizens have expressed in a strong way their legitimate social demands that require the full attention and all efforts from the government.”

Chile’s cancellation of the COP could be a setback for global action on climate. But climate activists should take heart: This renewed spirit of rebellion around the world signifies a rejection of the status quo, and could portend accelerated, grassroots mobilization to avert irreversible, catastrophic climate change.

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Questions related to this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

How effective are mass protest marches?

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“Social injustice and the climate crisis have a common root cause,” the Climate Action Network said in a release not long after Chile’s COP cancellation. “Climate justice and solidarity is fundamentally about the protection of human rights and a better quality of life for all.”

The climate crisis touches everyone, first and most forcefully the world’s poor. The mass uprising in Puerto Rico that forced the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rossello was the culmination of decades of frustration with Puerto Rico’s colonial status and the more current exploitation by Wall Street vulture funds. But the discontent was fueled by the utter devastation of the back-to-back hurricanes Irma and Maria two years ago. “The austerity policies that have been implemented have put the people of Puerto Rico in a position of vulnerability. Social inequality has increased to levels that we have never seen here,” Manuel Natal, a member of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, said on the “Democracy Now!” news hour days before Rossello’s resignation. “We need more democracy, not less democracy. We are on the brink of a political revolution here.” Rossello’s ouster was the first time in U.S. history that a governor was forced from office by popular protest.

Indigenous people are also leading the way, often at the front lines, confronting resource extraction with disciplined, nonviolent resistance. Hundreds of indigenous and campesino social leaders in Colombia have been murdered in recent years, simply for standing up for justice and environmental protections.

The Paris climate agreement specifically notes the importance of climate justice, and pledges to work “in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.” One of the enduring conflicts that has hampered international climate negotiations has been the refusal by wealthy nations, principally the United States, to accept the simple premise that “polluters pay.” The United States is the wealthiest nation in human history because, in part, it has polluted its way to the top, using cheap, dirty power: coal-fired power plants, diesel locomotives and now, so-called clean-burning fracked gas.

The Green Climate Fund was supposed to raise billions of dollars to finance renewable projects in poorer countries. The fund’s pledging conference last week fell short of its goal, primarily because the Trump administration reneged on the U.S.’s $2 billion commitment. Australia and Russia followed suit, refusing to make contributions.

A new study by Climate Central, a news and science organization, shows that climate-induced coastal flooding will likely be far worse than previously predicted, forcing between 200-600 million people, rich and poor, to flee their homes later in the century. Climate change-fueled wildfires are now raging across California, with hundreds of thousands of people evacuated from their homes and at least 1 million people without power.

Popular uprisings are also spreading like wildfire, though, against corrupt autocratic leaders, austerity and inequality. People are also flooding the streets, globally, linking the movements against inequality with the fight for a just, sustainable world powered by renewable energy.

Moroccan Researcher Karima El Azhary Wins International Sustainable Development Award

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An article from Morocco World News

Moroccan researcher Karima El Azhary won the 2019 Green Talents Award for her research in energy efficiency. The award ceremony took place on October 24, in Berlin. The ceremony saw 25 researchers from different countries earn awards.

The Green Talents Award aims to reward people with “high potential in sustainable development” from all over the world. The award is an initiative by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the award.

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Question for this article:

How can we ensure that science contributes to peace and sustainable development?

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This year, 837 applicants from 97 different countries applied for the award. The jury, composed of expert scientists in sustainable development, selected 25 young researchers for the prize.

El Azhary is a PhD researcher at the Mohammadia School of Engineers in Rabat. She directed her research towards developing new sustainable construction and insulation materials, based on alimentary and agricultural waste. The aim of her work is improving thermal insulation and energy efficiency of buildings, mainly in underprivileged areas.

The award’s jury appreciated El Azhary’s “great commitment that allows an innovative and inspired research approach to relevant sustainability issues such as energy efficiency.”

They also recognized her volunteer activities as “she is part of international and national youth associations, which aims to encourage and help young people to invest in social entrepreneurship and sustainable projects.”

Following her recognition, the Moroccan researcher told the press that she is “honored and proud” of receiving the award. She also took the opportunity to praise her colleagues; “This award confirms the high competency of Moroccan researchers in all fields.”

The award would allow El Azhary to benefit from the German experience in sustainability science, innovation, and technology. It would also allow her to search for possibilities of cooperation with German universities and institutes in the field.

Representatives from the Moroccan embassy in Germany attended the award ceremony, along with presidents and leaders of international scientific research centers.

International Day of Peace: PAYNCoP Gabon helps protect the environment

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from Jerry Bibang

As part of the celebration of the International Day of Peace, celebrated this year under the theme: “Climate Action, Action for Peace”, the National Coordination of the Panafrican Youth Network for the Culture of Peace (PAYNCoP GABON) took part last Friday, September 20th, in the plastic waste collection operation, organized by the United Nations system in Gabon.


Bautrin Ekouma, PAYNCoP National Coordinator Gabon and other volunteers during the activity

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( Click here for the French version of this article.)

Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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Indeed, aware that the global climate emergency threatens the security and stability of peoples around the world, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guteres, invited the “citizens of the world” to take measures and take concrete action to protect the environment. Following this call, PAYNCoP Gabon joined the United Nations system for a plastic bottle collection operation.

Led by Mr. Keita Ohashi, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Gabon (UNFPA), the volunteers crisscrossed the crossroads “behind the prison” through “the three quarters” up to the beach of the National High School Léon Mba. Approximately, more than 2000 plastic bottles have been collected and will be handed over to a young entrepreneur for recycling.

In his words of circumstance, Mr. Francis James, the UNDP Resident Coordinator Gabon encouraged young people to take ownership of climate change issues because it is the future of youth that is threatened.

This operation also registered the participation of other associations including the Citizens Movement for Good Governance in Gabon (MCB2G), the alliance for climate justice, Gabon section (PACJA GABON), Youth Students for Peace (YSP), the Federation for Universal Peace (UPF), PlasMandji and many others

Global climate strike: When, where and how you can join and take action

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An article by Jackson Ryan from CNET

On Sept. 20, students and adults will rally across the globe, demanding immediate action on climate change. Here’s where you can join them.


Greta Thunberg leads the Fridays for Future Rally.
Ernesto Rucio/Getty

The planet is in a pretty bad way. The Arctic has been burning and fires still rage in the Amazon rainforest. Iceland recently held a funeral for a 700-year-old glacier killed by climate change. One million species are threatened with extinction and some have already been lost. We are living through a crisis — and the kids are absolutely not alright with where our planet is headed. Over the coming week, students and adults will join together in global strikes to demand action on climate change.

If you want to know the what, when and where of the September Global Climate Strikes, we have you covered.

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Question for this article:
Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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What is the Climate Strike?

When Greta Thunberg, a Swedish school student, sat in front of the Swedish parliament building with her hand-painted “Skolstrejk för klimatet” sign, she kick-started a worldwide movement. It wasn’t the first time school kids had walked out of school to demand change, but Thunberg’s one-person strike on the steps of parliament drew global attention. On Fridays leading up to the 2018 Swedish election, she’d miss class to protest, sign in hand.

Thunberg has become the face of the new movement, inspiring students across the world to leave school and demand action on climate change. In March, students took to the streets in over 2,000 cities asking adults to take responsibility for the climate crisis. Smaller strikes occurred in May, June and August.

The next series of strikes are set to be the biggest yet and will see students and adults walk out of their schools and workplaces to “demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.”

When is the Climate Strike?

The upcoming strikes will take place on two successive Fridays designed to coincide with an emergency climate action summit being held at the United Nations in New York beginning on Sept. 23.

On Sept. 20 and Sept. 27, thousands of climate strikes will take place in cities across the world. Thunberg herself will be attending the climate strike in New York City on Sept. 20, but no matter where you are across the world, a climate strike is likely within your vicinity.

Where can I join a strike?

A massive number of strikes are registered on the Global Climate Strike website, so that’s a great place to start if you’re seeking a nearby climate strike to attend.    

Kazakh capital to host 2019 UNWTO Urban Tourism Global Summit on SDGs

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from The Astana Times

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Nur-Sultan Akimat (city administration) will organise the eighth UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism under the Smart Cities, Smart Destinations theme in the Kazakh capital Oct. 9-12. The summit will contribute to the UN New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The summit will bring together representatives from national tourism administrations, city authorities and related stakeholders to exchange expertise and set a shared vision to advance urban tourism. Participants will discuss sustainability, accessibility, innovations and inclusion of tourism in the urban agenda contributing to the progress of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The gathering will focus specifically on Goal 11, which is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

“According to the UN, in 2015, 54 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas and, by 2030, this share is expected to reach 60 percent. Along with other key pillars, tourism constitutes a central component in the economy, social life and the geography of many cities in the world and is, thus, a key element in urban development policies… Tourism is intrinsically linked to how a city develops itself and provides more and better living conditions to its residents and visitors,” reported the summit’s website emphasising the importance of the chosen topic.

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Question related to this article:

How can tourism promote a culture of peace?

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The summit will focus on how developing smart cities can address urban challenges. The participants will discuss sustainability, accessibility, urban management, innovation and technology, stressing the importance of including tourism in the wider city agenda as a contributor to inclusive, resilient and sustainable urban development.

During the summit’s first day, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) will give a masterclass on trends in the convention industry, focusing on topics such as how to be a successful destination for meetings and organise sustainable meetings.

The second day will start with an opening ceremony including Nur-Sultan Akim (Mayor) Altai Kulginov, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and other higher officials. The participants will adopt the Smart Cities, Smart Destinations Declaration. This will be followed by the mayors’ meeting, where “mayors from around the world will share insights on how to translate a smart city into a smart destination,” and other panel sessions and on the topic.

The summit’s last day will be dedicated to innovative and technological solutions in tourism, the role of public and private partnerships in technologies to develop the sphere and urban destinations’ accessibility through “increased awareness of the opportunities it brings and the emergence of new innovative solutions.”

The decision to have the event in Nur-Sultan was made at the seventh UNWTO Global Summit in Seoul last year. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and the then Nur-Sultan Akim (Mayor) Bakhyt Sultanov signed April 5 an agreement at the UNWTO Mayors Forum for Sustainable Urban Tourism in Lisbon, where the akim presented information about Nur-Sultan’s infrastructure.

The UNWTO is responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism around the world. It promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to advance knowledge and tourism policies worldwide. The organisation has 158 member countries, six associate members and more than 500 affiliate members.

The UNWTO Global Summit is designed to encourage new approaches to tourism and its impact on urban destinations. Previously, the event took place in Seoul (2018), Kuala Lumpur (2017), Luxor (2016), Marrakesh (2015), Barcelona (2014), Moscow (2013) and Istanbul (2012).