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It may be up to SA to save the planet

South Africa
Pretoria News
29/06/2010
Peter Fabricius

Salvar el planeta puede depender de Sudáfrica
EU sets bar low for climate talks
It may well fall to South Africa to negotiate the legally binding climate treaty which eluded the world at the big climate conference in Copenhagen last December.

European Union climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard who chaired the huge "Cop 15" conference in Copenhagen when she was Denmark's environment minister, suggested that the world would not be ready to sign onto a treaty at Cop 16 in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of this year either.


She proposed instead that Cop 16 should aim instead at a few substantial achievements to keep the momentum of climate talks going. That would leave the negotiation of a legally-binding agreement until next year when South Africa will be president of the climate conference, she told reporters in Cape Town yesterday.

Hedegaard defended Copenhagen, saying that although it had not achieved everything that had been hoped for, it had prompted many major countries to pledge themselves to carbon emission cutting targets, including Brazil, Japan, India, Korea, Mexico, China and, of course, South Africa.


Hedegaard said one of the main goals at this time is to ensure the developed countries deliver on their pledges at Copenhagen to give $30 billion to developing countries to help them adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects.
The EU had already budgeted for one third of that figure and it was time for the others to put up money, she said. It was also possible for Cancun to agree on MRVs-mechanisms for measuring, reporting and verification of cuts in carbon emissions by countries and settling the issues surrounding credits for growing forests, which the Copenhagen conference had come close to agreeing.

Hedegaard expressed great concern that Cancun would fail, not so much because anyone really wanted it to, but because delegates would spend so much times simply repeating their old positions that they would run out of time.She said the EU was ready for an international, legally-binding treaty but it needed others to come on board.
"That will then be one of the major challenges for South Africa's presidency next year," she said, adding that Mexico would hand over to South Africa on the day the Cancun conference ended.


Hedegaard said the world needed to gain a sense of urgency about the impact of climate change to make Cancun a success.
For example she had recently visited Mali and travelled with the country's environment minister into the northern part of the country which was now desert with the occasional plant. PRETORIA NEWS

Murkowski Facing Opponent With 'Serious' Questions About Climate Science
Murkowski Frente opositor con 'grave' Preguntas sobre la ciencia del clima
There's at least one conservative man in Alaska who might be hoping Sen. Lisa Murkowski leaves the White House today as a supporter of pricing carbon dioxide.
It's not because Joe Miller is focused in fixing climate change. That's a liberal theory based on "dubious science," he says, "at best."
Rather, a sharp reversal by Murkowski, a moderate Republican who has rejected Democratic appeals to support capping carbon emissions this year, might help him win an election.

"The science is certainly not conclusive that man-made global warming is a fact," Miller, an attorney who is trying to unseat the single-term senator, said yesterday in an interview. "I think it absolutely is going to hurt her if she comes out of that meeting supporting cap and trade."
It's against that backdrop that Murkowski and a knot of other senators will meet today with President Obama, who will attempt to find traction behind energy and climate legislation that prices carbon emissions from at least some sources, like electric power plants.

The timing, however, is difficult. Murkowski is approaching an Aug. 24 primary election with Miller, who is targeting her support for a limited cap-and-trade bill in 2007 as a way to connect her to the liberal administration and its perceived appetite for bulging government programs.
"Murkowski has crossed that line to the left on numerous votes," said Frank Bettine, an engineer with the utility industry and a member of the Conservative Patriots Group, a tea party organization in Wasilla, Alaska, that endorsed Miller. "There's a huge distrust by us conservatives of how she's actually going to vote. She's very liberal."
The group distributes a questionnaire -- one Murkowski aide called it a "purity test" -- asking candidates to "reject the argument that man made CO2 emissions are causing significant global warming" and promise to oppose "costly new regulations." Miller affirmed the statement.

Murkowski looked for 'far-right' move
It's unclear if Alaska -- like Kentucky, Nevada and Utah -- will become the next frontier for a conservative uprising. Like successful candidates in those other states, Miller has gained the support of local and national tea party groups and the endorsement of former Gov. Sarah Palin (R).
So far, though, there's been little sign of a conservative wildfire, according to observers. Murkowski is a household name, thanks in part to the former governor, her father. She enjoys the advantages of incumbency, having risen quickly into the party's leadership circle and to the top Republican slot on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a key assignment for a senator from a state rich in oil.
Then there's cash. Murkowski's campaign has $2.1 million. Miller has yet to file a federal campaign finance report, but says money is coming in. The Tea Party Express, which helped Sharron Angle surge to victory in Nevada's GOP primary, is also promising to provide foot soldiers and advertising help.

"That's major," said Miller's spokesman, Randy DeSoto, who called the group's involvement a "force multiplier."
It's likely that Miller will need all the troops he can muster, because Murkowski has been preparing for this race -- perhaps with an eye toward Palin as the potential challenger -- for more than a year, observers say. She spearheaded an unsuccessful effort to undercut U.S. EPA's scientific findings that greenhouse gases threaten human health. The maneuvering, which appealed to many conservatives, marked a retrenching of Murkowski's once moderate position on climate issues.
"She wanted to do something sort of far-right that would appeal to the base and help strengthen her position against a primary challenger," said a former climate adviser to a Republican senator. "So that's why she went after the EPA so strongly, but otherwise was willing to be fairly constructive on climate."

Climate bills 'slam us'
Murkowski rejects those types of assertions. Cap-and-trade bills proposed this year, or stringent EPA regulations on thousands of businesses, would cripple employment and hike energy prices as the nation slogs through a recession, she and her aides say.
"Not at all. Not at all. Not at all," Murkowski said when asked if she was maneuvering to the right for her primary. "You look at what I've been advocating for a year, before there was any opponent at any level saying anything. I was saying, 'We've got an energy bill that is good and solid and bipartisan,' and there is no way, no shape, a cap-and-trade piece in that, because we know it doesn't make sense for our economy."
She was referring to the "energy only" bill that she co-sponsored in her committee with the panel's chairman, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.). It also encourages energy efficiency and establishes a renewable electricity standard.

"What I have been saying time and time again is we've got to reduce our emissions and do so in a responsible way, but we've got to do it in a way that doesn't kick the economy in the head," Murkowski added. "And that's exactly what these cap-and-trade proposals [will do], whether it's Waxman-Markey, whether it's Kerry-Lieberman. I mean the proposals that are out there absolutely slam us at a time when our economy is hurting."
That jab was aimed at Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who introduced a climate bill that the House passed last year. The Senate plan, offered by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) would regulate emissions in the utility, manufacturing and transportation sectors.
"This makes no sense," she said of the bills. "So where I am on standing up and speaking on cap and trade has nothing to do with the campaigns or who's saying what."
Others find that unlikely. Murkowski has slid to the right recently, says Jerry McBeath, a political science professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Last week, she went to the Senate floor and called for a reversal of the controversial health care law championed by the president. The campaign's first radio ads aired last week, too, lampooning Democratic spending and promoting her opposition to the economic stimulus plan.
"She is trying to satisfy everybody," McBeath said. "She is not a goddess of political virtue, where she would look at the integrity of each and every statement, in terms of its truth value. She just wants to get re-elected and make it as easy as possible. And I think that she'll get there. She's been cautious."

Tea party uprising in Alaska?
On climate change, some sense a shifting position from her on its cause. Not long ago, Murkowski was widely seen as a strong climate advocate, driven in part by Alaska's vulnerability to climatic affects like melting sea ice, diminished permafrost, coastal erosion, altering seasons and ocean acidification.
All of those things are happening, she says, but she's not sure why.
"I don't know how much of that is attributable to man's emissions," Murkowski said. "What I do know is there are more of us on planet Earth who are driving more vehicles, we are doing more, and where we can responsibly reduce our emissions, we should be doing so. That's just good, smart policy."
The sour economy and the current climate bills make up a different picture than in 2007 when Murkowski co-sponsored a cap and trade bill that locked the price of carbon allowances at no more than $12, according to her supporters.
So the senator, it seems, is on a path that is too conservative for Democrats and too liberal for her opponent. She appears unwilling to support carbon pricing, despite the president's expected appeals today, and at the same time takes a more measured position than Miller.
"My perspective, and I think this is shared by most Alaskans, is that man-made, or I guess it's also considered anthropogenic, global warming, is I think in serious question," Miller said.
Murkowski's careful climate approach could benefit her in the primary, observers say. The race is open to independent voters, a factor that could help the moderate Murkowski if traditional voters go to the polls.
There is, of course, the unknown influence of the tea party movement. It has energized conservative voters in other states. "The question is, will that happen in Alaska?" a Murkowski aide wondered. NEW YORK TIMES. Copyright 2010 E&E Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Associated Press. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana greeted oil workers at the Gulf Island Fabrication Yard.
Associated Press. El gobernador Bobby Jindal de Luisiana saluda a los obreros del petróleo en el Golfo Isla Fabricación Yard.

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is not shy about voicing his displeasure with the federal response to the BP oil leak in the gulf. In near-daily news conferences, he has taken the Coast Guard and other federal agencies to task for poor preparation and a slow-footed response in protecting the fragile coastline.
Mr. Jindal has also demanded the Coast Guard stand aside and let state and local leaders take charge. "Local leaders know best," he wrote in a characteristic May 4 Twitter post "Coast Guard should approve and BP fund their plans. We're not waiting – we're acting now."

In an article on Saturday in The Times, my colleague Campbell Robertson and I took a look at these criticisms and Mr. Jindal's go-it-alone approach and found a noticeable gap between the governor's rhetoric and reality.
We found that Louisiana's oil-spill response plans were badly outdated and missing key sections, like a draft response plan to a worst-case discharge of oil. We also found evidence suggesting that the effectiveness of the Louisiana's oil spill coordinator's office had been undermined in recent years.

This office, created after the Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989 to prepare and respond to oil spills, had been allowed to shrink by half in the last decade, and lost its entire research and development budget with a cut approved by Mr. Jindal.
The governor's widely publicized plan to build a vast sand barrier around the Louisiana coast has been another point of contention between the state and the federal government. Mr. Jindal regularly attributes the slow start of the project to red tape and bureaucracy, but documents and interviews revealed that the sheer scale and complexity of the plan – not federal inaction – was the main cause for delay.

Our story is not the only critical look at Louisiana's spill response. Last week, CBS News questioned why the state had deployed only a fraction of the 6,000 National Guard troops activated by the president to respond to the spill. For weeks, Mr. Jindal has said the state was using every resource at its command to fight the spill, which he compared to a war.
In a statement, Kyle Plotkin, the governor's spokesman, acknowledged that the state had not yet found a use for the additional guardsmen.

Despite this admission, Mr. Plotkin quickly went back on the offensive. "Right now our biggest challenge is the broken federal system that takes weeks to approve requests for resources," he wrote. "We spend more time fighting red tape and bureaucracy than we ever should have to if the federal government understood this oil spill as the war that it is."
It's a dramatic charge, to be sure, part of a constant drumbeat of criticism that has raised Mr. Jindal's profile nationally as a take-charge leader. But some players in the spill response are not impressed by the state's effectiveness and remain unconvinced of the utility of its large-scale unconventional ideas, like the sand berms.
One Coast Guard official pointed out that state employees make up just a small fraction of the 39,000 personnel responding to the disaster.
"State people sit at our command tables, they listen and take notes, but that's about it," the officer, clearly frustrated, told me. "As far as the tactics, they just go with it." NEW YORK TIMES

Environmental Commission Reforms
Reformas a Comisión Ambiental
Las bancadas oficialista y opositora en el Concejo de Managua acordaron el establecimiento de una propuesta para modificar los estatutos y el funcionamiento de la Comisión Ambiental de Managua (CAM).

El primer cambio, de acuerdo al borrador que será presentado en la sesión del Concejo a realizarse este miércoles, es que la alcaldesa designada en Managua, Daysi Torres, sea la nueva presidenta de esta comisión.

Torres también podrá delegar a otro funcionario, en una movida que modifica el artículo 8 de ordenanza del 03-2002, que creó a la CAM.

Hasta el momento, la administración municipal tiene el deber de "coordinar" a la CAM, sin embargo, con el cambio por la presidencia a título de la alcaldesa designada se espera "mayor agilidad", indicó el ambientalista Kamilo Lara, miembro de la comisión.

De acuerdo al actual funcionamiento de la CAM, sólo se puede sesionar con la presencia de la mitad más uno de sus integrantes, que en general son unos 40. Sin embargo, la nueva propuesta indica que ahora se podrá sesionar con el 40 por ciento de la asistencia.

Con la propuesta de los concejales serán ocho los artículos que se modificarán, los que en su mayoría están referidos al funcionamiento concreto de la CAM.

No tiene agilidad
A juicio del concejal opositor y presidente de la Comisión Ambiental del Concejo de Managua, Jimmy Blandón, "los estatutos de creación de la CAM fueron hechos con parámetros que no permiten mucho dinamismo para su funcionamiento, por eso se está proponiendo un cambio".

A juicio del concejal opositor y presidente de la Comisión Ambiental del Concejo de Managua, Jimmy Blandón, "los estatutos de creación de la CAM fueron hechos con parámetros que no permiten mucho dinamismo para su funcionamiento, por eso se está proponiendo un cambio".

Según explicó el concejal del Partido Liberal Constitucionalista (PLC), la nueva reforma a la CAM también permitirá ampliar el número de participantes que trabajen el tema ambiental en la capital.

El concejal opositor, del Movimiento Vamos con Eduardo, Ricardo Obando, también indicó que la reforma a la CAM es "necesaria".

"La CAM no estaba siendo un órgano muy activo, no se ha trabajado con beligerancia y la idea es mejorar el aporte", dijo.
En el 2009, la CAM sólo se reunió en dos ocasiones, mientras, en el 2008, su incidencia en temas ambientales fue bastante mínima.

El procedimiento
La CAM está formada por la representación de las unidades ambientales de todos los entes gubernamentales, las universidades, personas naturales o jurídicas interesadas en el tema ambiental y por organizaciones sociales y movimientos ambientalistas.

Con la propuesta, habría una mayor apertura y hasta podrán contar con una partida presupuestaria de parte de las arcas municipales.
En este año, la CAM cuenta con 50 mil córdobas que la Alcaldía de Managua le presupuestó dentro de los fondos que se destinan para la Dirección General de Medio Ambiente y Urbanismo.

El ambientalista Kamilo Lara también indicó que la CAM debería continuar el proceso de fortalecimiento hasta convertirse en un órgano no sólo de consulta, sino de mayor incidencia desde el aspecto jurídico en materia ambiental.LA PRENSA

BP chief reassures on Russian oil venture
Jefe De Bp Ratifica Venturo Petrolero Con Rusos
Tony Hayward , BP's chief executive, met Russian officials in Moscow yesterday in an effort to reassure them that the company's commitment to Russia was undiminished as a result of the catastrophic oil spill in the US Gulf of Mexico.
In media comments ahead of the meeting, Igor Sechin, the deputy prime minister who oversees energy policy, fuelled speculation about Mr Hayward's future.

He was quoted by several Russian news agencies as saying "Hayward is leaving his post, he will introduce his successor."
The claim was denied by Carolyn Copland, BP spokeswoman, who said the report was "definitely not correct".
After the meeting, Mr Sechin denied the comments through an aide. "He said there would be speculation about his [Hayward's] retirement," said a spokesperson, "not that it was going to be discussed in the meeting."
He added that the meeting, described by BP as a "routine working visit", focused on BP's Russian joint venture TNK-BP, which accounts for about a quarter of BP's reserves and production.

The two also "exchanged views" on the clean-up taking place in the Gulf of Mexico.
Yuri Fedotov, Russia's ambassador to London, said last week that Moscow hoped TNK-BP would not be hurt by the costs BP has had to bear from cleaning up the oil spill.
"We want to see how it will work and how this situation will affect the overall strategy of BP and how it may affect . . . these joint ventures in Russia. We want to have some guarantees it will continue to work," he was quoted as saying.
Mr Hayward's visit to Russia did not include a meeting with Dmitry Medvedev, the president, who last week announced new environmental legislation designed to protect Russia's coasts from oil spills, and floated the idea of a global pollution fund at the G20 meeting in Toronto on Sunday. FINANCIAL TIMES

Russia makes mischief at BP
Rusia Malentiende A BP
Confusion over comments from Russian officials who were briefing anyone who would listen yesterday that BP had told them Tony Hayward was about to quit - and that it was about to introduce them to its new chief executive. The oil major flatly denied the story, so one wonders whether the Russians had misunderstood Hayward's decision to stand down from running the oil spill disaster response team in the US. Still, as Bob Dudley - who left Russia after the TNK-BP furore - has taken over that role, one doesn't imagine any introductions are necessary.

Not the real Steve Jobs
Congratulations to the Daily Mail for its cracking weekend scoop revealing Apple boss Steve Jobs' Twitter announcement of a possible recall of the new iPhone. Just one problem: the hack responsible failed to study the "ceoSteveJobs account" on the social networking site. It includes a prominent biography that concludes: "Of course this is a parody account". As Twitter users say, #epicfail.

The true cost of World Cup woes
Statistics we don't believe: of all the hysterical reactions to England's World Cup exit we received yesterday, the claim by internet analyst Kelkoo that the defeat to Germany will cost retailers £1.2bn of lost sales was the most outlandish. It was based on estimates of what retailers might have made if England had picked up the trophy. If the retail sector has been depending on that kind of long shot, the country's economy is in an even worse state than we'd realised.

This flag ban is a load of rubbish
Still on the World Cup, the nation's binmen are furious (though presumably less so since Sunday) about an edict from their employer: no displaying England flags on their garbage trucks. The company in question, Sita, works for councils across the country, and has told staff adorning their vehicles with items such as flags could be dangerous. Cynical staff point out Sita is owned by GDF Suez of France, which is a leading sponsor of its own national football team. FINANCIAL TIMES

PRENSA INTERNACIONAL - BP: a "stain" on the art world
BP: una "mancha" en el mundo del arte
Más de 170 artistas e intelectuales británicos firmaron una carta instando a museos y galerías a que dejen de recibir el patrocinio de British Petroleum (BP) y otras compañías petroleras.
En la carta, publicada por el diario británico The Guardian, el grupo de 171 artistas, escritores, críticos y curadores insiste en que la relación entre los museos y las petroleras ayuda a estas últimas a enmascarar la naturaleza destructiva para medio ambiente de sus actividades con la legitimación social asociada a tan destacadas instituciones culturales.
Los firmantes, entre los que se encuentran el pintor John Keane, el dramaturgo Caryl Churchill y el caricaturista Martin Rowson, añaden que ver el logotipo de BP junto al nombre de galerías como la Tate Britain "representan una mancha en la reputación internacional de la Tate".

La publicación de la misiva ocurre el día en el que la Tate celebra los 20 años de contar con el patrocinio de BP.
Artistas, músicos y activistas en favor del medio ambiente han anunciado protestas frente a las instituciones culturales que reciben dinero de las petroleras para sus programas artísticos.
La carta critica el hecho de que los ejecutivos de BP acudan al cóctel que ofrece esta noche la galería Tate Britain mientras el derrame de petróleo sigue causando estragos en el Golfo de México.
BP patrocina a instituciones como el Museo Británico, las galerías de arte moderno Tate, la Royal Opera House y la Galería Nacional de Retratos.

¿Dinero necesario?
En un comunicado conjunto firmado por tres de las galerías más grandes del Reino Unido, agradecieron a BP "por su compromiso a largo plazo de fomentar el arte".
"Los ingresos generados a través de las asociaciones corporativas son vitales para el éxito económico de las organizaciones artísticas y nos permite poder mostrar al público un programa cultural más rico y variado", añade el comunicado.

Este punto de vista es compartido por Christopher Frayling, jefe del Consejo para el Arte de Inglaterra, quien agregó que "el sistema de instituciones culturales es totalmente dependiente del apoyo económico de grandes corporaciones".
Sin embargo, según la carta publicada este lunes, "muchos artistas están furiosos por el hecho de que la Tate y otras instituciones culturales nacionales sigan soslayando el asunto del patrocinio de una petrolera".
"Hace poco menos de una década se consideraba a las empresas tabaqueras socios respetables para tales patrocinios, algo que ya no sucede. Confiamos en que pronto ocurra lo mismo con las petroleras y las empresas gasistas", denuncian los firmantes.
"La opinión pública es cada vez más consciente de que tener a compañías como BP o Shell de sponsors, es una manera de distraer la atención sobre impacto de sus acciones sobre el medio ambiente y el cambio climático", concluye la misiva. BBC MUNDO

AGENCIAS INTERNACIONALES - Green power an easy win for Australia: scientists
Energía Verde, Una Victoria Facil Para Australia: Científicos
Australia's new leader should ramp up renewable energy use and enshrine tougher energy efficiency standards to fight global warming, leading climate scientists said on Tuesday, describing them as easy policy wins.

Green Business | COP15
Australia has struggled to get support for an emissions trading scheme that would put a price on carbon pollution from industry, such as the refining, minerals and mining sectors.
Shelving the scheme in April led in part to a plunge in the popularity of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ahead of an election later this year. His deputy Julia Gillard took over as prime minister last week, pledging greater consensus on setting a price on carbon.

But Gillard is also expected to announce more steps in favor of green energy and energy efficiency in the world's top coal exporter and major coal consumer, in an effort to win back support from voters expecting more action on climate change.
"You get much more support for climate policies if you frame them in a positive way and not present them only as constraints but also opportunities," said Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

More investment in public transport and energy efficiency made people's lives easier and cheaper, he told an online media briefing on the sidelines of a major climate change and adaptation conference on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
"I want (the Australian government) to look at an emissions trading scheme because eventually you have to have a price on carbon or you don't send a market signal," said Stephen Schneider of Stanford University in California. "But markets aren't the only thing," he told reporters.
FIGHTING FLOODS, DROUGHTS
"I think if you follow the role of California or Japan, which have implemented mandatory building codes for windows and insulation and refrigerators and air conditioning -- the average person is going to save money and you're going to reduce your carbon footprint."
"Do that first because that way you get a win win," he said.
Australia has already passed laws mandating 20 percent of electricity must be generated from renewable sources by 2020 and is looking at steps to ramp up energy efficiency.
But analysts say more can be done to curb the nation's appetite for coal, oil and gas that makes it one of the developed world's highest per-capita greenhouse gas polluters.
The scientists also pointed to the need to better integrate efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions with adapting to climate change impacts such as rising seas, coastal erosion, threat to crops from changes in rainfall patterns and mass extinction.
Overall, the planet has already warmed about 0.8 degrees Celsius since the 19th century and scientists blame emissions from burning fossil fuels and deforestation as the main cause for the temperature rise.
Scientists say some impacts such as rising seas and more intense droughts and floods are inevitable given the sharp rise in planet-warming carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
But there was a limit to how you could adapt economies to these impacts if emissions kept rising, scientists say.
"What I keep arguing is, don't think about next year, think about the whole century. Because over that time frame, if the climate starts going up toward (a rise of 3 to 5 deg C by 2100), which is where we're headed, then we have the problem where adaptation becomes almost impossible," Schneider said. REUTERS

 

Lord Lawson: 'we need to get off this carbon-cessation hook
Lord Lawson: Necesitamos Salirnos Del Ciclo De Cese De Carbono
Lord Lawson of Blaby, one of the most prominent sceptical voices in the climate change debate, has warned that it is “madness” for Britain to try to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions.

 “We have said with an extraordinary post-imperial arrogance that we are going to show the world what it should do,” the former chancellor cautions. “We are going to be a great example. Well, we have been an example of what not to do – by damaging our own economy to no conceivable purpose.”
Greg Barker: 'We cannot go on relying on foreign fuel'
While Western countries may be prepared to sign up to swingeing emissions cuts, Lord Lawson believes emerging nations, such as India and China, will never agree to them. It is arrogant of rich nations, such as Britain, to ask them to adopt a policy that might limit economic growth, he says.
He acknowledges that the world has grown warmer in the past 100 years, and that it is likely that man-made greenhouse gases “played a part” in that warming. But he believes the science is uncertain: “We need to get off this absurd carbon-cessation hook that will be hugely damaging to the economy and society. What we should be doing is monitoring what is happening very carefully and closely and preparing to adapt to any changes that might occur.”
The last round of United Nations talks on climate change in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 failed, but the issue came up again at the G8 last weekend, and the UN will resume talks at the end of this year towards getting a global deal. Despite support for a global agreement on climate change among his Tory colleagues, including the Prime Minister, Lord Lawson said it was misguided.
He also said domestic policy to cut greenhouse emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 would drive manufacturing abroad and limit growth.
However, Chris Huhne, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, has said Britain would continue the policy of the last administration by committing to cut emissions first before asking poorer countries to take action.
“Europe must take a lead in securing an international climate agreement, though we can’t just click our fingers and hope the rest of the world will follow. We’ve got to make real emission cuts at home, and work constructively with all other nations in achieving that ambitious deal,” he said. DAILY TELEGRAPH

 

Oil spill in Bayelsa worries ERA
Derrame de petróleo en Bayelsa preocupa a ERA

Environment advocacy group, Environment Rights Action and Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEn) has expressed concern over the incessant oil spills at Ikarama community in the old Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The group lamented that in the month of June alone the community which is host to Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC, had witnessed two oil spills and called on the relevant authorities to prevail on the oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to be alive to their responsibilities and save the environment from further despoliation.
Vanguard gathered that the first spill occurred on June 4, inside SPDC manifold from a leaking valve which was swiftly stopped by the company while the second spill was said to have occurred along the Trans-Niger Rumuekpe trunk line on June 23.
The latest spill to hit the sleepy settlement has reportedly spread along over 400metres of farm lands and water ways of the communities in the area, prompting the call by environment experts for the federal and state governments to rise up to probe the incidents.
According to the report made available to newsmen by the Yenagoa office of the Environment Right Action and Friends of the Earth (ERA/FOEN), though the officials of SPDC had moved to site to stop the spill immediately it occurred on June 4, there were no signs that a Joint Investigation Visit and Report will follow the event as required by law.
In the report, the head of ERA in Yenagoa, Comrade Alagoa Morris, said while the first spillage occurred on June 4 along the SPDC manifold and valves in the area, the second took place along the Trans-Niger Rumuekpe trunk line on the June 23 in the community.
The ERA team reported that the volume of the spill was at over a thousand barrels and spread over 400 metres into farm lands and other parts in the area.
The group noted that though much of the crude oil spilled were on SPDC’s Right of Way, it has spread to surrounding swamps and flowed down through any low lying space into the Taylor creek.
It added that “SPDC and its contractors should not only be investigated in relation to the series of oil spillages but penalized for ignoring the need for JIV and clamping points without a JIV with the intention to hide facts and deny people justice.
“It is not enough for SPDC to claim that over 90 per cent of oil spills on its facilities were sabotage related other stakeholders should also have the record and confirm. The importance of JIV report in terms of cause of spillage, volume of spill, damages and related recommendations makes this very critical.”

Some of the natives of the community, including a widow, whose farm was directly hit by the oil spillage, Mrs. Grace Ayerizima, said though she is yet to take any action to seek for compensation from the company, the SPDC management has refuse to discuss with her.VANGUARD

 

Oil Spill: We’ve Failed, Says Shell
Derrame de petróleo: hemos fallado, dice Shell

For the first time, oil giant Shell yesterday admitted that oil companies are not doing enough to deal with oil spills in their areas of operation.
The company also said it was not ignorant of its obligation under the Nigerian law to clean up oil spills, but that it would not jeopardise the safety of its staff because of the law.
Speaking at the Fortune Global Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, Chief Executive Officer of Shell, Peter Voser, said oil industries must come together to be better prepared in the future to deal with spills.
The Shell boss who was responding to criticisms raised at the Global Forum that Shell and other oil majors were not doing enough to clean up oil spills in Nigeria, said the complex situation in the country makes it difficult for the company to properly deal with it.
“We can contribute in the best way actually by doing our job properly (and) generate revenues for the government, but that has been quite problematic over the last few years because of sabotage and violence (targeting oil companies),” Reuters quoted Voser as saying.
According to him, “Shell was obliged under Nigerian law to clean up oil spills but would not jeopardise staff safety to accomplish this. I will not send people in if they are under threat.”
Voser said that last year alone, 98 percent of Shell's oil spills in the Niger Delta region, were caused by sabotage and or theft.
Oil spills have been left for decades in the Niger Delta, polluting the air, soil and water of impoverished communities.
This was the case even before the problems of sabotage and kidnapping in the region.
In fact, years of neglect led to these vices, because communities felt that was the way to protest injustice.
No one knows for sure how much oil has seeped into the rivers and creeks of the Niger Delta, but the report said environmentalists opined that the impact over time in one of the world’s largest wetlands is much worse than in the United States.
He however said Shell will continue its deep-water drilling to meet rising global oil demand despite safety concerns following rival BP's Gulf of Mexico blowout.
“Given the rise in the population and rise in developing world of energy needs, we will have to develop those resources in deep waters as well, so my expectation is that we will go forward with it, but it will need some changes," Voser said.
“We would not have drilled the well in the same way. We have got other safety procedures across the globe. But I think for some companies there will be some learning from this as well,” he said.

“If I look at what (US Interior Secretary Kenneth) Salazar is now proposing to change in terms of regulations in the United States, I can say this is pretty much in line with our global (safety) standards," said Voser. THIS DAY

 

Cancun Talks Should Focus On 'Specific Items' for Agreement
Las Conversaciones de Cancún deben centrarse en 'Elementos específicos' para los acuerdos
December's global climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, should focus on areas where agreements could realistically be reached, leaving the debate on a legal framework for the deal to next year's conference in SA, European Union (EU) climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard said yesterday.
Her comments add to the growing view it will be up to SA as host to help drive the talks to a binding conclusion. This is after last year's climate conference in Copenhagen failed to reach a new deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
In April, then United Nations (UN) climate Chief Yvo de Boer made similar remarks to the Washington Post, while the main negotiator for Japan's environment ministry, Kunihiko Shimada, told Bloomberg in March that a deal this year was "almost impossible".
At the Group of 20 summit in Toronto last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the world should aim for a "realistic result" in Cancun.
"There is not much new coming out of Beijing and Washington," said Ms Hedegaard at a media breakfast, noting that two of the world's biggest polluters, India and China, were unlikely to commit to emissions targets until the US introduces new energy laws. The EU has already committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020 from 1990s levels, and would be willing to increase the cut to 30% if a global agreement on climate change was reached, she said.
She cautioned the Cancun negotiators against wasting time on topics covered in Copenhagen. They should try to reach agreements on specific items, such as conserving forests that could go into a global treaty.
The Copenhagen Accord says the world should aim to contain temperature rise to 2°C, but so far nations have not made sufficient pledges to cut greenhouse emissions to meet this target.
The accord was principally drafted by the US, China, India, Brazil and SA and was criticised by nations such as Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba for leaving many countries out of the negotiating process.
Ms Hedegaard said the EU would announce in Cancun which projects were to be supported by its 7,2bn share of the 30bn committed in Copenhagen to help the poorest, most vulnerable countries deal with climate change. "It's crucial for developing countries to see it (the money) delivered," she said.
EU member states had agreed they would not create a new financing system for the funds but work with existing channels. BUSINESS DAY

Climate, energy top the agenda of the region’s governors
Climático, la energía más importantes del orden del día de los gobernadores de la región
Yearly event. The Western Governors Association is meeting in Montana
New transmission lines are critical to developing the alternative electricity production needed to meet demand in the coming years, governors of states in the West said Monday.
The need for new energy development and dangers of climate change topped the agenda at the annual meeting of the Western Governors Association, where participants recognized that more renewable energy is a priority that will require considerable private investment.
About half of the governors in the West are participating in the event.
The governors want to find a way to fast-track the construction of expensive, lengthy transmission lines to carry wind and solar power from rural to large urban areas.
But a conflict exists over the placement of such lines. Environmentalists don’t want the lines dissecting national forests, and many private landowners are also resistant.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who chairs the association, said without new lines there won’t be much more new energy development. The lines must be placed on federal public land that dominates much of the region, and traditional delays in permits and other disputes must end, he said.
“We don’t develop any of the alternative sources until you get transmission,” said Schweitzer, a Democrat. “You can’t put electricity in a bottle and send it down the river.”
Schweitzer said a new transmission line is needed to connect wind power fields on the Montana plains with those near the Columbia River in Washington. The wind usually is blowing in at least one of the places, creating what could be an unusually steady source of wind power, he said.
Such a line could lead to investments in wind-heavy places where new projects face challenges getting their energy to market, officials said.
“If we can’t get it anywhere, what good does it do?” said Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat.
A panel of experts advised the governors to set low carbon standards for electricity as a way to spur technology development, rather than simply increasing the cost of traditional energy in hopes of making green power competitive.
Vinod Khosla, a businessman involved in alternative energy investment, said the markets will find solutions to produce cheaper, greener energy without government mandates.
“Environmentalists are pretty good at finding problems, but they are pretty terrible at finding solutions,” he said.
Schweitzer resisted the notion that agencies could reduce regulation but said there could be smarter ways to set rules that don’t impede energy development.
“We have to have commonsense regulation. We are not going to have a race to the bottom in the West,” Schweitzer said.
A consensus report from the bipartisan governors group said climate change poses many problems for the region, including a degradation in air and water quality along with a reduction in plant and animal species that could hurt industries such as tourism and agriculture.
A separate report by the group charted a “roadmap” to help energy developers navigate local, state, regional and federal issues.
The association also elected Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, a Republican, as its new chairman. Gregoire takes over from Otter as vice-chair. THE OREGONIAN

Costa Rican Isthmus assess response to climate change
Costarricenses evaluarán respuesta del Istmo ante el cambio climático

Dos costarricenses participarán en la redacción del quinto informe mundial que el Panel Intergubernamental sobre Cambio Climático (IPCC, por sus siglas en inglés) presentará en el 2014. El IPCC forma parte de la Organización de Naciones Unidas (ONU), específicamente de la Organización Meteorológica Mundial y del Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente. Los costarricenses Édgar Gutiérrez Espeleta, experto en Biología y Estadística e investigador de la Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), y Maximiliano Campos, jefe de la sección de recursos hídricos de la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA), son parte de los científicos seleccionados para trabajar en la redacción del informe. Los gobiernos fueron los encargados de proponer a todos los aspirantes. En total, se presentaron 3,000 candidatos y al final se seleccionaron 831. A partir de marzo del próximo año, se empezarán a reunir en distintas ciudades del mundo para debatir los temas del informe, el cual deberá estar listo en el 2014. LA NACIÓN

 

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.

    

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