Global warming news

Solarizing Greece is a way out of the crisis

Greece is facing a depression on a scale arguably comparable to the US Great Depression of the late 1920s. Huge unemployment rates and a dramatic drop in family incomes of over 40 percent have Greek citizens pondering what the impacts will be of the new bail-out agreement. Unending austerity and lack of hope are all it seems the future has to offer.

But there is a way to start changing things for the better. With energy poverty emerging as one of the most dramatic symptoms of the recession – six out of every 10 households are struggling to pay their energy bills – it is high time that Greece seized upon its greatest and still largely unexploited asset: the Sun.

The new 'Solarize Greece' campaign by Greenpeace Greece aims to bring together all those who dream of a brighter and more sustainable future, not only for Greece but for all European countries. Its objectives are to help Greece kickstart solar power as a driver of the economy, to rid the country of the burden of fossil fuels that are holding it down economically and for Greece to fight its way back out of the crisis.

Solar power has worked minor miracles for Greece before. In the turbulent decade of the 1970s that saw two major global energy crises, the Greek government offered tax incentives to households for solar water heaters, and a national policy was aimed at saving power. That led to hundreds of thousands of households installing solar heaters and significantly reduced energy bills. Equally important, a new industry was born and soon solar heaters became one of Greece's finest export products. It seemed then that the Sun had done its part to help Greece work its way out of a tight spot.

Now, crushing national hardship together with climate change are urgent and even more compelling reasons for revisiting solar photovoltaic (PV) power and, this time, on a massive scale.

Greece's short-lived 'PV Spring' of 2009-2013, driven by a feed-in tariff scheme, provided a glimpse of the country's real solar potential. Within five years installed solar capacity jumped from 47 to over 2,500 megawatts. A total of €4.5 billion was invested in modernising the energy sector and created around 50,000 jobs. In all, around 100,000 Greek families benefitted from the rise of the solar PV industry in one of the European countries most renowned for its sun.

Today, Greece is in a position to do much more.

Driven by the rapid fall in the costs of solar power, new legislation allows Greek citizens to generate cheap solar power for their own consumption, rather than selling it to the power grid. It means that, despite all of its economic hardships, Greece can seize on the enormous comparative advantage it has in solar power relative to northern European states. The tremendous untapped solar potential is a way to combat energy poverty and to cheaply kickstart economic growth.

Hundreds of thousands of households and small and medium enterprises could generate their own power at a fraction of the cost that they buy it from the grid. Tens of thousands of new jobs can be created.

With the costs of solar energy and storage expected to fall even further in the near future there is the potential for Greece to save billions of Euros on its fuel import bill – money that would stay within the country and be redirected to where it matters most: sustainable investments, social welfare policies, saving pensions, and stimulating prosperity.

So where could Greece find the funds for this initiative? Currently, through their electricity bills, Greek consumers pay around €800 million a year to subsidise oil imports to provide power to the country's many islands. This is a huge amount by Greek standards, and one that is equivalent to the newly proposed cuts in pensions from the national budget in 2015.

This burden is set to increase as yet more oil-related power investments are scheduled for the islands. If these polluting and expensive projects are selected over investments in renewable energy and improvements in the power grid, Greek consumers will continue to throw away money for decades to come. That would not only steal resources from the economy but also compromise the chances of recovery.

Greenpeace Greece sees a different energy future, and that is what its crowdfunding campaign is all about. Installing solar power in Greece's oil-dependent islands will bring relief to low-income households in need; it will help reduce oil consumption and pollution; and it will save money for Greek consumers on the mainland. Above all, it would be an example of a fair social policy that has tremendous developmental potential. Even more crucially, the campaign aspires to set in motion a transformation based on solarizing the entire Greek economy.

We are talking here about a domino effect, as a step that addresses austerity and provides a brighter future. If we can muster the support for solar power for Greece's islands, why not for the whole of Greece?

Solarizing Greece would be a step in assisting the country to again stand on its own feet, on its own terms. And a step that could have significant repercussions for the rest of the sun-bathed Mediterranean region.

For Greece, untapped solar power means untapped sustainable economic development.

The Sun is not only for tourist holidays. Greece has an opportunity to show the rest of Europe the true power of solar energy.

Kumi Naidoo is Executive Director of Greenpeace International.

This blog first appeared on the Huffington Post.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Californians divided along party lines on combating climate change

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Two-thirds of Californians link the state's ongoing catastrophic drought to climate change, and most support Governor Jerry Brown's efforts to combat it – but that's also because most Californians are Democrats, a new poll shows.

Read more [Reuters]

BREAKING: Greenpeace US activists stop Shell vessel as it attempts to leave port for the Arctic

The next big step in the fight to save the Arctic is happening right now.

Greenpeace US activists have suspended themselves from St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon to block a Shell Oil vessel from leaving port for Alaskan waters. The climbers have enough supplies to last several days, and are prepared to stay in Shell's way as long as possible.

Follow here for breaking updates from the scene of this incredible display of people power, and don't forget to say #ShellNo yourself. Tune into the conversation on social media using #ShellNo, #PeopleVsShell, and #SaveTheArctic.

[View the story "BREAKING: Activists Stop Shell Vessel as It Attempts to Leave Portland Harbor" on Storify]

What's At Stake?

Why exactly have these activists chosen to put themselves in between Shell and the Arctic?

Shell is almost ready to drill in the Arctic, but a vessel containing a vital piece of drilling equipment – without which it is not permitted to drill – has a gaping hole in it. So it had to come down to Portland to get patched up. The climbers blocking its way are now what stands in between Shell and an Arctic oil catastrophe.

Shell isn't just threatening polar bears and walruses with its drilling plans. By tapping into a new source of oil – only accessible because of melting ice – it's threatening the entire world with worsening climate change. And here's the real irony: Shell wouldn't even be in Portland if it weren't for its own incompetence. Its icebreaker vessel, the Fennica, was damaged within weeks of leaving for the company's drilling site in Alaska's Chukchi Sea.

With billions of dollars and the US government in its pocket, Shell thinks it can get away with anything – even in the Arctic. But people around the world – including right here in Portland – are proving otherwise. Thanks to people power, the movement to save the Arctic is growing stronger every day, and we can win.

Shell would love for this fight to stay quiet, unseen and unheard by the millions of people worldwide who have spoken out against Arctic drilling. We can't let that happen.

Raise your voice and say #ShellNo. Tell President Obama to reject Arctic drilling today.

Ryan Schleeter is an online content producer for Greenpeace USA.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

US pharmacy giant making wrong choice for the Boreal Forest

Inhale, exhale. The Boreal Forest impacts every breath you take.

Spanning North America, Russia, Japan and Scandinavia, the Boreal is the world's largest carbon absorbing ecosystem, purifying the air you breathe and keeping the climate stable.

The Boreal is also home to incredible biodiversity – from woodland caribou in Canada to the Siberian tiger in Russia. And it is the traditional territory of many First Nations and Indigenous Peoples.

But despite its importance to people and the planet, it goes largely unprotected.

What's happening to the Boreal Forest?

The Boreal Forest faces many threats: from climate change-fueled forest fires to oil development. But in Canada, one force is cutting out the heart of the forest: destructive logging.

A major player in this forest destruction is Resolute Forest Products – a pulp, paper and lumber company that's turning the endangered Boreal Forest into products like throwaway flyers.

For years, Resolute has been needlessly destroying critical habitat of the endangered woodland caribou and at times logging in Indigenous Peoples' territories without their consent. Right now, Resolute is even suing Greenpeace Canada and staff for C$7,000,000 to stop them from telling you about what the company is doing in the Boreal Forest.

The good news is there's something we can do for the Boreal that can change Resolute's destructive practices: speak up.  

Speaking up for the Boreal Forest matters

The voices of consumers are powerful in convincing companies to take their impact on forests seriously.

Because of public outcry, large companies like Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble and Hewlett-Packard have adopted policies that minimize their impact on endangered forests.

And these changes put pressure on suppliers like Resolute. Just this year, Post-It Note company 3M committed to a forest-friendly paper policy and then told Resolute – one of its paper suppliers – to shape up or lose business. We continue to monitor the situation and will ensure 3M lives up to this element of its new policy soon. But to make big changes for the Boreal Forest, we need even more large companies to commit to buying paper that isn't connected with forest destruction and demand better from suppliers like Resolute.

That's why Greenpeace USA and Greenpeace Canada are challenging another major Resolute customer to step up and adopt a meaningful paper policy.

Rite Aid – the third-largest drugstore chain in the United States – has been making the wrong choice for forests by not managing where its paper comes from. The millions of pounds of paper it purchases for flyers and advertisements each year could be connected to destruction of the Canadian Boreal Forest.  

And despite repeated outreach to Rite Aid back in April, the company continues to ignore this serious problem.

Take action

The Boreal Forest matters to all of us. That's why all of us need to tell Rite Aid to do the right thing for forests. Write a message to Rite Aid on Facebook, or tweet at the company. Let Rite Aid know that there's no excuse for ignoring what the best science tells us: that the Canadian Boreal Forest is at risk and Rite Aid's paper supplier, Resolute, is making a bad situation worse.

When we convince companies like Rite Aid to act responsibly, we move one step closer to a world where the Boreal Forest is protected and managed responsibly – a world without deforestation and forest degradation.

Amy Moas is a Senior Forests Campaigner at Greenpeace USA.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

U.S. private sector vows to ante up on climate finance

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some of the biggest U.S. corporate names on Monday offered their support - and billions of dollars in green financing pledges - to buttress the Obama administration's quest for a global agreement on combating climate change.

Read more [Reuters]

STATEMENT: WRI Says Company Climate Pledges Add "New Dimension to American Leadership on Climate Change"

STATEMENT: WRI Says Company Climate Pledges Add "New Dimension to American Leadership on Climate Change"July 27, 2015 WASHINGTON (July 27, 2015)— Executives from 13 major U.S. corporations including Apple Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co. joined White House officials today to announce at least $140 billion in low-carbon investments from the private sector. WRI has worked with many of these companies on climate and energy issues through its Corporate...

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12 photos that got the world's attention

The Quaker concept of bearing witness is one of the guiding principles of Greenpeace. Nowhere is this more manifest than in the images we produce.

One of the founders of Greenpeace, Bob Hunter, proposed the notion of 'Mind Bombs' – when an image is so powerful it is like a bomb going off in your head.

Today, in a world saturated by images, a photograph still has the power to move one to action. We take a look back through the lens at some of the Greenpeace images that have helped to change the world for the better.

In 1971, the environment movement became a modern cultural phenomenon with the formation of Greenpeace. Since then, the world has seen the environment become one of the planet's major concerns – never more so than today when we face catastrophic climate change.

This is a photographic record by Robert Keziere of the very first Greenpeace voyage, which departed Vancouver on 15 September, 1971. The aim of the trip was to halt nuclear tests in Amchitka Island by sailing into the restricted area.

The crew on board the ship formed the original group that became Greenpeace. Clockwise from top left, they are: Hunter, Moore, Cummings, Metcalfe, Birmingham, Cormack, Darnell, Simmons, Bohlen, Thurston, and Fineberg.

Non-Violent Direct Action was foundational to Greenpeace as it became a movement of people willing to put their lives on the line for a greater good.

In this photo, Greenpeace activists in inflatable boats protest against the dumping of nuclear waste by dumpship Rijnborg. Two barrels are dropped from the dump ship on top of a Greenpeace inflatable causing it to capsize and seriously injure Willem Groenier, the pilot of the inflatable.

The dumping of nuclear waste at sea is now illegal thanks to actions such as these.

In 1985, the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior was bombed by French secret service agents, tragically killing Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira. The ship and crew were in Auckland protesting nuclear testing in the Pacific.

The bombing of the Rainbow Warrior caused global headlines, making people around the world realise the powerful forces that groups like Greenpeace were up against.

After a long and seemingly impossible campaign, Antarctica was declared a World Park, proving that dedication and never giving up will deliver results. This photo captures the final day of establishing the World Park Base in 1992.

This photo depicts Greenpeace's second occupation of Shell's disused North Sea oil installation in two months in 1995.

With the campaign against the Brent Spar oil platform we saw how good strategies and determined action can change the world – the dumping of toxic materials in the North Sea is now banned.

Greenpeace brought the reality of whaling to the world – and photography was an incredibly powerful medium for this communication.

Here, a Greenpeace inflatable boat hooks onto a Japanese whaling boat while it is pulling a caught whale on board.

Here, a small Chinese child is sitting among cables and e-waste, in Guiyu, China. This photo helped bring the world's eyes to the impacts of electronic waste.

Much of modern electronic equipment contains toxic ingredients. Vast amounts are routinely and often illegally shipped as waste from Europe, the US and Japan to countries in Asia as it is easier and cheaper to dump the problem on poorer countries with lower environmental standards.

This practice exposes the workers and communities involved in dismantling e-waste to serious, environmental problems, danger and health hazards. Greenpeace is strongly urging major manufactures to exclude toxic materials from their products.

This activist, part of the 2007 Kingsnorth action in the UK, went through a lengthy and historic trial resulting in acquittal.

In the trial, the judge summated that the activists were taking action for the greater good of humanity by preventing CO2 emissions. The case has since been used as a precedent and shows a shift towards global climate justice.

In 2010, workers attempting to fix an underwater pump after a pipeline blast at the Dalian Port, China, ran into trouble. During oil spill cleanup operations, the workers struggled in thick oil slick, and tragically, one firefighter was killed.

This image travelled the world as a defining photo of the dangers faced by workers associated with extractive industry.

Diver Joel Gonzaga of the Philippine purse seiner 'Vergene' at work using only a single air compressor hose to the surface, in and around a skipjack tuna purse seine net, in the international waters of high seas pocket.

Fish stocks are plummeting around the world, especially tuna stocks. Photos like this help capture and communicate the impact of overfishing.

This powerful photograph shows adult brown pelicans waiting in a holding pen to be cleaned by volunteers at the Fort Jackson International Bird Rescue Research Center in Buras.

These birds were covered in oil from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead disaster. The BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded on 20 April, 2010 and sank after burning.

The photo which brought the world's attention to the extreme measures the Russian authorities would take to protect their Arctic oil interests: a member of the Russian coast guard points a gun at a Greenpeace International activist as peaceful protestors attempt to climb the Prirazlomnaya, an oil platform in Russia's Pechora Sea which is operated by Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom.

The activists were there to stop the Prirazlomnaya from becoming the first rig to produce oil from the ice-filled waters of the Arctic.

Greenpeace is a movement of people like you, standing up for our forests, oceans, and climate. Together, we're working towards a green and peaceful future where humans intellect results in sustainable innovation, not greed and destruction.

Your world needs you – get involved.
Read more [Greenpeace international]

U.S. companies pledge financial, political support for U.N. climate deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thirteen big name American companies on Monday were to announce $140 billion in low-carbon investments to lend support to a global climate change deal in Paris in December, the White House said.

Read more [Reuters]

U.S. proposes voluntary oil and gas company cuts in methane emissions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a program for oil and gas companies to make voluntary pledges to cut and track emissions of methane, one component of its wider strategy to target the potent greenhouse gas and combat climate change, the agency said Thursday.

Read more [Reuters]

Stronger Commitments from China and US Are Breakthrough for International Climate Action

With the current climate negotiations reaching a conclusion in Paris this coming December, we are at a pivotal moment in the global effort to address climate change and shift to a low-carbon development path. The United States and China, which together make up 38 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions (as of 2012), are playing an important role. Yet there has been confusion about China’s climate action commitments, as well as the fact that both China and the U.S. are taking significant...

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U.N. climate deal draft must be shorter, clearer: minister

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Ministers working towards a new U.N. deal to tackle climate change, due in December, need a negotiating text that is shorter and more manageable than the current draft, the Marshall Islands' foreign minister said after informal talks in Paris.

Read more [Reuters]

Pope urges U.N. to take strong action on climate change

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Tuesday urged the United Nations to take a "very strong stand" on climate change at a landmark summit this year in Paris on global warming.

Read more [Reuters]

Solarnia: The solar paradise of the mediterranean

Close your eyes. Now imagine a perfect holiday destination; a peaceful place where you can swim in crystal-clear waters, breathe clean air, enjoy amazing food served by hospitable locals, explore countless islands and walk on exotic beaches.

This place is called Solarnia, a Mediterranean paradise completely powered by clean and safe energy. It has a stable economy and a flourishing tourism industry.

Now, open your eyes. Imagine a place where the sea turned black, where the food is contaminated, where the air is unbreathable, where tourism has died out, and where oil rigs and coal plants are all you can see on the horizon.

This place has no name, it's a Mediterranean nightmare affected by dirty and dangerous energy, with a degrading economy and no tourism.

Now, I want you to keep your eyes open, because this nightmare might become reality very soon. Mediterranean countries' governments are planning to start new risky oil driling projects and build new coal powerplants which will harm the local nature end economy forever.

Sign our petition to stop the madness before it's too late.

Only with your help, can we convince the Mediterranean authorities to quit dirty energy forever and to switch to clean energy now!

Together, we can keep Solarnia a paradise for all of us.

Last weekend, in Spain and Italy, local communities as well as tourists gathered on the main beaches from the Canary islands to the Roman coast to demand action to be able to still enjoy the beauty of the Mediterranean land, to raise their children in a safe area, far from the risks of oil spills, pollution and land destruction.

A place where – thanks to you – the local authorities switched to renewable energy as the permanent solution to foster new jobs, secure energy independence, protect the ecosystem and mitigate climate change.

This is how your beloved holiday destinations will be protected and your Solarnia dream come true. Once and for all.

Thanks to your help, together we can say goodbye to dirty energy policies and fossil fuel projects, and welcome clean and renewable sources instead.

Join us and help us protect our Solar Paradise for a bright future.

Cristiana De Lia is the Comms Coordinator with Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Natural disasters forced 20 million from their homes in 2014: report

GENEVA (Reuters) - Nearly 20 million people were forced to flee their homes due to floods, storms and earthquakes last year, a problem likely to worsen due to climate change, but which could be eased by better construction, a report said on Monday.

Read more [Reuters]

Japan sets 26 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions as target

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan said on Friday it would slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2030 from 2013 levels and would submit the plan to the United Nations later in the day as its contribution to a global summit on climate change in Paris in November.

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Fishing ban needs support beyond central Arctic

GLAND, Switzerland – Arctic Council observer countries should be the first to join in a commercial fishing moratorium in the central Arctic says conservation organization WWF.
The five Arctic states that ring the central Arctic – Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Russia, the United States – agreed today to a moratorium on commercial fishing. The moratorium will stop any fishing fleets based in those countries from exploiting the central Arctic, which is beyond the national jurisdiction of any state. But it does not apply to any other states, some of which have aggressive industrial fishing fleets prowling the high seas.
"The next step for this agreement is for states such as China, Spain, Japan, the UK and South Korea to sign on also," says Alexander Shestakov of WWF's Global Arctic Programme. "These Arctic Council observer states say they support the integrity of the Arctic environment – this is a good opportunity for them to prove it."
WWF believes that the Arctic countries should also apply precautionary measures to commercial fishing within their own national waters that were not previously commercially exploited. This is a step that has already been taken by the United States, and by Canada in the Beaufort Sea.
We also urge the Arctic states to continue to ensure engagement with the people of the north, particularly Indigenous peoples who have an interest in the potential for commercial fisheries.
The areas formerly covered by ice in the Arctic are largely unexploited, and also unknown in terms of what fish are there now. They are also in a dynamic situation due to climate change, with fish such as cod that are sensitive to temperature changes increasingly moving northward.
The moratorium agreed to by Arctic states is set to remain until enough knowledge exists of central Arctic fish stocks to allow sustainable harvest, and there is a mechanism in place to control any fishing.

Read more [WWF]

New finance agreement sets stage for global sustainable development agenda

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Governments agreed today on a new global financing framework that integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic growth, environmental protection and social inclusion. The agreement came at the closing meeting of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.

The agreement, dubbed the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, brings countries closer to breaking the link between economic growth and environmental degradation by providing a comprehensive framework for all resources, financial and policy measures required to deliver an integrated sustainable development agenda in the coming 15 years.

"The Addis Ababa Action Agenda is a significant achievement toward financing a sustainable development agenda in a holistic manner, one that recognizes the connection between economic prosperity, social development and environmental protection," said Céline Beaulieu, WWF's Head of Delegation at the conference. "This is an important step forward in securing the resources needed to eradicate poverty and help countries develop sustainably. Ultimately, success will be determined by mobilization by all toward action and implementation."

The agreement aims to mobilize national governments, businesses, philanthropists and development partners to finance a critical sustainable development agenda. It calls for greater transparency and accountability, policy coherence, partnership building and the need for innovation. Importantly, the agreement covers many issues beyond traditional official development assistance. Traditional aid needs to be matched with other funding streams to confront global challenges and make progress in all countries.

"The economic and environmental hurdles before us are unprecedented in terms of their complexity and severity. More than ever, we need a coalition of the willing to embrace fully the Sustainable Development Goals, which also requires sufficient finance and strong political will to make necessary reforms quickly," said Beaulieu.

Despite progress, challenges remain in advancing a universal agenda on finance. As governments continue to confront issues related to sustainable development and climate change, it is critical that all finance for development and climate be delivered transparently and respect human rights, as well as prioritize low-carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally-sound development solutions.

"We can't eradicate poverty and achieve a prosperous future for all without addressing climate change, biodiversity loss and the rapid degradation of natural resources on land and in the ocean," said Beaulieu.

The agreement did not include bold language on core issues such as a stronger commitment to official development assistance as well as the removal of environmentally harmful subsidies in sectors such as fossil fuels, transport, fisheries and agriculture.

Eliminating harmful subsidies is seen as essential to freeing up financial resources for re-allocation to sustainable development solutions such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and protection of ecosystems.

The financing meeting is the first of three major conferences this year that will determine our planet's future. Today's agreement helps pave the way for implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in late September and a conference to agree a new climate deal in December in Paris.

Read more [WWF]

Alberta endorses calls for pan-Canadian climate change action

CALGARY (Reuters) - The leader of the oil-rich Canadian province of Alberta is endorsing calls from her counterparts to strengthen action to fight climate change.

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To sustain its forests, Asia needs to invest in local people: experts

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Asia has a unique opportunity to fight climate change and lift many more people out of poverty if it invests more in the communities living in its forests, experts said.

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Treat climate change as seriously as national security: report

OSLO (Reuters) - Governments should treat climate change as seriously as threats to national security or public health, partly by focusing more on the worst scenarios of rising temperatures, an international report said on Monday.

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People and the planet need strong action from UN financing conference

GLAND, Switzerland – Efforts to shift the global economy toward sustainable development will face a crucial test this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Countries attending a UN development finance meeting can break the link between economic growth and environmental degradation by committing funding to eradicating poverty, promoting prosperity and protecting Earth's natural systems.

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development is one in a series of pivotal UN meetings in 2015 that will address challenges associated with sustainable development and climate change. To be successful, the conference needs to shift from business-as-usual to a sustainable development approach that supports human well-being and a healthy environment for all.
"Resilient economies can only be created by supporting people and ecosystems through a change in mindset," said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. "New finance for development and climate must be delivered transparently. Funding mechanisms need to prioritize low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sound development solutions that respect human rights."
A recent report from the world's development banks estimates that financing a new set of Sustainable Development Goals will require a move from the billions of dollars committed as official development assistance, to the mobilization of trillions of dollars annually. Governments need to lead by providing additional public funds, but multilateral development banks, national banks and the private sector must all contribute. All investments and financial flows, including development finance, need to be transparent and promote sustainability.

"Sustainable development means creating better lives for all within the boundaries that allow nature to provide the services and regenerate the resources we need to survive. This means developing socially and economically while preserving the integrity and diversity of the natural environment. There can be no prosperous future on a planet that is ransacked," said Lambertini. "In order to support the Sustainable Development Goals and a new climate deal to be agreed in Paris later this year, countries need to meet existing commitments, including to mobilize US$100 billion in annual climate finance by 2020, without diverting existing aid. This is a bargain when compared to the cost of inaction."
Governments also need to end fossil fuel subsidies and other environmentally harmful subsidies to free resources to help make the transition toward investments in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and sustainable fisheries. This should be done with mechanisms to minimize adverse effects on poor and disadvantaged communities.
Both climate finance and official development assistance unrelated to climate need to be tracked transparently to prevent double counting and ensure that both streams are increasing in real terms.
"It shouldn't be lost that this conference is taking place in Africa – a continent that suffers disproportionately from the impacts of globalisation and climate change," said Fred Kumah, Director of WWF's Regional Office for Africa. "Human well-being depends on clean water, arable land, food security and access to energy. Countries must commit to providing these basic needs while putting all people on the path toward better lives that are no longer threatened by climate change and environmental degradation."
After agreeing to move forward on critical issues in international and domestic public finance, the role of trade, and private investment in Addis Ababa, governments will meet again in September to agree on a sustainable development plan. That plan should embed environmental protection within economic, social and political decision-making through the Sustainable Development Goals.The 17 goals and accompanying set of associated targets are essential, achievable, and irreplaceable if the world is to achieve true sustainable development. 

Read more [WWF]

In Paris, Scientists Chart Varied Paths to a Sustainable Human Relationship With Earth’s Climate

New York Times: A richly variegated four-day climate change conference, concluding yesterday in Paris, provided a sobering look at the mix of environmental, social and technological trends that have created humanity’s planet-size challenge — fitting seemingly infinite aspirations safely in a climate system that is showing signs of disruptive human-driven change. But the meeting, Our Common Future Under Climate Change, was refreshing in several ways — the main one being the depth and breadth of scientific engagement...

Beijing Finally Getting Serious About Climate Change

Foreign Policy: As the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China has made a number moves in the past year to reduce emissions and clean up its environment. Most recently, on June 30, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China would reduce its carbon intensity, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of GDP, by 60 to 65 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. The pledge comes ahead of the U.N. climate change summit to be held in Paris later this year. Li also reiterated that renewable energy should make up 20 percent...

Al Gore on why he remains hopeful about climate change

Toronto Star: On the climate change front, there is rarely any good news. Just this week, one study found that even if we manage to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius -- the target for current climate negotiations -- sea levels may still rise six metres above their current heights, drastically affecting millions of people and altering coastlines around the world. But former U.S. vice-president Al Gore -- who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to build awareness of climate change --...

Pope apologizes church crimes against indigenous people

Mongabay: On the heels of calling for global action to combat climate change, Pope Francis on Thursday issued an apology for "sins" the Catholic church committed against the indigenous people in Latin America since the European conquest of the region. In an address to a gathering of activists in Santa Cruz, Bolivia Pope Francis asked for forgiveness for the "many grave sins" committed against native peoples, including land-grabbing, mass enslavement, eradication of cultural practices and knowledge, and genocide....

China needs to fulfill its obligation COMBATING global warming

Yomiuru Shimbun: China should fulfill its responsibility in fighting global warming as the world's largest carbon-dioxide emitter. The country has submitted to the United Nations its target for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Its main goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 60 per cent to 65 per cent per unit of gross domestic product by the end of 2030, compared with 2005 levels. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emphasised his country's determination in this respect, saying, "[China] will do its utmost to combat climate...

Paris climate deal must signal end to carbon economy: experts

PARIS (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A new global climate change deal, due to be agreed in Paris in December, must give clear guidance that moving away from fossil fuels is inevitable and wise, economists said on Friday.

Read more [Reuters]

Paris climate deal must signal end to carbon economy: experts

Reuters: A new global climate change deal, due to be agreed in Paris in December, must give clear guidance that moving away from fossil fuels is inevitable and wise, economists said on Friday. It must also usher in an era when governments, businesses, activists and citizens find innovative ways to make that shift happen, experts told a Paris meeting of climate scientists. “Paris will not solve all, of course,” said Laurence Tubiana, France’s ambassador to the U.N. climate talks. “But we have to have every...

California Gov. Jerry Brown to Meet With Pope on Climate Change

NBC: California Gov. Jerry Brown announced Thursday that he will travel to Vatican City later this month to discuss climate change and modern slavery with dignitaries including Pope Francis as the governor seeks to burnish his legacy as a climate change activist. Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, plans to attend a two-day event starting July 21 hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences. The focus is on two issues highlighted in the pope's recent teaching document, called...

New Research Suggests Climate Change is Wiping Out Bumblebees

io9: A study led by Canadian researchers shows that bumblebees are disappearing in many areas where they lived several decades ago, and climate change is to blame. Unlike most animals--and for reasons not entirely known--bumblebees can’t move north to cope with warmer temperatures. They don’t fare well in warmer climates because they evolved in cooler regions, away from the tropics. This makes them particularly vulnerable to changing climatic conditions. To learn exactly how climate change is impacting...

The complicated relationship between agriculture and climate change

Investigate Midwest: Various studies have highlighted these and dozens of other ways the U.S. agriculture industry will likely be affected by climate change, the growing global crisis that major agribusinesses have already started to combat. But while the agriculture industry plays victim to climate change, it is also a culprit. Climate change is predominately caused by the buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Overall, the agriculture industry is responsible for at least 8 percent of...

IEA: Ignoring Climate Change Could Be Costly Fossil Fuel Firms

Guardian: The world’s fossil fuel companies risk wasting billions of dollars of investment by not taking global action to fight climate change seriously, according to the chief economist of the International Energy Agency (IEA). Fatih Birol, who will take the top job at the IEA in September and is one of the world’s most influential voices on energy, warned that companies making this mistake would also miss out on investment opportunities in clean energy. Coal giant Peabody recently dismissed global...

Will Some Republican Governors Running for President Ignore EPA Coal Regs?

Washington Post: Some Republican governors who are running for president are threatening to ignore Environmental Protection Agency regulations likely coming this summer that would limit power plant emissions. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have both been the most vocal in telegraphing their planned resistance. To combat climate change, President Obama’s goal is to cut carbon pollution 30 percent by 2030 and to reduce pollution that causes soot and smog by 25 percent from 2005 levels....

Ban Ki-moon and Arctic hope

This week I am just a wee bit jealous of the Secretary General of the United Nations. He has visited the Svalbard archipelago, somewhere I have always dreamed of going. I find myself trying to imagine what Ban Ki-moon must be seeing and feeling. No doubt he is struck by the majestic glaciers, deep fjords and unique habitats.

Ban Ki-moon and Børge Brende in Svalbard. © Ane Lunde, UD

I imagine it must be hugely frustrating for him to see the Arctic crisis escalating. In 2009 he visited the Arctic and expressed alarm at the rate of climate change in this special part of the world. Since then he has worked tirelessly to encourage global leaders to act. Now six years later he is visiting again. In that time, the Arctic ice cap shrank to a record low (2012) and global CO2 emissions have risen by more than 11% (although last year the rise did level out).

Despite the challenges, I like to think that he can take heart from watching the movement to Save the Arctic takeoff. I'll never really know what he thinks, but I know that I certainly find it heartening. Millions have signed up to Save the Arctic, with thousands taking part in hundreds of acts of protest. We are calling for Arctic protection and action on climate change, starting with a ban on oil drilling in the melting Arctic.

While global leaders dither people are showing vision and commitment. It is clear that we have to generate the momentum for change from the bottom up. Together we can imagine and build a future where the Arctic is protected, and where our lives are fuelled by renewable energy that does not cost the Earth.

Ban Ki-moon and Børge Brende at Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. © Ane Lunde, UD

Last year this burgeoning movement was brought to the attention of Ban Ki-moon. He was presented with a gift representing the then six million names on the petition to Save the Arctic. He said, "I receive this as a common commitment toward our common future, protecting our environment, not only in the Arctic, but all over the world." He was asked if he would consider convening an international summit to discuss the issue of Arctic protection, and although he made no promises on a summit he did say that he would like to visit the Arctic again.

This year he has sent an important signal by choosing to take another trip to the Arctic to see the impacts of climate change and call for action in the run up to the UN climate talks in December. While visiting the Blomstrandbreen glacier on Svalbard he said, "I am just close to 250 metres to the glacier. It looks magnificent. But at the same time, I am alarmed that there are so many cracks that will soon break. They are melting very rapidly, and I fully agree with what scientists have been projecting. Unless we take action now, we will have to regret. We have to keep global temperature rise below two degrees as soon as possible."

The Secretary General clearly has a personal interest in the Arctic. But don't we all? What happens there affects everyone. Our global climate system means that we all have a link to the Arctic whether or not we have ever had the chance to visit. And at this time of Arctic crisis there are now more than 7 million people from around the world who have felt moved to show their concern for this incredible place at the top of the world.

Sophie Allain is an Arctic Campaigner at Greenpeace International.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Climate Change Is Shrinking Where Bumblebees Range, Research Finds

New York Times: Climate change has narrowed the range where bumblebees are found in North America and Europe in recent decades, according to a study published Thursday. The paper, published in the journal Science, suggests that warming temperatures have caused bumblebee populations to retreat from the southern limits of their travels by as much as 190 miles since the 1970s. Logic would suggest that the northern reaches of their home turf would shift to higher latitudes by a corresponding distance. But that has...

Bumblebees and Narrowing Range: Climate Change is Only Reason

Nature World: In case you wondered if honeybees were squeezed but bumblebees were fairly present in your own garden, it seems that the range of bumblebees is drastically narrowing due to climate change as well. Researchers at the University of Vermont and University of Ottawa recently published their findings from the most comprehensive study conducted yet on the impacts of warming on critical pollinators, in the journal Science. The scientists examined more than 420,000 historical and current records of many...

Buzzkill: global warming shrinks range pollinating bumblebees

Reuters: Global warming is shrinking the terrain where bumblebees live in North America and Europe, with these vital pollinators departing the southernmost and hottest parts of their ranges while failing to move north into cooler climes, scientists say. Their study, published on Thursday, used records from 1901 to 2010 to track 67 bumblebee species, finding that the insects have surrendered about 185 miles (300 km) from the southern end of the regions they called home on both continents. The researchers...

Buzzkill: global warming shrinks range of pollinating bumblebees

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Global warming is shrinking the terrain where bumblebees live in North America and Europe, with these vital pollinators departing the southernmost and hottest parts of their ranges while failing to move north into cooler climes, scientists say.

Read more [Reuters]

Buzz the alarm: Climate change puts squeeze on bumblebees

ScienceDaily: Global warming is putting the squeeze on bumblebees. In the most comprehensive study ever conducted of the impacts of climate change on critical pollinators, scientists have discovered that global warming is rapidly shrinking the area where these bees are found in both North America and Europe. Researchers examined more than 420,000 historical and current records of many species of bumblebees--and confirm that bumblebees are in steep decline at a continental scale because of climate change. The...

Global sea levels have risen six meters or more with just slight global warming

ScienceDaily: A new review analyzing three decades of research on the historic effects of melting polar ice sheets found that global sea levels have risen at least six meters, or about 20 feet, above present levels on multiple occasions over the past three million years. What is most concerning, scientists say, is that amount of melting was caused by an increase of only 1-2 degrees (Celsius) in global mean temperatures. Results of the study are being published this week in the journal Science. "Studies...

Bees Are Losing Their Habitat Because of Climate Change

Time: As if pesticides, disease and habitat loss were not enough, there`s more bad news for bees. Changing temperature and weather conditions due to climate change has restricted the area where bees can survive, and the pollinators have struggled to adapt, according to new research published in the journal Science. "They just aren't colonizing new areas and establishing new populations fast enough to track rapid human-caused climate change," said study author Jeremy Kerr, a professor at the University...

Scientists propose international effort assist bumblebees

Independent: A comprehensive study of bumblebees across two continents over the the past century has unequivocally linked their decline to rapidly rising global temperatures resulting from man-made climate change, scientists have said. A detailed review on reported sightings of 67 different species of bumblebee across Europe and North America between 1901 and 2010 has indicated that the key pollinating insects of crops are being squeezed “like a vice” by rising temperatures. Over the past 40 years, when...

Jerry Brown will speak on climate change at Vatican event hosted Pope Francis

LA Times: "This unprecedented gathering of global leaders is a wake-up call to face up to the common threats of climate change and human exploitation," Brown said in a statement Thursday. "This is about the future of humanity and how we as human beings live and treat one another and the natural world around us." Brown, who once considered a life in the priesthood and spent years in a Jesuit seminary before dropping out, has traveled widely to urge stronger action against the advance of global warming. He...

How to engage population with climate change? Frame it as public health issue

ScienceDaily: Recent research in Environmental Communication examines the powerful influence of mass media portrayal of climate change and subsequent public identification with the issue. Climate change is often reported as an environmental issue, this depiction arguably lacks personal relevance to individuals. Weathers and Kendall study US reportage of climate change in a public health frame; a more powerful presentation for motivating public engagement and action against climate change? The majority of the...

Why climate talks need a focus on agriculture

SciDevNet: Negotiators at the Paris climate talks in December (COP 21) will focus on reaching a truly universal and legally binding agreement to drive the world's transition towards resilient, low-carbon societies and economies. This is being talked about as humanity's last chance to avoid truly disastrous effects for our planet -- the floods in the Philippines and persistent drought in Thailand are just two current examples of the types of events that climate change makes more likely. In parallel, the scientific...

Green Climate Fund partners with Deutsche Bank to green fury

RTCC: A UN piggy bank to help poor countries deal with climate change partnered with a leading coal funder, sparking an outcry from green groups. At a meeting in its South Korean headquarters on Thursday, the Green Climate Fund approved Deutsche Bank and 12 other financial entities to receive and distribute cash. Germany’s leading investment bank is the world’s 10th largest backer of coal, with EUR15bn invested in the industry from 2005 to 2014, according to the BankTrack network. Over 20 campaign...

Carbon price, social push needed to curb emissions: economists

Reuters: China's climate-changing emissions from producing the energy it needs will be as large as the rest of the world's emissions put together over the next 25 years, the incoming director of the International Energy Agency predicted on Thursday. But new commitments to cut emissions by China, the United States, Europe and other countries, as part of a new global deal due in December to tackle climate change, will play a big role in pushing energy investment toward cleaner alternatives, economist Fatih...

5 Extreme Weather Events Impacting the Planet

EcoWatch: Deniers will keep on denying apparently, but the signs of climate change are everywhere. As the planet has warmed up, severe weather events are happening in every corner of the globe, alerting us to the need for strong, immediate action. 1. Many parts of the world are suffering from extended heat waves. We`ve heard a lot about the heat waves blanketing India and Pakistan, which have claimed a high body count. Thousands of people in the region have died as a result. The situation has been exacerbated...

The world's fourth smallest country is worried it's going to disappear off the face of the Earth

Independent: The prime minister of the world’s fourth smallest nation has appealed for help from European leaders to stop it disappearing from the face of the Earth. Enele Spoaga arrived in Brussels on Monday to call on EU leaders for support ahead of the next UN climate change summit in Paris in December. The group of islands, home to just 10,000 people, is under direct threat by rising sea levels due to climate change as it is no more than 4m above sea level at its highest level. He called on Europe...

World is on collision course with fossil fuels, Gov. Jerry Brown says

LA Times: After two days of rubbing shoulders with an international collection of politicians, Gov. Jerry Brown emerged from a climate-change conference here with new partnerships in the fight against global warming. In a speech Wednesday to government officials and environmental advocates that capped his trip, the governor took aim at "troglodytes" who deny the threat of climate change, and insisted that all aspects of modern life must be scrutinized to save the planet. "We have to redesign our cities,...

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