Monthly Archives: December 2015

Working Towards a Sustainable Future

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As the world celebrates adoption of the Paris Agreement where 195 countries committed to action to address climate change, 20 countries from Latin American and the Caribbean continue to work towards a regional agreement to ensure environmental justice, access to environmental information and public participation in environmental governance.

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Unfortunately, the negotiations progressed rather slowly as delegates engaged in discussions on the Preamble and Articles 1 and 2 of the Preliminary Document of the regional agreement. The slow pace of the meeting could be attributed to three Latin American countries who indicated that time did not permit them to engage in national consultations on the Preliminary Document and although they would participate in the discussions and not oppose the consensus that was achieved, they could not be part of the negotiations.

Nonetheless, civil society representatives at the meeting were pleased that many other countries were successful in engaging their citizens in…

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COP21 climate change summit reaches deal in Paris

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A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C has been agreed at the climate change summit in Paris after two weeks of negotiations.  The pact is the first to commit all countries to cut carbon emissions.

The agreement is partly legally binding and partly voluntary.  Earlier, key blocs, including the G77 group of developing countries, and nations such as China and India said they supported the proposals.

President of the UN climate conference of parties (COP) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: “I now invite the COP to adopt the decision entitled Paris Agreement outlined in the document. “Looking out to the room I see that the reaction is positive, I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted.”

COP21: In summary

As he struck the gavel to signal the adoption of the deal, delegates rose to their feet cheering and applauding…

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Nearly 200 Nations Adopt Climate Agreement At COP21 Talks In Paris

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 French President Francois Hollande, right, French Foreign Minister and president of the COP21 meetings Laurent Fabius, second right, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, left, and UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon join hands after the final adoption of an agreement at the COP21 United Nations conference on climate change. Francois Mori/AP
French President Francois Hollande, right, French Foreign Minister and president of the COP21 meetings Laurent Fabius, second right, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, left, and UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon join hands after the final adoption of an agreement at the COP21 United Nations conference on climate change.
Francois Mori/AP

In what supporters are calling a historic achievement, 196 nations attending the COP21 climate meetings outside Paris voted to adopt an agreement Saturday that covers both developed and developing countries. Their respective governments will now need to adopt the deal.

Presenting the plan aimed at curbing global warming ahead of Saturday’s vote, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the delegations, “You go into this room to decide a historic agreement. The world holds its breath and it counts on you.”

The agreement, which was publicly released Saturday morning (ET), sets the goal of limiting the world’s rise in average temperature…

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Energy Day Launches Major Initiatives on Renewables, Efficiency and Access

7 December 2015: A number of major cooperative initiatives on renewable energy, energy access and energy efficiency were announced during Energy Day at the Paris Climate Change Conference. Hundreds of participants from governments, businesses and financial institutions participated in the event held as part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) Focus on Energy.


The UN and partners launched a US$5 billion effort to expand renewable energy in Africa. The amount will come from public and highly concessional finance between 2016 and 2020, with an additional US$15 billion in leverage from the Green Climate Fund, and other bilateral and multilateral sources.


Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon underscored the importance of the initiative, saying, “A global energy transformation must reduce heat-trapping emissions. It also needs to ensure that we leave no one behind. Those things can only be achieved if we tackle the issues of energy access, energy efficiency, and renewable energy together as a trinity.”


The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) was launched to spur the installation of 10 gigawatts (GW) of new and additional renewable energy capacity on the continent by 2020. By 2030, the initiative aims for renewable energy installations totaling 300 GW—double the 150 GW in electricity generation from all sources in Africa today. The initiative is being led by the African Union's New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the African Group of Negotiators, the African Development Bank (ADB), the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). [UNFCCC Press Release]


The Africa Clean Energy Corridor (ACEC) announced plans for a similar corridor in West Africa. Like ACEC, which operates in East and Southern Africa, the West African Clean Energy Corridor is to serve as a platform for the accelerated deployment and scaling-up of renewable energy, helping to meet rising demand and foster Africa's economic growth without adding to global climate risks. [ACEC Brochure]


The Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA), a partnership of 36 countries and 23 institutions, aims to deliver a five-fold increase in the global installed capacity for geothermal power, and a doubling of geothermal heating, by 2030. [IRENA Press Release]


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) announced US$2 million in funding to kick-start a clean-energy investment initiative called the Climate Aggregation Platform (CAP). The CAP, to be launched in Spring 2016, is expected to leverage over US$100 million in co-financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and other partners to promote low-carbon energy assets and low-cost financing for these assets in developing countries. [GEF-UNDP-Climate Bonds Joint Press Release]


Saint Lucia will become the 29th island to join the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Lighthouses Initiative. To date, 18 SIDS have developed renewable energy roadmaps through the initiative, which has also facilitated US$150 million in financing and the deployment of 18 megawatts (MW) of renewable power. Starting in Africa and Latin America, the Sustainable Energy Marketplace will serve as a matchmaking platform to bring together investors with renewable energy projects. The Marketplace intends to house 100 projects by the beginning of 2016 and to mobilize US$10 billion in project financing by 2019. [Sustainable Energy Marketplace Brochure]


Other energy-related announcements at the Paris Conference include the International Solar Alliance (ISA), an initiative led by the Governments of India and France that has garnered the support of 120 countries. Among other commitments, the supporting countries express their intention to collectively mobilize more than US$1000 billion by 2030 to scale up solar energy deployment. [UNFCCC Press Release] [IISD RS News Story]


Royal Philips committed to become carbon neutral by 2020, after the company cut its carbon footprint by 40% between 2007 and 2015. Speaking at the Energy Day Summit, Eric Rondolat, Chief Executive Officer, Philips Lighting, urged leaders to set more aggressive targets, cautioning against “a potentially catastrophic rise in global temperatures.” He lauded energy efficiency as a critical goal, saying that, “Faster adoption of LED lighting, and a drive to renovate existing city infrastructure and greater use of solar-powered LED lighting would have a huge impact.” [Philips Press Release]


The LPAA is a joint undertaking of the Peruvian and French COP presidencies, the Office of the UN Secretary-General and the UNFCCC Secretariat. It is convening on the sidelines of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC. The LPAA hosted the event together with the Sustainable Energy For All (SE4All) initiative and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). [IRENA Press Release] [SE4All Press Release] [IISD RS Coverage of Energy Day] More




 

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St. Lucia supports ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius limit on future global temperature rise

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Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony addressing the opening of COP21 in Paris, France. Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony addressing the opening of COP21 in Paris, France.

As global leaders meet for the 2015 Paris Climate Conference dubbed COP 21, Caribbean heads, including St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony is making strong representation for the region at the summit.

Addressing the opening on November 30, 2015, Dr. Anthony said that the world must spare no effort to put on a trajectory, for warming of no more than 1.5 degree Celsius by 2100.

“I add my voice to the pleas for more ambitious cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. I also strongly support the calls for five years review of mitigation pledges with a major political moment in 2018-19,” he said.

Dr. Anthony underscored that 2015 will almost certainly be the hottest year on record for the planet and all of the data suggests that the high temperature mark, set in 2014, would be eliminated…

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Caribbean stakes space at COP21

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FOR the first time ever, the Caribbean has a designated space at the international climate talks — one designed to facilitate deliberation on emergent issues while providing a taste of the region and its offerings to the world.

It has been made possible through the collaborative efforts of Caribbean partners, notably the Caribbean Development Bank, the Regional Council of Martinique, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Panos Caribbean, the Saint Lucia Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science, and Technology, and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.

“The Pavilion provides a space for coordination, the sharing of experiences, consultation with like-minded partners, and for developing a greater awareness of the Caribbean’s experience with climate change,” noted Sharon Lindo, policy advisor with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.

“It is the avenue for the countries that are washed by the Caribbean Sea to engage with the world,” she added.

The Pavilion…

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Climate health highlighted at COP21- A Trinidadian’s Perspective

Climate change takes 400,000 lives per year and millions suffer from flooding, diseases, malnourishment, and respiratory problems due to climate change. This is both a threat and an opportunity as it can push countries toward renewable energy. For these reasons, COP21 has seen concern raised by medical professionals regarding the effect climate change has on health. Over 1,700 health organisations are supporting declarations calling on world leaders in Paris to take a serious approach to the escalating climate threats to human health. The demonstration follows a major recent report in The Lancet that warned 50 years of global health improvements could be thrown into reverse by climate change.

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“Climate change, and all of its dire consequences for health, should be at centre-stage, right now, whenever talk turns to the future of human civilizations. After all, that’s what’s at stake.”Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization

Many Trinbagonians are proud to say that Trinidad and Tobago is one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Is this something to be pleased about?

The title is a reflection of our status as the main exporter of oil and gas in the Caribbean region and the main producer of liquefied natural gas in the Latin America and the Caribbean. We depend heavily on the extraction of hydrocarbons as the main source of income.  After all, Trinidad and Tobago is ranked second in the world for its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per capita, producing an estimated 53 million tonnes of CO2 annually, with 80 per cent coming from…

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