Reuters: In Support of the 2016 Global Transition from Inefficient Lamps Target
African Review (Kenya): Developing countries firm up common Doha climate talks position
Hindu (India): New UNEP Goodwill Ambassador wants end to ‘collateral damage’
Business Recorder (Pakistan): Growing risks to health: report stresses need for co-ordinated efforts
Trend (Azerbaijan): International youth forum to be held with cooperation of IDEA campaign
Guardian (Trinidad and Tobago): T&T, Caribbean behind in environmental law enforcement
Other Environment News
AP: Scientists look at climate change, the superstorm
Reuters: Climate and cost concerns mount in wake of "superstorm"
Xinhua (China): Better Energy Efficiency Boosts China's Transition to Green Economy
Guardian (UK): Hitachi energises future of low-carbon power in the UK
Independent Online (South Africa): Experts predicted NY superstorm – report
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia): 'Carbon bubble' looms for fossil fuel industry: Gilding
Prague Daily Monitor (Czech Republic): EC renews funding for transport and environment
Forest News (CGIAR): Farmers help tiger conservation efforts in India
Environmental News from the UNEP Regions
Other UN News
Environment News from the UN Daily News of 31 October 2012 (None)
Environment News from the S.G.’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 30 October 2012
UNEP and the Executive Director in the News
Reuters: In Support of the 2016 Global Transition from Inefficient Lamps Target 31 October 2012
New UN Collaborating Centre for Energy Efficient Lighting Opens in Beijing to Accelerate Global Phase-Out Plans.
Efforts by developing countries to phase-out inefficient incandescent lamps received a significant boost today as the UN and partners announced the opening of the Global Efficient Lighting Centre (GELC) in Beijing, China.
Launched by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Chinese National Lighting Test Centre, GELC is designed to support the rapid deployment of energy-efficient technologies in developing and emerging countries.
To date, almost 50 developing and emerging countries have committed to phasing out incandescent lamps by 2016, under the en.lighten initiative - a partnership between UNEP and the Global Environemnt Facility (GEF).
According to a UNEP assessment released last June, a total of five per cent of global electricity consumption could be saved every year through a transition to efficient lighting, resulting in annual worldwide savings of over US$ 110 billion.
The yearly savings in electricity of the phase-out would be equivalent to closing over 250 large coal-fired power plants, resulting in avoided investment costs of approximately US$ 210 billion. Additionally, the 490 megatonnes (Mt) of CO2 savings per year is equivalent to the emissions of more than 122 million mid-size cars.
“One of the most cost-effective ways to contribute to the reduction of global carbon emissions is the phase-out of inefficient lighting technologies,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director.
“Increasing numbers of countries are now achieving major financial savings, generating green jobs, and seeing reductions in mercury, sulphur dioxide, and other pollutants from power stations, through a switch to efficient lighting. Ambitious policies and partnerships must be seized if the social, economic, and environmental benefits of a transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient green economy are to be realized.”
The newly-launched Collaborating Centre supports developing and emerging countries by assisting in the establishment or strengthening of national and/or regional lighting laboratories by:
Providing technical advice for the development and implementation of effective product quality surveillance mechanisms for national, regional and global institutions;
Developing quality checking control tests commissioned by governments and the private sector;
Providing professional guidance to countries for establishing new, or enhancing exisiting, lighting laboratories and quality management systems;
Offering technical training for the testing of lighting products;
Improving manufacturing techniques for energy efficient products; and
Providing expert guidance for policy and regulatory issues associated with the production of efficient lighting.
Projects udnertaken by the Centre include a lamp quality testing project, conducted in participation with the en.lighten initative. It aims to strengthen national quality control and testing systems and to encourage the development of measurement, verification and enforcement programs in fourteen countries.
Due to the technological shift towards innovative LED technology, there is a great opportunity for countries to leapfrog to this advanced lighting solution in national markets.
Although LED lamps are currently expensive to buy for individual consumers, bulk procurement by governments, tax incentives and subsidies are making them a viable alternative. LEDs do not contain any mercury and last up to ten times longer than their CFL counterparts.
Notes to Editors:
More information on the en.lighten initiative is available at: www.enlighten-initiative.org
Country lighting assessments are available at: http://www.enlighten-initiative.org/portal/Home/tabid/56373/Default.aspx
National Data on the Benefits of a Transition to Energy Efficient Lighting can be viewed at: http://www.unep.org/PDF/PressReleases/Table_Energy_Efficient_Lighting_Transition.pdf
Countries that have joined the en.lighten Global Efficient Lighting Partnership Programme include: Algeria, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinee, Guinee Bissau, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Thailand, Togolese Republic, Tonga, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Yemen.
Key Facts About Efficient Lighting:
Electricity for lighting accounts for almost 20 percent of electricity consumption and 6 percent of CO2 emissions worldwide.
The global demand for artificial light will be 60 percent higher by 2030 if no switch to efficient lighting occurs.
Incandescent lamps have already been phased-out, or are scheduled to be phased-out in most OECD countries, Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Mexico, Vietnam and other developing countries.
Some countries, such as Nigeria and China, are leapfrogging directly to light emitting diodes (LEDs) from incandescent lamps. LEDs do not contain mercury and have other advantages such as long life and low heat generation.
About the National Lighting Test Centre
Founded in 1975, the National Lighting Test Centre is one of the most widely respected lighting test institutions in China. It is an authorized national testing institution recognized by the Chinese State Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision. The lab has been contracted as a certified facility for the European Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) testing.
With its innovative equipment and team of highly qualified technicians, NLTC’s primary service is third-party testing and certification testing for a wide range of lighting products such as light sources, luminaries, and ballasts.
In addition to testing procedures, the NLTC is involved in the development of testing equipment and national and international standards. It organizes round robin tests with international labs, assists other countries to establish their own national labs.
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_________________________________________________________________ African Review (Kenya): Developing countries firm up common Doha climate talks position 30 October 2012
Negotiators from 46 Least Developed Countries (LDC) met in Nairobi on Monday to develop a common position to be presented at the November climate talks in Doha.
The technical experts said that developing nations will agree on shared goals which include establishment of a new climate treaty, financing and technologies required to accelerate green transition.
"We all have a responsibility in some way to address climate change in order to achieve sustainable development. Africa, small island developing states, and least developing countries, continue to suffer most from the effects of climate change," Kenya's Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Ali Mohammed said.
He regretted that the global South has borne the brunt of negative impacts of climate change despite minimal contribution to green house gases responsible for warming the planet.
"Our countries are the most vulnerable and yet have the least capacity to adapt due to inadequate energy services, infrastructure, agricultural technologies that are important for adaptation needs to be met," Mr Mohammed said.
A consultative and inclusive process is critical to advancing climate discussions at regional and global level. Mr Mohammed noted that climate change is a global challenge that requires a universal consensus to enable countries chart a new low carbon future.
"The multilateral process under the UNFCCC has and continues to provide vulnerable developing countries with a forum for participating in global discussions and agreements to achieve priority actions," he said.
Developing countries should strengthen their negotiation capacity to influence a positive outcome of the Doha climate talks. He noted that several roadblocks in previous negotiations have denied developing countries a chance to table their concerns.
"These preparatory meetings, however, form part of a crucial process required for our vulnerable countries to come up with a common and robust negotiating position ahead of COP 18 in Doha," Mr Mohammed stressed.
The Kyoto Protocol empowers developing countries to fully participate in processes geared towards achieving low carbon status. Experts told news agency Xinhua that strong presence of vulnerable countries in climate talks has influenced a positive outcome.
The Legal Officer of Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, UNEP, Robert Ondowe, said that the Nairobi preparatory meeting will enable negotiators from developing countries present coherent proposals at Doha climate talks.
"Developing countries are in agreement that financing for climate adaptation, operationalisation of a green climate fund and the future of Kyoto protocol are key issues that should be prioritised at the Doha meeting," said Mr Ondowe.
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_________________________________________________________________ Hindu (India): New UNEP Goodwill Ambassador wants end to ‘collateral damage’ 17 October 2012
Environmental economist Pavan Sukhdev, who stresses eco-friendly agriculture, solar power and protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services as free sources of income for the poor, is the new Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
An advocate of ‘GDP of the poor’ and biodiversity benefits going to millions of India’s less affluent citizens, Mr. Sukhdev spoke on many platforms at the ongoing Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity here on Wednesday. He was formally inducted by Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP, to join such predecessors as Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and American actor Don Cheadle.
Even before he signed up for the role, Mr. Sukhdev, author of a forthcoming ‘do-it-right’ book, Corporation 2020 — Transforming Business for Tomorrow’s World, was talking to the media about empirical studies that showed a sharp increase in yield when farmers moved away from chemical fertilizer and pesticides, the unsuitability of markets to handle public goods from nature, and the need to have a good dashboard of indices to measure economic development that includes contributions made by nature.
“The current system of national accounting that does not include ecosystem services from forests, wetlands and freshwater is erroneous. We must move to green accounting that is inclusive of real natural wealth,” he said.
Mr. Sukhdev is the founder-CEO of GIST Advisory, a consulting firm that is helping governments and corporations in the measurement, valuation and management of their impacts on natural and human capital. He leads the study commissioned by the G8+5 countries on ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity,’ or TEEB, and the Green Economy Initiative of the UNEP.
At present, development, environment and social equity exist as separate silos, and there is a need for actions combining all three, he said. In India, the TEEB study reveals, an estimated 350 million households rely on nature for 47 per cent of their income, while in Indonesia, the corresponding figure is 100 million households (75 per cent) and in Brazil, 20 million households (89 per cent).
Citing the scope of the green economy, he says 40 million homes in China use solar thermal technology to heat water, which covers one-tenth of the population and promotes the health of the elderly who suffer from arthritis.
In addition, it generates 600,000 jobs from this sector alone. India lags in the use of solar thermal and other renewable power technologies.
“We have the new DNA to pursue a green economic path,” Mr. Sukhdev emphasised, calling for a shift from the 20th century development patterns. He praised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for including the ‘GDP of the poor’ concept in his address to the CBD plenary.
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_________________________________________________________________ Business Recorder (Pakistan): Growing risks to health: report stresses need for co-ordinated efforts 30 October 2012
Co-ordinated action by governments and industry is urgently needed to reduce the growing risks to human health and the environment posed by the unsustainable management of chemicals world-wide, according to a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
UNEP's report 'Global chemicals outlook' highlights the major economic burden caused by chemical hazards, particularly in developing countries. It observed that these risks are compounded by the steady shift in the production, use and disposal of chemical products from developed countries to emerging and developing economies, where safeguards and regulations are often weaker.
It was of the view that sound chemicals management can reduce these financial and health burdens, while improving livelihoods, supporting ecosystems, reducing pollution and developing green technology. "In recent years, international conventions, governments and corporations have taken significant steps in developing national and international capacities for managing chemicals safely and soundly. But the pace of progress has been slow, and that results are too often insufficient," it added.
According to the report, of the estimated 140,000 plus chemicals on the market today, only a fraction has been thoroughly evaluated to determine their effects on human health and the environment. Poisonings from industrial and agricultural chemicals are among the top five leading causes of death world-wide, contributing to over 1 million deaths annually and 14 million disability adjusted life years. The scope of unintended industrial accidents involving chemicals continues to grow rapidly.
The report observed that global chemical sales are set to increase by around three percent a year until 2050. This chemical 'intensification' of economies, as termed by the UNEP report, means that synthetic chemicals are fast becoming the largest constituents of waste streams and pollution around the world, thereby increasing the exposure of humans and habitats to chemical hazards. "Key environmental concerns include pesticide and fertiliser contamination of rivers and lakes, heavy metal pollution associated with cement and textile production, and dioxin contamination from mining. Run-off from fertilisers and pesticides is contributing to a growing number of oxygen-poor 'dead zones' in coastal waters," it added.
"Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) can be transported over long distances in the air and later be deposited onto land and water resources. These chemicals can accumulate in organisms, as they move up the food chain. Mercury, for example, is transformed by aquatic organisms into compounds that can reach tens of thousands of times the concentration originally found in water. As well as harming biodiversity, this can have a serious effect on fisheries, an important source of protein and livelihoods for millions of people world-wide" it added.
The report observed that poor management of chemicals is incurring multi-billion dollar costs world-wide, most of which are not borne by manufacturers or others along the supply chain, but instead by social welfare systems or individuals. In developed and developing countries, longer, more complex supply chains, and the introduction of new chemical compounds mean that products are now more likely to fail to meet safety standards. "This can increase the risk of industrial accidents, and the heavy financial and health burdens they bring," it added.
The report outlines key approaches for a global transition to improved chemicals management, particularly in developing and emerging economies. It suggests comprehensively integrating sound chemicals management into national social and economic plans. Also, Producers, manufacturers and importers should be the first line of safe chemical management and play an active role in developing policies with governments. Moreover, governments in developing and emerging countries should develop policies that focus on preventing risks and promoting safer alternatives, rather than remediating hazards only.
It observed that the costs of effectively managing chemicals and wastes remain an obstacle for many countries and thus there is a pressing need for financial assistance from developed countries and international donors. Governments in developing and emerging countries should promote innovation and the use of safer chemicals to attract investments, it added.
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_________________________________________________________________ Trend (Azerbaijan): International youth forum to be held with cooperation of IDEA campaign 30 October 2012
IDEA campaign (International dialogue in the name of environmental protection), established on July 12, 2011 by the Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva, is the author of numerous local and international projects. Large-scale projects carried out by the IDEA campaign, are of interest for a number of international organizations. In this regard, IDEA campaign is launching new joint projects in cooperation with international organizations.
The Green Week, one of the international projects implemented by IDEA campaign in cooperation with UNEP, will be held on November 12-16.
Along with local guests, the event will bring together specially invited representatives of international organizations, youth leaders and other guests from around the world.
An International Youth Forum will be organized on the first day of the event, on November 12.
The forum will be held with the participation of local and international youth organizations. The forum will focus on sustainable development, the results of the Rio +20 Summit and cooperation between youth organizations. In addition, more than 20 international participants will join the forum through TUNZA network. Local and foreign guests of the forum will make presentations and participate in discussions.
The International Youth Forum will make a significant contribution to the implementation of decisions made at the summit of Rio +20, and will adopt a declaration, which will be brought to the attention of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly.
The work of the organizing committee can be reviewed by following the updates on twitter pages of IDEA campaign and the Green Week (@ IDEAcampaign and @ GreenWeekBaku).
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_________________________________________________________________ Guardian (Trinidad and Tobago): T&T, Caribbean behind in environmental law enforcement 30 October 2012
The killing in July of hundreds of leatherback turtle hatchlings at Grande Riviere beach following a failed attempt by the Ministry of Works to divert the Grande Riviere River was heavily criticised locally and internationally. However, that was not the only major environmental incident to occur this year. In July, there was a lead poisoning scare in Arima; in August severe flooding devastated the Diego Martin area; and most recently, there was an oil spill in the Caroni River at the beginning of the month. It seems all these incidents have one thing in common: Poor environmental governance. This is not a T&T phenomenon but a regional issue.
The fifth Global Environment Outlook report (GEO-5), published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in June, labelled poor governance as one of the most pressing environmental issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to the report, “the region has many laws relating to the environment but, at the same time, the lack of institutional management and capacity to implement and enforce them has constrained their effectiveness. In addition, policies are not keeping pace with production practices or adapting sufficiently to global trends and integration.”
Among UNEP’s recommendations for addressing these problems were stronger “government commitment to new policies” and “making existing policies and mechanisms more effective.” A lack of efficacy may be one of the main problems facing the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), the main environmental governance body locally. Environmentalist Kyle de Lima of Trini Eco Warriors said while the idea and principle of the EMA is sound, the organisation needs strengthening. “We have a system that is archaic and there are too many government bodies or authorities whose roles overlap. Many times we cannot ascertain who is responsible for enforcing the laws,” he said.
De Lima believes the EMA is reactionary and that the network of environmental non-governmental organisations are the true “conscience” of environmental justice locally. “We have a lot of laws approved with the intent of regulating and overseeing the safety of the environment but enforcement is our biggest issue. Enforcement is the biggest problem more so than lack of legislation…Right now the EMA is non-effective,” he said.
Although there are laws regarding illegal quarrying, de Lima said this remains an environmental issue that needs urgent attention. “The EMA should be sending out environmental police making sure these companies operate within their license and shutting down quarries that are not meeting their CEC (Certificate of Environmental Clearance) requirements.” Yet a lack of funding and manpower may be preventing the EMA from carrying out this work, de Lima noted.
He said while T&T is a signatory to numerous international treaties relating to the environment, local compliance is minimal. “We sign on to these treaties to access grants or loans and once the minimum requirements are met many times enforcement is not upheld strongly.” In addition to politicians needing to throw more weight behind existing legislation, de Lima also feels the EMA needs to be more transparent and publicly accountable.
However, in response to claims of a lack of efficacy, a statement provided by EMA public education officer Tisha Marajh said even though there were improvements to be made, it was wrong to assume the EMA was ineffective. She said this was especially true since problems of environmental governance were not unique to this country. “Those who make negative remarks about the EMA often do so without full knowledge or understanding of all the factors involved, the constraints to the Authority, or of the limits of its jurisdiction. Issues affecting environmental governance tend to be similar worldwide, varying only in terms of local, national, regional and global scales.”
Among these issues, Marajh listed political will, financing sustainability, public awareness, monitoring and enforcement, lack of co-ordinated approaches, conflicts between issues such as trade and the environment or energy and the environment, and inadequate legislation.
She added that the work the EMA is able to achieve must be taken “in the context of the environmental legislation and national policies that provide the framework for EMA’s activities as well as the resources available to the EMA to achieve its mandate.”
While there have been amendments to the main environmental law of T&T, most of the foundational framework for environmental governance is outdated. The primary environmental legislation includes the Forests Act (1915), the Fisheries Act (1916), the Conservation of Wildlife Act (1958), and the Environmental Management Act (1995). Secondary legislation includes the Agricultural Fires Act, Animals Act, Archipelagic Waters and Exclusive Zone Act, Chaguaramas Development Act, Importation of Live Fish Act, Marine Areas Act, Municipal Corporations Act, Plant Protection Act, Tobago House of Assembly Act and the Town and Country Planning Act.
The government has also adopted a number of policies including the National Environment Policy (2006), National Forest Policy (2011), National Protected Areas Policy (2011), National Wetland Conservation Policy (2002) and the National Tourism Policy (2010). The Fisheries Act was most recently amended in 2011 to prevent the “taking, removing or selling of any turtle eggs and to prohibit the killing, harpooning or selling of any turtle (Chap 67.51)”
Minister of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs Devant Maharaj told the T&T Guardian in a brief interview that a number of legal documents from his ministry were under review including the Fisheries Act, which he said is in the process of being repealed and re-enacted. He could not say how long this process would take or when it is expected to be completed.