Un news Centre: Low-carbon, socially aware business models key to sustainable development – un

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Friday, April 29, 2011

UNEP and the Executive Director in the News
  • UN News Centre: Low-carbon, socially aware business models key to sustainable development – UN

  • República (Nepal): 'Create employment cutting carbon emission'

  • Journal Sentinel (US): Cooling on global warming

  • Gulf Times (Qatar): Doha all set for ninth WCSE

  • Treehugger: FYE Shoes - Fashionable, Affordable, Green & Responsible Footwear from France

  • Caracol Radio (Colombia): ONU preocupada por posible exploración de hidrocarburos en San Andrés

  • Radio Ushile (Chile): Organismos mundiales llaman a geólogo de la U. de Chile como experto principal para curso de Glaciología

  • Kiosco Mayor (Mexico): Piden más apoyos en México para los "empleos verdes"

  • El Extra (Spain): La gran ballena de plástico

  • Eco Portal: Apicultores alemanes protestaran contra los plaguicidas de Bayer, responsables de las muertes de abejas en todo el mundo

  • Diário digital (Portugal): Brasil: Países emergentes esboçam princípios economia verde

  • Diário de Cuibá (Brazil): Em vídeos Gisele defende as florestas

  • Actu- Environnement: Les pays africains s'organisent pour se prémunir des marées noires et créer des aires marines protégées

Other Environment News

  • AP: NRC chief questions blackout plans for US plants

  • AFP: Global warming threat amid nuclear doubts: IEA

  • Reuters: Alabama nuclear plant shuts safely after tornadoes

  • AFP: Tornadoes whipped up by wind, not climate: officials

  • Guardian (UK): Deadliest tornadoes since 1974 rip apart towns and lives in six US states

  • AP: Tornadoes devastate South, killing at least 281

  • Guardian (UK): Mystery granules close Yorkshire beach

  • Telegraph (UK): The 13-year-old who has the world planting trees

  • Telegraph (UK): Indian Ocean current 'could save British climate'

  • BBC News (UK): Boom and bust signals ecosystem collapse

  • Reuters: Google: renewable energy is long-term effort

  • Guardian (UK): Surge in solar panel installations on UK household roofs

  • Guardian (UK): Electric car scheme has only 534 takers

Other UN News

  • Environment News from the UN Daily News of April 29th 2011

  • Environment News from the S.G.’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of April 28th 2011 (None)

UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

UN News Centre: Low-carbon, socially aware business models key to sustainable development – UN

28th April 2011

The head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today urged businesses to transform their enterprises into low-carbon operations that are environmentally sound and benefit communities in order to remain profitable and sustainable.

“Business as usual, which leads to broken ecosystems and a warming climate, contributes to increasing economic volatility, and to higher costs and lower profitability of doing business,” said Helen Clark, the UNDP Administrator, in a keynote address to the summit on business solutions for the environment, held in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

“Conversely, I believe that there will be significant business and livelihood opportunities, and a better future for us all, if we collectively commit to a sustainable course. The way we live and the way we do business needs to be aligned with achieving inclusive and low-carbon development,” she added.

Miss Clark said she believes that, increasingly in global markets, goods and services with high carbon footprints and negative social costs will become less competitive and less desirable. She highlighted the proliferation of green certification systems as an indication that future markets will demand greater compliance with environmentally and socially responsible standards.

“Markets will adapt to those global frameworks which are agreed to by the international community,” she said, citing as an example the Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization, which was adopted last year in the Japanese city of Nagoya.

She said the protocol established a groundbreaking new standard for ensuring that local communities and developing countries benefit more equitably from the proceeds and use of biological resources.

Miss Clark expressed UNDP’s solidarity with the one billion people across the world who live in extreme poverty and rely on the environment in which they live for their livelihoods and primary assets. Preserving ecosystems is critical for their daily survival and that of humankind, she said.

She noted that the world’s poor are the most vulnerable to the effects of environmental degradation, including severe floods and droughts, extreme temperatures and rising sea levels resulting from climate change.

“How to advance human development and progress for all those yearning for a better life, while also securing the future of our planet and its ecosystems, is one of the greatest challenges of our time.”

The Administrator emphasized that inclusive and sustainable business models, as well as strong and capable government institutions and good policy, are key to achieving transformative solutions for the planet.

“But above that, we need vision and commitment from all stakeholders, and the passionate belief that we can transform living standards while also sustaining our environment. Developed countries have a heavy responsibility for cleaning up their act, and for supporting developing countries to advance human development in sustainable ways. We are all in this together.”
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República (Nepal): 'Create employment cutting carbon emission'
28th April 2011
Environment campaigners have stressed for creating employment opportunities by cutting carbon emission and protecting environment.

Participants of a seminar on ´National Conference on Climate Change and Green Jobs” organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Ministry of Labour and Transportation urged all those who are developing industries to produce less carbon.

Speaking at the program, Secretary of Ministry of Labour and Transportation Dinesh Hari Adhikari said the government was committed to implement the rules and regulations to control industrial and other kinds of pollutions.

On the occasion, Director of ILO Office in Nepal Shengjie Li assured of all possible support from ILO to conduct various awareness program and decrease climate change effects and stressed for the establishment of environment friendly industries.
Similarly, Chairman of Nepal Trade Union Congress Laxman Bahadur Basnet said it is possible to create millions of employment opportunities utilizing natural resources.

Manish Kumar Agrawal of Federation of Nepal Chambers of Commerce and Industry said many industrial entrepreneurs themselves were unaware of the term called ´Green Jobs´ and opined that they were sensitive to run industrial activities leaving no harmful effects in the environment.

The UN Environment Program ILO and International Trade Union Confederation have been starting green job programs in nine countries across the Asia-Pacific Region starting 2007.

The project, launched in Nepal for the first time, aims to contribute to lasting financial development through the conservation of natural resources and control of deforestation.

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Journal Sentinel (US): Cooling on global warming
28th April 2011
"What the heck went wrong?" That, apparently, is the question roiling the environmental community as it realizes that the fight against climate change has fizzled.

As Brad Plumer writes in the New Republic, everything was looking great in 2008 for a sweeping effort to make good on candidate Barack Obama's pledge to start turning back the rising oceans. The Democrats held Congress. Both John McCain and Obama had promised to push for capping carbon emissions. Corporations had gotten on board. Al Gore and "An Inconvenient Truth" had seemingly softened up the public to the point where it might go along with whatever a popular president promised.

"Instead, the climate push was ... a total flop," laments Plumer.

And, of course, Plumer's right, though not entirely for the reasons he claims.

Climate change is dead as a major political issue for the foreseeable future. Don't believe me? Check out Obama's remarks in his weekly radio address last weekend. It was all about energy policy, and yet not once did he talk about climate change.

In one sense that's odd, given that without global warming, his energy policy goes from merely misguided to outright bonkers. After all, if you wanted to create non-exportable jobs, wean America off foreign oil or pursue energy independence from the Middle East, absent any concerns about climate change or releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, you would unleash America's massive energy reserves in coal, gas and oil. According to the Congressional Research Service, hardly a mouthpiece for Big Oil, the U.S. has the largest energy resources of any country, Saudi Arabia and Russia included.

But in another sense it's not odd, because telling voters that they have to pay high gas prices in order to ineffectually fight climate change would be honest but incalculably dumb, politically. Recent polling shows that Americans care about the economy more -- a lot more -- than global warming. Skepticism about the existence of a problem or its scope has been rising in the U.S. and Europe. When a Pew poll in January asked voters what their biggest priorities were, climate changed ranked second to last. Only obesity was deemed less of a priority. (Don't tell Michelle Obama.)

Even Madison Avenue has noticed. The New York Times reports that increasingly budget-conscious consumers are no longer willing to shell out extra for self-described "green products." As a result, the number of new Earth-friendly products has plummeted. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart has largely abandoned its failed experiment with becoming a proletarian purveyor of green goods no one wants to buy.

Why has climate change lost its oomph? Plumer lays out some of the reasons, though he minimizes the damage greens have inflicted on their own credibility thanks to the 2009 Climategate email scandal and wildly overstated predictions. For instance, the United Nations predicted there would be 50 million "climate refugees" by 2010. Notably, the islands of the Caribbean would see massive population losses as denizens fled for their lives. Never happened. (Meanwhile, the UN Environment Program has removed the map of predicted devastation from its website.)

No wonder Obama constantly insists that switching to vastly more expensive and less-efficient energy sources will create jobs. No wonder he promises that if we all get on board the high-speed rail bandwagon, we'll win the future. No wonder he's trying to change the subject to as-of-yet-nonexistent gas station price gouging and allegedly outrageous subsidies for the oil industry.

Obama's claims are dubious at best. In supposedly pioneering China, high-speed rail has been a boondoggle of biblical proportions. Green jobs destroy more jobs than they create, and pay less. In Spain, Obama's favorite clean-energy innovator, one study found that 2.2 jobs were destroyed for every one that was created. Indeed, across Europe, massive investments in wind and solar simply haven't paid off.

One suspects that Obama would dearly love to drill a lot for more oil and gas, simply for the political windfall in jobs and economic growth. But after he flipped on offshore drilling, then flopped after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, he cannot flip again without infuriating his base. So he brags about how much more drilling there is today, even though that's the result of policies already in the pipeline.

Obama and the greens are in an exquisite bind. Without economic recovery, Americans won't support Obama's "investments," but Obama's investments are a hindrance to recovery.
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Gulf Times (Qatar): Doha all set for ninth WCSE
29th April 2011
The 9th World Conference on Sport and Environment (WCSE), under the theme ‘Playing for a Greener Future’, gets underway at the Sheraton Convention Centre Doha tomorrow. The three-day conference is being organised by the IOC in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Qatar Olympic Committee.
The conference will be officially opened by IOC president Jacques Rogge and distinguished personalities such as the Heir Apparent and IOC member, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani; the UNEP executive director, Achim Steiner; and the chairman of the IOC Sport and Environment Commission, Dr Pál Schmitt, the president of Hungary.
Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, secretary-general of QOC welcomed the participating delegations to the conference.
“It is a huge honour and a proud moment for the Qatar Olympic Committee to be co-hosting the WCSE,” Sheikh Saoud said in a statement. “The IOC and United Nations Environment Programme have developed an influential conference over recent years which has stimulated real discussion and provided thought-leadership to the global sports sector.”
“I have no doubt that this will be the case at this year’s conference, and we are delighted to welcome so many Olympic Family members to Qatar, including IOC President Jacques Rogge, for what we hope will be a stimulating and inspiring three days,” added Sheikh Saoud.
More than 500 people including a range of experts on sports and the environment and representatives from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations will attend the conference, Khalil Ibrahim al-Jaber, deputy chairman of the WCSE Local Organising Committee told a press conference yesterday.
Over the three days, the conference attendees will exchange information and best practices, covering topics specific to Qatar National Vision 2030, International Sports Federations, IOC, NGOs, developing nations etc.
HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim, Rogge, Steiner, chief at UN Habitat Office in Kuwait Tarek El Sheikh will be among the key not speakers at the plenary sessions.
In the following two days, topics such as sport’s contribution to the Rio +20 Earth Summit; the role of Olympic partners in promoting a green agenda; sport and its ecological footprints and how Olympic Organising Committees are integrating environmental sustainability into their planning will be discussed in plenary and breakout sessions.
Olympic champions such as Jill Savery, will also have their voices heard. Frank Fredericks will chair the final plenary session, in which participants at the first Youth Olympic Games that took place in Singapore last year will take the floor and share their visions of a sustainable planet. The young speakers come from all different parts of the world, namely from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Australia, India and Canada.
Conference delegates will have the opportunity to actively support the Conference motto there and then: they will be able to contribute during the public comment period on the final draft of the Event Organisers Sector Supplement, add their own public commentary to the new Event Sector Supplement led by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and make their own environmental pledge to care for our planet on the Green Wall Banner. In line with the event objectives, the organisers have committed to a paperless Conference and it is planned to broadcast all Conference sessions live via digital media.
Items on the agenda, which will be addressed in plenary and breakout sessions, include: How sport can contribute to the 2012 Rio +20 Earth Summit , Ways of implementing the Olympic Movement’s Agenda 21 at global and local level, The role of sport in achieving goal 7 (environmental sustainability) of the Millennium Development Goals, How to make sports events sustainable, The role of Olympians in promoting respect for the environment.
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Treehugger: FYE Shoes - Fashionable, Affordable, Green & Responsible Footwear from France
28th April 2011
Shoe lovers have more and more choice when it comes to buying eco-friendly shoes: Simple Shoes, Worn Again or TOMS are just a few of my favourites and I just found a new brand from France. FYE (for your earth) is a relatively young company that started popping up on the internet and in european stores recently. Their fashionable trainers are comfy and their philosophy is eco-social business; good for people, planet and profit.

The Materials

FYE uses recycled materials as well as organic natural fibers and rubber, all held together by non-toxic water-based adhesives.

Life Cycle Thinking

To reduce transportation emissions and cost, the recycled cardboard shoe box has been reduced to its minimum amount of material and size. However, according to Ana Villagorda for the blog Sostenible.cat the shoes are made in Vietnam, which adds quite a milage to the boxes. This is I believe for the same reasons that Worn Again produces in China; good quality at a low price (read: Greenslinging: Recycled Shoemaker Not Perfect, Says Newspaper). To make sure the production is ethical, 5% of every shoe sold goes to projects that work on improving working conditions in developing countries. Finally, to close the loop, FYE encourages the recycling of their shoes. All through France you can drop your old shoes of at any Le Relais recycling point. Those shoes are then turned into new soles again.

CO2 Offsetting

FYE undertook a carbon footprint study and found out that a pair of FYE shoes is of 2800 g eq. CO2 and 319 g CO2 eq / 100 g UVC. Read the full study here. To offset this CO2, the company is taking part in UN's "One Billion Trees" campaign; a pair of FYE purchased = 1 tree planted.

Of course these shoes are by no means perfect... I doubt that we can talk about upcycling in this case. Different materials, technical and biological, glued and melted together makes upcycling impossible, in case the old shoes actually make it back to the factory, which with the current recycling system in place, is highly unlikely and inefficient. It would also be nice to achieve a more local production, but compared to other footwear on the market, I guess these guys are doing alright and are definitely walking into the right direction.

Prices for the FYE shoes range from 48€ to 59€ on the Spanish online store Ecotendencias.

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Caracol Radio (Colombia): ONU preocupada por posible exploración de hidrocarburos en San Andrés
28th April 2011
El Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA) le transmitió la preocupación a la ministra de Relaciones Exteriores de Colombia, María Ángela Holguín, al considerar que la Reserva de la Biosfera y Área Marina Protegida –AMP-Seaflower han servido de modelo del sistema de conservación y co-manejo no solo para la Región Caribe sino para el mundo entero, lo cual es motivo de orgullo para todos y en particular a los colombianos.

El Coordinador del programa Ambiental del Caribe (PAC), Nelson Andrade Colmenares, ve con preocupación la exploración de hidrocarburos en el área de Seaflower como un inminente riesgo, no solo para los ecosistemas del Archipiélago de San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina, sino para la región en su conjunto, en particular las áreas que se encuentran corriente debajo de la corriente del Caribe.

“El derrame del Golfo de México nos debe servir a todos de experiencia de lo que pudiese ocurrir si el petróleo se disemina en una región oceánica tan abierta y sujeta a rápidas corrientes”, expreso Andrade Colmenares a la ministra Holguín.

Advierte el programa ambiental de la ONU, que si se decide avanzar en el proyecto y ocurre un desastre, es de esperar que los efectos sean mayores debido al sistema de flujo de corrientes imperante, al generarse una mayor pluma de dispersión que haga llegar el derrame a áreas muy cercanas como Jamaica, Centroamérica, Cuba y más lejanas como México y los Estados Unidos de Norte América.

Cabe destacar La participación de la Reserva de Biosfera Seaflower activamente en la implementación del protocolo sobre las Áreas y Especies especialmente protegidas (SPAW) del cual el Gobierno de Colombia es parte tratante desde 1998 y de su acuerdo marco, el Convenio de Cartagena, del cual es también Depositario y parte desde 1986.

Finalmente el Gobierno Nacional eliminó del Plan Nacional de Desarrollo el parágrafo que permitiría la exploración y explotación petrolera y minera en la Reserva de Biósfera Seaflower.

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Radio Ushile (Chile): Organismos mundiales llaman a geólogo de la U. de Chile como experto principal para curso de Glaciología
28th April 2011
El Programa de Naciones Unidades para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA), en conjunto con la Conferencia de Directores Generales Iberoamericanos del Agua (CODIA), abrió la segunda convocatoria para participar en el Curso de Glaciología, a celebrarse entre el 6 y el 10 de junio próximo en Quito.

Nuevamente el experto glaciólogo chileno Cedomir Marangunic será el principal facilitador del Curso.

Especialmente diseñado para profesionales y técnicos de disciplinas relacionadas con los recursos naturales y el agua, el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente y la Conferencia de Directores Generales Iberoamericanos del Agua, por segundo año consecutivo organizan el Curso Iberoamericano de Glaciología, a realizarse en esta ocasión en Quito, Ecuador, del 6 al 10 de junio próximo.

Los interesados en participar deben llenar la ficha de solicitud de inscripción que se encuentra en el sitio web del Pnuma, y aquellos que queden seleccionados recibirán una comunicación oficial de esta organización.

Nuevamente los organizadores solicitaron la participación en calidad de facilitador al doctor Cedomir Marangunic Damianovic, geólogo de la Universidad de Chile con Ph.D. en Glaciología de la Universidad Estatal de Ohio, Estados Unidos, y actual socio y consultor de la empresa Geoestudios.

Además del ingeniero y glaciólogo Benjamín Morales, director ejecutivo del Patronato del Museo de las Montañas Andinas de Perú, quien también participó en el curso dictado en Santiago en 2010; este año se integró al equipo de relatores el profesor francés, radicado en Quito, Bernard Francou, director de investigación del Institut de Recherche pour le Développement  (IRD), de Francia. Coordina el curso el ingeniero Javier Narbona de la Dirección General de Aguas del ministerio de Obras Públicas.

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