Global environmental challenges
The cactus costume with the sign “water me” was my favourite (left).
Too many protesters at U.N. meetings dress up as polar bears — the bears’ icy habitat is coming under threat from receding ice. So to get the polar-bear-weary delegates’ attention, a bit of variety is a good idea, even though it’s probably harder to make people feel sorry for a prickly plant than an iconic Arctic predator.
In 2004, an economic adviser to former Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol for reining in global warming would kill off the world economy like “an international Auschwitz”.
Jewish groups deplored the remarks by Andrei Illarionov (left side of photo, with Putin) as trivialising the Holocaust. And his fears seem far from justified — in 2007, the Russian economy grew by 8.1 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by just 0.3 percent. (For a story, click here).
When I attended a talk by Al Gore about global warming in Oslo in March 2007, I noticed that one of the people clapping loudest — about two rows in front of me — was the head of the committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ole Danbolt Mjoes also joined in a minute-long standing ovation for the former U.S. vice president. “A very important message,” was all Mjoes would tell me of Gore’s speech afterwards when I went up and asked him if Gore had a chance of winning.
California wasted no time asking incoming U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson to reconsider a request to let the state impose stiff targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars.
The state’s top air quality regulator sent a letter to Jackson on Wednesday, the Obama administration’s first full day at work. Jackson hasn’t even been confirmed as the new EPA administrator yet, but California isn’t beating around the bush.
After one of the briefest honeymoons in history, developing nations at U.N. climate change talks in Poland are saying that President-elect Barack Obama’s goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions don’t go far enough.
Delegates from China and India told Reuters at the Dec. 1-12 talks that they welcomed Obama’s plan to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 compared to less ambitious goals set by President George W. Bush. (Emissions are now about 14 percent above 1990 ).
Kenyan blogger Juliana Rotich is the editor of Green Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world, and is a regular contributor to this page. Thomson Reuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.
Green buildings, a man walking the planet and a net metering law have been inspiring bloggers in South Africa in recent days.
“They’ve been attracted by all the delegates falling asleep inside,” one official joked.
DALLAS – Following a path blazed by other U.S. religious groups, a diverse coalition of Jewish organizations has outlined its concerns regarding the environment and called for action from Congress and the Administration.
Spearheaded by the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, it calls among other things for an aggressive 80 percent cut in carbon reductions by 2050.
A study by scientists in Texas reckons that cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and other farm animals excrete enough waste to generate electricity for millions of homes, helping reduce reliance on coal-fired power plants and so cut greenhouse gas emissions released by burning fossil fuels.
Left to decompose naturally, manure emits the powerful greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide. If trapped by a devoted workforce (people with an impaired sense of smell encouraged to apply) the gases could used to drive microturbines to generate electricity. That works by the manure being “anaerobically digested” — a process a bit like making compost — to release energy-rich biogas which would be burnt to drive the microturbines.