Global environmental challenges
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.
Gore of course went on to share the prize in December with the U.N. Climate Panel. The photo above shows Mjoes (left), handing the award to Gore in Oslo City Hall.
Climate change worries Professor Andrzej Bereszynski of the Poznan Agriculture Academy, who runs a 30-year-old wolf sanctuary.
He fears that global warming could take a new toll on the elusive predator — almost hunted to death across much of Europe.
There’s plenty of hot air filling the sprawling conference centre that houses the U.N. climate change talks this week and next in Poznan, Poland. But many of the 500 or so youth participants in the conference – who hail from more than 50 countries – feel left out in the political cold.
On Friday morning, six of them created a human installation in the lobby to draw attention to their demand for fair use of the world’s natural resources.
This week the U.N. leads a new round of global climate talks, in its 14th meeting since the world signed up to the convention on climate change in 1992.
It’s all about replacing the Kyoto Protocol with a more ambitious climate deal from 2013. Kyoto is widely regarded as toothless, but so could be its successor. (For a story, click here)
Emissions of the main greenhouse gas are rocketing — despite international efforts to slow them down, according to a study today.
Read my colleague David Fogarty’s worrying article about carbon dioxide emissions — China has definitely overtaken the United States as top emitter, India is catching up with third placed Russia.
June 2-13 talks in Bonn on a new deal to widen the Kyoto Protocol after a first period ends in 2012 are ending on Friday with few agreements and many criticisms about a lack of progress.
The UN’s climate surgery opening hours this week in Bonn, Germany, are 10am-1pm and 3pm-6pm.
Several times they’ve finished early — lack of demand?
“That’s good. Often they just go on and on. Next week it may be a bit later,” a UN spokesperson told me.
At the U.N. Biodiversity Conference in Bonn, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is being hailed as something of a hero. In what could be seen as an attempt to salvage both the talks and her own reputation as a champion of the environment, she announced millions of euros in handouts to help save the planet’s forests.
Campaigners fell over themselves praising her for setting an example. The physicist and former environment minister won credit last year for helping to broker EU and G8 deals to tackle climate change and some close to her insist the subject is close to her heart.
It’s not just that it’s disappeared from media headlines this year – shoved off by the credit crunch and natural disasters, for example. It can’t be ignored that 2007 came and went as another very warm year – the 7th hottest on record since 1850 according to the World Meteorological Organization.
But it wasn’t a record. In fact that was 1998, a full 10 years ago — the year of an exceptional El Nino, a Pacific weather pattern which heats the whole globe. So is global warming not living up to the hype?
A plan by President George W. Bush to set a distant 2025 ceiling for rising U.S. greenhouse gases has triggered criticisms by Germany that he is coming up with a “Neanderthal” solution to the problem – too little too late.
Most other delegates at 17-nation U.S.-led climate talks in Paris on Thursday and Friday have been far less damning, welcoming the fact that Bush is setting a ceiling for emissions, albeit one that will be a generation after most other rich nations.