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Climate change experts from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are meeting in Belize at the Belize Biltmore Plaza between Monday and Tuesday, July 8 and 9, 2019 to review the draft Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.
The workshop is being organised by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in association with Climate Analytics and is being implemented through the IMPACT project which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
The objective of the workshop is to prepare CARICOM officials for the IPCC Plenary Meeting in September 2019 which will adopt the Summary for Policy Makers and the underlying report. Chapters in the report addressing sea level rise and the implications for low lying coastal communities and marine ecosystems will be especially important for the Caribbean. The report will provide inputs to the next round of climate change negotiations at COP 25 in Santiago de Chile in December 2019.
The IPCC is the intergovernmental body of the United Nations charged with providing objective scientific information on climate change, its impacts and possible response actions. It produces an authoritative assessment on climate change every seven years in addition to special reports. Its last Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees Celsius produced last year is now the principal scientific document influencing the international response to climate change.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave the following address at the close of COP21 Action Day in Paris:
“I thank President Hollande for convening this gathering, and for France’s engagement as one of the co-leaders of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, along with Peru, the United Nations and the UNFCCC.
I have been looking forward to Action Day because it is about the solutions we so urgently need. Today is about action by all sectors of society. It is about innovation and imagination; collaboration and partnership. It is about our collective future, and it is about hope.
Today, as never before, the stars are aligned in favour of strong, concerted action on climate change. The pace of climate action is quickening.
Governments, cities, the private sector, investors, and the public at large increasingly understand the grave risks posed by climate change.
They also see the tangible benefits to be gained by early action. These include economic growth, new markets, job creation, cleaner air and improved health.
Cities are reducing emissions and bolstering their resilience. Companies are investing in new, green technologies and scaling up use of renewable energy. Investors are scrutinizing fossil fuel investments, and insurers are beginning to integrate climate risk into their decision-making.
Last, and certainly not least, civil society is mobilizing as never before. Citizens, youth, indigenous peoples and faith leaders around the world are demanding action.
National governments are here in Paris seeking to adopt a new, universal climate change agreement. A meaningful agreement will set the international policy framework needed to scale up climate action by all sectors of society.
The Lima-Paris Action Agenda reflects many important initiatives occurring throughout the world. It showcases feasible and affordable climate solutions that demonstrate that the transition to a low-emissions, climate-resilient economy is under way.
I am pleased to see countries from the Global South developing new partnerships, and I encourage more South-South cooperation on climate change.
Strong climate action provides a powerful catalyst for global sustainable development. It is necessary for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Without climate action there can be no sustainable development.
The Lima-Paris Action Agenda is an integral part of the outcomes here in Paris. It will complement the new agreement and will continue to highlight the critical role of non-state actors transforming our societies.
Last year, I hosted a Climate Summit in New York. It gave birth to new multi-stakeholder partnerships and initiatives on forests, renewable energy, sustainable transport, resilience, finance and other areas critical for addressing climate change.
All finance commitments made by the private sector at the UN Climate Summit are on track to being realized. Moreover, billions of additional dollars have been invested since the Summit to support low-carbon and climate-resilient investments in all parts of the world.
The Lima-Paris Action Agenda builds on this progress. Together, these initiatives are making an impact. They demonstrate that we can reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency, build more sustainable cities, protect our forests and create a better future for all.
The benefits of technology and innovation can accelerate progress on sustainable development. I have appointed an Advisory Group of ten eminent individuals from civil society, the private sector and the scientific community to support the recently established Global Technology Facilitation Mechanism and its important work.
This week I also launched my resilience initiative.
I am committed to working with various partners on a range of multiple opportunities to scale up climate action. This will include a “Climate Action 2016” summit of leaders from government, business, cities, civil society and academia on May 5–6 next year in Washington, D.C.
This high-level gathering will complement ongoing efforts and catalyze concrete deliverables in specific high-value areas, such as cities, land use, resilience, energy, transport, tools for decision makers, and finance.
These are the areas that will help make a difference as we work to implement the outcome of the climate conference here in Paris.
We need to rapidly expand and accelerate climate action at every level – from the local to the global. We must go further and we must go faster in line with what science requires to limit temperature rise to less than 2 degrees.
The United Nations system will continue to support climate action in partnership with all stakeholders.
I thank you for your leadership, vision and commitment to building a more prosperous, resilient and secure future for all.”
Source: UN Climate Change News Room
Politicians must act to cap global warming when they meet at a United Nations summit at the end of the year as the financial and humanitarian consequences of natural catastrophes become ever clearer, reinsurers meeting at an industry conference said.
The $600 billion reinsurance industry helps insurance companies pay damage claims from hurricanes, floods or earthquakes and can help people and companies get back on their feet after a disaster.
The UN’s climate boss warned this week that national promises to cut emissions so far would cap warming at an unacceptably high level, heightening concerns in the insurance industry about politicians’ lack of resolve.
“Definitely we expect political courage to move in a direction that shows responsibility towards future generations and a certain interest in defending the sustainability of this planet,” Swiss Re’s Chief Executive, Michel Lies, told a news conference.
Swiss Re data shows natural disasters caused an average $180 billion in economic damage per year over the last decade, of which 70 percent was uninsured.
Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s said big natural catastrophes can also lead to cuts in sovereign credit ratings — making it more expensive for governments to borrow money — with Latin America and the Caribbean most at risk.
These conclusions should help concentrate minds at the climate talks starting in Paris on Nov. 30, reinsurers said.
“What we can bring to the table is a credible price tag for the decisions that are taken or not taken, making sure everybody understands that in the short term you may not take a decision but you will definitely pay a price in the long term,” Lies said.
Weather researchers say global warming will result in more frequent and intense heatwaves, precipitation and storms. Warming needs to be limited to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels to avoid the most devastating consequences in the form of droughts and rising sea levels, scientists say.
“Even if this goal is not fully reached, every step in this direction is better than no result at all,” said Peter Hoeppe, head of Geo Risks Research at reinsurer Munich Re.
In the meantime, there must be increasing focus on preventive measures such as flood defences that can help dampen the rise in insurance premiums in the medium to long term, Hoeppe said.
Insurers and Group of Seven industrialized countries are working to expand the availability of insurance to an additional 400 million people in developing countries considered at high risk.
“Climate change is happening, no question,” said XL Group’s Chief Executive, Mike McGavick.
“Insurers and reinsurers have to be at the forefront of transferring that risk,” McGavick said.
Credit: St. Louis Post Dispatch
“Combatting climate change, promoting sustainable development and addressing the vulnerabilities of SIDS will demand partnership, capacity and leadership,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who recalled that the SAMOA Pathway is here “to guide us.”
Last year’s Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa increased global attention on their contributions to sustainable development – but also on their unique vulnerabilities, Mr. Ban reminded to the Council members, who were meeting for an unprecedented debate about the situation of these countries.
From traditional armed conflict to transnational crime and piracy, illicit exploitation of natural resources, climate change and climate-related natural disasters and uneven development, small island developing States face a range of peace and security challenges, according to the concept note provided by New Zealand, which holds the rotating Presidency of the Security Council for the month of July.
Caribbean SIDS, for example, are vulnerable to drug-trafficking and gang-related violence, noted the Secretary-General, while unreported and unregulated fishing undermine local economies. Through its Maritime Crime Programme, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime is actively engaged to help these countries in these areas.
“Taken together with the broader vulnerabilities faced by many of these States communities, these challenges can disproportionately affect national stability, fuel conflict across regions and ultimately have an impact on the maintenance of international peace and security,” adds the Security Council concept note.
For the Secretary-General, the first priority must be to support these States in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
“Second, we need a post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals that address the needs of SIDS,” he continued.
At the recent Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, which took place from July 13 to 16, it was encouraging that the concerns of [that group of countries] were reflected, including in critical areas such as debt, trade, technology and Official Development Assistance, Mr. Ban noted.
“Third, we need a meaningful and universal global climate agreement in Paris in December,” stressed the UN chief, as small island developing States are on the front lines of climate change.
“Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu is only the latest in a long string of devastation that SIDS have endured and will continue to endure as long as climate change is not adequately addressed,” he warned, underscoring that Caribbean countries sometimes experience as many as five hurricanes in a season.
Rising sea levels, dying coral reefs and the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters exacerbate the conditions leading to community displacement and migration, threatening to increase tensions over resources and affect domestic and regional stability, the Secretary-General went on to say.
“Leading by example,” many of these countries have been accelerating their own transition to renewable energy to secure a sustainable energy future. But, to support SIDS in their actions to combat climate change and adapt to its impacts, “a politically credible trajectory for mobilizing the pledged $100 billion dollars per year by 2020” is needed, he explained.
The Green Climate Fund will need to be up and running before the Climate Conference in Paris in December, but a “meaningful, universal climate agreement” must be adopted, concluded the Secretary-General.
Credit: UN News Centre
The University for Peace (UPEACE) and UNU-EHS are pleased to invite applications for a new certificate online training course on the topic of “Climate Change, International Law and Human Security”. This six weeks online course will be co-taught by experts from both institutions and will take place from April 8th to May 19th, 2015.
The course is intended for staff members of the United Nations and its agencies; staff members of other inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, and government agencies; academics; practitioners; and students, who are working or researching in fields related to climate change and environmental, human rights, international law, development, and migration, amongst others. UPEACE and UNU-EHS aim to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants.
The course has a limited number of seats available. Qualified participants will be admitted on the combined basis of first-come-first served, gender equality and regional representation.
To apply, please click here.
Ruth Spencer is a pioneer in the field of solar energy. She promotes renewable technologies to communities throughout her homeland of Antigua and Barbuda, playing a small but important part in helping the country achieve its goal of a 20-percent reduction in the use of fossil fuels by 2020.
She also believes that small non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have a crucial role to play in the bigger projects aimed at tackling the problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas.
Spencer, who serves as National Focal Point for the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-Small Grants Programme (SGP) in Antigua and Barbuda, has been at the forefront of an initiative to bring representatives of civil society, business owners and NGOs together to educate them about the dangers posed by climate change.
“The GEF/SGP is going to be the delivery mechanism to get to the communities, preparing them well in advance for what is to come,” she told IPS.
The GEF Small Grants Programme in the Eastern Caribbean is administered by the United Nations office in Barbados.
“Since climate change is heavily impacting the twin islands of Antigua and Barbuda, it is important that we bring all the stakeholders together,” said Spencer, a Yale development economist who also coordinates the East Caribbean Marine Managed Areas Network funded by the German government.
“The coastal developments are very much at risk and we wanted to share the findings of the IPCC report with them to let them see for themselves what all these scientists are saying,” Spencer told IPS.
“We are in a small island so we have to build synergies, we have to network, we have to partner to assist each other. By providing the information, they can be aware and we are going to continue doing follow up….so together we can tackle the problem in a holistic manner,” she added.
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has sent governments a final draft of its synthesis report, which paints a harsh picture of what is causing global warming and what it will do to humans and the environment. It also describes what can be done about it.
Ruleta Camacho, project coordinator for the sustainable island resource management mechanism within Antigua and Barbuda’s Ministry of the Environment, told IPS there is documented observation of sea level rise which has resulted in coastal erosion and infrastructure destruction on the coastline.
She said there is also evidence of ocean acidification and coral bleaching, an increase in the prevalence of extreme weather events – extreme drought conditions and extreme rainfall events – all of which affect the country’s vital tourism industry.
“The drought and the rainfall events have impacts on the tourism sector because it impacts the ancillary services – the drought affects your productivity of local food products as well as your supply of water to the hotel industry,” she said.
“And then you have the rainfall events impacting the flooding so you have days where you cannot access certain sites and you have flood conditions which affect not only the hotels in terms of the guests but it also affects the staff that work at the hotels. If we get a direct hit from a storm we have significant instant dropoff in the productivity levels in the hotel sector.”
Antigua and Barbuda, which is known for its sandy beaches and luxurious resorts, draws nearly one million visitors each year. Tourism accounts for 60 to 75 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, and employs nearly 90 percent of the population.
Like Camacho, Ediniz Norde, an environment officer, believes sea level rise is likely to worsen existing environmental stresses such as a scarcity of freshwater for drinking and other uses.
“Many years ago in St. John’s we had seawater intrusion all the way up to Tanner Street. It cut the street in half. It used to be a whole street and now there is a big gutter running through it, a ship was lodged in Tanner Street,” she recalled.
“Now it only shows if we have these levels of sea water rising that this is going to be a reality here in Antigua and Barbuda,” Norde told IPS. “This is how far the water can get and this is how much of our environment, of our earth space that we can lose in St. John’s. It’s a reality that we won’t be able to shy away from if we don’t act now.”
As the earth’s climate continues to warm, rainfall in Antigua and Barbuda is projected to decrease, and winds and rainfall associated with episodic hurricanes are projected to become more intense. Scientists say these changes would likely amplify the impact of sea level rise on the islands.
But Camacho said climate change presents opportunities for Antigua and Barbuda and the country must do its part to implement mitigation measures.
She explained that early moves towards mitigation and building renewable energy infrastructure can bring long-term economic benefits.
“If we retrain our population early enough in terms of our technical expertise and getting into the renewable market, we can actually lead the way in the Caribbean and we can offer services to other Caribbean countries and that’s a positive economic step,” she said.
“Additionally, the quicker we get into the renewable market, the lower our energy cost will be and if we can get our energy costs down, it opens us for economic productivity in other sectors, not just tourism.
“If we can get our electricity costs down we can have financial resources that would have gone toward your electricity bills freed up for improvement of the [tourism] industry and you can have a better product being offered,” she added.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) invites you to the Caribbean Launch of The Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on October 13, 2014 at the Frank Collymore Hall, Central Bank of Barbados, Spry Street, Bridgetown, Barbados.
The event is intended to raise the profile of Climate Change as a key development challenge in the Region, and the high degree of scientific certainty surrounding the predictions about our changing and variable climate. The report offers some specific messages about the impacts of climate change on small island states - and some of its general findings on climate change adaptation and mitigation are of particular relevance to Small Island Developing States such as those in the Caribbean. The 90 minute public education launch event, which will be live streamed and tweeted via the hashtag #CaribbeanClimate, will bring together a range of international and regional perspectives on the relevance of the findings for the region.
RSVP with Mr Tyrone Hall, communication specialist, CCCCC via firstname.lastname@example.org by October 7, 2014. The event is being held with support from the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN).
ICCG INTERNATIONAL LECTURE
How does achieving a universal modern energy access goal affect the attainment of other SDGs?
Given by: Shonali Pachauri, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
September 15th 2014 – 11:30 am
ICCG, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice – Italy
The lecture will be also broadcasted via live streaming at this link
Access to modern energy services is fundamental to development. It is generally agreed that nations need to supply their citizens with a basic level of access to modern energy to improve their quality of life. The Sustainable Energy for all (SE4ALL) goals of the United Nations also stipulates universal access to modern energy by 2030 as one of its targets. However, there is little agreement on how to define “modern energy access”, or analysis of what it will take to achieve it…»
*A light lunch follow.
**Admission free subject to availability. Registration is required.
Contact: email@example.com (Silvia Nevi).
Caribbean energy experts recommend creation of new Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE)
The technical design and institutional set-up of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) was successfully validated by energy experts and specialists of CARICOM Member States in a regional workshop, held from 21 to 22 July 2014 in Roseau, Dominica. The event was co-organized by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Sustainable Energy Initiative – SIDS DOCK, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, with financial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC).
The workshop follows-up on the official request of SIDS DOCK to UNIDO in August 2013, to assist the small island developing states in the Caribbean, Pacific, Indian Ocean and Africa, in the creation of a SIDS network of regional sustainable energy centres. With technical assistance from UNIDO, a consultative preparatory process for the Caribbean centre was launched in close coordination with the Energy Unit of the CARICOM Secretariat. The process included the development of a needs assessment and project document on the technical and institutional design of the centre. With the inputs received at the regional workshop, the needs assessment and the project document on the technical and institutional design of the centre will be finalized.
It was recommended to create CCREEE under the umbrella of the existing institutional framework of CARICOM. It was agreed to submit the final CCREEE project document for consideration by the next Ministerial Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) of CARICOM. It was suggested to launch a competitive selection process for the host country of the Secretariat of CCREEE.
Prime Minister of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, endorsed the establishment of the CCREEE, and announced Dominica’s interest in hosting the centre. “Dominica has the highest percentage of renewable energy (RE) in its energy mix among the Caribbean countries, therefore, Dominica would be the ideal location,” he said. By 2017, Dominica will become the only Small Island Developing State to export electricity. A partnership between the Government of Dominica and a French Consortium will develop a geothermal power plant for export and subsea transmission lines to French neighbours – Guadeloupe to the north, and Martinique to the south.
Ambassador Vince Henderson, Permanent Representative of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United Nations, and Chair of the SIDS DOCK Steering Committee, who spearheaded the initiative for the establishment of regional RE and EE centres, expressed gratitude on behalf of the small island developing states to the government of for providing the funding for the establishment of the regional centres in the Pacific and the Caribbean and the support to African SIDS through the ECREEE. “The establishment of regional centres for RE and EE is one of the most progressive steps that UNIDO, SIDS DOCK and our governments can take towards the transitioning from fossil fuels to RE, and CCREEE will work with regional institutions, like the OECS, CARICOM, CREDP and CDB, to pool human and financial resources to transform the regional energy sector,” he noted.
Dr. Pradeep Monga, Director of the Energy and Climate Change Branch of UNIDO, said the importance of the regional energy centre is to boost inclusive and sustainable industrial development in Caribbean islands. “The centre will play an important role in empowering the local private sector and industry to take advantage of growing job and business opportunities in the sustainable energy sector,” Mr. Monga stressed.
The over 60 Caribbean experts and specialists, development and private sector partners in attendance recommended that the centre focuses particularly on policy implementation, capacity development, knowledge management, awareness raising and the creation of business opportunities for the local sustainable energy industry. The centre will act as a think-tank and hub for sustainable energy and will play a key role in creating economies of scale and a competitive sustainable energy market and business sector. It will address existing barriers and strengthen drivers through regional methodologies and tools. It will act as the central service provider for the development and implementation of SIDS DOCK and Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL) activities.
The centre will become part of UNIDO´s Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres. The SIDS centres will be announced as an innovative south-south partnership at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, scheduled to take place from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa.
Further information on the workshop is available at: http://www.ccreee.org
For more information:
Mr Al Binger, Energy Advisor, CARICOM Climate Change Centre, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Martin Lugmayr, Sustainable Energy Expert, UNIDO, email@example.com