Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Drowning states ask world to stop global warming

From: Sydney Morning Herald

Brendan Nicholson and Hamish McDonald in Cairns
August 7, 2009

THE world has fallen well behind in the race to find a formula to deal with global warming in time for December's Copenhagen summit, regional leaders have warned.

After their two-day summit in Cairns, 15 Pacific Islands Forum leaders issued a statement saying the threat was grave and a strong global agreement was vital.

"With 122 days to go, the international community is not on track to achieve the outcome we need unless we see a renewed mandate across all participating nations," the leaders said.

Chaired by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, the forum urged all nations to redouble their efforts to secure an agreement.

The leaders called for a program that would set the world on a path to limit the increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees or less and to cut global emissions to at least 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The forum nations are part of the Alliance of Small Island States, 39 nations in the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean that are likely to be the first - and worst - affected, by global warming.

The alliance was set up in 1990 to provide a voice for small nations, and it says that unless the increase in temperature is kept below 1.5 degrees the result will be disastrous for millions of people on those islands.

Grenada's representative to the United Nations and the alliance leader, Dessima Williams, told the Herald the impact on dozens of low-lying nations would be disastrous.

"We are going to have more devastation of all sorts from sea level rise and hurricanes," Ms Williams said.

"We are going to lose our jobs, our food supply.

"The world is going to see disruption that starts from the small island states. It will be disruption of every sort, more health problems, economic dislocation and more migration."

As well as the climate change plea, the 16 nations are to pool their experiences with energy sources including solar, wind and wave power generation, with Australia putting $25 million into the initiative.

The forum leaders also agreed to pursue common development strategies fostered by growth in the private sector, better state services and governance and investment in infrastructure, and to get aid-donating countries and organisations to co-ordinate their programs with these strategies.

The Pacific Island countries receive the highest amount of foreign aid in the developing world per capita, but Mr Rudd said many were not showing progress towards the Millennium goals of greater welfare by 2015 and some were regressing.

"It is a sobering fact that across our region some 2.7 million people are living in poverty," he said.

Governments in the Pacific were frustrated at the "spaghetti bowl" of aid programs, Mr Rudd said, with half of their officials "offshore running around in various programs being offered by dozens of competing and occasionally conflicting development assistance programs".

He hoped China would also align its aid programs in the Pacific - put at $US208 million ($247 million) in pledges last year.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Too little, too late on climate, warn Pacific leaders

From: The Age

Brendan Nicholson and Hamish McDonald, Cairns
August 7, 2009

THE world was acting too slowly on global warming despite being just months from what is supposed to be a breakthrough international climate summit, regional leaders have warned.

After their two-day summit in Cairns, 15 Pacific Islands Forum leaders - including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who chaired the meeting - called for action that would set the world on a path to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees or less, and to cut global emissions by at least 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

"With 122 days to go, the international community is not on track to achieve the outcome we need unless we see a renewed mandate across all participating nations," a statement from the leaders said.

But the call to reduce warming to 2 degrees or less was a compromise for most of the Pacific Island nations attending the meeting.

They are part of the Alliance of Small Island States, 39 nations in the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean that are likely to be among the first and worst affected by global warming.

The alliance says that unless the increase in temperature is kept below 1.5 degrees, the result will be disastrous for millions of people on those islands.

Ronald Jean Jumeau, the Seychelles representative at the UN, said the world's nations were doing far too little before December's climate summit in Copenhagen.

"While you're patting yourselves on the back for what you've achieved and while you're dealing with your internal divisions, we're here to tap you on the shoulder and say that what you are doing is not enough," Mr Jumeau said.

"We will lose our economic viability long before the waves take us over.

"We will lose our tourism industries with the collapse of the coral reefs, we will lose our fisheries and even if we still have some land to live on, we'll have nothing to live by."

Alliance leader Dessima Williams said the island nations faced destruction because of carbon emissions from industrialised nations that the islanders had no control over. "It is a matter of life as we know it or a life that is no life … It is happening to us already."

As well as the climate change plea, the 16 nations are to pool their experiences in alternative energy sources including solar, wind and wave power generation, with Australia putting $A25 million into the initiative.

The forum leaders also agreed to pursue common development strategies - based on private-sector growth, better state services and governance, and investment in infrastructure - and to get aid-donating countries and organisations to co-ordinate their programs with these strategies.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Environmentalist calls for stronger action vs climate change in Zambo Sibugay

by Antonio Manaytay/MindaNews

Sunday, 09 August 2009 22:53

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY (MindaNews/09 August) – Former beauty queen-turned-environmentalist Lorraine E. Schuck has called for stronger action by both government and private sectors to ease the effects of climate change in the province and elsewhere.

“The time for stronger and concerted efforts to address the adverse effects of climate change is urgent more than ever in the light of a recent scientific study released by the University of the Philippines,” Schuck said.

A study made by the Climate Change Program of the University of the Philippines in Los Banos (UPLB) showed that if the country’s sea level rises merely by one meter due to climate change, Zamboanga Sibugay is the fourth most vulnerable to it.

According to the study, with a meter’s rise, 12 of 16 towns of the province or 8,330 hectares will be submerged.

The Manila-based Schuck, 1979 Mutya ng Pilipinas, is now executive vice president of Carousel Productions, the outfit that stages the annual Miss Earth-Philippines. Shuck hails from Ipil town, the capital of Zamboanga Sibugay.

The annual Miss Earth beauty pageant promotes the protection and preservation of the environment.

Schuck said the study should serve as a strong warning to everyone “to start caring for Mother Earth”.

“It shows that the problem is not remote but rather a very imminent one that should move us into more stronger actions to address it,” she explained as she called on all officials of the province “to develop a policy environment that will pro-actively address the threat posed to lives and livelihood.”

She urged: “It is a must for the provincial government to start rethinking its development plan by incorporating climate change to it.”

Losing more than 8,000 hectares of land when the sea level rises to one meter, she said, is alarming.

“We should start thinking its effects to the people living in coastal areas whose primary source of living largely depend on the sea,” she said.

The UPLB study shows that Cagayan province is the most vulnerable with 16 of 28 towns or 13,134 hectares to go underwater; Palawan ranks second with 17 of 23 towns affected or 9.146 hectares; followed by Iloilo with 16 of 42 towns affected or 8,647 hectares; Zamboanga Sibugay; and Camarines Sur with 27 of 35 towns affected or 8,139 hectares. 

UPLB presented the results of its analysis at an exhibit during the observance of National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) 2009 last month sponsored by the Los BaƱos Science Community (LBSC) at the historic UPLB Baker Hall. 

Completing the list of 10 provinces that will be most adversely affected by a one-meter sea level rise is Negros Occidental, 7,870 hectares. in 25 towns; Capiz, 7.094 hectares in seven towns; Bohol, 5,985 hectares in 24 towns; Tawi-Tawi, 5,987 hectares in eight towns; and Sulu, 5,728 hectares in 19 towns.

On the whole, 167,290 hectares in 171 towns in the top 10 provinces will be most adversely affected by a one-meter sea rise. 

Cagayan also is the most vulnerable in case the country’s sea level rises to two meters as a consequence of climate change; 22,746 ha. in 19 towns, submerged. Camarines Sur comes second with 17,039 ha. in 28 towns inundated.

The Bicol province is followed by Palawan, 13,609 ha. in 19 towns; Negros Occidental, 10,368 ha. in 13 towns; Iloilo, 10,709 ha. in 19 towns; Negros Occidental, 10,368 ha. in 25 towns; Capiz, 9,738 ha. in seven towns; Bohol, 9,509 ha. in 27 towns; Northern Samar, 8,654 ha. in 21 towns; and Zamboanga Sibugay, 8,349 ha. in 14 towns. 

A total of 264,447 hectares in 180 towns will be submerged in case the country’s sea level rises by two meters owing to climate change. (Antonio M. Manaytay/MindaNews)