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Malaysian scientists now have the ability to trace for high oil-yielding genes in the palm oil plant, allowing them to create “designer palms” with the capacity to control the amount and type of oil being produced.
It’s looking increasingly likely that this will be the year the United Nations introduces an Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) – a group similar to the IPCC, but designed to deal with biodiversity rather than climate change.
Its promoters want IPBES to provide an interface between the scientific community and policy makers. The hope is that it will strengthen the use of science in policy making on biodiversity and ecosystems. In a general sense it is proposed that IPBES will provide relevant information on how biodiversity and ecosystem services can be conserved and used.
A review published by the United Nations University suggests Costa Rica’s example can pave the way elsewhere for initiatives such as payments for environmental services (PES) as a tool for poverty reduction, achieving carbon neutrality by 2021, and the Pax Natura (peace with nature) Initiative announced by Costa Rica’s President in 2007 as a basis for ethical environmental commitment.
The Chinese economy has been developing at a tremendous pace for the last three decades. The level of growth has been touching almost double digit figures. In 2010 China surpassed Japan and became the number two economy in the world. It also managed to lift a large number of its people out of poverty, a feat which is quite praise worthy. Apart from this it has also been developing its military capabilities at a break neck pace. However, this is just one side of the development story.
Read more: http://www.eurasiareview.com/15022012-china’s-leadership-dilemma-development-or-environment-analysis/
Majimazuri.org has launched a green initiative in East Africa, utilizing available technologies, with the lowest impact on the environment. The Maji Mazuri Kiserian project seeks to catalyze demand-driven green production and consumerism backed by a strong, green entrepreneurial transformation, dynamic design for environmental protection and a well coordinated community empowerment program.
Ending poverty need put no additional stress on the planet's natural resources, according to a new report published today by international agency Oxfam.
According to the paper's author Kate Raworth, human deprivation and environmental degradation must be tackled together as humanity's two major operating boundaries - "social boundaries" like hunger, inequality and ill-health and the "planetary or environmental boundaries" like climate change and biodiversity loss - are inextricably linked.
"By seeing the whole we can understand that solving food, energy and income poverty could be achieved with almost no impact on our planetary boundaries. Any vision of sustainable development must recognise that eradicating poverty and social injustice is inextricably linked to ecological stability and renewal," said Raworth.
Oxfam has published the discussion paper "A Safe and Just Space for Humanity - Can We Live Within The Doughnut?" as a contribution to the debate in the run-up to the UN conference on sustainable development (Rio+20) in June. The paper suggests a new way of approaching economic development within environmental and social limits. Oxfam discussion papers are intended to encourage public debate but do not represent Oxfam policy.
The Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission on Wednesday appealed to the public to support conserve the country's wetlands.
It said: "Well preserved wetlands provide great opportunity for leisure and tourism that can contribute to Ghana's natural wealth, poverty reduction, economic growth and development."
The World Bank has released new data and tools on climate change as the latest additions to its Open Data Initiative. The Apps for Climate Competition aims to bring together the best ideas from scientists, application developers, civil society organizations, and development practitioners to create innovative apps using World Bank data.
The applications should serve to raise awareness, measure progress, or to help in some other way to address the development challenges of climate change. Submissions may be any kind of software application, be it for the web, a personal computer, a mobile handheld device, console, SMS, or any software platform broadly available to the public. The only other requirement is that the proposed application use one or more datasets from the World Bank Data Catalog available at data.worldbank.org or the Climate Change Knowledge Portal at climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org.
Applications which best satisfy the competition criteria will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to have their apps featured on the World Bank Open Data website.
Contest ends on March 16, 2012.
The 22-member Panel, established by the Secretary-General in August 2010 to formulate a new blueprint for sustainable development and low-carbon prosperity, was co-chaired by Finnish President Tarja Halonen and South African President Jacob Zuma. The Panel's final report, "Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing", contains 56 recommendations to put sustainable development into practice and to mainstream it into economic policy as quickly as possible.
Sulawesi is the 11th largest island in the world and an Indonesian region blessed with unique biodiversity which inhabit its pristine terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems. The region also has an incredible amount of mineral deposits underneath its 12.5 million hectares of forest, according to Forestry Ministry data from 2009.
Healthy seas and coasts would pay healthy dividends in a green economy, according to a report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners that highlights the huge potential for economic growth and poverty eradication from well-managed marine sectors.
The report, Green Economy in a Blue World, argues that the ecological health and economic productivity of marine and coastal ecosystems, which are currently in decline around the globe, can be boosted by shifting to a more sustainable economic approach that taps their natural potential – from generating renewable energy and promoting eco-tourism, to sustainable fisheries and transport.
In the midst of all the hue and cry about electricity tariffs, the core challenges of our energy crisis are not being addressed. Lately a lot of effort, and rhetoric to boot, has been put on Uganda’s electricity infrastructure, which is well and good, except that electricity is only a small part of the nation’s energy needs.
The Bujagali power project is due (its commissioning has been postponed more than once in the last few months; its commencement had been promised, messiah-like, for many years till it finally took shape). The vaunted Karuma project is expected to take 10 years to complete, once it begins. The emphasis is on hydro-power, not surprising, given that Uganda is one of the best-watered nations on earth.
Poverty is not only about not having enough money. It is also about exploitation and oppression, and about armed conflicts and wars that make it impossible to run a business, visit the doctor, or send children to school. In short, poverty is about politics, and the need to devise political solutions to its underlying causes, which involves more than providing money.
The world has changed greatly since 2000, when the international community adopted the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). There has been a major shift in geopolitical power, with countries previously regarded as poor enough to receive aid transformed into emerging-market drivers of the world economy. Power has also shifted in the global political arena, with the global financial crisis catalysing the emergence of the G-20.
Countries will be asked this summer to sign up for 10 new sustainable development goals for the planet and promise to build green economies at the first earth summit in 20 years.
According to a leak of the draft agenda document seen by the Guardian, they will also be asked to negotiate a new agreement to protect oceans, approve an annual state of the planet report, set up a major world agency for the environment, and appoint a global "ombudsperson", or high commissioner, for future generations. Dozens of heads of state, political leaders and celebrities are expected to go to the UN's Rio+20 sustainable development meeting, to be held in Brazil in June.
Bamboo, a plant not often associated with Africa due to it not exploited, may be the key to combating soil degradation and massive deforestation on the continent. The plant can be used as an alternative source of energy.
A partnership among African nations and communities, the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) and China are working to substitute bamboo charcoal and firewood for forest wood on which 80 percent of the rural population in sub-Saharan Africa depend for their fuel needs.
The typhoon that hit Mindanao in the Philippines before Christmas to claim 1,000 lives and leave nearly 50,000 homeless was a shock, but not a surprise. In 2009, campaigners and scientists simulated the effects of a tropical storm on the island, and predicted that the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan would be hit by flash floods. At the time, the prediction was dismissed as alarmist. The scientists were conducting an exercise as part of a UN strategy for disaster reduction, to which 168 nations signed up in 2005.
“GDC Strikes Steam in Menengai,” exclaims the cover of this spring’s issue of Steam, the magazine of Kenya’s Geothermal Development Company. A column of steam spurts high into a deep blue sky in the cover photo—the geothermal industry’s equivalent of the black column that spurts from a successful oil well.
But steam is even more valuable than oil, at least to Kenya, which aims to produce 5,000 megawatts of power from geothermal energy by 2030.
“Power from geothermal is a sure means of improving our people’s way of life,” says Stephen Kalonzo Nusyoka, the Vice President of Kenya.
World Bank Group officials expressed cautious satisfaction at the progress made in connecting development outcomes with climate action. Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Sustainable Development, said “We are particularly pleased to see progress on the creation of a Green Climate Fund. We will remain focused on mobilizing funds from all sources and in partnership to finance the kind of development projects that help the poor grow their way out of poverty, increase their resilience to climate change, and achieve emissions reductions.”
UN agencies and the South African government unveiled this week a pilot project that provides communities outside of Durban with access to clean energy.
The project will deliver clean cooking, lighting systems and solar-heated water for clinics and schools in the district of Ilembe, situated an hour north of the city.
Chief Justices and senior judiciary from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed on a common vision on the role of the judiciary in tackling regional environmental challenges, such as deforestation and illegal logging, the illicit trade in wildlife, pollution and the destruction of coral reefs.
Ethiopia will embark on a national plan that aims to boost the country’s development over the next twenty years while keeping its greenhouse emissions to current levels.
Unveiled here by the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy aims to create jobs through the development and greening of seven economic sectors: power supply, cities and buildings, forestry, livestock, agriculture, industry and transport.
Mobilizing a critical mass of people, communities, and cities to drive demand for clean energy, transport, and environmentally sustainable consumption is the focus of a campaign launched today at the Asia Television Forum in Singapore.
“Redraw The Line” is a public awareness campaign created by The Asia-Pacific Media Alliance for Social Awareness (The Media Alliance) and Ogilvy & Mather with the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) in response to the challenges posed by climate change.
The multilateral debate in climate negotiations is really over post-1992 'economic realities' that should be recognised: economic growth in some developing countries and/or the persistence of widespread poverty. The strategic issue for us now is to move beyond legalistic debates and bring the needs of the planet and those of the poor into a single mutually-reinforcing framework.
Businesses and governments are accelerating investment in the green sectors of the economy, a United Nations report unveiled today shows, stressing that the trend will facilitate the transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive global economic model.
Investing just two per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) in 10 key sectors would kick-start a shift from the current environment-polluting and inefficient economy to a green one, according to the report, entitled Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication and prepared by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Coastal communities in remote areas of the Coral Triangle in Indonesia and the Philippines will receive Asian Development Bank (ADB) support to start small, green businesses that will help preserve one of the most diverse and threatened marine environments in the world.
A $2 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, administered by ADB, will help poor fishing households in Berau District in East Kalimantan, Indonesia and Balabac in Palawan, the Philippines, identify, establish and operate eco-friendly businesses that could potentially include seaweed culture, fish processing, boat transport services and livestock rearing.
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Environment and fisheries ministers from six Asia Pacific countries are meeting today to advance their collective agenda for protecting and managing the fragile Coral Triangle―one of the most diverse and threatened marine ecosystems in the world.
The Third Ministerial Meeting of the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs Fisheries and Food Security will endorse a plan to establish a permanent secretariat for the initiative in Indonesia.
The Coral Triangle covers 5.7 million square kilometers of ocean waters in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. The area is considered as the global center of tropical marine diversity, supporting the highest number of species of coral reef fishes, and turtles. The mangrove forests, coral reefs, and coastal and offshore waters are the most species-rich in the tropics.
These resources are at immediate risk from a range of factors, including the impacts of climate change, over-fishing, unsustainable fishing methods, and land-based sources of pollution.