Tag Archives: Climate

Climate Change Talk with Business Support Associates

For the past two months, I have been working with a group of business support associates in Ghana. Through my social media platforms and engagement, they identified that I was a climate activist and also through social conversations, they were keen to understand climate change – the science and why it is a relevant topic that needs global attention.

So, on Monday 28th November, I did a presentation to explain the science of climate change to about 30 young people of different backgrounds but working in a business field with SMEs. I also shared a bit of my COP22 experience with them. Most of them knew what climate change was but did not have a clear understanding on the cause and how they play a role in mitigating climate change. I started by explaining GHGs and also how modernization has impacted our climate. Most people raised issue of fuel based economies and how these economies will collapse if the world should totally go renewable. We dialogue on the issue for about 5mins and concluded that economies such as the US has made huge investments towards fossil fuel and that’s why it’s difficult for some investors in the country to accept clean energy. Despite these known hurdles, I led the discussion to inform my audience that leadership and governance is what we need to combat climate change. Countries need to be sensitive to the challenges of other countries that are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Relating to their question on how climate change is important and why it has global attention, I explained to them the impacts of climate change and used sea level rise as an example of how climate change could flood all major cities in the world in the next 15 to 30 years.

At the end of the talk, I had a good feedback from the junior consultants and together we all discussed eco-friendly lifestyles which could contribute to alleviating the impacts of climate change and also reduce our carbon footprint. As a gesture of green living, I gave them Samsung and UNEP Tunza stick note souvenirs and pens  which made of recycled papers.

Five West African Countries Avoids Dirty Fuel from Europe

A number of West African countries have been sourcing fuel from Europe and reports (beginning earlier and mid this year) indicates that these European fuels do not meet the expected emission standards. In Ghana, the issue had risen in public discussions when first discovered and some environmental and health activists had used social media to publicize the issue to raise awareness for better fuel importation into the country.

According to UNEP, last week, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire has introduced strict regulatory standards that will ensure cleaner, low sulphur diesel fuels, and better emissions standards, thus effectively cutting off Europe’s West African market. It was noticed that weak regulatory standards in West African countries had open a window for European low standard fuels to penetrate the West African market and could cause ecological and health hazards. These fuels were identified to have higher sulfur levels that are up to 300 times higher than those permitted in Europe which contributes significantly to air pollution (reported by the non-governmental organization, Public Eye). Considering that sulfur is a toxin and contributes a lot to global warming as it is a Greenhouse Gas, it has become essential for these nations (vulnerable to climate change) to restrict the use of such fuels.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), these move was taken by the countries to address concerns over vehicle emissions and in an effort to bring safer, cleaner air to more than 250 million people that reside in their region. The head of the UNEP in a statement mentioned that the act practiced by these five nations to strengthen their regulatory standards sends a strong message that they no longer want any dirty fuels from Europe. In addition to new fuel standards, the group of West African countries has agreed to upgrade their own public and private refineries to meet the same higher standards by 2020.

Noting that it takes so much resources to clean up pollution, it’s definitely better to stop the pollution from occurring. It must be recognized and commended that these nations are putting their health and the ecology first as air pollution is known to kill millions annually. The head of the UNEP also added that there is a need to urgently introduce cleaner fuels and vehicles to help reduce the shocking statistics.

The UNEP has been working with countries in West Africa to develop policies and standards that will stop the import of fuels with dangerously high levels of sulphur, as well as to introduce cleaner fuels and vehicles. Reducing such emissions around the world is essential to ensure levels of urban air pollution and climate emissions come down.

UNEP hosts the Secretariat of the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV), a global public-private partnership that supports a shift to cleaner fuels and vehicles worldwide. When PCFV began its work in 2005, not a single low or middle income country used low sulphur fuels. Today, 23 countries have made that shift. Another 40 are on their way to doing the same.

In addition, UNEP is hosting the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which recently adopted a global strategy for moving the world to clean, low-sulphur fuels and advanced emissions standards. Experts estimate that this measure will save an annual 100,000 premature deaths by 2030.

 

TONY ABBOTT’S ABSENCE COULD SAVE THE PACIFICS

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Tony Abbott’s devoted support for coal and inaction on climate change seems to have never ended. Following recent incidences in the pacific and advocacy from the pacific, calling for anti-coal and climate action on New Zealand and Australia, there was a gist of tension that the Abbot government could reconsider their thoughts on climate action. However, Abbott was being challenged by former Environment Minister and previous Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull. Abbott was voted out by his party after Turnbull seized on his Liberal Right’s failure to develop and sell a credible economic policy given their blind interest in coal driven energy sector and the pride at which they behold to their inaction on climate change. W1

Eyes are now turning to Turnbull’s vision for the future, and how he will separate his stated desire for a modern, nimble Australia that embraces disruption (such as renewables), from the Abbott Government’s backward- looking coal wedlock. Despite recognizing the importance of action on climate change, being a supporter of emissions trading, and declaring Tony Abbott’s “Direct Action” policy “bullshit”, he has in the past won major transitional concessions for carbon-intensive industries, and has already declared that he is happy with Australia’s current, inadequate, emissions reduction target. All up, Turnbull is expected to move cautiously on climate. Renewable policy is unlikely to be further weakened; current climate policy will remain – for now – though it could be “dialed up”; climate denying elements such as Tony Abbott’s “business advisor”, Maurice Newman could be ejected from key advisory roles; and the risk of Australian continuing to be a blocker at UN climate talks is now somewhat reduced.

Below are some quotes on the takeover of PM Turnbull.

“The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative. We can’t be defensive, we can’t future-proof ourselves. We have to recognise that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility in change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it. We will ensure that all Australians understand that their government recognises the opportunities of the future and is putting in place the policies and the plans to enable them to take advantage of it.” – Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“Tony Abbott’s defeat is a defeat for coal and potential victory for renewable energy. Malcolm Turnbull has a unique opportunity to not just reposition the Liberal party but to redirect economic policy in Australia. The mining boom is over and climate change has already begun. Tony Abbott wedded himself to the old economy. This proved to be an economic and political failure. In the 21st century the idea that what is good for the environment is bad for the economy makes neither economic nor political sense.” – Executive Director of the Australia Institute, Ben Oquist.

“As a former Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull knows intimately the depth of Australia’s environmental challenges as well as the exciting opportunities we face in growing a clean economy. Mr Turnbull’s insight that disruption is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it is greatly encouraging, as Australia faces a major energy transition, needing to shift away from our reliance on coal and make the most of renewable energy. Australia must be a nation that is agile, innovative and creative; there is no sector of our economy that is more exciting than renewable energy.” – ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy .

“Malcolm Turnbull in the past took a considered attitude to climate change policy, with an emphasis on cost effectiveness as well as effectiveness. He has said that he would not seek to re-introduce an ETS, but it is to be expected that there will be reform of climate change policy if he still is PM after the next election.” – Associate professor at the Australian National University, Frank Jotzo.

“All parties and all leaders who say they are serious about climate change need a plan for the modernisation and decarbonisation of our economy. Modern economies increasingly see reducing their dependence on polluting industries as central to future prosperity. Not having a plan for decarbonisation means not having a plan for our economy and not having a plan for the future.” – CEO of The Climate Institute, John Connor.

“[T]he Direct Action scheme has embedded within it mechanisms that could be “dialled up” – by a government that was willing – to make it more much efficient and effective, essentially by turning it into a baseline and credit trading scheme. Turnbull’s challenge is whether he can do that over time, while answering Labor’s charge that he has sold out and without alarming his own backbench that he is bringing in his old policy by stealth.” – Guardian Australia Political Reporter Lenore Taylor.

By: Joshua Amponsem – Sourced From: Tree Network.