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  • IS THERE A LINK BETWEEN HUMAN-CAUSED CLIMATE CHANGE AND EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS?

    Many people still think there is a strong relationship between human-caused climate change and extreme weather events, such as the devastating flooding happened in Tasmania last June. By contrary others don’t, like Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said that “we cannot attribute any particular storm to global warming”.

    Scientist are analysing the influence of increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere on extreme events and this is a field of science called “attribution research”. There are groups of scientists who have been able to conclude that the relationship between human behaviour and weather events exists.

    For instance, a team of scientist have said that human-caused climate change had probably doubled the chance of Louisiana to be hit by the huge downpour in last August, which killed 13 people and damaged about 60,000 homes.

    Dr Andrew King, after a research concerning the record warm sea temperatures that caused the mass bleaching of corals on the Great Barrier Reef last summer, said that “ We found that the warm sea temperatures were made at least 175 times more likely because of climate change”.
    By contrary, in a world without the extra greenhouse gases, we might expect to see those ocean temperatures once every 1,000 years, if at all. From torrential downpours to record ocean temperatures, more and more studies are concluding that human behaviours have a huge influence on natural events.

    Another important research demonstrates that without the added greenhouse gases, Australia’s record hot 2013 would only have come along once every 12,000 years while now, thanks to the burning of fossil fuels, we might expect a record breaker every six years. Other experts, like Dr Sophie Lewis, underline the difference between “causing” and event and “influencing” an event.

    However, it is still a debated matter, and there are many scientists which don’t agree, exhorting not to reach too hurried conclusions.  

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 15 September 2016

    (Source: The Guardian)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin (Italy) which is beneficiary of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Partnering Opportunities between Europe and China in the Renewable Energies and Environmental iNdustries” - POREEN, Work-package 4.

     

  • USA AND CHINA SIGNED THE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

    The two presidents of the two main polluter countries, Obama and Xi Jinping have finally ratified Paris climate deal during the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China.

    The diplomatic tensions which tied China and United States have been set aside to find a joint plan to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. China and United States are considered to generate nearly 40 percent of the world’s emissions and these countries together can work to bringing the agreement into force worldwide.

    The deal will take legal force when it will be ratified by 55 signatories producing 55% of the global emissions and the Chinese and US ratification pushed the total to 40%. The Paris agreement main goals are to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees, achieve a balance of energy source, limit greenhouse gases and invest 100 billion dollars in climate finance for developing countries by 2020.

    During the past years China and United States have set a different climate policy reflecting their different stages of economic development. USA promised to reduce its emission by 26-28% in the 2025 while China promised to stop the growing level of its emission by the 2030.

    This ratification is also important to encourage other countries to take part in the Paris climate deal as soon as possible. UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said government’s commitment on climate change and clean energy has not changed after Brexit.   

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, 28 September 2016

    (Source: BBC news)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin (Italy) which is beneficiary of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Partnering Opportunities between Europe and China in the Renewable Energies and Environmental iNdustries” - POREEN, Work-package 4.

     

  • CHINA’S ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATIONS WILL AFFECT THE WORLD

    In the next future, two phenomena are expected in China’s economy. First, it is a slowdown in growth; second, a shift from investments and exports towards innovation and consumption. This will spread worldwide consequences, but especially over the economies of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    After WTO accession in 2001, China became Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009 gaining access to growing markets for Chinese goods and services, raw materials and energy, as well as political support from African countries in international affairs. While, Africa benefits from China’s financial and technical assistance in infrastructure investments, technology and knowledge transfer contributing to implement development and industrialization projects.

    A recent World Bank Group study set out the potential effects of this economic changing. They would lead to an overall positive impact on the global economy, as well as on Sub-Saharan Africa. It is expected that the world and Sub-Saharan Africa both stand to gain 4.8% and 4.7%, respectively, in GDP by 2030. Indeed, it will likely have a positive impact on poverty levels in Sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, poverty is expected to decrease by approximately 4 million people, and the levels of extreme poverty are expected to decrease by half.

    The research, however, suggests that should China’s economic changing only include a growth slowdown and no a rebalancing between investments/exports and innovation/consumption, there would be small losses in GDP for both the world and Sub-Saharan African countries. Rebalancing in China is expected to boost consumption as well as demand for imported products and services.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 16 September 2016

    (Source: The World Bank Forum)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • G20 LEADERS' COMMUNIQUÉ HANGZHOU SUMMIT: STATEMENTS ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

    Leaders of the G20 met in Hangzhou on 4-5 September 2016. They reaffirmed the commitment to further “align their work” with the universal implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development by endorsing the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda. They welcomed, indeed, the establishment of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism and stressed the importance of enhanced cooperation on technologies to achieving sustainable development.

    They launched the G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialization in Africa and LDCs to strengthen their inclusive growth and development potential through voluntary policy options, as promoting inclusive and sustainable structural transformation; supporting sustainable agriculture; deepening, broadening and updating the local knowledge and production base; promoting investment in sustainable and secure energy, exploring ways to develop cooperation on industrial production; supporting industrialization through trade in accordance with WTO rules and promoting science, technology and innovation as critical means for industrialization; and supporting equitable access to finance.

    To promote investment with focus on infrastructure they stressed the importance of quality infrastructure investment, which aims to ensure economic efficiency in view of life-cycle cost, safety, resilience against natural disaster, job creation, capacity building, and transfer of expertise and know-how on mutually agreed terms and conditions, aligning with economic and development strategies. In that perspective, they welcomed the Joint Declaration of Aspirations on Actions to Support Infrastructure Investment by 11 multilateral development banks (MDBs) and the Annotated Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Risk Allocation Matrices completed by the Global Infrastructure Hub (GIH) to help developing countries better assess infrastructure risks.

    They recognized quality employment as indispensable for sustainable development and entrepreneurship as an important driver for job creation and economic growth, reinforcing their commitments in the G20 Entrepreneurship Action Plan and welcoming China's contribution in the establishment of an Entrepreneurship Research Center on G20 Economies.

    Finally, strong and effective support and actions to address climate change are promised, by reiterating their commitment to complete the respective domestic procedures in order to join the Paris Agreement and to enable it to enter into force by the end of 2016.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, 7 September 2016

    (Source: G20 2016 China Media Center)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin (Italy) which is beneficiary of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Partnering Opportunities between Europe and China in the Renewable Energies and Environmental iNdustries” - POREEN, Work-package 4.

     

  • CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS TOPPED 400PPM FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MARCH 2015

    Scientists revealed that global carbon dioxide concentration levels in the atmosphere have passed “a daunting milestone” in March 2015.

    In early May, a new scientific research led by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed that the global average concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere hit a new record high in March 2015, surpassing 400 parts per million (ppm).

    Such levels have never been observed since the NOAA monitoring activity started in 1957, and scientists believe they have never been reached in the entire history of human civilization. Carbon dioxide concentration levels went from 280 ppm to 290 ppm between 1800 and 1900, and in the last century the rise in concentration registered in one that would normally be expected to happen in 10,000 or 20,000 years.

    In March 2015, the International Energy Agency (IEA) had reported that greenhouse gas emissions have stabilised over the last two years, but the NOAA research proves that – despite that – the degree of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is clearly still rising. In order to stop this trend, current global emissions would have to be cut by 80%, but even so it would take hundreds or thousands of years for the concentration levels to lower again and reach desirable rates.

    What scientists criticise is primarily the lack of political will to face the issue; in fact, they highlight that viable ways to shift away from fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal and stop emissions in their tracks exist (for example, relying on a mix of alternative sources of power), but there seems to be a lack of mass mobilization. This proves that hitherto the international community has failed to effectively curb greenhouse gas emissions and, therefore, to tackle climate change.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 7 May 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • NEW SOLAR THERMAL TECHNOLOGY INSTALLED IN CYPRUS

    Australia’s science agency CSIRO has installed a new solar energy technology in Cyprus, and hopes to license it around the world, including in the Australian market.

    In order to meet a European Union target of 13% of energy coming from renewable sources by 2020, Cyprus charged Australia’s national science agency CSIRO with designing and installing a new solar energy technology that could expedite a shift away from fossil fuels and also deal with the island’s chronic water shortages.

    With the $500,000 it received, CSIRO has built a “solar thermal field” containing 50 large mirrors that reflect the power of the sun – so-called heliostats – at Pentakomo, in the south of Cyprus. The heliostats track the sun and reflect it towards a single receiving point on top of a tower, and the heat amassed warms molten salt, which is stockpiled in a hot tank at 250°C and whose steam powers a turbine for electricity. The great advantage of this technology is that it can produce energy even when the sun has disappeared, and for this reason Wes Stein, solar research leader at CSIRO, has declared it to be “more efficient than batteries”.

    CSIRO has built the first version of the heliostats in 2006, and is now hoping that more countries will decide to follow Cyprus’ example, thus triggering a large-scale development of the technology. Notably, Australia could make the most of it, as it has the best solar radiation of any continent in the world, but over the past year the Australian federal government has adopted an ill-considered policy towards renewable energies: according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in 2014 investments in large-scale renewable energy in the country have registered a 90% decrease, and Australian Bureau of Statistics’ figures show that more than 2,300 people have lost their jobs in this sector in the last two years.

    The Australian Energy Market Operator has revealed that the creation of a 100% renewable energy system wouldn’t come cheap, as the the country would have to spend between $219 billion to $332 billion, but promoters of a switch to renewables highlight that this level of investment is similar to current levels of spending for the development of fossil fuels.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 7 May 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • STUDY DESCRIBES HEALTH BENEFITS OF US CLEAN POWER PLAN

    The US Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule limiting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants will reduce air pollution and improve human health.

    A new study issued in early May 2015 in the journal Nature Climate Change and led by researchers at Syracuse and Harvard Universities reveals that the new carbon emissions standards proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in June 2014 for coal-fired power plants in the United States would considerably improve human health and could prevent more than 3,000 premature deaths per year.

    The study used modelling to predict the impacts of new national carbon standards for power plants on human health, and calculated three different outcomes based on data from the Census Bureau and maps of more than 2,400 fossil-fuel power plants across the nation. The researchers began about a year before the EPA proposed its Clean Power Plan, but it resulted that the model with the biggest health benefit was very similar to the rule proposed by EPA, which would require states to autonomously establish reductions in carbon emissions for the plants, and would also involve improvements in the energy efficiency of air-conditioners, refrigerators, power grids etc.

    According to the research, the rule would have only indirect health benefits; in fact, carbon emissions are not directly linked to health threats, but emissions coming from coal-fired power plants include also other pollutants, such as soot and ozone, which on the contrary have a direct connection with illnesses like asthma and lung diseases.

    The US President Barack Obama is expected to disclose during the summer a final set of climate change regulations to limit carbon emissions. The new regulatory framework – as proposed in draft from last year by the EPA – would entail a 30% cut in carbon emissions coming from power plants compared to 2005 levels by 2030, and is likely to focus primarily on coal-fired power plants, which are the country’s main source of carbon emissions. The rule would also require every state to submit its plan to target a cleaner energy system.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 6 May 2015

    (Source: New York Times)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • HEATWAVES ARE COSTING AUSTRALIA BILLIONS IN LOST PRODUCTIVITY

    Extreme heat is a serious threat for the Australian economy, and a new paper encourages workplaces to start adapting to it in order to limit negative economic impacts.

    In early May, a new research paper regarding Australian heatwaves was published on Nature Climate Change. The study – which has involved 1,726 working adults across Australia and has been conducted in May and October 2014, covering the previous 12 months – found that 70% of people had worked less efficiently at some point over 2014 due to extreme heat, while a further 7% had missed at least one day of work because of the unbearable temperatures.

    The diminished productivity and the increased absenteeism have caused an average economic loss of US$932 a person a year, costing the Australian economy US$6.2 billion. What’s more, according to Dr Kerstin Zander, an agricultural scientist who led the research, this figure is probably an underestimate, as “the research didn’t measure for the loss in productivity of those who don’t get paid, such as carers and volunteers, or for people over 65 years old”.

    The study also highlights the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s findings that it is 90% certain the amount of warm days has increased globally, and 99% certain that the iteration of warm days will increase over the next decades. This could be disastrous for Australia, where heatwaves are already the most deadly natural hazard – being accountable for 55% of all deaths caused by natural disasters – and where workers spend on average 10 days a year under serious heat stress.

    For this reasons, the research heartily recommends workplaces to start adapting to extreme heat “if sever economic impacts from labour productivity loss are to be avoided if heatwaves become as frequent as predicted”. For example, it suggests that employers implement strategies such as improved access to water and fitness programmes.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, 6 May 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • CLIMATE CHANGE JEOPARDISES THE GLOBAL COFFEE MARKET

    Global warming is posing a serious threat on coffee cultivation, and could consequently hugely affect many developing countries’ economies and environment.

    A joint research issued by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) under the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) analysed the global sustainability of arabica cultivation to determine how coffee production will be affected in 2050, and the outcome is alarming: at the moment, arabica accounts for 70% of the global coffee market share, but due to rising temperatures and new rainfall patterns the areas where it can be grown will decrease rapidly, and some of the major coffee producing countries will suffer heavy losses, which will lead to a supply reduction and a hike in prices.

    In fact, arabica is particularly sensitive to temperature increases, which reduce its growth, flowering and fruiting and make it more susceptible to coffee parasites, so, with global temperatures expected to increase by at least 2C over the next decades, countries like Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia will have to endure serious losses. Some countries could mitigate the impact of climate change by moving their plantations to higher and cooler areas, but the damages will either way be severe, and the needs of coffee cultivations would have to be weighed up against the preservation of the natural environment and the wellbeing of indigenous communities.

    Researchers say there are no quick solutions to this problem; the study calls for the implementation of adaptation strategies, for example by changing the genetics of the crops and the manner and areas in which it is grown, and it especially underlines the importance of starting the breeding of new varieties immediately, as this is a process that takes years to be completed.

    Coffee is the second-most traded commodity after oil, and is grown in more than 60 tropical countries, which makes it a critical source of income for many developing countries. Therefore, failure to develop effective adaptation strategies will severely affect both humans and the environment: revenues from coffee trade are fundamental for the development of some countries, and arabica also brings a lot of environmental benefits such as biodiversity and soil and water conservation, as well as erosion control.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 5 May 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • CHANGES NEEDED IN FUNDING METHODS TO ENSURE FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF US SOLAR MARKET

    If the solar industry is to play a substantial role in lowering carbon emissions in the US, a shift towards greater efficiency in the federal solar funding is necessary.

    In May, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Initiative issued a report called “The Future of Solar Energy”. According to the report’s authors, at the moment the United States’ federal policy on solar funding is largely inefficient, as the current tax incentives aimed at fostering the installation of new solar technologies – apart from being politically controversial – have failed to reward the actual energy produced, while, as the report’s co-author Francis O’Sullivan said, “ideally…rather than subsidize investment, we would subsidize production, so you receive the greatest benefit for each kilowatt-hour of solar energy you generate”.

    According to the US Energy Information Administration, federal subsidies for investments in the solar market reached $5.3 billion in the 2013 fiscal year, up from about $1.1 billion in 2010; moreover, the solar capacity has hugely increased in the last year, as 82% jump has been registered between February 2014 and February 2015. However, in 2014 solar energy still accounted for only 0.4% of the US electricity generation.

    The MIT Energy Initiative report also says that, in choosing what investments to subsidise, the Department of Energy (DOE) should give priority to emerging technologies that could have a transformative impact on costs, and suggested to redirect spending from solar power tax credits and set up electricity grids capable of bearing a large-scale solar energy use.

    Regulations and pricing systems should be reviewed too, in order to adapt them to a greater solar penetration in the energy market; notably, this would entail the guarantee that residential and other solar generators pay their fair share of costs to the system, such as maintaining electrical wires.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 5 April 2015

    (Source: Reuters)

  • PAKISTAN FOSTERS IMPLEMENTATION OF NATIONAL CLIMATE POLICY

    New agreement calls for the creation of provincial committees to foster emissions reductions and put the Pakistani national climate change policy into action.

    During the first meeting of the National Climate Change Policy Implementation Committee held in late April, an agreement was reached in Pakistan to establish climate change sections within the Federal Planning Commission and the five provincial governments as well as the Pakistan-administered territory of Azad Jammu & Kashmir. These committees will have the task to coordinate climate change policy and funding, and their plans will be transmitted to the Green Climate Fund, which hopefully will support their implementation.

    Pakistan’s national climate change policy (NCCP) formally entered into force in 2012, but it has never been enforced due to political crises and the focus on the fight against terrorism. The policy roughs out nearly 120 actions to tackle climate change; among them, water conservation, the development of climate-resilient crop varieties and the building of flood-resilient infrastructures are deemed as more urgent.

    The creation of the provincial committees is clearly a sign of commitment of the federal government to the fight against climate change, but the federal government can not cope with global warming by itself, which is why cooperation from the provincial governments will be critical: acting in the light of the policy recommendations, provinces will have to update the climate change ministry periodically on their progress, and will have to deliver detailed plans regarding the financial mechanism required to implement their policy actions.

    According to Sardard Adul Nabi, senior chief for energy at the Sindh provincial Planning and Development Department, all of Pakistan is suffering from the effects of climate change; therefore, “no provincial government can afford to ignore such weather patterns, and (we) need to make all socio-economic sectors adaptive to them”.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Monday, 4 May 2015

    (Source: Reuters)

  • MOST THREATENED COUNTRIES DEMAND TIGHTENING OF 2°C CLIMATE GOAL

    The members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum deemed the 2°C climate goal “inadequate”, and urged the UN’s climate change body to lower it.

    After their meeting in the Philippines, the members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum demanded a review of the current temperature target, which is set at a global 2°C temperature rise compared to pre-industrial levels. The countries participating in the Forum are mainly developing nations already members of the Africa Group, the Least Developed Countries or the Alliance of Small Island States, and they have been pushing for a stricter goal throughout all phases of the UN climate talks.

    These states’ demands lean on scientific reports that show how even a 1.5°C rise will have a substantial impact on the environment in the most vulnerable parts of the world. However, at the moment countries are off track even for the achievement of the 2°C goal; in fact, forecasts say the target will be surpassed, as the world’s main emitters – namely China, the EU and the US – will release 22 billion tonnes annually by that date according to their current climate plans (even though the figure will change depending on when China’s emissions will peak), while the rest of the world will emit 35 billion tonnes. For this reason, the UN climate chief Christiana Figueres has recently declared the realization of near-zero emissions in the second half of the century the key of this December’sclimate summit in Paris.

    The members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum have solicited three independent reports that examined the repercussions global warming will have on human rights, labour and displacement: John Knox, who drafted one of the studies, highlighted the strong impact climate change will have on a wide range of human rights, such as health, food, water and housing; Tord Kjellstrom, the author of a second study, stressed the negative effects the increase of hot hours and hot days will have on workers’ productivity and – as a consequence – on the GDP; and a third study, conducted by the Nansen Initiative, revealed that global warming will foster displacement, voluntary migrations and planned relocations.

    Recent researches from the UN’s climate science bureau, the IPCC, showed that global temperatures have already risen by 0.85°C since the Industrial Revolution.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 4 May 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • 1 IN 6 OF PLANET’S SPECIES RISKS EXTINCTION DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

    The rate of species facing extinction increases with every extra degree of global warming.

    According to a report published in the journal Science, global warming is posing a significant threat on the world’s biodiversity. In fact, in line with the UN climate science bureau forecasts, the planet is now on track to warm 4.3°C by 2100, which would cause the extinction of 16% of the world’s species.

    The species that are not at risk of extinction would suffer as well, as the rise in temperatures – and the consequent increase of heatwaves, droughts and floods – will alter the habitats and reduce the population size.

    The extinction rate will rise even if countries manage to keep global warming within 2°C, as they pledged within the UNFCCC framework, but in that case it could be lowered to 5.2% (2.8% more than today’s level). One thing that is certain is that extinctions induced by climate change will keep increasing if states do not act immediately to limit future climate change and avoid further repercussions on the planet’s well being.

    The study combined 131 predictions for multiple species, and South America resulted to be the region with the highest level of endangered species (with a 23% risk of extinction), followed by Australia and New Zealand (14%); North America and Europe, on the other hand, have the lowest risk rate (respectively 5% and 6%).

    The WWF had already highlighted that human-induced environmental changes – such as destruction of habitat, increased acidification of the oceans and rising temperatures – have intensified the extinction rates by 1,000 to 10,000 times compared to natural levels.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Friday, 1 May 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • INDIGENOUS TRIBES RELEASE JOINT STATEMENT AGAINST BRAZIL’S HYDROELECTRIC DAMS

    Four Amazonian tribes have issued a joint statement asking Brazil to halt its projects to build environmentally damaging hydroelectric dams in their territory.

    In late April, four Amazonian tribes – the Munduruku, Apiakà, Kayabi and Rikbaktsa – released a joint statement to oppose the construction of new hydroelectric dams on the Teles Pires, a tributary of the Tapajós. These dams represent just the start of an ever-increasing development of the region’s hydro-potential (more than 250 dams are planned in the Amazon), as Brazil is intensifying its efforts to provide low-carbon energy for its population, stating this is a necessary step for the country’s development and for the achievement of the pledged greenhouse gas emissions cuts.

    The indigenous maintain that the Brazilian government is building dams “without completing environmental studies”, and “without seeking to understand the consequences of the destruction of nature” in their lives; in particular, the Amazon tribes declare the work at the main area of concern – the São Manoel dam – a threat to water quality and fish stocks, and accuse the government of not having consulted them nor having sought to find alternative solutions.

    For the same reasons, many appeals have already been launched in the past, accusing the dams of being a cause of disruption of water systems, and several lower courts have found in favour of the tribes and their supporters; however, the hold-ups are usually just temporary.

    The WWF has already urged greater environmental care and consultation with local communities, and many environmentalists are pointing their fingers at the Brazilian government. For instance, Brent Millikan of International Rivers accused Brazil of always using the excuse of a ‘threat to national security’ to carry on hasty, inadequate and insufficient environmental impact assessments.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 1 May 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

     

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • GREEN CLIMATE FUND FORCED TO DELAY INVESTMENTS DUE TO LACK OF CONTRIBUTIONS

    Green Climate Fund announces delays in the implementation of its projects as leading backers have missed the deadline to deliver funds.

    The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has been created to invest in environment-friendly projects in developing countries thanks to the US$10 billion funding pledged by States worldwide. However, some of the leading backers of the Fund – including the US, Canada and Australia – have not delivered their contributions within the April 30 deadline, and the GCF is currently several hundred million short of a US$4.7 billion target.

    Due to the lack of financing, the Fund will be forced to delay its plans to back green projects in developing countries ahead of the Paris Climate Summit planned for December 2015; in fact, the body will be allowed to start allocating resources only when 50% of the pledged support will be delivered, and hitherto only 42% of the total money offered has been signed off. Among the leading donors, the UK, Germany, France and Sweden have all delivered their contributions, together with Chile, Indonesia and Poland; on the other hand, the US is overdue on $1.5 billion (mainly because of the fierce opposition of the Republican majority in Congress), Japan on $750 million and Canada on $130 million.

    The GCF executive director Héla Cheikhrouhou said she hoped that by December the Fund would be able to present a “diverse mini portfolio” of the investments already made, in order to prove its effectiveness and foster the achievement of a global climate deal. Climate finance is indeed considered as one of the sticking points of the climate negotiations, as developing countries say they won’t be able to commit to stronger emissions cuts unless they receive financial and technological assistance.

    The Fund will probably centre its investments on wind, solar and energy efficiency projects, even though clear rules delimiting the scope of its activity haven’t been issued yet. This has triggered harsh reactions especially among Green NGOs, which criticise the lack of decisions to rule out fossil fuel projects.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 30 April 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • WASTE-TO-ENERGY MARKET IS HELPING TO ADJUST CHINESE MIX OF ENERGY SOURCES

    China’s waste incineration sector has rapidly grown over the last five years, and could develop even more if more innovative technologies are introduced.

    According to the Chinese government’s guidelines, in China the waste-to-energy sector has experienced rapid growth from 2011 to 2015, and over 300 incineration plants are expected to be operational or under construction by the end of 2015, thus allowing the overall incineration capacity to reach the impressive amount of 100 million tons. This growth in probably the result of the policies the government has put in place to foster the adjustment of the mix of Chinese energy sources, and is a part of the country’s planned economic transformation.

    The first incineration plant was established in Shenzen in 1985, while the country’s largest plant at the present moment is the Beijing Chaoyang Green Power Station, which has a daily incineration capacity of 1,300 tons and an annual power generation capacity of 136 million kW/h.

    This plant is expected to further increase its annual power generation – which should reach 225 kW/h – by the end of 2015, and Beijing is also planning to invest 2 billion RMB (c. US$322 million) to fund the building of other four plants.

    Data from the National Center of Solid Waste Management – a research unit under the Ministry of Environmental Protection – show that in 2012 China was already the country with the world’s largest amount of waste incineration, as it had 138 operative waste incineration plants, with an aggregate processing volume exceeding 35 million tons.

    Other statistics show that China’s annual urban solid waste generation is likely to reach nearly 200 million tons in 2015 and exceed 230 million tons by 2020, which is why several Chinese environmental protection companies are using their capital advantage to expand into the sector.

    However, the market is currently confronting some growth barriers, such as difficulties in receiving waste treatment subsidies from the government, low feed-in tariffs, frequent lack of support at the local level and underdeveloped technologies. Consequently, the government should foster greater industrialization of the market by updating the regulatory framework, upgrading the processes and the architecture and increasing the research and development of more innovative technologies.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 30 April 2015

    (Source: Renewable Energy World)

  • CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS MUST TAKE INTO ACCOUNT HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION

    The upcoming Paris climate summit could have a crucial impact not only on the environment, but also on the future of human rights.

    It is by now a common belief that nowadays climate change may constitute the biggest challenge to the fulfilment of human rights. The work of the UN Human Rights Council and a series of resolution have indeed established the clear realization that climate change seriously affects various internationally-recognised human rights, such as the access to water, the right to the self-determination and to life, and the rights to food, to health, to housing and to a healthy environment. Climate change is also worsening inequalities and injustices, as its effects are most felt among those already in a weaker position.

    For this reason, some parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are considering the linking between climate change and human rights, and a growing number of States, experts, NGOs and other bodies are fostering new initiatives to improve integration between the two agendas, with the hope that at the Paris Climate Summit in December a deal considering both the environment and human rights will be signed. In particular, hitherto 45 nations have introduced explicit references to the impact of climate change on human rights in their reports to the Universal Periodic Review, the UN’s peer review process for member states human rights records.

    During the Cancun Climate Summit in 2010 countries acknowledged “a range of direct and indirect implications for the effective enjoyment of human rights”, and at the Lima Climate Conference in 2014 all the 76 UN mandated human rights experts urged states to integrate human rights standards into the Paris Agreement. Remarkably, references to human rights can be found in the current negotiating agreement texts for the Paris Summit.

    Also, a “Geneva Pledge for Human Rights in Climate Change” has been developed during the Geneva climate talks in February 2015. It aims at addressing climate policy making needs by fostering greater cooperation between climate and human rights experts at the national and international level, and has already been signed by 20 countries.

     

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 29 April 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

  • CLIMATE CHANGE IS INCREASINGLY CAUSING EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS

    New research shows that climate change is responsible for the increasing regularity of heat waves and extreme rain incidents around the world.

    According to a new study published in Nature Climate Change, heat waves that used to occur once every 1000 days (that is once every three years) are now happening every 200 days – which is four times more often than before – and extreme rain events are happening with increasing regularity as well, and this scenario is a result of the 0.85 °C global rise in temperature occurred since the Industrial Revolution.

    In fact, the study shows how global warming has already increased the number of times temperatures reach extreme levels, causing faster water evaporation from the oceans and affecting the climate, which is becoming hotter and wetter and is therefore giving rise to extreme weather incidents.

    While this is already happening at this moment in time, in thefuture the scenario will probably become even more unstable and dangerous, irrespective of the achievement of the target governments have set to limit temperature rises within 2 °C. The study reveals that, on average, the planet will experience 60% more extreme rain events and 27 extremely hot days, and these figures could grow dramatically if global warming will exceed 3 °C, as it is likely to happen given the current levels of human-caused global greenhouse gas emissions.

    As Peter Stott, scientist at the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre, has pointed out, this new study is an important step in the so-called attribution science; in fact, associating present weather incidents with climate change can slowly wear away the common feeling that climate change is something that will have to be dealt with in the future.

    The study also reveals that the effects of global warming will affect each country differently. In particular, some already dry regions – such as parts of the Mediterranean, North Africa, Chile, the Middle East and Australia – will experience less heavy rain events, while tropical countries that are already dealing with weak infrastructures and poverty will be affected by more than 50 times as many extremely hot days and 2.5 times as many rainy ones if warming will reach or exceed 2 °C.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Wednesday, 29 April 2015

    (Source: Guardian)

  • UK HAS LEAD EU SOLAR POWER DEVELOPMENT IN 2014

    New figures show that the UK installed more solar infrastructures than any other European country in 2014, and is likely to retain its leading position in 2015.

    According to new data, the UK installed 2.5. gigawatts of solar power last year, which is more than a third of the overall European solar capacity created in 2014, and has therefore surpassed traditional powerhouses such as Germany and France.

    The country is likely to retain its leading position in 2015 as well, as it has already installed 2 gigawatts of power this year due to a rush to complete solar projects before the entry into force of deep subsidy cuts for large solar farms; in fact, starting from 1 April 2015, the government closed the Renewables Obligation (RO) subsidy scheme to ground-mounted solar panels of 5 megawatts capacity or larger. Nevertheless, another 1 gigawatt could be installed throughout the rest of the year under other support measures – such as the feed-in tariff incentive scheme – and some solar farm developers will still be allowed to claim their subsidy under the RO thanks to a grace period clause in the policy.

    However, these data come amid a difficult period for the European solar sector, as preliminary figures by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) show installation rates across the Union have dramatically fallen between 2011 – when 21 gigawatts were installed – and 2014 – when less than 7 gigawatts were installed. According to the EPIA, this fall is due to a range of policy challenges, including some retroactive subsidy cuts and the introduction of import tariffs on cheap Chinese solar panels.

    The news comes as the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF) announced that in the country solar energy has reached cost competitiveness, and doesn’t need government subsidies anymore.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 28 April 2015

    (Source: Business Green)

  • ABBATOIR FINDS SMART WAY TO HELP MAASAI HERDERS COPE WITH CLIMATE CHANGE

    A slaughterhouse has developed a system to turn waste into energy and fertiliser, thus helping Maasai people to face the threat of climate change.

    Most Maasai live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, where lately droughts have become more frequent and severe, and have been leaving the population without rain even for a whole year. At the same time, average and extreme temperatures are projected to increase due to climate change, and this will add more pressure to pastoralists, as livestock are particularly vulnerable to heat stress.

    To help herders adapt to these changes, a slaughterhouse in Kiserian, outside Nairobi, has recently come out with two innovative ideas of using its waste. The first project turns waste into fertiliser, to help Maasai people restore the grasses that feed their animals. The slaughterhouse’s innovation manager Michael Kibue designed a system of channels and pits that processes the waste into a nitrogen-rich fertiliser, and invited pastoralists to bring grass seeds together with their animals for slaughter: in fact, the seeds grow faster when they’re covered with the fertiliser, and create more food for the animals, which are consequently better-fed and better able to survive hard climate conditions.

    The second innovation turns waste into biogas that gets bottled and sold to the community. Being generated from waste, this kind of biogas can be sold at half the price of conventional liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), thus helping herders cut their everyday costs.

    Both the fertiliser and biogas innovations boost each animal’s value, and pastoralists can use the money they make thanks to higher selling prices to build up the resources they need to face the droughts.

    Still, the slaughterhouse project can only make a small difference in helping the Maasai population across the region, and many also doubt that proposals like these – even if enlarged – will be enough to carry on raising cattle. However, climate projections suggest that by the end of the century rainfalls in East Africa will increase and droughts will be less severe, so these innovations could help pastoralists survive for long enough to benefit from more favourable climate conditions.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 28 April 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • BRICS NATIONS ENHANCE ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION

    The first meeting of the BRICS environment ministers constitutes an important step in the process of enhancing leading emerging economies’ cooperation on environmental protection.

    In late April, the environment ministers of the so-called BRICS countries – namely Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa – gathered in Moscow to discuss the terms of an agreement that would deepen the countries’ ties on environmental protection, waste management and green growth. They also talked about feasible ways to increase the use of renewable energies.

    According to the ministers, in the future “the group will study the possibility of creating a joint BRICS platform for exchanging best practices and environmentally clean technology and know-how”.

    This has been the first meeting between environment ministers planned under the BRICS banner, and has been deservedly hailed as a major initiative, but the Indian environment minister Prakash Javadekar also highlighted that help and support coming from developed countries will be critical to ensure the success of the BRICS group’s project; in fact, the minister stated that “technology development, technology transfer and finance are important for developing world in taking more robust actions”, and “the cooperation of the developed world is needed in this respect as the cumulative efforts of the world and out joint actions will impact the climate in a positive way”.

    As Achim Steiner, head of UNEP, has noted, developing countries now play a fundamental and substantial role in ensuring sustainable development, especially the ones with rapidly developing financial and capital markets. With regard to this matter, in March 2015 the UN Environment Programme issued a research showing that developing countries are close to taking the lead in investments in the clean energy sector, especially thanks to the Chinese and Indian rapidly growing solar sectors.

    In 2010, the five countries of the BRICS group accounted for nearly 40% of the global amount of greenhouse gas emissions, China alone being responsible for 22%.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Monday, 27 April 2015

    (Source: RTCC)

  • EXPIRED PATENTS TRANSFORM LOCAL ECONOMY FUTURE

    In the Philippines and Papua New Guinea rural communities are taking advantage of old patents to develop their local economy.

    Thanks to the support of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) -  the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region - remote villages situated in Central Luzon, the Philippines, benefitted from the intervention of Korean intellectual property (IP) experts to improve the processing of ylang ylang essential oils.

    Korean consultants analyzed the existing situation of the villages and then proceeded with a prior art search via the Korean IP database: from expired patents they took inspiration to modify oil extractor boilers in order to maximize its capacity and developed a mobile facility able to move between villages located far away from the only existing Anao’s extractor.

    Using the same approach, another APEC project successfully managed to provide an irrigation system during dry season in Pinu, Papua New Guinea. This intervention enable locals not only to feed their families during the period of hunger, but also to sell the harvest and invest in healthcare and education.

    The impact of these recycled technologies is very broad; adapting existing inventions to local needs means raising the quality of life in hardly reachable areas and boosting their economies through a sustainable development.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 29 August 2014

    (Source: APEC)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • CHINA IS TIGHTENING ITS ONLINE CENSORSHIP

    Chinese President Xi Jinping is using harsher and harsher measures to realise his online censorship. Last year, online public opinion became one of the top priority for the Communist Party of China; since then, the government has instituted new sanctions, punishments and debatable precautionary measures in order to influence the digital world and dissuade dissidents from resisting.

    According to many international experts, the last twelve months have been the toughest for Chinese internet freedom and rights. Social-media defamation charges have brought numerous bloggers in jail, especially since the government has established state media officials whose public duties include exercising online influence and track down dissidents and troublemakers; Prison terms for defamatory post have been extended up to three years; National media and web companies (such as Tencent Holdings ltd, Alibaba Group Holding ltd, CCTV and People’s Daily) are forced to cooperate with censoring content and report disorderly conducts.

    The already serious situation is degenerating: Xi Jinping himself is leading the Internet Security Committee even promoting policies in contrast with Chinese constitution. Furthermore the unpredictable government impositions make people unaware of current regulations, causing severe downsides for investments. For these reasons, international public opinion concludes that Chinese leaders are harshening their fight because conscious of their failure.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 28 August 2014

    (Source: Bloomberg)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • GROWING PROTECTIONISM IN USA AND CHINA ALARMS COMPANIES

    Recent trade developments have caused mistrust between American and Chinese governments and investors. After the USA have imposed anti-dumping sanctions on imports of Chinese solar products, China has been accused of taking revenge by launching anti-monopoly investigations that target almost exclusively US companies.

    Moreover, Beijing appears to be inclined in proceeding with protectionist measures in response to US ones against Chinese investments in its market.

    In the past years China’s strategy to support its economic growth has been based on backing investments in the USA through numerous M&As, joint ventures and partnerships, especially under the WTO framework. Unfortunately, these recent developments have caused widespread mutual mistrust and they’re compromising all the attempts to open the IT market since the most affected companies are Microsoft, Qualcomm, Apple, Symantec, Huawei and Sany Group.

    In this critical situation, the US Government feels more and more exposed and sees no other option but to increase its protectionism, in fact: Chinese GDP is expected to exceed US one in less than a decade, depriving US of its commercial supremacy; China is putting new efforts in renovating its army and its dubious intentions are causing concerns since they are not alleys; China’s close connections with Iran and North Korea are seen as a threat to US security and military hacking cases are multiplying.

    United States will enjoy the benefits deriving from Chinese investors only if they will be able to focus on boosting their economy without excessive political interference concealed by security reasons.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wedsnesday, 27 August 2014

    (Source: Want China Times)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE COULD HELP DEALING WITH CLIMATE CHANGE

    If local and indigenous knowledge systems (LINKS) were scientifically validated, coastal and island communities would enjoy substantial benefits. Among the territories most affected by climate change, there are numerous remote islands in Indonesia, where modern technologies for disaster prevention and management are hardly available.

    During the centuries, local communities have developed different ways to face natural disasters; indeed, these populations have based their relationship with the surrounding, wild and violent nature on a multitude of traditions, customs and practices. Protected by UNESCO under the Convention for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage, these systems include calendars able to forecast extreme conditions such as tsunami, strong winds and drought seasons.

    Even though scientific and technological development was inspired by these effective systems, the scientific community hasn’t put enough effort in giving solid, scientific validation to LINKS, resulting in no funds allocation to revitalize and take advantage from this local traditional heritage.

    On the other hand, if governments, scientists and academicians supported LINKS, these would offer better opportunities to assist, mitigate and help the recovery of small communities from the devastating effects of climate change and they would encourage resilience together with the promotion of cultural identity.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 26 August 2014

    (Source: The Jakarta Post)

  • MOROCCO HOSTED A WORKSHOP ON HOW TO INVENTORY MAGHREBI ICH

    Fine experts from Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania gathered in Marrakech to discuss the creation of a participative inventory on their Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). This workshop is part of a broader program that aims at promoting the purposes of the Convention for the safeguarding of ICH, and the consequent call to action in order to enforce it.

    In the past years the Moroccan Ministry of Culture has been focusing its efforts on preserving and increasing the value of its national cultural heritage. The administration has therefore developed a plan of action, called “Patrimoine 2020”, which includes concrete programs for ICH protection, training, promotion and to raise awareness on this important issue.

    The workshop held in Marrakech was fundamental to shine a light on components of Maghrebi traditions (such as songs, dances and craft skills) that have been neglected for too long and that risk to be forgotten. The idea is to start an inventory to simplify the realization of specific strategies based on each ICH peculiarity.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 25 August 2014

    (Source: Libération)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • PROPOSALS FOR AN INTERNET BILL OF RIGHTS

    Italy is promoting a draft for internet governance which aims to be the first step towards a European internet bill of rights. The government has created an ad hoc committee convening the major experts in the field; and the esteemed jurist Stefano Rodotà is leading the efforts in order to submit and comment the first proposals by the end of September.

    In October a complete draft is meant to be presented by the ambitious committee at the European inter-parliamentary meeting on fundamental rights and to be submitted on the online platform Civi.ci in order to receive Italian citizens suggestions.

    The work that the committee will face is broad, complex and includes very hot topics such as: net neutrality; the inclusion of internet access among universal rights; freedom of information; finding a satisfying balance among transparency, the rule of law and privacy; and digital literacy.

    Around the world, many are the countries that are supporting internet governance initiatives: the lively debate whether or not regulating the internet seems therefore lean towards legal definitions of user’s freedoms and obligations; and Rodotà reminds to opposers that the online world is full of binding “terms of service” that are already ruling our lives, therefore now the right question is who runs the internet.

    As far as the Italian project is concerned, many are worried that few months will not be enough to draft a document that goes beyond a mere and generic declaration of principles. To avoid this situation, according to Juan Carlos de Martin - committee member and co-director of the Nexa Center for Internet & Society at the Politecnico of Turin - it would be useful to start realising a concrete regulatory framework on impactful issues such as e-surveillance and data retention.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 22 August 2014

    (Source: ZDNet)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • TUNISIA: NEW CYBER-CRIME LAW REMINDS OF REPRESSIVE REGIME

    Appointed as a pioneer country for digital rights, Tunisia is now working on a cyber crime law that is worrying its citizens.The leaked draft is claimed to be nebulous in its language and it contains severe sanctions that have been compared to Ben Ali's dictatorship and censorship.

    The law has been presented by Tunisian authorities as the follow-up of the previous interim government; it aims to complete the legal framework of Tunisian digital policy enhancing online security and strengtheningthe Technical Telecommunication Agency's powers: those caught in “obscene acts and assaulting good morals online” will be sanctioned with a $ 2900 fine and imprisonment between 6 months up to 3 years; The Minister of Higher Education will be in charge of monitoring social media to detect suspicious activities that may be related to terrorism; Public authorities will be provided with extensive powers to inspect public and private databases.

    The government affirms the importance of this law in order to prevent and fight terrorism, nonetheless, many Tunisians fears that it could pave the way to abuses, ruining the enormous progress the country has made after the revolution.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 21 August 2014

    (Source: VPN Creative)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • IN TURKEY MEDIA SELF CENSOR THEMSELVES

    After Erdogan presidential election the chilling effect is rapidly spreading among Turkish mediaand Ambering Zaman - a reporter for The Economist and Taraf - is one of the last journalist he focused his intimidation techniques on.

    Indeed, Erdogan has exposed her to public shame and outrage just because, during the election campaign, the woman has repeatedly expressed her negative opinions about his politics. For the very same reason she also has been targeted on social media by radical groups forcing her to interrupt her activity out of fear.

    The country has recently become more and more popular for attacks on press freedom and for theincreasing number of journalists in prison. Unfortunately, Zaman is just one of the many Turkish reporters victim of their president threats; many are the names popped up in the last month, only to mention a couple: Enis Berberoglu, editor-in-chief of Hurriyet, was forced to resign, while Mehmet Baransu, an investigative journalist, was beaten by police and detained by Istanbul public prosecutor because he tweeted about it.

    They are just examples of direct and indirect control over media, especially television, that Erdogan is able to employ and he has already disclosed his concrete plans to expand these powers.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 20 August 2014

    (Source: Index on Censorship)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • INDIAN UNIVERSITY MAKES OPEN ACCESS POLICY TO SCIENTIFIC WORK

    The University of Mumbai is working to grant unlimited access to its scientific papers. The departments of biotechnology and science and technology will soon share their researches online.

    The policy draft suggests a mechanism consisting in a deposition at the researcher’s institution repository after the paper has passed a professional peer review. Alternatively it is expected the creation by the government of a national central repository that pursues the same scope.

    Following the example of other leading universities and institutions - such as the University of Southampton, Harvard and MIT - the Indian open access proponents advocate the benefits of this policy will not be restricted to supporting teaching and learning, but it will also allow universities to expand their library limiting the high costs of academic journal subscriptions.

    To incentivize the application of this policy, the mechanism has been enforced to avoid non compliance: researchers who fail or refuse to comply will not be considered for future fund allocations; while those in government service will put at risk their career advancement.

    According to T Vishnu Vardhan - programme director of Access to Knowledge at the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) - this is also a long term strategy to heighten education quality in India.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 19 August 2014

    (Source: The Times of India)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • BLOGGERS IN RUSSIA SHUDDER AT NEW INTERNET CENSORSHIP ENFORCEMENT

    Earlier this year the Russian government has passed a law that enables to block websites and to initiate radical investigations without a judicial oversight.This manoeuvre provoked widespread and justified fears across the Russian blogosphere; especially since one of the main icons of Russian internet freedom, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, is now limiting her activism in the effort of avoiding possible consequences.

    Nadezhda Tolokonnikova became popular when she was arrested due to her militancy in the Pussy Riot; after being a political prisoner for almost two years, she is now involved in a new project called Zone of Rights, an NGO about which she is pretty reluctant to publicly share online information.

    Tolonnikova’s behaviour is more than understandable: in the last months many are the websites that have been censored by the federal police - including, but unfortunately not limited to one of the most popular news website and prominent political blogs - just because they offered access to discussions about unsanctioned demonstrations.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 18 August 2014

    (Source: Global Voices)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • INTERNET CAN HELP CHINA TO SUSTAIN ITS DEVELOPMENT

    If China is willing to invest in the Internet, it will be able to reach a sustained boost up to 22% of the incremental GDP growth through 2025. Despite being ranked first in the list of countries by number of internet users, China has barely connect and its digital revolution is promising.

    Recently McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) published a record illustrating how the digitalization of Chinese enterprises will be a driven force into shaping an economy based on productivity, innovation and consumption. Until now, in fact, China approach to e-economy has been focused mainly on consumer side, neglecting to support the take-off of businesses; this strategy has perfectly worked, contributing to the China’s rise that the world has experienced in the last decades, but to avoid a slowdown the country will have to aim for broader technology adoption so as to improve efficiency of its resources exploitation.

    The benefits of going digital will be easily accessible, especially to small and medium-sized companies. Compared to the past, nowadays aspiring entrepreneurs can count on instant and direct consumer feedbacks, low cost of management, reduced transaction costs and the support of collaboration platforms that allow to grow their ideas.

    To use this propitious occasion the Government is challenged on various and considerable fields: regulation of privacy protection, data sharing and big data, market liberalization and education reform to assure technical skills will surely be the most impactful decision.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Friday, 15 August 2014

    (Source: Ecns.cn)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • MALAYSIAN EX PRIME MINISTER EXHORTS TO INTERNET CENSORSHIP

    Mr Mahathir Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, persists in exhorting the current government to censor the internet invoking public morality protection.

    After having been in charge for more than twenty years, Dr Mahatir continues to leverage Malaysian ruling coalition and public opinion through the lines of his blog. Lately he went viral by posting an entry in which he explains why he changed his stance about internet freedom.

    From supporting the open internet Dr Mahatir swifted to advocate the need of censorship of this medium because he himself has been experiencing censorship.

    Behind this apparent poor reasoning relies an attentive observation of the internet development, especially in the most recent years. In fact Dr Mahatir claims that his posts and blog have been repeatedly blacken out due to his strong opinions relating to current affairs, and highlights the enormous power wielded over content by servers and platforms hosting providers. It is indeed this unlimited and pervasive control that urges to be bound by governmental policies and regulations.

    To support his position, Malaysian ex Prime Minister argues that “freedom, any kind of freedom will always be open to abuse and the worst abuses are in the field of morality”; with these words he intends to persuade his audience that to effectively protect public morality it is necessary the government intervention. Only by doing so it will be possible to prevent internet misuses too often hidden under the guise of freedom of expression.

    The reactions to this proposal have been immediate; many have interpreted Dr Mahatir words as a serious threat to online freedom and have invited Malaysian people to raise their voice against this act defined as anti-democratic, dictatorial and tyranny.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Thursday, 14 August 2014

    (Source: Global Voices)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • BEIJING WELCOMES NEW WIPO OFFICE

    On July the World Intellectual Property Organization established new representative office in Beijing, achieving a crucial landmark in its cooperation with the People’s Republic of China.

    In 2008 China set a plan of action for national IP protection that boosted the already remarkable country’s progress made since its membership in the 80’s. This huge nation expects great benefits from WIPO direct presence in its territory; the government sees the office opening event as an international recognition for the tremendous IP development and feels there’s still room for improvement, increasing efforts and investments in sectors such as IPRs protection, research, training, personnel exchanges and international rule making.

    Today China has a vibrant participation in WIPO systems and activities: top-ranked in global trademark and patent applications, groundbreaking in software copyright and new plant varieties, it’s joining an increasing number of WIPO administered international treaties.

    According to Shen Changyu - commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office - the nation is now facing a significant phase of substantial reforms in which IP development is one of the drawing powers to fulfill important goals.

    The WIPO representative office in Beijing will play a strategic role for international business. WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry has declared that among top priorities the office, beyond setting an international venue for dispute resolution, will provide support in the use of global filing systems for patents, trademarks and industrial design. In addition to these functions, it will certainly promote chinese prosperous market for local and global IP production and the hopes are that it will also allow a broader access to IP across the whole country, instead of few regions.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Wednesday, 13 August 2014

    (Source: China.org.cn)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • FACEBOOK IN AFRICA STANDS FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS

    Facebook’s free accessibility initiative Internet.org makes women become aware of their rights. The American social network has recently launched a new app that gathers and gives free access to all the main resources related to women’s rights such as MAMA (Mobile Alliance For Maternal Action), WRAPP (Women’s Rights App), and Facts For Life by UNICEF.

    The project revolves around the idea of empowerment through information: once people are acknowledged with their rights and they know who to contact if a violation occurs, they will be more keen to react to injustices.

    The first market to enjoy the initiative is Zambia - whose mobile carrier Airtel, together with local governments, worked hard to offer access at no charge to people who can’t afford a mobile data plan; but since the app is available around the globe, frictions are expected in those countries governed by oppressive regimes that deny human rights and where gender discrimination is socially and culturally accepted.

    In Musimbi Kanyoro’s opinion - President and CEO at Global Fund for Women’s - this technology will be crucial to build solid foundation and fight gender inequality as well as developing more inclusive and democratic societies.

    Considering Mark Zuckerberg global business, this noble move could cost Facebook permanent ban from countries ruled by “morally concerned” governments like Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and China.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Tuesday, 12 August 2014

    (Source: TechCrunch)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • NIGERIA PROMOTES INTERNET ACCESS FOR ALL AFRICA HOSTING THE AfIGF

    Governments and stakeholders from all Africa reunited in Nigeria to discuss internet policy developments at the African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF).

    For the third year many institutions from the public and private sector actively helped co-organising and supporting this growing event: the Federal Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Nigerian Internet Registry Authority, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Local Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group (LMAG) of the Nigerian Internet Governance Forum (NIGF), and the African Union Commission (AUC) together with the African sub-regional IGFs.

    Between 2010 and 2014 Africa managed to grow over ten times mobile broadband penetration, allowing millions of people to experience web access. According to Ms. Fatima Denton - Director, Special Initiatives Division at the ECA - in order to sustain internet growth in Africa, each single nation has to foster private market and stimulate stake holding; many are the successful examples that seem to confirm this strategy, especially in the health sector such as the ABIYE safe motherhood programme.

    During the forum, several were the recommendations proposed to create sound basis for tomorrow’s policies, among others: educational policies relating to content creation, development and distribution; the need of policies to enhance Human Rights protection and respect; policies to stimulate multi-stakeholder cooperation as a means to drive internet access, growth and development, as well as improving digital trust and many others.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC project

    Monday, 11 August 2014

    (Source: All Africa)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • WORLD'S TOP FIRMS TO REFUSE CLIENTS DENYING MAN-MADE CLIMATE CHANGE OR SEEK TO BLOCK EMISSION-REDUCING REGULATIONS

    Some of the world’s top PR companieshave for the first time publicly ruled out working with climate change deniers, marking a fundamental shift in the multi-billion dollar industry that has grown up around theissue of global warming.

    Public relations firms have played a critical role over the years in framing the debate on climate change and its solutions –as well as the extensive disinformation campaigns launched to block those initiatives. Now a number of the top 25 global PR firms have told the Guardian they will not represent clients who deny man-made climate change, or take campaigns seeking to block regulations limiting carbon pollution. Companies include WPP, Waggener Edstrom (WE) Worldwide, Weber Shandwick, Text100, and Finn Partners.

    “We would not knowingly partner with a client who denies the existence of climate change,”said Rhian Rotz, spokesman for WE. The UK-based WPP, the world’s largest advertising firm by revenue and parent company of Burson Marsteller and Oglivy Public Relations, said taking on a client or campaign disputing climate change would violate company guidelines.

    The PR firms were responding to surveys conducted independently by the Guardian and the Climate Investigations Centre, a Washington-based group that conducts research on climate disinformation campaigns. This could have a knock-on effect on the advertising and lobbying campaigns targeting Barack Obama’s regulations limiting carbon emissions from power plants, and the international negotiations for a climate change treaty, now entering a critical phase.

    The Climate Investigations Centre sent out surveys in April to the world’s top 25 firmsasking them to go on the record about their views on climate change.

    The short survey asked:

                •          Does your company acknowledge thethreat and challenge of climate change as companies like Walmart, CocaCola, Apple, Google, AIG, Swiss Re, NRG, Unilever and others have done?

                •          Does your company have anyinternal carbon accounting policies or energy use reduction targets? Have you taken actions to reduce your “carbon footprint”?

                •          Does your company have an internal Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy regarding climate change or the environment generally?

                •          Has your agency advised any client corporations on communications around CSR programmes with a specific climate change focus, or on other climate change related public relations efforts?

    The Guardian followed up by asking firms if they would take on clients that deny the existence of man-made climate change or campaigns seeking to block regulations dealing with climate change.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Monday, 4 August 2014

    (Source: The August)

  • MULTILATERAL PROBLEMS NEED TO BE SOLVED UNDER MULTILATERAL FRAMEWORK

    At the recent meeting held in New Delhi, Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) have launched a cohesive front, reaffirming their position on climate negotiations.

    In this context, India’s minister for environment, forests and climate change has highlighted that developed countries must improve the talks, reinforcing their commitments to cut emissions.

    The world’s four biggest emerging economies have strongly criticized the continued lack of clear guideline for providing $100 billion per year by developed countries by 2020, a commitment undertaken by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009. This fund was created to provide long-term finance to developing countries in order to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions, addressing climate change.

    According to developing countries, the developed countries need to foster stronger actions in order to take the lead in fighting climate change, in accordance with their historical responsibilities.

    In this framework, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has argued that human activities represent the main cause of climate change and global warming that are damaging agricultural output worldwide, raising sea levels, and making events such as droughts, floods and storms more severe and more frequent. In addition to that, scientists have outlined that thermal power plants, industries and motor vehicles are the principle sources of carbon dioxide emissions, worsening climate change related issues.

    In relation to that, the BASIC governments have stressed the importance to establish stricter environmental policies in line with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

    Furthermore, developed countries have affirmed that governments need to specify their plans to control emissions and their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). On the other hand, developing countries have indicated that they will balance their commitments on the extent of their financial, technological and capacity building.

    Despite some contrasts, ministers have agreed the importance to address climate change through cooperation, promoting multilateral agreements and supporting domestic measures to fight global warming and environmental issues, including energy savings, energy efficiency, renewables, smart-grids and capacity-building programs.

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Saturday, 09 August 2014

    (Source: ChinaDialogue)

  • DRINKING A GLASS OF WATER: A SIMPLE GESTURE THAT CAN RESULT IN A SERIOUS HEALTH RISK

    Experts have recently highlighted that pollution is one of the main alarming issues that is affecting China, worsening rural Chinese water supply crisis.

    Many environmentalist groups have analyzed this situation focusing on rural villages used to have their own wells, typically around 12 meters deep. According to the studies, coal mining has significantly modified the local geology, reducing the amount of ground water available.

    A recent survey undertaken by a Beijing-based environmental group has shown the condition of villages outlining severe problems of water scarcity and pollution. The majority of these villages were located in the provinces of Henan in the north, and Anhui in central China.

    The survey has revealed that water related issues have significantly accelerated problems as migration, turning some villagers into environmental migrants, compelling people to buy expensive bottled water.

    The team of research has undertaken various kind of tests on water samples, including sensory, physical and chemical checks, and tests for overall water hardness, and levels of heavy metals, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites and hydrides: the outcome shows that the majority of the samples did not meet the minimum standards.

    According to data from 2004, pollution caused by local geological conditions represents a widespread problem in rural areas. In this context, more than 90 million people are suffering from drinking water contaminated with fluoride, arsenic or salts. Additionally, new industrial sources of contamination are playing a crucial role, worsening the condition of rural water supplies, researchers say.

    Moreover, these villages, affected by industrial pollution, need to face other challenging problems such as agricultural pollution of land and rivers, pollution from aquaculture, natural geological sources of pollution and landfill sites.

    Industrial pollution, permeating deeply into the ground over a long period, is strongly damaging the surface, contaminating the local geology.

    In this framework, experts argue that this phenomenon stresses the importance for villages to preserve sources of good quality water, and the urgency to establish adequate mechanisms for instance installing water purifiers, in order to address the main environmental challenges.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Saturday, 09 August 2014

    (Source: ChinaDialogue)

  • GENERAL MOTORS: THE FAILURE OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

    The actors that perhaps hold the most ability to impact our surroundings, both negatively and positively, are large corporations. Corporations not only have the power to affect our natural environment, but also our cultural norms and expectations. However, occasionally, corporations do not hold up their end of the bargain. Such was the case over the past few months with General Motors and its recall of over 28 million cars in the year 2014 alone.

    One of the tenets of a working society, and of sustainability, is the ability for individuals to trust that the entities with which they do business have more than simply their bottom line in mind. This is one of the key aspects of what is known as corporate social responsibility (CSR), an idea that is central to the idea of sustainability.

    Perhaps one of the most important contributions of the 1970s to the concept of CSR took the form of Nestle’s huge public relations disaster that stemmed from its marketing of baby formula in developing countries. In 1980, the 33rd World Health Assembly adopted the recommendations that came out of the WHO/UNICEF meeting and charged the two organizations with drafting a code for the marketing and promotion of infant formulas. The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981 and was ultimately supported by 118 countries, with only the United States voting against it.

    Despite the fact that the United States voted against the Code, multinational corporations started taking notice of the benefits of CSR for their public images as well as their bottom lines.  

    Over the past few months, General Motors has recalled over 28 million vehicles due to safety problems associated with faulty ignition switch in many of its models, most notably the Chevrolet Cobalt.

    By GM’s admission, the defective switches caused more than 50 crashes and at least 13 deaths. Thissafety problem went unmentioned and unfixed by GM engineers for 11 years. In his report, Valukas writes that GM continued to view theswitch problem as “annoying but not particularly problematic.” Once the problem was thusly defined, Valukas continues, “the switch problem received less attention, and efforts to fix it were impacted by cost considerations that would have been immaterial had the problem been properly categorized in the first instance.” 

    The question, though, is whether or not a mea culpa is going to be sufficient enough to undo all of the damage that has been done to General Motor’s reputationover the past eight months.

    In the case of the recent GM recalls, a state agency, NHTSA, wilfully ignored information concerning the health and safety of people travelling the highways of the United States and did not put pressure on General Motors to address the issues at hand.

    Have we passed the point where we can assume certain levels of corporate social responsibility? Can individuals and corporations together, as the EPA mentions, fulfil “the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations?” Or will GM’s irresponsible use of power, as Davis predicted, cause the company to lose its impact in the car market? This all remains to be seen.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Thursday, 31 July 2014

    (Source: The Highbrow Magazine)

  • CHINA CUTs EMISSIONS, BUT THE NEW LEGISLATION AND STRONGER INSTRUMNETS NEEDED

    The Chinese government has recently announced a new Climate Change Law that represents the first step of climate change legislation, created to control and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and to foster sustainable development.

    This law represents the result of a long path started in 2010 with the National Development and Reform Commission, and the contribution of legal experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the China University of Politics and Law.

    Experts from the team of research have admitted that the proposed law need to be implemented with stricter mechanism and instruments, stressing at the same time that China has the capability to achieve concrete and good results in this way.

    After years of incessant development, the government has to face the severe degree of pollution that is affecting China with adequate measures in order to cut emissions. Chinese rapid growth has significantly damaged the environment and public health, experts say.

    Moreover, the growing population exercises a great pressure on energy and resources, stressing the urgency to change the existing mode of economic expansion.

    However, some experts have warned that the lack of consensus about the mechanisms to cut emissions proposed in the draft, especially about the so-called cap and trade, could represent an obstacle, hampering the achievement of future objectives. 

    In relation to that, experts also highlight that the Chinese legislation is lagging behind the market, showing the importance to meet the targets of emission cuts in the near term to address the difficulties that carbon trading faces.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Friday, 08 August2014

    (Source: ChinaDialogue)

  • CHINESE SEVERE SOIL POLLUTION: A CONSENSUS ABOUT THE METHODS TO FOLLOW STILL LACKING

    Data have clearly shown the extent of the Chinese soil pollution crisis. However, the consensus about the measures to undertake is still lacking.

    A recent survey has revealed that 16.1% of sampling points nationwide were in violation of soil quality standards, with farmland suffering the highest failure rate at 19.4%.

    According to some experts of the School of Resources and Environment at Qingdao Agricultural University, the government has not yet reached a consensus on the objectives for remediation of polluted farmland. Additionally, there are different points of view across different levels of government. This situation represents one of the main obstacle to meet a common political position in this field.

     Moreover, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has launched a policy to support soil remediation, stressing that the soil will be protected from further pollution. On the contrary, critics have stressed the lack of adequate instruments capable to achieve actual remediation of the soil.

    Furthermore, concerns and controversy reigns in academic circles. Some experts highlight the urgency to clean up the soil in order to avoid further negative consequences on crops, groundwater and surface water, reducing the severe impact of pollution on the environment and public health in the long-term. However, the situation is complex, experts say. Remediation technology is still inadequate, increasing the costs that the society has to face.

    In addition to that, researchers have pointed out that there is a lack of experience in remediation techniques and management, worsening the Chinese environmental safety. These experts have also suggested the importance to reinforce investments in this area, establishing new models and technologies.

    In this framework, the "polluter pays" principle is used, but the party responsible for historical pollution is often difficult to find. Consequently, it is fundamental that the government will undertake stronger rules to change polluting behaviour in order to avoid the alarming threat of contamination over Chinese fields.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Friday, 8 August 2014

    (Source: ChinaDialogue)

  • THE LASTING THREAT OF EBOLA: THE WHO CALLS FOR STRONGER ACTIONS

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the deadly Ebola epidemic that has ripped through Africa represents an international health emergency.

    Moreover, the WHO’s director general has announced that the current outbreak is the strongest and even the most complex in the nearly four decades of the history of the disease.

    The committee of the WHO has unanimously decided to declare the international state of emergency. This decision represents a strong call to alert the entire world to the need for higher vigilance of possible cases of Ebola.

    According to experts, this announcement stresses the importance to reinforce international solidarity over the outbreak that is the largest and longest in history.

    Furthermore, experts from the WHO have highlighted that the most vulnerable countries lack the adequate instruments to overcome this complex and alarming situation. In this way, the international community should support these countries with stronger action in order to solve this challenging issue.

    Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone are the main countries affected by this crisis.

    Focusing on Liberian specific context, experts have indicated that fragile health systems and serious lack of human, financial and material resources in the countries are the main causes of the outbreak.

    On the other hand, the spread of the infection can be reduced with concrete and effective measures, experts highlight.

    Additionally, researchers of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have argued that the Ebola outbreak will require a long fight, adding it would take at least three to six months to end the crisis: additionally, this time lapse would be the best-case scenario, experts say.

    In this framework, other experts suggest the importance to establish new mechanisms, involving directly African communities, and trying to convince them to abandon their traditional habits when people have died that involve washing the body and kissing the corpse immediately after death, which is when it is most infectious.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    LIBEAC  project

    Friday, 08 August 2014

    (Source: The Independent)

    This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.

     

  • CHINA: A MILESTONE IN HANWHA GROUP'S SIGNATURE CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY PROGRAM

    Hanwha Group and Hanwha SolarOne today officially announced that it will donate a 30 KWh solar PV system providing continuous power support to Xiegou Town Center Primary School in Datong County, Qinghai Province, China. As a partnership between Hanwha SolarOne and the China Youth Development Foundation, this forms another important milestone in Hanwha Group's signature corporate responsibility program - 'Happy Sunshine' in China.

    Beside improving overall conditions of local schools and supporting its long-term development, the program plays a key role in enabling teachers and students to better understand the value of sustainable development.

    Commissioned by the Hanwha Group, Hanwha SolarOne will create specially design and install a 30 KWh distributed rooftop PV system tailored for the Xiegou Town Center Primary School in Datong County, Qinghai Province. The project is estimated to yield an estimated 54,000 KWh of solar energy every year for the Xiegoue Town Center Primary School, which is equivalent to RMB 40,000 in annual electricity fees.

    Hanwha Group donated and installed another 30 KWh distributed rooftop PV system for the Hope Primary School in Wufeng County, Hubei Province in the previous year, and this year's donation for Xiegou Town Center Primary School signifies the continued expansion and achievements in the company's corporate social responsibility in China.

    Mr. Seong-Woo Nam, Chief Executive Officer of Hanwha SolarOne, stated during the signing ceremony, "We are honoured to be able to leverage our strength and contribute to the 'Hope program' to improve overall education and wellbeing of children in remote areas in China. Looking ahead, we are committed to continue expanding our corporate responsibility footprint in China through cooperating with public welfare organizations and trade associations so to continue helping people in need."

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Tuesday, 29 July 2014

    (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

  • HOW ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE UK’S FOOD SELF-SUFFICIENCY?

    This year, data suggest an optimistic prospect of a good harvest. However, Britain's ability to feed itself is in long-term decline, experts say, with self-sufficiency falling from 78% to 60% in the last 30 years.

    In this context, the National Farmers Union has shown the importance to undertake stronger actions to change this alarming situation, stressing that the food supply would run out without imports.

    Moreover, MPs have recently argued that Britain’s capability to feed itself is undermined: some factors such as the extreme weather caused by climate change and increasing competition for food as the world's population grows are playing a crucial role threatening Britain’s food self-sufficiency.

    Additionally, some experts have analyzed this phenomenon, noting that the Ukrainian crisis has strongly affected wheat prices.

    In this framework, major producers have criticized supermarkets that dominate the food market, accusing them of replacing British agricultural products with cheaper imports.

    Studies describe a complex situation: increased production of apples, strawberries and asparagus are replacing imports, while celery and broccoli are rising but not enough to satisfy the growing demand.

    On the other hand, the production of other important crops is decreasing: broad and runner beans, tomatoes, and pears have fallen by more than 20% in the past decade, due to foreign competitors that can supply hungry supermarkets all year round. In addition to that, farmers have highlighted that other issues are playing a central role, as the difficulty in finding people in the UK to harvest hand-picked crops like strawberries.

    Furthermore, the UK's higher food standards represent crucial factors that are damaging self-sufficiency, increasing prices compared with other countries, farmers warn.

    In relation to that, the government need to invest in new crops and smarter growing systems. The failure of establishing adequate policies will undermine Britain's ability to feed itself, experts say.

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    EPSEI project

    Thursday, 07 August 2014

    (Source: The Guardian)

  • OBAMA SAYS CORPORATE AMERICA HAS BENEFITED FROM HIS POLICIES

    President Barack Obama said corporate America has done well under his economic policies, telling the Economist magazine that CEOs should stop complaining about regulations and show greater social responsibility.

    "If you look at what's happened over the last four or five years, the folks who don't have a right to complain are the folks at the top," Obama said in an interview conducted last week and posted on the magazine's website late on Saturday.

    Businesses have complained that Obama's health care law and the Dodd-Frank financial reforms have hiked their costs. Business groups are lobbying against his new plan to curb climate-changing carbon emissions from power plants.

    "I would take the complaints of the corporate community with a grain of salt," Obama said, arguing that his policies have been friendly to business. "They always complain about regulation. That's their job."

    Obama has increasingly promoted populist economic measures such as raising the minimum wage to motivate Democratic voters ahead of critical November congressional elections, in which his Democrats face the prospect of losing control of the Senate.

    Obama had a frosty relationship with business in his first term, famously telling an interviewer: "I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.”The White House toned down that rhetoric, and in Obama's second term has rallied corporate America for support to advance executive actions to hire the long-term unemployed, get better technology in schools and provide more opportunities for young African American men.

    But in the interview, Obama chided business for a lack of social responsibility, citing a "general view" that "the only responsibility that a corporate CEO has is to his shareholders".

    "There's a huge gap between the professed values and visions of corporate CEOs and how their lobbyists operate in Washington," he said. "My challenge to them consistently is, 'Is your lobbyist working as hard on those issues as he or she is on preserving that tax break that you've got?' And if the answer is no, then you don't care about it as much as you say.”

     

    The gLAWcal Team

    POREEN project

    Saturday, 2 August 2014

    (Source: The Economist)