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  • 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)