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The World is Watching
All eyes were on world leaders as the UN climate conference officially kicked into gear in Paris.
Faced with record numbers of people taking to the streets around the world to show their support for a renewable energy future, nearly 150 heads of state presented their own nation’s ambitions for the coming weeks.
But it was the world’s most vulnerable nations that stole the show.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum – including countries from the Philippines to Sudan, Ethiopia to Bangladesh – showed what climate leadership looks like when they launched a bold call for a 100% renewable future by 2050, joining other major economies, including the G7 in supporting a complete decarbonisation of the global economy.
Markings of strong global momentum were also noted from other leaders, including US President Obama’s pledge support to vulnerable countries on resilience and China’s re-commitment to achieve a peak in emissions as soon as possible, kicking this year’s pivotal climate summit off with a sprinting start.
Bill Gates and other tech investors launched a clean energy fund backed by 28 of the world’s richest investors, which will see a doubling of money for clean energy research funding in the next five years in 20 countries including the US, France and India.
Along with 100 other countries, India also announced a global alliance to massively expand solar power. Meanwhile a new $500m World Bank fund, supported by four European nations – Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland – will help developing countries cut their carbon emissions.
As Heads of State leave Paris, their final task is to take their inspiring words from the opening day and empower the negotiators they leave in their stead to produce an agreement which can accelerate the transition towards a fully renewable-powered future, while reducing poverty and protecting vulnerable people from the impacts of climate change.
We are being systematically poisoned through our gut bacteria by an herbicide for which the EPA states that there is no known antidote, and that same agency is covering it up by stating that humans are somehow immune.
David Cameron's vision of striking terrorists in Syria betrays a pitiful lack of vision. We must bomb terrorists and their accomplices wherever they are lurking: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Molenbeek, the Parisian banlieue, even Leeds and Finsbury Park if we have to.
World Leaders mark new highpoint in political momentum as COP21 officially opens
- Heads of state took centre stage in Paris, but it was the world’s most vulnerable that stole the show
- Public and private sectors have made unprecedented commitments and pledges to boost clean energy technology, help the poorest nations cut emissions, and lower climate risk
- Backed by people power and political momentum, negotiators are now fully equipped to finalize an ambitious universal climate agreement
After a weekend filled with inspiring calls for climate action around the world, COP21 officially kicked-off at Le-Bourget in Paris on Monday. Over 150 Heads of State attended a leaders summit, eager to show they’re moving in line with the overwhelming shifts toward public demand for a renewable energy-powered and climate resilient world.
Leaders statements and announcements marked a new highpoint in the growing level of political momentum which has been on the rise for years. A coalition of vulnerable country leaders committed to the strongest ever call from UN member states – with a bold call for a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, a complete decarbonization of the global economy, and a limit to global temperature rise of 1.5DegC. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President François Hollande announced a widely anticipated new alliance, inviting over 100 solar-rich countries to facilitate widespread implementation of solar projects and infrastructure. The US and 18 other countries have pledged to double funds for clean energy research to a total of $20bn over five years, boosting a significant parallel initiative by investors who see opportunity in leading the energy transition. A number of countries also announced contributions totaling US$248 million to the Least Developed Countries Fund.
As the Paris talks transition from bold calls for action and commitments from leaders, back to the challenging work of agreeing on the details of a new global climate deal, negotiations are energized. It remains to be seen whether leaders’ governments will back-up their words by delivering over the next two weeks.News, links & useful grist that caught our eye
Not every country reflected the spirit of this moment in the same way. In the first Fossil of the Day Award for COP21 both New Zealand and Belgium were called out for their climate inaction. For New Zealand, the Fossil was awarded for the hypocrisy it showed when it joined a side-event and urged countries to phase-out fossil fuel subsidies, while at the same time shelling out $80 million dollars to prop up dirty industry. Belgium was shamed by civil society for remaining one of the few EU countries lagging behind on their emissions reduction and renewable energy targets.
A new report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development puts the climate finance challenge in context. While developed countries boosted the Least Developed Countries Fund by US$248 million, the report estimates that the cost of all 48 Least Developed Countries implementing their post-2020 climate action plans to be around US$93 billion per year.
The numbers are in from this weekend’s mobilization. 785,000 world citizens marched for the climate this weekend, and another 3.6 million people signed a call for a meaningful agreement, delivered to leaders in Paris today. Combined with today’s public and private sector action, negotiators have a clear mandate to finalize an ambitious universal climate agreement.
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The health community is increasingly trying to reframe climate change and other environmental problems as health issues.
In this issue of EHP, a team reports further evidence that folic acid supplementation may be an effective intervention for arsenic-exposed populations.
The founders of Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook launch a new group to tackle climate change. Their ideas include delivery drones, advanced nuclear reactors, and solar paint.
A sensor on the International Space Station caught a red tide in progress.
They call it CRISPR, and has the potential to change the human species.
This mask that battles viruses, bacteria, allergens and smog could be the next big fashion item hitting major cities in 2016.
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. says it will fight a $409-million lawsuit the province of Quebec has launched over the 2013 Lac-Mégantic oil train explosion that killed 47 people.
Heavy pesticide use is standard on the majority of Colombia's farms. But a number of initiatives for more sustainable alternatives are taking root and sparking an organic revolution.
The agency says it recently obtained information from Dow AgroSciences that suggests its Enlist Duo may be more toxic than the EPA originally thought.
The potentially deadly black lung disease has re-emerged in Australian coalmines for the first time in more than three decades.