Pollution

SA Environment Deteriorates – Study

South Africa's natural environment has, over the past 20 years, deteriorated nearly the fastest of most countries in the world, according to a report in the Beeld newspaper.

This is the finding of a group of scientists at the universities of Yale and Columbia, in the United States, who measured the state of the environment in 132 countries, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

Ecological Debt Tribunal – Holding Polluters Accountable

The faith community is among key stakeholders calling for the establishment of a permanent International People’s Tribunal on Ecological Debt. Such a tribunal would hold environmental violators accountable for the climate change they are causing in local communities, particularly in developing nations.

There are many definitions for ecological debt. The concept highlights the disparity between industrialised nations, which consume a greater share of the global resource pool, and developing nations, who have larger populations, but consume fewer resources and produce less waste.

Canada Withdraws From Kyoto Protocol

Canada became the first country to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, saying the pact on cutting carbon emissions is preventing the world from effectively tackling climate change.

The country’s Environment Minister, Peter Kent, says that following a marathon 17th Congress of the Parties (COP17), at which nations agreed to a new roadmap for worldwide action.

Future of Planet at Stake, Warns UN

United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has warned climate talks that failure to overcome deadlock place the world in peril, even as scientists warned delegates to face up to the facts of climate change.

Ban’s call comes at the time when Achim Steiner, executive secretary of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said that, "Climate change is defined by science and scientific realities, not by politics, political expediency and political impacts."

High-Level Talks Begin at COP17

World leaders and government ministers start their top level climate talks at COP17, amid warnings that a breakthrough agreement is unlikely.

Twelve heads of state and 130 ministers are set to attend the high-level segment of the conference, which begins later today, and deals with extending the carbon-emission limits established by the Kyoto Protocol in 1998.

The world's biggest polluters - the United States, China and India - are not part of Kyoto and the conservatives argue that any agreement that does not include the major emitters is meaningless.

Greenpeace Activists Arrested at COP17

Seven Greenpeace campaigners have been arrested on the sidelines of the United Nations climate conference as they protest against corporate responsibility for carbon emissions.

The six were detained as they tried to hang a banner reading ‘Listen to the People, not the Polluters’ at a Durban hotel where a ‘Global Business Day’, hosted by business organisations, was taking place.

The protest was aimed at a so-called ‘Dirty Dozen’ corporations which Greenpeace says are pulling political strings to stifle progress toward a global climate deal.

SA Criticised Over Coal Investments

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says that with South Africa’s investment into Eskom’s new Kusile and Medupi coal-fired powered stations, it is clear that coal will continue to be a large part of our energy supply. The WWF delegation had this to say at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17), which started from 28 November and will end on 9 December 2011 in Durban.

To watch the video, refer to http://mg.co.za/multimedia/2011-12-01-a-green-economy--with-coal.

Banks Criticised for Lending Funds to Coal Industry

Campaigners say the leading banks around the world lent U$308 billion to the coal industry, one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases, from 2005 to 2010.

They stated that the figures, presented on the sidelines of the 17th Conference of Parties in Durban, come from a trawl through the lending portfolios of 93 of the world's leading banks.

This view is reiterated by Earthlife Africa Johannesburg’s Tristen Taylor, who argues that, their figures clearly show that coal financing is on the rise.

Hope for Kyoto Protocol Extension

The extension of the Kyoto Protocol is the main hope of South Africa and most developing nations at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) climate change summit in Durban, according to lead climate change negotiator, Alf Wills.

Wills states that the Kyoto Protocol is the only instrument in which all rules associated with accounting for carbon emissions are agreed and it is in the country’s interests to preserve those rules.

Fear Over Delay of Climate Deal

Delegates and analysts say that countries most vulnerable to climate change are alarmed by recent proposals from rich and major emerging economies to delay a global deal to curb greenhouse gases until at least 2020.

The Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) chairperson, Dessima Williams, from Grenada, points out that, "The push by the world's biggest carbon polluters to delay flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence in support of immediate action and represents a betrayal of the people most vulnerable to climate change and the world."

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