Forum Posts

kevinmanning6
Sep 13, 2022
In News and Views
Proposed Saudi Arabian smart city The Line appears to have been lifted straight from a science fiction film. Stretching 170 kilometres in length across the middle of the desert, The Line features mirrored skyscrapers looming more than 500 metres tall, with flying passenger pods swooping among them. The claims made of the planned city are nothing if not ambitious, promising “never-before-seen efficiencies in city functions”, according to its developer’s website. Among these include residents being able to satisfy all their daily needs within five minutes, zero carbon emissions, and autonomous services that use artificial intelligence. The Line today is still just a vision, but around the world, digital technologies are opening doors to the immense possibilities that smart cities can offer. Glimpse of the future “Digital technology is continuing to enhance the lives of citizens and cities’ competitiveness in the evolving world order,” Chew Men Leong, President of Urban Solutions at tech and engineering group ST Engineering, told its annual conference, Innotech 2022, late last month. This year’s Innotech conference was entitled “Digitalising a Smart, Secure and Sustainable World”. The event saw technologists discuss numerous digital technologies that will lay the foundations of the cities of tomorrow. One such technology is 5G, which boasts higher bandwidth and faster connectivity, enabling a proliferation of Internet of Things devices throughout smart cities, and seeing tech play a larger role in critical systems that require urgent, real-time responses, such as emergency services. It can also allow a greater proliferation of robots, which are already becoming commonplace in a number of sectors, from rehabilitation assistants in hospitals to companions for the elderly to guides in museums. Already, cities around the world are integrating such cutting-edge technologies, with the goal of bringing people better and more convenient services. In South Korea, the Busan Eco Delta Smart City features smart homes that come inbuilt with alarm clocks that greet you by name. Meanwhile, urban planners in Zurich can now use augmented reality to visualise buildings. In Singapore, the Punggol Digital District will have artificial intelligence-controlled lighting and elevators to improve energy efficiency. Big Brother Accompanying such technological advances, however, is a degree undercurrent of uncertainty and scepticism amid mounting concerns over surveillance and privacy. “Smart cities are nothing without surveillance,” says David Murakami Wood, a Professor of Critical Surveillance and Security Studies at the University of Ottawa’s Department of Criminology. For smart cities to run efficiently, networks of sensors must collect information about almost everything one can think of, he explains. That data can then be used to inform city planning decisions, such as whether roads need to be widened, or fed into technologies such as AI to automate certain processes. Despite the fact that such information has beneficial uses, it can also very easily be abused. “Information is power,” Wood says. “Much can be done with that information that is good, bad, profitable and dangerous. And all of those things have to be thought about.” The problem arises when the cities investing in such systems do not properly consider such factors, and instead focus solely on positive use cases. One way governments can help to protect people’s privacy is through regulation. The European Union, for instance, implemented its General Data Protection Regulation in 2018, requiring entities operating in the bloc’s member countries to comply with certain practices, such as seeking explicit consent to use an individual’s data for specific purposes. Securing digital cities The widespread collection of data comes with another concern: cybersecurity. “As we become increasingly digital, we also become more exposed to digital risks,” Lim Min Kwang, Chief Information Officer at the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), told Innotech 2022. Smart cities are particularly vulnerable due to their heavy dependence on the IoT, which Wood says is often “the most undersecured set of protocols”. IoT devices are often small and made to be as cost-effective as possible, frequently rendering cybersecurity to protect them an afterthought, if it is built in at all. In Singapore, the CSA addresses this through a cyber-certification scheme that seeks to recognise enterprises with good cybersecurity practices. Its certificates serve as “a visible label to recognise enterprises that have implemented good cybersecurity practices,” Lim told the conference. Users can then feel more secure in the knowledge that the devices they are using and putting into their homes have a base level of security that is in accordance with national guidelines. Cities are not just for citizens The United Nations estimates that 68 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050 – an additional 2.5 billion people, not all of whom will be citizens of the countries they reside in. Yet many digital services in smart cities today are built only with citizens in mind. Take smart border control measures, for instance. Automated immigration clearance often uses facial recognition and biometric technology to expedite the process of people returning to their home countries. For migrant workers, however, the same technologies become a means of security surveillance, Wood says. Wood points out that there are constantly two different types of smart city technologies at play: empowering smartness that provides a good quality of life and a repressive smartness that stops others from even setting foot in certain places. “What we really need to be thinking about is who smart cities exclude,” he says. Technology is fallible, and when it becomes a gatekeeper of cities, it can greatly impact the lives of those whom its design may not favour. Take facial recognition technology, for example. In 2019, the US Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology published a study which found that facial recognition technology performed relatively poorly when analysing the faces of minorities such as women, people of colour, the elderly and children. Such failures in technological infrastructure can have real and devastating impacts on people. “Some people are infrastructurally empowered, and some are infrastructurally excluded,” Wood says. Just last year, Uber drivers accused the ride-hailing application’s facial recognition software of being racist and putting them out of work, Time magazine reported. The potential for digital technologies to do good is clear, and often undisputed. Whether in the present or in future, smart cities promise better and greener living through their embrace of cutting-edge technologies. But will what eventually emerges from all of the developments currently unfolding be a tech-augmented marvel or an oppressively monitored dystopia? As governments continue to pursue their smart city plans, it is perhaps time to reconsider the shape of regulation that will be required and the priorities smart city planners should maintain in order to best serve all who call cities home. Original article: https://govinsider.asia/secure-gov/cities-of-the-future-smart-sustainable-surveilled/
Cities of the future: Smart, Sustainable, Surveilled content media
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kevinmanning6
Jul 08, 2022
In News and Views
Photo compliments: ideas.ted.com The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) though Ireland’s development cooperation programme, Irish Aid, and the Marine Institute (MI) have established a new programme called ‘Our Shared Ocean’ to support research, knowledge exchange and capacity building in partnership with Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The programme will run from January 2022 to December 2026 with a total investment of €3.8 million funded by the DFA, and administered by the MI. The Mobility and Travel Grants 2022 is the first of a suite of competitive calls under the Our Shared Ocean Programme that will address specific ocean, climate and sustainable blue economy related challenges faced by SIDS; support the building of scientific and technical capacity to address such challenges; and promote the exchange of knowledge and expertise between Irish institutions and their counterparts in SIDS to underpin longer-term cooperation. Award Categories: Grant support is provided in the following categories: 1. Research Visitis - Maximum grant-aid available €6,000. 2. Research Conferences and Workshops - Minimum grant-aid €500 and maximum grant-aid €2,000. 3. Training Courses - Minimum grant-aid €500 and maximum grant-aid €2,000. Submission Deadlines: • Monday, 15th August 2022 • Monday, 3rd October 2022 • Monday, 5th December 2022 (for events up to 31st March 2023) Application Process: Applications must be submitted via the Marine Institute's online Application System Research Information Management System (RIMS). Application Forms are available to download from RIMS. Please refer to the Applicant Guidelines for information on the types of initiatives supported, how to register for access to RIMS, and the application procedure. Please see the FAQ document for general questions and queries in relation to the application, award and payment process. Applications submitted on the incorrect form or incomplete applications will be ineligible and will not go forward to the evaluation process. This initiative is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs though Ireland’s development cooperation programme, Irish Aid, administered and managed by the Marine Institute on behalf of Irish Aid/DFA. Notes: Applicants cannot receive more than two awards in any calendar year. Awards are payable to organisations only. Applications are capped at max three applications per Organisation per event. Applications must be submitted one month in advance of the event. Applications may be submitted for events taking place up to 31st March 2023.
Our Shared Ocean Programme content media
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kevinmanning6
Jun 28, 2022
In News and Views
The meeting was the first time the international community has gathered since COP26 in Glasgow, where Parties committed to develop a work programme to speed up cuts in their emissions in this critical decade before 2030, with the aim of keeping global average temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. In Bonn, Parties also launched work on finding new ways to finance vulnerable countries and communities around the world that are struggling to “avert, minimize and address loss and damage” associated with the impacts of climate change. Work continued on defining a “new collective quantified goal” for climate finance, which will replace the current finance goal of USD 100 billion annually from 2020-2025. Parties and representatives of civil society also used the meeting in Bonn to focus on the challenge of post-2030 ambition, by starting preparations for the Global Stocktake (GST) that will take place at COP28 in 2023 in the United Arab Emirates. The GST is designed to drive the Paris Agreement’s ambition cycle and will provide the basis for the next round of Parties’ emissions reduction targets for 2035 and 2040, as well as new efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to raise financial and technical resources to support developing countries. The Bonn session closed with the Parties agreeing to send forward a series of “informal notes” that will provide the basis for continued work between now and Sharm el-Sheikh. The most recent reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were at the centre of Bonn negotiations, delivering the best available scientific understanding of the urgent need and opportunities for action. The EU worked closely with vulnerable developing countries and its G7 partners to encourage major emitters to raise their pre-2030 ambition through a new Mitigation Work Programme that should be launched in Sharm El-Sheikh. On the issue of adaptation and on loss and damage, the EU and other developed countries recognise the urgency of the issue, and have committed to scale up support by strengthening existing arrangements and institutions that have demonstrated experience and expertise in supporting communities in need. In terms of climate finance, developed countries must deliver on the commitments they have made. It is also essential to align global financial flows with the Paris goals to ensure that the scale of financial support matches what is required to help solve the existential challenges created by the climate crisis. Many other countries share this position, and the EU reaffirms that this must be addressed at COP 27. In its closing statement, the EU welcomed the progress made over the ten days, and called on Parties to continue to build convergence on the various issues before meeting again in person in Sharm el-Sheikh for the UN Climate Conference (COP27) in November. The incoming Egyptian Presidency has the EU’s full support and we look forward to continued good cooperation. This year’s conference was the first to take place in Bonn since the coronavirus outbreak. It also marked the last formal negotiating session under the leadership of Patricia Espinosa, who has served as Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Secretariat since 2016. Article originally posted by the European Commission - https://ec.europa.eu/clima/news-your-voice/news/paving-way-cop-27-bonn-climate-change-conference-2022-06-17_en
Paving the way to COP 27: the Bonn Climate Change Conference content media
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kevinmanning6
May 25, 2022
In News and Views
The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica W.I. Tuesday, April 5, 2022. — The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and UNDP have been ‘walking the talk’ on several blue economy-related initiatives since the two entities joined forces in 2019 to drive climate change solutions for the Caribbean. Among the tangible collaboration initiatives is a joint think-tank on public policy for the Blue Economy developed by The UWI and UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean to tackle development issues and strengthen development effectiveness. On Monday, April 4 the think-tank also commonly referred to as Blue Economists for the Caribbean hosted a high-level forum themed, Strengthening Research-Policy Linkages for a Thriving Blue Economy in the Caribbean to showcase some of the work advanced to date. The Honourable Dean Jonas, Minister of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development and the Blue Economy for Antigua and Barbuda delivered opening remarks. He applauded The UWI and UNDP and expressed the Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s enthusiasm for the establishment of The UWI’s Centre for Excellence for Oceanography and the Blue Economy at the Five Islands Campus, one of the initiatives realised following the collaboration. The Centre, he said, “illustrates the range of potential areas for partnership.” He added, “Forming strategic partnerships with stakeholders such as The UWI complements regional efforts executed with, and by other international development agencies, donors, civil society, national government and local stakeholders.” Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The UWI and Luis Felipe López-Calva, UN Assistant General Secretary, and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean also delivered remarks at the forum which was chaired by Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy, whose office spearheaded the partnership between The UWI and UNDP. Vice-Chancellor Beckles expressed pride at the progress from the partnership. “I'm happy to report that after three years, what I have seen is the development of a best practice in terms of partnerships, activism, and establishing a track record for getting things done. We know that MOUs are not always ‘MO-DOs’ by tradition. But this is an instance in which The UWI and UNDP have been establishing a legacy of action.” He declared, “We are going to be able to demonstrate at the highest possible level that UWI will be a best-case scenario in the implementation of agreed positions and policies.” Following the opening remarks were reports on the key areas of research-policy work undertaken since the signing of the partnership agreement in 2019. This segment featured presentations from Dr. Julian Roberts, Managing Director, Blue Resources Ltd on Challenges and Opportunities for the Blue Economy in the Caribbean; Dr. Akshai Mansingh, Dean, Faculty of Sport, The UWI; Mr. Matthew Goldie-Scot, Managing Director, Thuso Group on Climate Change and Sport and Dr. Emily Dick-Forde, Management Committee Member at The UWI Global Institute for Climate-Smart and Resilient Development on the UWI Flagship Initiative: Global Institute for Climate-Smart and Resilient Development (GISCRD). View the event here
Blue Economy for the Caribbean content media
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kevinmanning6
May 25, 2022
In News and Views
The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica W.I. Saturday, April 9, 2022. — The University of the West Indies (The UWI) in collaboration with the Open Society University Network (OSUN) recently hosted a webinar on the Caribbean’s need for climate justice. The virtual engagement held on March 30 was part of Open Society’s Global Teach-In series. Championing a grassroots effort, the initiative designated the date for universities and organisations worldwide to lead events focused on ambitious but feasible, region-specific solutions to help Solve Climate by 2030. The webinar Climate Justice in the Caribbean, hosted by the University’s Office of Global Affairs was one of more than 250 events held throughout the global OSUN network. The public education event which engaged a wide group of stakeholders, built on the research projects and collaborations that have been fostered through The UWI’s MOU with Open Society Foundations—one of which supports the development of a climate justice strategy. In her welcome remarks, UWI Pro Vice-Chancellor of Global Affairs, Dr. Richards-Kennedy reinforced the University’s position as an activist and SDG-engaged academy. The UWI, she said, is committed to the idea of higher education institutions being at the forefront of climate action and climate justice. She noted also that universities “… are not only vital hubs for research, teaching, and knowledge exchange. They also serve as living laboratories and are important spaces for demonstration projects on how research can be applied to provide practical solutions to climate challenges.” She also introduced the connection between climate and reparatory justice stating, “Climate justice is integrated also into the discourse on reparatory justice because research has shown that the countries that are the most affected are those that were historically exploited and drained of natural resources during centuries of extraction and exploitation that occurred during colonization.” This connection was acknowledged and supported by other presenters on the webinar, which included: Ms. Yamide Dagnet, Global Director, Climate Justice, Open Society Foundations; Dr. James Fletcher, Former Energy Minister of Saint Lucia and Founder and Managing Director, SOLORICON Ltd; and Dr. Emily Dick-Forde, Acting Deputy Principal, The UWI Open Campus, and Management Committee Member of the UWI Global Institute for Climate-Smart and Resilient Development. Ms. Yamide Dagnet commended The UWI as being a ‘powerhouse’ in climate change leadership. She also acknowledged the connection between the justice discourse on climate change and The UWI’s global leadership on reparation for slavery and genocide. “The poor, women…the most vulnerable, marginalized communities of indigenous, black and people of colour; we bear the consequences disproportionately without any guarantee of dignity.” She went on to note that although these communities bear little responsibility for climate change and its significant economic costs, “the impact of climate change on vulnerable countries has been neglected and unfunded.” Dr. James Fletcher flagged the need to shift the conversation from ‘climate change’ to ‘climate crisis’ during his contribution. He believes that climate change suggests something incremental – therefore something for which we have time to prepare. However, he warned, “We do not have time so really what we are faced with is a crisis. A catastrophe that is unfolding at a very rapid rate…we now must adjust our response to suit the urgency.” He encouraged the Caribbean to make its own efforts; end the self-inflicted damage and build resilience in areas such as water systems, public health, and public infrastructure. Dr. Emily Dick-Forde called for Caribbean governments and people to “take active and even aggressive roles in the pursuit of climate justice.” Citing the working definition included in the UWI’s Climate Justice initiative Dr Dick-Forde said climate justice implies “…transformative changes and the need to look beyond national boundaries to what is good for the world as a whole.” She continued “Climate justice is asking for priority to be placed on the spending of national governments in those countries where their development and advancement came on the backs of other regions in several ways. Not just in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, but certainly in terms of historical injustices with respect to colonialism, imperialism, neocolonialism and especially the root, which is the enslavement and exploitation of Africans.” Highlighting the resulting financial and mental limitations for exploited regions, Dr. Dick-Forde stated unapologetically “Historical injustices are in fact hindrances to climate action in the Caribbean.” She believes reparatory justice should focus beyond our historical past; “It has to be seen as having an active role in going forward with respect to ensuring climate justice and to promoting climate action for resilience building in the Caribbean.” Regarding solutions to the urgent need to mainstream climate justice and address the climate crisis facing the Caribbean, the panelists shared several thoughts. Ms. Yamide Dagnet suggested that solutions require “free exchange of ideas and thoughts and that everyone should have the choice and dignity in shaping the policies that affect them.” Dr. James Fletcher took the opportunity to call on Caribbean governments to “intensify the diplomatic pressure on developed countries to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases…to increase their financial support to climate-vulnerable countries and lobby actively and robustly for climate justice.” Dr. Dick-Forde advocated for democratizing the systems for managing climate funds to widen access beyond governments to NGOs, community groups, and activists. View the event by clicking here
Climate Justice in the Caribbean content media
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kevinmanning6
May 18, 2022
In Courses and Programmes
A Symposium co-hosted by SISSTEM at the University of Aruba, the Islands section of the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE), & the Metabolism of Islands (MoI). Small Island states are characterized by a strong dependency on external resources to meet their basic needs which highly contributes to the vulnerability of these territories. The approaches to increase resource security and self-reliance in small island states need to be carefully redesigned considering context-specific challenges and opportunities. At the same time, in order to achieve sustainability and build system resilience, holistic approaches need to be favored over narrow agendas. Several research collaborations are ongoing to address these challenges, such as the Sustainable Island Solutions through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (SISSTEM) program at the University of Aruba, and the Metabolism of Islands (MoI) research program. These bring together researchers from a dozen universities that are concerned about sustainable futures for small islands throughout the world. This multidisciplinary symposium aims to bring together emerging scholars to exchange ideas and approaches for a sustainability transformation in smallisland states and to foster interdisciplinary and inter institutional collaboration. Link here: Sustainable Island Futures Symposium Symposium date: Thursday, June 9, 2022 5:00 - 8:00 PST 8:00 - 11:00 EST 9:00 - 12:00 AST 13:00 - 16:00 UTC 14:00 - 17:00 CEST Please find more information on the Symposium in the flyers that are attached and on the GUC - 13 Knowledge Portal. Attendance to the symposium will be free and is limited to participants with academic or institutional affiliations that is related to small island studies. You can register for the symposium at stem@ua.aw or via this form. Organizing Committee: Nigel John, Eric Mijts & Simron Singh
Sustainable Island Futures Symposium 2022 content media
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kevinmanning6
May 18, 2022
In Courses and Programmes
Registration is now open for the University of Waterloo's 2022 summer school! This uniquely designed, three-week virtual event will be delivered from the 30th May to the 17th June, 2022 and will offer participants specially designed talks and discussions by leading water and climate change scholars, insight into the use of interdisciplinary approaches, curated learning materials, improved skills and knowledge, and a certificate of completion. Hosted by the Water Institute and the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3), the summer school is aimed at graduate students and practitioners who are passionate about learning more about applying interdisciplinary approaches to water security challenges in urbanizing watersheds under climate change. To learn more about University of Waterloo's 2022 Summer School, the Water Institute and the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, click here:
Climate Change And Water Security In Urbanized Watersheds: An Interdisciplinary Perspective content media
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kevinmanning6
May 16, 2022
In News and Views
Supporting Research Applications are now open for the ACU Fellowships. The Fellowships enable university staff at ACU member universities to collaborate with other member universities in different countries across a broad range of disciplines. Applicants can choose to either collaborate in-person or online. Eligibility The Fellowships are intended for academic and professional staff at ACU member universities. In some circumstances Fellowships can be used for collaboration between universities and the private sector – please email acufellowships@acu.ac.uk for more information. What does the grant cover? Each Fellowship is up to GBP 5,000. Fellowship Awards 2022 – 2023 Fellowship More information Accountancy Fellowship Supported by the Worshipful Company of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales Agriculture, Forestry and Food Science Fellowship Supported by George Weston Limited Canada Fellowship 1 Supported by Gordon and Jean Southam Awarded to a staff member from an ACU member university in Canada to partner with an ACU member university outside Canada Canada Fellowship 2 Awarded to a staff member from an ACU member university outside Canada to partner with an ACU member university in Canada. Hong Kong Jockey Club Fellowship 1 Awarded to a staff member from an ACU member university in Hong Kong to partner with an ACU member university outside Hong Kong. Hong Kong Jockey Club Fellowship 2 Awarded to a staff member from an ACU member university in Hong Kong to partner with an ACU member university in Hong Kong. Information Technology and Computer Science Fellowship Supported by the Jacky McAleer Memorial Swansea Fulton Climate Action Fellowships Two Fellowships awarded to staff at ACU member universities outside the UK to partner with a researcher at Swansea University. The Fellowships will be awarded for research which aims to improve understanding of the effects of climate change and develop solutions to mitigate its impact on our planet and society. Fellowships which do not have a specific subject attached are available in the following fields: Education Health and related social sciences Information technology and management STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Sustainable development University development and management How to apply Applicants must first identify and approach a collaborator at a member university in a country other than the one where the applicant is employed. The application form will require all applicants to: Summarise the work you plan to carry out during the Fellowship, and how the collaboration will benefit the project. Explain why you have chosen to collaborate with your partner institution for the project rather than any other. Describe the projected impact of the Fellowship work. Explain how you expect the Fellowship to benefit your own professional development. List the planned outputs of the Fellowship. Submit a time plan of the work, which must cover a minimum of six months between September 2022 and August 2023. List the costs associated with the Fellowship. These can include staff time, consumables, internet access and data, equipment, research data management, travel costs, impact and engagement and open access. Submit a letter or email of support from your head of department at your home institution. Submit a letter or email of support from the collaborator at your partner institution. Starting your application If you already have a MyACU account, you can login. If you do not already have a MyACU account, please ensure that you first register for an account and then follow the instructions in the registration email to log in to the system before accessing the application form. For More Information, please visit the ACU here or if you prefer the URL here: https://www.acu.ac.uk/funding-opportunities/for-university-staff/fellowships/acu-fellowships/
ACU Fellowships content media
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kevinmanning6
May 16, 2022
In News and Views
Universities are key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. Applications are now open for the Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grants to fund collaborative work around the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Open to professional and academic staff at ACU member universities, the grants focus on the following ACU Higher Education and the SDGs Network priority themes: Teaching and learning Research Estates and stewardship Engagement and impact Partnerships From sourcing energy-saving and clean energy options for selected Fijian schools, to supporting women's economic empowerment by addressing the financial literacy and gender-based disparities in access to finance - the grants have been used to fund a diverse range of activities, projects, workshops, and events. Applications could include ideas for: Virtual exchange or collaboration, teaching or professional practice collaboration, sharing and co-development of learning materials, tools, training and approaches to support contingency and continuity of operations planning at Higher Education Institution’s (HEI’s) Virtual fellowships, comparative analyses, research management and uptake capacity building Integrating sustainable development into operations Sharing SDG learning content and materials Developing SDG-focused research strategies Co-creating research for impact, community engagement, and partnerships for the goals What does the grant cover? Four grants of GBP 2,500 are available. Eligibility and application requirements If your university has previously received an ACU Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grant, you are not eligible to apply again. Please check our grantees page to see if this applies to your university. Closing date: 17 May at 10:00 UTC For More Information on the SDG Challenge Grants visit: https://www.acu.ac.uk/funding-opportunities/for-university-staff/grants/higher-education-and-the-sdgs-challenge-grants/
Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grants content media
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kevinmanning6
May 12, 2022
In News and Views
Equity concerns shouldn’t fall behind as we transition to circularity By Ana Birliga Sutherland (Editor, Circle Economy) The current buzzword of climate talks is overconsumption — and for good reason: we’ve collectively surpassed the 100 billion tonnes mark in fulfilling our wants and needs for goods, both the necessary (housing and food) and the trivial (consumables like fast fashion and disposable items). Just five decades ago, this figure was a third of what it is now — and its inflation isn’t due to population growth. Since 1970 the American population has grown by 60%, disproportionately matched by an increase in consumer spending of 400%: a trend common among nations with an expanding middle class. And we know that these richer nations have historically contributed to the bulk of emissions — the world’s poorest 50% only having contributed 7%. So how can we shift our consumption patterns in a way that puts people front and centre? This article explores how various mechanisms — from taxes and tax breaks to shopping habits — can be balanced with equity concerns to create a more just — and greener — world. Energy isn’t the only culprit: overconsumption has a huge role in our world’s emissions profile We can rally behind clean-energy efforts — and we should, but not without recognising what’s at the heart of the climate catastrophe: over 70% of emissions stem from material use and handling. Our extraction of resources from the earth, which we then use to produce the cars we drive, build the homes that shelter us, run the farms that keep us nourished and make clothing, homewares and other every-day items that we often treat as disposable, has ruined the planet. It’s clear: we need to cut consumption to get climate change under control. As a system that can maximise the value of what we already have, make waste obsolete and relieve pressure on limited resources, the circular economy can transform how we use materials. But it is not a panacea for all our challenges, environmental or otherwise: the integration of social considerations will require thought — and a revision of how we frame our relationship with the world, currently deeply enmeshed with how we extract resources and produce goods. A circular economy that champions the rights of people, as part of the planet Our recent paper, Why we need to rethink the ‘technical’ circular economy, explores just this: a systems-thinking approach to the circular economy that puts people at the centre. This is a circular society. The paper considers how we can create the necessary societal conditions for the roll-out of a circular economy by redefining our relationship with ‘stuff’ and rethinking how we give meaning to prosperity. While it’s clear that a change in the way we consume — as well as produce — goods is needed, talk on the subject can often target those with less responsibility for the crisis, with the danger of making the transition we’re working towards an inequitable one. The circular economy exemplifies the changes in consumption we need to see — but it’s also about exploring how we can put people at the heart of an economic system. It has become increasingly apparent that policy and other actions aimed at environmental sustainability may actually have adverse effects on society. Especially parts of society that the linear economy has failed. Consider this: if all of Europe were to sever its reliance on certain parts of the value chain which are integral to the salaries of some workers in Asia, can the move truly be considered as sustainable? This article considers if there are sustainable modes of consumption that benefits people as much as the planet, and the means we must utilise — or drop — to get there. Environmental taxation isn’t a silver bullet — but does it do more harm than good? A political favourite to influence consumption behaviour: taxation. Sin taxes — those applied to vice products like cigarettes, alcohol and even sugar — are a well-established practice historically. With origins in the 1500s, the tactic took on its more recognisable modern image in a 1791 measure proposed by American statesman Alexander Hamilton: an excise tax on alcohol intended to cut consumption and raise revenue in tandem. And now, as our collective understanding of the environmental impacts of certain products — like meat — grows, calls for taxation have emerged — and they haven’t fallen on deaf ears. In early 2020, the Dutch cabinet considered proposals from the True Animal Protein Price Coalition on fairly pricing meat, while governments in Denmark, Sweden and Germany have been mulling over the issue for some years. The idea has also faced staunch opposition, particularly from farming bodies and industry lobbyists — as well as researchers claiming that such a tax would be ineffective, and importantly, inequitable. The burden to change behaviour would fall on lower-income households — which typically spend a higher fraction of their disposable income on food — while higher-income consumers wouldn’t be swayed by a hike in prices. There’s also the likelihood that those impacted by the tax would reallocate their purchasing to cheaper or more processed cuts of meat, which usually would have been produced with environmental standards far more lax. Is there a way, then, to ensure the measure’s equitability — and to ensure price increases would indeed have the desired effect of redirecting consumption to plant-based proteins? While some commentary has played with varying economic structures — arguing for the benefits of VAT over excise, or even setting a minimum price per unit to minimise regressive effects — the key is understanding that fiscal instruments alone aren’t a magic bullet. We can instead imagine a holistic system that draws on complementary measures, from awareness-raising to eco-labelling, in combination with a tax-subsidy model — where tax revenue would be ‘recycled’ to slash the cost of healthy, plant-based proteins and organic produce for lower-income consumers. The upstream impacts of fiscal measures — such as those on farmers — cannot be forgotten: incentives for farmers to participate in the transition away from meat-heavy diets are as crucial as those for consumers. Our current system of subsidies, targeted at livestock farming in the EU, is broken — ecology is an afterthought and farmers are unable to profit. And the decrease in consumption that could stem from a tax could be counterproductive for the areas that — save for grazing cattle — would be unsuitable for food production. Once again, holistic solutions are needed that go beyond the core question of reducing consumption, also asking: how can we support agriculturalists in the transition? Which areas are better suited to livestock raising, and which areas could be more prudently used for food production or regenerative practices like agroforestry? How can tax revenue be used to jointly support producers in a transition away from animal farming, and consumers in a transition away from animal eating? Here, one of the core tenets of the circular society can be a guide: rebalancing the local and the global. Global supply chains are complex and fragile — the covid-19 pandemic proved their susceptibility to shocks. Nourishing local systems — and favouring them over agricultural multinationals — can build resilience, strengthen communities and provide a slew of environmental benefits, while also delivering the social outcomes a circular economy should prioritise. Marketing narratives and policy incentives may be gatekeeping sustainability for the privileged Taxation may disincentivise unsustainable consumption — but now, certain forms of sustainability can also come with a price. Many environmentally-friendly behaviours — from reusing the jar your condiments came in rather than buying new ones for storage, to eating inexpensive, whole-foods like lentils for protein rather than the newest vegan meat substitute, or ultimately, just buying less — are widely accessible. Yet, manufacturers have cottoned on to consumers’ rising interest in living an environmental lifestyle and are capitalising on the demand, marking up their more ‘sustainable’ products by an average of 85% — with the highest markups occurring in the fashion, beauty and health sectors: well over 200%. The impact? Many consumers are locked out of sustainable living — at least this form of ‘sustainable’ living that still centres on consumption. While it’s easy to argue that it’s more effective to simply purchase less and make the most of what you already have, certain larger-ticket items — from energy efficient windows and appliances to electric cars — have their benefits, especially if there aren’t even better alternatives such as shared appliances or public transport. And yet those with the privilege to afford such items enjoy tax breaks or other financial incentives that do little to include low-income consumers. While this has been largely effective at changing consumer behaviour — a Norwegian tax/incentive policy worked so well that dealers ran out of electric cars to sell — a just transition needs to see more inclusive measures. European research project CONSEED, for example, has proposed low-cost financing for people to make their homes more energy-efficient, for tactics ranging from solar panel installation to insulation to improved boilers and windows. The bottom line: where consumption is necessary — and in most cases, it isn’t — doing so sustainably should be accessible to all. How could this look? Mexican company Vinte provides a good starting point: it has launched a pilot for affordable housing with a low carbon footprint, implementing circular principles ranging from efficient spatial orientation and solar panels to eco-friendly windows with polarised films. These carbon neutral homes could mean a 13% reduction in emissions per inhabitant, while still being affordable. This should be the new normal for all housing projects — not just upscale developments marketed to environmental do-gooders. ‘Trendy environmentalism’ is on the rise and it’s hijacking the second-hand market Certain policy changes supporting environmental outcomes are on the horizon or already in effect — but what about the actions individuals are undertaking to ‘go green’ in their personal lives? Just as many high-income countries are seeing carnivorous diets go out of vogue, fast fashion has entered a similar space of notoriety for its impact on the environment and industry workers alike. Environmental narratives surrounding fashion are straightforward: give clothing a second life by shopping second-hand and avoid buying into the newest trends hitting the racks on a weekly basis. The attraction to shopping second-hand is growing particularly among Gen X consumers, a group that overwhelmingly believes in the responsibility of companies to address environmental and social issues, according to a recent McKinsey report. They also see consumption as an ‘expression of individual identity’ — a catalyst for uniqueness that thrifting one-of-a-kind items can provide. But the movement’s rise hasn’t been met with congratulations across the board: in our linear, profit-hungry world, an increased demand for second-hand clothes has been met, unsurprisingly, with gentrification and jacked-up prices — pushing the poor out of a market they used to dominate. The discourse that middle-class thrift shopping is, in essence, ‘stealing from the poor’ is dependent on scarcity: that there aren’t enough second-hand clothes to go around. However, this isn’t the case; overwhelmingly, the opposite is true: thrift shops are inundated with so many items that only 10 to 20% of what is donated sells, with the rest slated for export to lower-income nations. And this creates problems of its own: the influx of donated clothes from the world’s richer countries harms local markets and artisans, and ultimately, many items end up in landfill regardless. Second-hand shopping isn’t the issue, but rather the way certain thrift shops are run: for a collective enterprise that aims to do good, the focus on profit and quick turnover is still all too clear. For the transition to a socially just circular economy to become a reality, action should be spearheaded by resellers themselves by keeping pricing fair in stores and on apps like Vinted or Poshmark — and consumers should continue to shift away from first-hand shopping guilt-free. And of course: doing more with less, prioritising durable items and repairing rips or tears instead of tossing old clothing in the bin should always be front of mind. The transition to a circular society is just as important as a circular economy — and for both, holistic solutions are key While current attempts to shift consumption patterns for the better are well-intentioned, many miss the mark, failing to give necessary attention to rebound effects. Measures, for the most part, are still rooted in a need to consume — or if they limit consumption, it’s only for lower income groups. The bottom line: there is a way to shift consumption patterns that benefits everyone — that drives economic prosperity, regenerates natural systems and keeps the wellbeing of people front and centre. From the global to the local to the personal, the circular transition should be ushered in by policies and processes that protect and promote a circular society — where no one is left behind. This article was originally published on the Green Forum. Interested in reading more? Find the full paper here.
With a circular economy, we can bin overconsumption and boost equality content media
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kevinmanning6
Apr 06, 2022
In News and Views
UN scientists have unveiled a plan that they believe can limit the root causes of dangerous climate change. A key UN body says in a report that there must be "rapid, deep and immediate" cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Global emissions of CO2 would need to peak within three years to stave off the worst impacts. Even then, the world would also need technology to suck CO2 from the skies by mid-century. After a contentious approval session where scientists and government officials went through the report line by line, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has now published its guidance on what the world can do to avoid an extremely dangerous future. First, the bad news - even if all the policies to cut carbon that governments had put in place by the end of 2020 were fully implemented, the world will still warm by 3.2C this century. This finding has drawn the ire of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. "Some government and business leaders are saying one thing - but doing another. Simply put, they are lying. And the results will be catastrophic." That sort of temperature rise would see our planet hit by "unprecedented heatwaves, terrifying storms, and widespread water shortages". To avoid that fate, the world must keep the rise in temperatures at or under 1.5C this century, say researchers. The good news is that this latest IPCC summary shows that it can be done, in what Mr Guterres calls a "viable and financially sound manner". But keeping temperatures down will require massive changes to energy production, industry, transport, our consumption patterns and the way we treat nature. To stay under 1.5C, according to the IPCC, means that carbon emissions from everything that we do, buy, use or eat must peak by 2025, and tumble rapidly after that, reaching net-zero by the middle of this century. To put it in context, the amount of CO2 that the world has emitted in the last decade is the same amount that's left to us to stay under this key temperature threshold. "I think the report tells us that we've reached the now-or-never point of limiting warming to 1.5C," said IPCC lead author Heleen De Coninck, who's Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation and Climate Change at Eindhoven University of Technology. Speaking to BBC News she said: "We have to peak our greenhouse gas emissions before 2025 and after that, reduce them very rapidly. "And we will have to do negative emissions or carbon dioxide removal in the second half of the century, shortly after 2050, in order to limit warming to 1.5C." The next few years are critical, say the researchers, because if emissions aren't curbed by 2030, it will make it nigh on impossible to limit warming later this century. Key to that in the short term will be how we generate energy. Luckily, solar panel and wind turbines have never been cheaper, having fallen in cost by around 85% over the past decade. "It's game over for the fossil fuels that are fuelling both wars and climate chaos," said Kaisa Kosonen from Greenpeace, who was an observer at the IPCC approval session. "There's no room for any new fossil fuel developments, and the coal and gas plants we already have need to close early." But diets and lifestyles will also need changing, with huge scope for major carbon savings, according to the authors. "Having the right policies, infrastructure and technology in place to enable changes to our lifestyles and behaviour can result in a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This offers significant untapped potential," said IPCC Co-chair Priyadarshi Shukla. "The evidence also shows that these lifestyle changes can improve our health and wellbeing." In practice, this means governments doing more to encourage walking and healthy eating, and putting in place the infrastructure for far more electric vehicles. One of the most contentious aspects of the report concerns the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This can be done in a number of different ways, including through planting trees and making changes to farming practices. But the report finds that to keep warming from going over the dangerous 1.5C threshold, we will need more than new forests. Keeping temperatures down will require machines to remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere. This is very contentious as the technology is new and currently very expensive. Some participants in the IPCC process are highly sceptical that these approaches will work. "The idea of quick emissions reductions and large negative emissions technologies are a concern," said Prof Arthur Petersen, from UCL, who was an observer in the approval session. "There are a lot of pipe dreams in this report." Story By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent BBC News
Climate change: IPCC scientists say it's 'now or never' to limit warming content media
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kevinmanning6
Mar 02, 2022
In News and Views
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released its Sixth Assessment Report entitled Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability The report seeks to assess the current impacts of climate change examining the various ecosystems, biodiversity and human communities at the various regional and international levels. The report also reviews vulnerabilities, capacities and the limitations of both worlds (natural and human) as they work towards adapting to a changing climate. You can review the report here
Climate Change 2022 - IPCC Report content media
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kevinmanning6
Feb 16, 2022
In News and Views
Image and story from Cyprusmedianet.com The Joint Fund for the Sustainable Development Goals announced on Monday an additional investment of 54.5 million dollars for projects in five countries, in order to direct efforts to achieve sustainable development. “The Fund is positioned to bridge the gap between giving and impact investing,” said Hiro Mizuno, UN Special Envoy for Innovative Financing and Sustainable Investments, adding that it also offers “a sustainable investment model leveraging the power of markets to accelerate business, empower communities and provide the path to self-sufficiency.” From health, in a world still battered by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, to youth empowerment and climate change, the investments will respond to the challenges of our time, the Fund said in a press release. “The Fund is in a position to bridge the gap between donations and impact investing,” UN special envoy. Kenya, Madagascar, North Macedonia, Suriname and Zimbabwe were the countries selected among the proposals submitted by more than 100 countries. They are the ones that suffer the greatest impact and are in a position to receive investment. Healthy sexual and reproductive habits Under the leadership of the United Nations Resident Coordinators, the implementation of the investment programs will generate a series of collaborative measures between the United Nations, the government, civil society and private sector investors. Through a development impact bond, investments include a platform that promotes healthy sexual and reproductive habits and HIV prevention in Kenya. Madagascar will use various financial instruments, including a newly created sovereign wealth fund, to finance renewable energy projects and expand access to affordable and sustainable energy. North Macedonia’s newly created Green Financing Facility will help finance a transition to renewable and efficient energy for underserved households and businesses. For its part, Suriname will launch an innovative guarantee mechanism to facilitate access to credit, a business incubator and a farmers’ cooperative to develop a sustainable and resilient value chain for the country’s pineapple industry. Focusing on women’s empowerment and youth engagement, Zimbabwe is launching a renewable energy fund to initiate the development of the country’s renewable energy system and infrastructure. Investments that count This announcement comes less than a year after the Fund launched its first investment of $41 million in four transformation programs in Fiji, Indonesia, Malawi and Uruguay. Also last year, a $17.9 million program in Papua New Guinea was added. With the addition of these five new programs, the Sustainable Development Goals Joint Fund’s catalytic investment portfolio will grow to $114 million. The portfolio is expected to mobilize $5 billion for these goals in the ten countries involved. Investment results Although the catalytic investment portfolio has been in operation for less than a year, it has already achieved significant results. In Indonesia, he offered support for the launch of the first US$584 million sovereign bond for the SDGs in Southeast Asia, and the creation of the Indonesian Impact Fund in collaboration with Mandiri Capital. Fiji’s program has supported sustainable businesses for its vital marine environment, including concessional funding towards a marine conservation business and a pipeline to service organic fertilizer and waste management. Sustainable model The Joint Fund for the Sustainable Development Goals, included in the 2030 Agenda, has also committed to work with partners and donors to mobilize additional resources to finance the successful proposals presented by Barbados, Ghana and Rwanda. Established by the General Assembly, the Joint Fund is a multi-partner trust fund that supports Member States by reducing investment risks that accelerate achievement of the Goals.
The UN Invests 54.5 Million Dollars To Promote Sustainable Development content media
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kevinmanning6
Dec 23, 2021
In Projects
The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and Norway’s University of Bergen (UiB) having formalised their relationship through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. The two institutions are committed to advancing research and action on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 13 (Climate action) and 14 (Life Below Water). The One Ocean Expedition an initiative undertaken by The University of Bergen (UiB) recently docked at Port Royal, Kingston, Jamaica, partnering with the University of the West Indies. They both lead and invited students to join in a Knowledge Forum in which lecturers of both institutions were able to create an environment to work with and guide students on their various projects. See some photos below: For More Information on the One Ocean Expedition, feel free to visit: One Ocean Expedition
One Ocean Expedition content media
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kevinmanning6
Dec 23, 2021
In News and Views
The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica —The Caribbean now has its own Global Institute for Climate-Smart and Resilient Development resourced by leading experts from The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and backed by high profile regional and international partner institutions—the likes of the United Nations Development Programme, Open Society Foundations and Barbados-born, Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation. The new Institute was introduced during a virtual launch on Thursday, October 7. This first-of-its-kind for the Caribbean virtual hub consolidates The UWI’s research and teaching on climate change, disaster risk reduction, resilience and sustainable development. The UWI is uniquely positioned to lead this much-needed facility given its collective resources and expertise based on decades of research, validated by its current standing among the top 1.5% of all universities in the world, following recent rankings by the prestigious Times Higher Education ranking agency. Increasing the scientific understanding of the changing climate and its impacts on communities and economies is at the core of the new Institute’s objectives. It will also execute projects that promote more resilient and sustainable development. Renowned scientist from The UWI St Augustine Campus, Professor John Agard, who currently co-chairs the independent group of scientists selected by the United Nations to prepare the 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report, will serve as the Institute’s inaugural Executive Director. Dr Stacy Richards-Kennedy, Pro Vice-Chancellor Global Affairs at The University of the West Indies contextualised the relevance and timing of the launch of the Institute, noting, “At a time when all eyes are on the preparations for COP 26 taking place in Glasgow next month, and the importance of multilateral cooperation, the launch of the Global Climate-Smart Institute is also a manifestation of our region's collective response and of One UWI in action”. Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University further emphasized the historic moment as the culmination of decades of forward facing scientific research, training and public advocacy by the region’s leading university. He said, “My colleagues at The University of the West Indies have been whistleblowers on the theme of climate change” and noted that he felt that their work had been largely marginalised over the years. “What we have seen in recent times, however, has been the recognition that The University of the West Indies has provided a pivotal role in shaping global opinion, and providing the evidentiary basis for climate change policy.” He added, “The University of the West Indies is proud to be able to demonstrate once again its continued relevance and commitment, and the establishment of this pioneering institution is merely an indication, and a symbol of the commitment of this university.” Statements of support for the new Institute resonated from within the region and across the globe from prominent partners who have confidently committed funding and technical resources. The Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and Chairman of CARICOM; Ms Elizabeth Riley, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency; Dr Luis Felipe López-Calva, Assistant Secretary General and Regional Director of the United Nations Development Programme; Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, President of the Open Society Foundations; Ms Justine Lucas, Executive Director of the Clara Lionel Foundation; Professor Ian Jacobs, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales on behalf of the International Universities Climate Alliance all expressed their endorsements for the institute and enthusiasm to partner with The UWI.
UWI’S First Global Climate-Smart Institute content media
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kevinmanning6
Nov 18, 2021
In News and Views
L-R: Host of the reception, Norwegian Ambassador to Jamaica, Her Excellency Beate Stirø, Professor at UiB, Kerim Nisancioglu, Pro Vice-Chancellor Global Affairs at The UWI, Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy and Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Honourable, Kamina Johnson-Smith. The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. Tuesday, 16 November 2021—The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and Norway’s University of Bergen (UiB) formalised ongoing collaborations with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Saturday, November 13. In this MOU, the two universities committed to advancing research and action on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 13 (Climate action) and 14 (Life Below Water). The signing ceremony aboard the Norwegian, Statsraad Lehmkuhl training vessel docked at Jamaica’s Port Royal, was among the highlights of a welcome reception hosted by the Norwegian Ambassador, H.E. Beate Stiro, for the crew of One Ocean Expedition. The One Ocean Expedition’s historic 55,000-mile world voyage, which began in August 2021 is organised by the University of Bergen, and recognised as part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The floating academy comprises students, teaching and research faculty as well as representatives of scientific and development institutions. Its Jamaica port stop is the fruition of an almost two-year planning event and culmination of conversations between The UWI and UiB within the context of the collaborative framework of the Global University Consortium on SDG-13. The One Ocean Expedition is a demonstration of The UWI’s global partnerships in action. Commenting on the collaboration with the University of Bergen, Pro Vice-Chancellor Global Affairs, at The UWI, Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy stated, “The UWI is very proud of its partnership with the University of Bergen. Our strategic alliance, as lead institutions for SDG-13 and SDG-14, is already creating opportunities for increased teaching and research collaborations for faculty and students, new discoveries and research applications in marine science and global advocacy on the challenges faced by Caribbean islands that are on the frontline of the climate crisis”. Signatory on behalf of UiB, Professor Kerim Nisancioglu stated, “By joining forces, the two universities will solidify our joint leadership in climate and ocean science and further strengthen our efforts to fulfil the goals set by the UN Agenda 2030.” Among initiatives on the horizon for the two universities include creating a new multidisciplinary Caribbean research programme on ocean science and climate action; strengthening linkages for North-South and South-South research advocacy and partnerships between Norway, the Caribbean and the South Pacific to advance ocean science, climate action, science diplomacy and the global policy impact agenda. The work programme involves exploring the creation of a network of ocean leaders of the future, through a unique UWI-UiB Graduate Research Trainee Programme for research training, knowledge exchange and practical-based internships with academic, industry or civil society partners in Norway, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The nurturing of the relationship between UWI and UiB began in 2018 through their membership of International Association of Universities, and continues to evolve. The two have jointly hosted High-level Political Forums on Sustainable Development as well as a range of reciprocal faculty seminars. The One Ocean Expedition includes two postgraduate researchers from The UWI Mona Campus—Chauntelle Green from the Department of Life Sciences and Deron Maitland from the Department of Physics. From September-October 2021, they were enrolled in a One Ocean Field Course webinar series, coordinated by the University of Bergen, which also featured faculty experts, Professor Judith Gobin and Dr Michael Burn from The UWI’s St. Augustine and Mona and Campuses respectively, as facilitators. On Tuesday, November 16, the Mona Campus hosts a contingent of 33 participants from the ship for a tour of the Campus’ Port Royal Marine Lab, followed by a Knowledge Exchange Forum hosted by the Faculty of Science and Technology. For more about the One Ocean Expedition, visit the Expedition website https://oneoceanexpedition.com/
The University of the West Indies & University of Bergen sign MOU aboard ‘One Ocean Expedition’ research sailing vessel content media
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kevinmanning6
Nov 18, 2021
In News and Views
image compliments Al Jazeera “It is an important step but is not enough. We must accelerate climate action to keep alive the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees”, said António Guterres in a video statement released at the close of the two-week meeting. The UN chief added that it is time to go “into emergency mode”, ending fossil fuel subsidies, phasing out coal, putting a price on carbon, protecting vulnerable communities, and delivering the $100 billion climate finance commitment. “We did not achieve these goals at this conference. But we have some building blocks for progress,” he said. Mr. Guterres also had a message to young people, indigenous communities, women leaders, and all those leading the charge on climate action. “I know you are disappointed. But the path of progress is not always a straight line. Sometimes there are detours. Sometimes there are ditches. But I know we can get there. We are in the fight of our lives, and this fight must be won. Never give up. Never retreat. Keep pushing forward”. A snapshot of the agreement The outcome document, known as the Glasgow Climate Pact, calls on 197 countries to report their progress towards more climate ambition next year, at COP27, set to take place in Egypt. The outcome also firms up the global agreement to accelerate action on climate this decade. However, COP26 President Alok Sharma struggled to hold back tears following the announcement of a last-minute change to the pact, by China and India, softening language circulated in an earlier draft about “the phase-out of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels”. As adopted on Saturday, that language was revised to “phase down” coal use. Mr. Sharma apologized for “the way the process has unfolded” and added that he understood some delegations would be “deeply disappointed” that the stronger language had not made it into the final agreement. By other terms of the wide-ranging set of decisions, resolutions and statements that make up the outcome of COP26, governments were,among other things, asked to provide tighter deadlines for updating their plans to reduce emissions. On the thorny question of financing from developed countries in support of climate action in developing countries, the text emphasizes the need to mobilize climate finance “from all sources to reach the level needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, including significantly increasing support for developing country Parties, beyond $100 billion per year”. 1.5 degrees, but with ‘a weak pulse’ “Negotiations are never easy…this is the nature of consensus and multilateralism”, said Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She stressed that for every announcement made during the past two weeks, the expectation is that the implementation “plans and the fine print” will follow. “Let us enjoy what we accomplished but also prepare for what is coming,” Ms. Espinosa said, after recognizing the advancements on adaptation, among others. Meanwhile, COP26 President Alok Sharma stated that delegations could say “with credibility” that they have kept 1.5 degrees within reach. “But its pulse is weak. And it will only survive if we keep our promises. If we translate commitments into rapid action. If we deliver on the expectations set out in this Glasgow Climate Pact to increase ambition to 2030 and beyond. And if we close the vast gap that remains, as we must,” he told delegates. He then quoted Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who earlier in the conference had said that for Barbados and other small island states, ‘two degrees is a death sentence.’ With that in mind, Mr. Sharma asked delegates to continue their efforts to get finance flowing and boost adaptation. He concluded by saying that history has been made in Glasgow. “We must now ensure that the next chapter charts the success of the commitments we have solemnly made together in the Glasgow Climate Pact, he declared. The ‘least worst’ outcome Earlier during the conference's final stocktaking plenary, many countries lamented that the package of agreed decisions was not enough. Some called it "disappointing", but overall, said they recognized it was balanced for what could be agreed at this moment in time and given their differences. Countries like Nigeria, Palau, the Philippines, Chile and Turkey all said that although there were imperfections, they broadly supported the text. “It is (an) incremental step forward but not in line with the progress needed. It will be too late for the Maldives. This deal does not bring hope to our hearts,” said the Maldives’ top negotiator in a bittersweet speech. US climate envoy John Kerry said the text “is a powerful statement” and assured delegates that his country will engage constructively in a dialogue on "loss and damage" and adaptation, two of issues that proved most difficult for the negotiators to agree upon. “The text represents the ‘least worst’ outcome,” concluded the top negotiator from New Zealand. Other key COP26 achievements Beyond the political negotiations and the Leaders’ Summit, COP26 brought together about 50,000 participants online and in-person to share innovative ideas, solutions, attend cultural events and build partnerships and coalitions. The conference heard many encouraging announcements. One of the biggest was that leaders from over 120 countries, representing about 90 per cent of the world’s forests, pledged to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030, the date by which the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to curb poverty and secure the planet’s future are supposed to have been achieved. There was also a methane pledge, led by the United States and the European Union, by which more than 100 countries agreed to cut emissions of this greenhouse gas by 2030. Meanwhile, more than 40 countries – including major coal-users such as Poland, Vietnam and Chile – agreed to shift away from coal, one of the biggest generators CO2 emissions. The private sector also showed strong engagement with nearly 500 global financial services firms agreeing to align $130 trillion – some 40 per cent of the world’s financial assets – with the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, including limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Also, in a surprise for many, the United States and China pledged to boost climate cooperation over the next decade. In a joint declaration they said they had agreed to take steps on a range of issues, including methane emissions, transition to clean energy and decarbonization. They also reiterated their commitment to keep the 1.5C goal alive. Regarding green transport, more than 100 national governments, cities, states and major car companies signed the Glasgow Declaration on Zero-Emission Cars and Vans to end the sale of internal combustion engines by 2035 in leading markets, and by 2040 worldwide.  At least 13 nations also committed to end the sale of fossil fuel powered heavy duty vehicles by 2040. Many ‘smaller’ but equally inspiring commitments were made over the past two weeks, including one by 11 countries which created the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA). Ireland, France, Denmark, and Costa Rica among others, as well as some subnational governments, launched this first-of-its kind alliance to set an end date for national oil and gas exploration and extraction. A quick refresher on how we got here To keep it simple, COP26 was the latest and one of the most important steps in the decades long, UN-facilitated effort to help stave off what has been called a looming climate emergency. In 1992, the UN organized a major event in Rio de Janeiro called the Earth Summit, in which the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted. In this treaty, nations agreed to "stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere” to prevent dangerous interference from human activity on the climate system. Today, the treaty has 197 signatories. Since 1994, when the treaty entered into force, every year the UN has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits or “COPs”, which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’. This year should have been the 27th annual summit, but thanks to COVID-19, we’ve fallen a year behind due to last year’s postponement – hence, COP26. Story from the Climate and Environment Desk at the United Nations
COP 26 Closes with 'compromise' deal on climate content media
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kevinmanning6
Nov 02, 2021
In News and Views
By Ivana Kottasová and Angela Dewan, CNN More than 100 world leaders representing over 85% of the planet's forests committed on Tuesday to ending and reversing deforestation and land degradation by 2030, in the first substantial deal announced at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow. Among the nations taking part are Canada, Russia, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all of which have significant tracts of forest. Brazil in particular has come under criticism for allowing an increase in the deforestation of the Amazon in recent years. The US and China will also be party to the agreement. The deal is consequential to the climate as forests, when they are logged or degrade, emit carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, accounting for around 11% of the world's total CO2 emissions. The deal was formally unveiled on Tuesday by US President Joe Biden, who said leaders need to approach the issue of deforestation" with the same seriousness of purpose as decarbonizing our economies." "The United States is going to lead by example at home," he said at the second day of the conference, citing executive orders signed earlier in his administration that set land aside for conservation. Twelve donor countries have committed £8.75 billion ($12 billion) of public funds to protection and restoration, alongside £5.3 billion ($7.2 billion) of private investment. CEOs from more than dozens of financial institutions, including Aviva, Schroders and Axa, are also committing to ending investment in activities that lead to deforestation. The pledge was first announced by the British government on Monday evening in a statement, and was trumpeted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a "landmark agreement to protect and restore the earth's forests." "These great teeming ecosystems -- these cathedrals of nature - are the lungs of our planet," the statement said, referring to remarks Johnson is expected to make Tuesday. "Forests support communities, livelihoods and food supply, and absorb the carbon we pump into the atmosphere. They are essential to our very survival." "With today's unprecedented pledges, we will have a chance to end humanity's long history as nature's conqueror, and instead become its custodian." The agreement will likely provide a morale boost at COP26, which got off to shaky start after the G20 leaders' summit in Rome over the weekend failed to result in an agreement on firm new climate commitments, particularly on when to end the use of coal. It is also a breakthrough after years of negotiations on how to protect forests. There have been several different schemes to try and curb deforestation, including one that awarded credits to people conserving forests that could be traded on markets. These schemes often faced fierce opposition, particularly from Latin America, where indigenous groups and leaders said forests should be fully protected and not commodified. "Indonesia is blessed as the most carbon rich country in the world on vast rainforests, mangroves, oceans and peatlands," Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in a statement. "We are committed to protecting these critical carbon sinks and our natural capital for future generations." Rainforest Foundation Norway welcomed the deal, but said that funding should only be given to countries that showed results. "This is the largest amount of forest funding ever pledged and it comes at a crucial time for the world's rainforests. The new commitments have the potential to speed up necessary action from both governments and companies. We hope this funding will spur the political changes needed," said Rainforest Foundation Norway Secretary General Toerris Jaeger in a statement. "With big money comes big opportunities, but also great responsibilities. There is not time for baby-steps. Funding should therefore only reward real and substantial action taken by rainforest countries and those who respect the rights of Indigenous people and local communities." There are some reasons to be cautious, as several past forest protection schemes have come and gone. In a years-long partnership, Norway agreed to transfer Indonesia $1 billion to reduce its emissions from deforestation, which the Indonesian government used to put a moratorium on new logging permits. That deal fell apart recently when Indonesian officials terminated the agreement, complaining the funds were not being transferred adequately. Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative said in a statement that it considered the discussions around payments were "constructive and progressing well."
More than 100 countries agree to end and reverse deforestation by 2030 at COP26 content media
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kevinmanning6
Oct 01, 2021
In News and Views
by Nathan Cooper, Lead, Partnerships and Engagement Strategy, Climate Action Platform, World Economic Forum Many have referred to the current decade as the ‘decisive decade’ on climate action. As the world begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the clock continues to tick on climate action. Earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that temperatures are rising more quickly than expected, and a report released earlier this month demonstrated that countries are still not doing enough to tackle climate change. Last week, world leaders convened for the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, one of the last times before the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow in November. But what do the announcements made this year and during UNGA mean? What key steps need to be taken by COP26 to ensure we are entering this decisive decade in a way that protects our people, planet, and prosperity? Here are four key areas addressed last week at UNGA that are vital for a substantive climate agreement at COP26 in just six weeks. 1. Finance During UNGA last week, US President Biden committed to doubling the US financial contribution to developing countries to $11.4 billion per year. The OECD recently reported that climate finance equaled $79.6 billion in 2019. A successful outcome at COP26 on finance requires countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan, Italy and the UK committing to an additional $2 billion to $4 billion a year to fulfill their fair share of climate finance. This would help instill confidence to agree on key issues such as carbon markets and transparency. The US commitment last week has renewed hope for climate finance going into COP26. What’s needed next: The climate crisis is a global issue and requires a response from all countries across the globe. However, the poorest countries are both least equipped to tackle climate change and most vulnerable to its effects. This is why at COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009, and again at COP21 in Paris in 2015, wealthier nations committed to providing poorer countries with $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020. An agreement at COP26 will necessitate the trust of groups of countries like the Africa Group, the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Least Developed Countries, and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). For these negotiating blocks, fulfilling these currently unfulfilled promises made in Copenhagen and Paris is a prerequisite for a negotiated agreement in Glasgow. 2. Energy During UNGA last week, China announced that it would end coal fired power plants abroad. This follows similar moves by Japan and South Korea earlier this year, and represents a substantial shift in China’s investment in energy infrastructure abroad. Energy accounts for approximately 65% of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Globally, we have taken important steps towards cleaner energy: earlier this year, solar and wind power became cheaper than coal and fossil fuels in most parts of the world. At the UN High Level Dialogue on Energy earlier this month, the largest gathering of world leaders focused solely on energy issues in over 40 years, France, Germany, UK, Chile, and others all committed to stop building new coal plants. However, two-thirds of the world’s electricity production still comes from burning fossil fuels. Burning coal remains the world’s most carbon-intensive energy source. What’s needed next: There is undeniably growing momentum towards cleaner energy. One example, for instance, comes in the form of the COP26 Presidency Energy Transitions Council’s recently launched technical assistance package to help consign coal to history in key developing countries. However, the key question remains for rich countries to provide the financial and technical support required for key regions still reliant on coal such as India, South Africa, and South East Asia to transition to clean energy. This graph shows current government carbon emission reductions targets [or 'Nationally Determined Contributions' (NDCs)] compared to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Targets aim to limit global average temperature rise to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. 3. Mobility Transportation accounts for 24% of emissions from fuel combustion and road vehicles account for almost three-quarters of transport CO2 emissions. A transition to zero emission vehicles is therefore essential for countries to deliver the Paris Agreement. Earlier this year, key car markets including the UK and EU committed to all new cars being zero emission by 2035. Similarly, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, GM, and JLR have all committed to manufacturing only zero emission vehicles before 2036. However, some of the largest car markets including the US, China, and India have not made such commitments. What’s needed next: A successful outcome for mobility at COP26 would be for the key car markets such as US, China, and India as well as key automotive manufacturers, to set a phase-out date for all non-zero emission vehicles around 2035, and for this to to complemented by a clear plan on how to achieve it. However, key questions on EV charging infrastructure remain to scale the zero-emission vehicle required to achieve these goals. 4. Heavy Industry and Heavy-Duty Transport Heavy industries like cement, steel, and chemicals, combined with heavy-duty transport such as shipping, aviation, and trucking, together account for 30% of global emissions. In addition, recent estimates have shown that, on current trends, these sectors could account for 16 gigatonnes of emissions by 2050. Decarbonising these sectors requires driving down the so-called green premium -- the additional cost of choosing a clean technology over one that emits a greater amount of greenhouse gases. The Mission Possible Partnership, launched in 2019, has already taken vital steps to decarbonise heavy industry and heavy-duty transport. However, we know that the green premium for clean practices remains too high for these practices to be adopted globally. What’s needed next: Essential for further progress in these sectors are regulatory and economic incentives to drive innovation to help bring down the green premium. A successful outcome by COP26 would demonstrate that future-proof technologies are within reach. This could be achieved by key demand-side companies such as retail, automotive, and construction companies whose supply chains span heavy industry and heavy-duty transport to invest in net zero technologies. Governments can help drive these investments by making carbon emissions cost through reaching an agreement on Article 6 Paris Agreement, which is a key outcome for COP26 negotiators. Looking ahead We know what needs to happen to prevent the worst effects of climate change: achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the very latest, with a robust reduction of emissions this decade. Progress made this year and during UNGA across the key issues of finance, energy, mobility, and heavy industry and heavy-duty transport, have helped set the scene for governments and companies to use COP26 as a crucial inflection point on our collective effort to tackle the climate crisis. Still, leaders of all stripes must act and act urgently to ensure these critical goals can be achieved by the end of this decade of climate action.
From UNGA to COP26: What's needed next for Climate Action content media
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kevinmanning6
Sep 21, 2021
In News and Views
Leaders of the G7 pose for a group photo at the G7 Summit in Cornwall, England. Friday, June 11, 2021. | Patrick Semansky/Pool/AP By Brady Dennis and Steven Mufson September 19, 2021 As world leaders gather at the United Nations this week, they face no shortage of divisive issues: An ongoing global pandemic, economic strife on numerous continents, and conflict and human rights concerns from Afghanistan to Haiti. But with only six weeks left until a crucial global climate summit in Scotland, presidents and prime ministers also face pressure to set aside these diplomatic tensions and act quickly and collectively to slow the warming of the planet — something they have struggled to do in the past. “We have reached a tipping point on the need for climate action,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned Thursday, in one of his latest pleas for unity and urgency. “The disruption to our climate and our planet is already worse than we thought, and it is moving faster than predicted. … We must act now to prevent further irreversible damage.” This week’s U.N. General Assembly marks one of the last high-profile opportunities for countries to publicly commit to more ambitious, concrete action to cut greenhouse gas emissions ahead of November’s climate summit in Glasgow. So far, such promises from some of the world’s biggest economies have failed to materialize, despite a full-court press from the Biden administration, the European Union and other advocates. A U.N. report published Friday warned that while scores of countries have outlined new climate plans this year, if other nations — including China and India — fail to pursue bolder plans, greenhouse gas emissions could actually increase by 16 percent by the end of the decade. That could place the planet on a path to warm by 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.9 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. The world already has warmed more than 1 degree Celsius compared to preindustrial times, and scientists say that each fraction of additional warming will bring worsening catastrophes, from more frequent flooding to more intense wildfires and heat waves. On Monday, Guterres and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson are scheduled to host a closed-door gathering — part in person, part virtual — of several dozen national leaders, including a mix of the world’s largest and most powerful nations alongside poorer countries hit hardest by climate change. It is the latest effort to nudge large emitters to embrace more aggressive climate action. Such promises are essential if the world is to have any chance of meeting the most ambitious aim of the Paris climate accord: Limiting the increase in global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) compared to preindustrial levels. The gathering is also aimed at getting richer, developed countries to make good on long-unfulfilled promises to provide billions of dollars in financing to help cash-strapped, vulnerable nations adapt to the effects of climate change and build greener economies. The failure to do that has led to animosity and distrust. “They have to send some messages that we can still hang together,” Laurence Tubiana, chief executive of the European Climate Foundation, said of the need for countries to separate trade wars, national security squabbles and other fights from the need to join forces on climate change. “It’s a common threat,” said Tubiana, a key architect of the 2015 Paris agreement. “Climate change ignores power politics. It doesn’t care how many armies you have, how many weapons you have. … We saw in the pandemic when we don’t organize collectively how damaging it is. Climate is just much worse.” The landmark 2015 Paris agreement, supported by nearly every nation in the world, was designed with the expectation that countries would ramp up their voluntary commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions over time. The planned summit in Glasgow, delayed a year by the pandemic, has long been where nations are expected to show up with bolder, tangible commitments five years on from Paris. There are signs that shift is happening, albeit in fits and starts. Scores of countries have already announced more aggressive targets, even if they aren’t yet as aggressive as scientists say is necessary. That includes the United States, which under President Biden has committed to cut emissions at least in half by the end of the decade. The administration has joined forces this year with the European Union and the United Kingdom, home to even more stringent climate targets, to try to compel the world’s largest emitter, China, and other major economies to embrace near-term ambitious goals to put the world on a better trajectory. On Friday, the United States and the European Union also agreed to a “global methane pledge” that would slash emissions of the potent greenhouse gas by nearly a third by 2030 compared to 2020 levels. The United Kingdom and signed onto the initiative, as did Argentina, Mexico, Indonesia and several other nations. The hope is that still more countries will follow. “The window is rapidly closing for major emitters like China to make new commitments that will really matter in bending down global emissions,” Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House climate adviser, now with the Progressive Policy Institute, said in an email. “Despite new pledges by the U.S. and E.U., unless other nations begin to step up well ahead of Glasgow, the entire international community risks being blamed for inadequate action.” Since the Paris agreement, the world has changed in profound ways, both in climate diplomacy and in climate science, where it has become only more clear that humans’ greenhouse gas emissions are feeding intense fires, floods, heat waves and other extreme weather events that are claiming lives and costing fortunes. In 2014, President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping sealed a deal to limit greenhouse gas emissions a full year ahead of the gathering in Paris, making that global accord possible. The run-up to the U.N. summit in Glasgow has proven vastly different. A year ago, there were no advance negotiations, in part because President Donald Trump, who called climate change a hoax and played it down as a threat, made the United States the only nation to formally withdraw from the Paris accord. Also, much of the world was shut down because of the novel coronavirus. “The ability to come together has really been upended by covid,” said Pete Ogden, president of the U.N. Foundation and former senior director for energy at the Domestic Policy Council and National Security Council. The Biden administration, meanwhile, has been trying to make up for lost time. On his first day in office, Biden rejoined the international climate treaty. He dispatched former secretary of state John F. Kerry to crisscross the globe in an effort to forge the most ambitious climate deal possible. He pushed fellow leaders to match their rhetoric with action at a spring White House summit and at the Group of Seven meeting in June. And he is working to get Congress to approve a $3.5 trillion spending package that would include far-reaching climate actions, which is critical for the United States to make progress toward its 2030 emissions target. On Friday, Biden again convened a virtual meeting of major economies to make a pitch for bolder promises. “The time to act is really narrowing,” he told the group. Now, with the success of this fall’s climate summit hanging in the balance, experts see the U.N. assembly this week as one of the last likely venues for needle-moving commitments. “I think it’s important that there be major announcements about taking steps forward,” said David Sandalow, a veteran of the Clinton and Obama administrations and now a fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. “That needs to include action on the part of the major emitters but also from major institutions, financial groups and others.” This week’s U.N. gathering also provides a rare chance ahead of Glasgow for leaders of rich nations and smaller, poorer nations to address a relationship harmed by broken promises, said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International. One central promise was that developed nations would provide $100 billion annually to help developing countries build greener economies and deal with climate-fueled catastrophes. It has never been fully funded. “Right now, I don’t think there’s a lot of trust in developing countries that climate change is a collective thing we’re going to solve together, because it isn’t happening on covid,” Morgan said. “Developed countries do need to come forward and build that trust, and we are not there yet.” But that will only come by giving credence to the concerns of those on the front lines of climate change. “The smaller and vulnerable countries, the small islands, Africa — for them it is life and death every day now,” she said. “They are the voice in the room that brings that humanity about what’s at stake and how important it is to have this collaboration. It’s not some faraway issue.” As he has before, Guterres on Thursday implored leaders to act with resolve and set aside other political differences. He noted that the world remains “far from meeting the goals” of the Paris agreement, that the past five years are among the hottest on record and that fossil-fuel emissions are rebounding to pre-pandemic levels. Greenhouse gas concentrations are hitting highs, and extreme weather events have become more common and costlier. “These changes are just the beginning of worse to come,” Guterres warned, again pleading with nations for real commitments, not just speeches. “Nothing less will do,” he added. “We really are out of time.” For more on this story and more, visit: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/09/19/climate-change-united-nations/
World Leaders face push to act quickly on Climate Change content media
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