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UN official sees upcoming Lima climate talks as ‘stepping stone’ for universal treaty

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28 November 2014 – As Governments prepare to meet for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, starting on Monday, a top UN official has highlighted the session as an opportunity to raise immediate awareness on climate change and lay the foundation for a new universal agreement to be adopted in 2015.

“Never before have the risks of climate change been so obvious and the impacts so visible. Never before have we seen such a desire at all levels of society to take climate action. Never before has society had all the smart policy and technology resources to curb greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in a press release today.

“All of this means we can be confident we will have a productive meeting in Lima, which will lead to an effective outcome in Paris next year,” she added, referring to the climate conference that will take place in December 2015 in Paris, France, where the new universal UN-backed treaty on climate change will be adopted.

The UNFCCC is an international treaty that considers what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable.

The 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP), being held in Lima through 12 December, brings together the 196 Parties to the UNFCCC, which is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Over the course of the next two weeks, delegates will attempt to hammer out the new universal treaty, which would enter force by 2020.

Ms. Figueres explained that Governments meeting in Lima under the Ad Hoc Work Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action need to define the scope and the type of contributions they will provide to the Paris agreement, along with clarity on how finance, technology and capacity-building will be handled.

Countries will put forward what they plan to contribute to the 2015 agreement in the form of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) by the first quarter of 2015, in advance of the Paris conference in December.

The Lima conference should provide final clarity on what the INDCs need to contain, including for developing countries that are likely to have a range of options from, for example, sector-wide emission curbs to energy intensity goals, she said.

Welcoming the leadership of the European Union, the United States and China, who have publically announced their post-2020 climate targets and visions, Ms. Figueres stressed that many countries are working hard to increase emission reductions before 2020, when the Paris agreement is set to enter into effect.

“It is hugely encouraging that well ahead of next year’s first-quarter deadline, countries have already been outlining what they intend to contribute to the Paris agreement. This is also a clear sign that countries are determined to find common ground and maximize the potential of international cooperation,” she said.

In particular, Ms. Figueres said that Governments should work towards streamlining elements of the draft agreement for Paris 2015 and explore common ground on unresolved issues in order to achieve a balanced, well-structured, coherent draft for the next round of work on the text in February next year.

In addition, she noted that the political will of countries to provide climate finance is increasingly coming to the fore.

At a recent pledging conference held in Berlin, Germany, countries made pledges towards the initial capitalization of the Green Climate Fund totalling nearly $9.3 billion. Subsequent pledges took this figure to $9.6 billion, so that the $10 billion milestone is within reach, Ms. Figueres said.

“This shows that countries are determined to build trust and to provide the finance that developing countries need to move forward towards decarbonizing their economies and building resilience,” she noted.

During the course of 2014, Governments have been exploring how to raise immediate climate ambition in areas with the greatest potential to curb emissions, ranging from renewable energy to cities, she said.

As part of the “Lima Action Agenda,” countries will decide how to maintain and accelerate cooperation on climate change by all actors, including those flowing from the Climate Summit in September, where many climate action pledges were made.

“We have seen an amazing groundswell of momentum building this year. One of the main deliverables of the Lima conference will be ways to build on this momentum and further mobilize action across all levels of society,” Ms. Figueres said.

“Society-wide action in concert with Government contributions to the Paris agreement are crucial to meet the agreed goal of limiting global temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius, and to safeguard this and future generations,” she added.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49467

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UN warns Pacific islands of extreme weather risks during upcoming wet season

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21 November 2014 – Extreme weather conditions predicted for the Pacific Ocean pose a significant threat for island states’ industry and infrastructure, warns a new advisory note from the United Nations, encouraging the establishment of a regional mechanism for better preparedness.

A joint press release issued today by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES) notes that global forecasts indicate the onset of an abnormal warming of surface ocean waters, known as the El Niño effect, as the Pacific region experiences its wet season during the next six months.

The resulting changes in climate, which will see both increased and decreased rainfall, depending on the exact location, will threaten vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, freshwater resources, reef ecosystems, fisheries, public health and infrastructure.

“Even a weak El Niño event could put Pacific Island countries at high risk,” said Shamika Sirimanne, Director of ESCAP’s Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division.

“Their location means they are often described as disaster hotspots and their remoteness and economic fragility add to their vulnerability to shocks from even mild deviations in climate,” she added.

The advisory for Pacific island countries explains that El Niño will be associated with irregular rainfall in the Pacific region, although effects vary across different regions within each country.

The northern parts of many countries, especially those with wide geographical coverage, will experience increased rainfall during an El Niño year, while the southern parts receive less.

A reduced wet season rainfall could impact subsistence agriculture the most, causing a loss of cash income and reducing people’s ability to support themselves – particularly in Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji.

Countries that normally have very low dry season rainfall, such as Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea, are put at particular risk of drought-like conditions, ESCAP said.

Meanwhile, the likelihood of cyclones and severe storms for the Marshall Islands, the Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Samoa, Niue and Fiji is predicted to increase by 30 per cent as ocean temperatures temporarily increase, the forum said.

To monitor these risks, ESCAP recommends establishing a regional mechanism that helps make proactive climate information available to support better preparedness and resilient development planning.

Strengthening early warning systems and multi-stakeholder platforms for risk communication in this way would facilitate understanding of the long-term risks and harmonization of risk management strategies and development plans of countries in the region, the agency said.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49405

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Ban welcomes $9 billion in pledges to Green Climate Fund at Berlin Conference

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20 November 2014 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the pledges of more than $9.3 billion made by Governments towards the initial capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at the first pledging conference for the mechanism, being held in Berlin, Germany.

In a statement, the Secretary-General’s Spokesperson said that these pledges “will go far to kick-start” the operationalization of the Fund.

“These developments demonstrate that Governments increasingly understand both the benefits derived from climate action and the growing risks of delay,” the Secretary-General’s spokesperson explained.

The pledge comes on the heels of other significant climate actions such as the United States-China joint announcement to curb emissions as well as positive commitments reaffirmed by other leaders in recent meetings including at the G20 and the September UN Climate Summit.

Today’s actions will provide much needed public finance which is critical to unlocking investments at a much larger scale from private sources, Mr. Ban said.

The Secretary-General also underscored the importance of climate finance for securing a meaningful, universal climate agreement in Paris in 2015 and for catalysing action on the ground.

He urged all developed countries that have not yet pledged to the GCF to do so by COP 20 in Lima and encouraged those developing countries that are in a position to do so, to consider making voluntary contributions to the Fund in Lima.

The Green Climate Fund seeks to make a significant and ambitious contribution to the global efforts towards attaining the goals set by the international community to combat climate change.

The Fund will contribute to the achievement of the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). And in the context of sustainable development, it will promote a shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development.

“The Green Climate Fund is the epicentre that determines the direction of both public and private investment over the next decades,” said Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, describing the capitalization of the Fund as one of the wisest investments in the 21st century.

Today’s pledges were made by 21 countries, including contributions from four developing countries. Their combined contributions provide for the largest amount the international community has ever mobilized for a dedicated climate finance mechanism within a timeframe of less than five months.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49395

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UN agency chief reports on Iran, DPR Korea nuclear files, measures to curb climate change

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20 November 2014 – The safe and limited use of nuclear energy can help reduce the impact global energy demand is having on our planet’s volatile climate, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said today as he launched his agency’s latest report on the issue and discussed the nuclear programmes of Iran and the Democratic republic of Korea (DPRK).

Speaking at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors meeting this morning in Vienna during which he presented the body’s latest Climate Change and Nuclear Power report, Director General Yukiya Amano explained that nuclear energy was bound to play a larger role in national energy programmes worldwide as global energy demand was “likely to grow dramatically in the coming decades.”

“Along with hydropower and wind, nuclear energy has the lowest life-cycle CO2 emissions,” Mr. Amano said. “As part of a low-carbon national energy portfolio, it contributes to the mitigation of climate change and can help to reduce concerns over volatile fuel prices and security of energy supply.”

The launch of Climate Change and Nuclear Power 2014 comes just ahead of the next round of UN climate talks to be held from 1 to12 December 2014 in Lima, Peru, where countries are expected to negotiate and shape their contribution to reducing carbon emissions before next year’s flagship meeting in Paris.

In the Peruvian capital, the IAEA will be showcasing its report in an effort to highlight nuclear power’s “contribution to the global climate change agenda,” the agency noted in a press release, adding that the report discusses nuclear power’s “non-climatic environmental benefits, such as helping reduce local and regional air pollution” while also being considered in climate change adaptation measures, such as seawater desalination or hedging against hydropower fluctuations.

In his remarks, Mr. Amano reassured delegates that the report also focussed on the importance of safety and security measures when utilizing nuclear energy, pointing to his agency’s upcoming project devoted to the decommissioning of damaged nuclear facilities.

“The aim is to enhance measures to ensure the safe long-term management of spent fuel and nuclear waste from disused facilities,” he continued, noting that the IAEA was still in the process of compiling its “extensive report” on the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

He added that the agency continued to assist the Japanese Government in sharing information internationally and that a recent comparison of results of sea water analysis off Japan’s east coast, carried out by IAEA and Japanese laboratories, confirmed that data regularly reported by Japan give an accurate picture of the levels of radioactivity in near-shore coastal waters.

As for the DPRK, Mr. Amano said he remains “seriously concerned” about the country’s nuclear programme. “I call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations, to cooperate promptly with the Agency, and to resolve all outstanding issues, including those that have arisen during the absence of Agency inspectors from the country.”

Turning to Iran, Mr. Amano said that while the IAEA continued to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, the agency was “not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities” in the country. As a result, he said, the IAEA remained unable to conclude that “all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

In addition, Mr. Amano told the Board that the agency remained ready to “accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues” under the Framework for Cooperation but still awaited certain clarifications from the Gulf country.

“Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures, nor has it proposed any new practical measures in the next step of the Framework for Cooperation, despite several requests from the agency,” he stated.

“I call upon Iran to increase its cooperation with the Agency and to provide timely access to all relevant information, documentation, sites, material and personnel.”

Iran’s nuclear programme – which its officials have stated is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend is driven by military ambitions – has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Addressing this issue in a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the importance of the resumption of talks between the so-called P5+1 – composed of the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany – and the Iranian Government and called on all participants “to demonstrate the necessary flexibility, wisdom and determination to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion.”

“The Secretary-General hopes that reaching a mutually-acceptable and comprehensive agreement will restore confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme,” declared the statement.

“He is convinced that such an accord can contribute to the strengthening of regional and international peace and security at a time when global cooperation is needed perhaps more than ever.”

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49397

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World on track to meet 2020 goal for protected land, sea, but more work urgently needed – UN

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13 November 2014 – While the world is on track to meet a 2020 target on the expansion of protected areas, more work is needed to ensure areas of importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services are prioritized for protection under equitably managed conditions, according to a new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report released today.

“Protected areas not only provide us with a vital ecological safety net but also play a vital economic role through the valuable ecosystem services they provide, from supplying water and timber, to sustaining tourism,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said today at the 2014 International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress, in Sydney.

The Protected Planet Report series, launched in 2012, helps track international progress towards achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 – a target for the global protected area network and for other related targets.

In 2010, the signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreed on a 10 year strategic plan to halt biodiversity loss and ensure the sustainable and equitable use of natural resources. This plan set out 20 biodiversity targets to be achieved by 2020 – the Aichi Biodiversity Targets .

Target 11 calls for equitably managed conservation areas covering at least 17 per cent of the world’s terrestrial areas and ten per cent of marine areas by 2020.
Due to steady increases in coverage over the last number of years, protected areas now cover 15.4 per cent of the world’s terrestrial area and 8.4 per cent of the marine areas under national jurisdiction.

This increase reflects the importance that countries are placing upon the conservation of biodiversity and the ecosystem services they provide, the report said.

“This report shows that the will to do so is present,” Mr. Achim said. It’s time now to build support and funding to ensure protected areas cover enough important sites for biodiversity and ecosystem services-including marine protected areas.

But the report warns that Target 11 will not be met solely by measuring the geographical coverage of protected areas.

Without concerted global action directed at areas to come under protection, improved national planning, and assessments of how protected areas are effectively managed, Target 11 will not be met by 2020.

The target contains a number of qualitative elements including effectiveness, equitability, connectivity and ecological representation, each of which need to be better understood and addressed before it can be said that this particular target has been attained.

Protected Planet 2014 also highlights a lack of progress in other areas, such as ensuring protected areas are appropriately located in areas important for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are effectively and equitably managed, and are well-connected.

“We are committed to making sure that our promises are not empty,” IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre said today.

“What we need to see behind those figures are protected areas that are well and equitably managed, healthy, strong and able to deliver the full range of benefits that are essential for the survival of biodiversity and the wellbeing of people around the world,” she added.

The report was produced by UNEP’s World Conversation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) in partnership with IUCN, and funded by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), Protected Planet not only monitors global efforts to support and expand protected areas, but supports governments toward faster progress with recommendations for action.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49331

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UN praises China, US for ‘highly significant’ announcement on emissions cuts

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12 November 2014 – The new measures announced by the Governments of China and the United States in addressing their greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades is a positive step towards achieving a more comprehensive accord at a global climate conference to be held in Paris next year, top United Nations officials have confirmed.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the “significant and timely announcement” – pronounced by US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the tail-end of a high-level meeting in Beijing – and thanked the two leaders for their “personal commitment to work together to remove any impediments to reaching an agreement in Paris.”

“China and the United States have demonstrated the leadership that the world expects of them,” said Mr. Ban, in a statement attributable to his spokesperson.

“This leadership demonstrated by the Governments of the world’s two largest economies will give the international community an unprecedented chance to succeed at reaching a meaningful, universal agreement in 2015.”

In their announcement, the Presidents of the world’s two largest economies and the biggest greenhouse gas emitters declared they would aim for a considerable reduction in their emissions within a post-2020 framework.

The US, for instance, said it would reduce its emissions by a range of between 26 per cent and 28 per cent by 2025 from its 2005 levels in order to achieve what it described as economy-wide reductions on the order of 80 per cent by 2050. For its part, China announced it would peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030—with the intention to try and peak early—including through a far greater role for renewable energies and big improvements in areas like energy efficiency.

The joint statement comes in the wake of the European Union’s announcement to cut emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030 which it made last month.

The world’s efforts to clamp down on climate change will converge on Paris at the end of 2015 as Member States gather at the 21st annual session of the UN Climate Change Conference with the ultimate goal being the formulation of a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change, in line with the second implementation phase of the landmark Kyoto Protocol.

With the “positive commitments” made by Government, business, finance, and civil society leaders at the Climate Summit at UN Headquarters in September, followed by the “ambitious decision” taken by European Union leaders on their post-2020 emission reduction target in October, Mr. Ban voiced hope that “the highly significant” joint announcement by China and the United States would lay “a strong foundation” and build momentum towards a meaningful climate agreement in 2015.

As a result, his statement concluded, the Secretary-General urged “all countries, especially all major economies, to follow China and the United States’ lead and announce ambitious post-2020 targets as soon as possible, but no later than the first quarter of 2015.”

The dangers posed by climate change have been characterized as being increasingly imminent by a number of UN agencies and officials. In its recent Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in fact, confirmed that climate change is being registered around the world and warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.

Greeting the announcement by China and the US in a separate statement, Christiana Figueres, Executive Director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), suggested that both leaders had cleared “important pathways towards a better and more secure future for human-kind.”

“This joint announcement provides both practical and political momentum towards a new, universal climate agreement in Paris in late 2015 that is meaningful, forward-looking and recognizes that combating climate change is not a five or ten year plan—but is a long term commitment to keep a global temperature rise under 2 degrees throughout this century,” Ms. Figueres declared.

“This positive momentum opens the door for all major economies and in particular all other industrialized nations to bring forward their contributions to the Paris agreement in a timely fashion over the coming months. Investors have long called for policy certainty,” she continued.

“Today’s announcement is a firm and positive step towards that as we look towards Paris 2015.”

Parties to the UNFCCC will next meet in Lima, Peru in a few weeks’ time to advance a draft universal agreement with the aim of adopting it at the 21st Conference of the Parties taking place in Paris, France at the end of next year.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49317

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On International Day, UN urges protection of environment from ravages of war

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6 November 2014 – From the contamination of land to the plundering of natural resources, the environment has long been a “silent casualty” of war, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon affirmed today as he warned that the fast-changing dynamic of contemporary conflict required steadfast solutions for future peacebuilding and sustainable development.

“Armed conflicts are becoming ever more complex, and require solutions that address the root causes,” Mr. Ban said in his message marking the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.

“Issues of poverty, vulnerability to climate shocks, ethnic marginalization and the transparent, sustainable and equitable management of natural resources must be considered within and alongside peace agreements if we are to build more resilient and prosperous societies.”

Established by the UN General Assembly in 2001, the International Day was created to spotlight the tenuous link between global and regional conflicts and the environment.

According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), at least 40 per cent of all internal conflicts of the past 60 years have been linked to the exploitation of natural resources, whether high-value resources such as timber, diamonds, gold and oil, or scarce resources such as fertile land and water.

In Somalia, for example, it is estimated that the illegal trade in charcoal represents annual revenues of up to $384 million for insurgents and terrorist groups. Moreover, conflicts involving natural resources have also been found to be twice as likely to relapse into violence.

In his message for the Day, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Martin Kobler, acknowledged that the exploitation of natural resources had, in large part, fuelled the extensive conflict that has ravaged the African country and taken millions of lives. It is widely suspected that the extraction of minerals in the DRC – ranging from coltan and cassiterite, which are found in electronic consumer goods, to gold – has been used to finance the roving bands of militants that have terrorized the country.

As head of the UN stabilizations mission in the DRC, known by the French acronym MONUSCO, Mr. Kobler declared it “fundamental” that all stakeholders in the country protect the environment in time of war and establish a system for the good governance of natural resources, adding that future generations would be “grateful for our efforts towards preserving the beauty and richness of the environment in this beautiful country.”

For his part, the Secretary-General called on the international community to reaffirm its commitment to protecting the environment from the impacts of war and preventing future conflicts over natural resources, particularly as nations begin to formulate the upcoming post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

“We must use all of the tools at our disposal, from dialogue and mediation to preventive diplomacy, to keep the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources from fuelling and financing armed conflict and destabilizing the fragile foundations of peace,” Mr. Ban concluded.

“Let us develop solutions that meaningfully involve local communities and build on our collective knowledge to advance good stewardship of the environment as an integral part of peacebuilding and sustainable development.”

Against such a backdrop, UNEP has used the opportunity provided by the Day to jointly create a website providing users with free access to dozens of case studies as well as teaching and training materials on the role of natural resources in peacebuilding. Since its launch in 2013, the website has served as a global platform for sharing information, experiences and learning on the links between natural resources, conflict and peace.

The contents of the site were produced as part of a broad collaboration led by Environmental Law Institute (ELI), UNEP, McGill University and the University of Tokyo, together with 225 researchers and practitioners around the world. Six books including 150 case studies and other analyses examining experiences from 60 conflict-affected countries and territories are being released to the platform, with 76 case studies already available online.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49266

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Amplifying women’s voices in climate change solutions focus of UN conference

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5 November 2014 – Aiming to develop more gender-sensitive services, a United Nations-led conference kicking off in Geneva today is spearheading a drive to ensure that weather and climate services reduce women’s vulnerability to disasters and climate change, and help them realize their potential as champions of community resilience.

Hosted by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Conference on Gender Dimensions of Weather and Climate Services, which takes place from 5 to 7 November 2014, hopes to produce concrete actions to empower women to produce and use weather and climate services.

Women, especially in developing countries, are often more exposed to the risks of extreme weather because they can be less mobile than men, lack access to traditional means of communication, and are more vulnerable to associated risks such as under-nutrition and water-borne diseases, according to the WMO.

For instance, in the 1991 cyclone disasters that killed 140,000 people in Bangladesh, 90 per cent of victims were women. Explanations for this include the fact that more women than men are homebound, looking after children and property. In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis came ashore in Myanmar. Among the 130,000 people dead or missing in the aftermath, 61 per cent were female.

“We have made great progress in improving weather forecasts and climate services such seasonal outlooks to help protect lives and livelihoods,” said the head of the WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud in a press release.

“But if we are to help communities cope with long-term climate change and the anticipated increase in hazards like floods and heat-waves, then we need to do more to reach out to women with gender-sensitive services,” he added.

The gathering is co-sponsored by a wide range of partners including the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Health Organization (WHO), among others .

Speakers at the conference were set to include Irina Bokova, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General; Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); Lakshmi Puri, UN Women Deputy Executive Director; Margareta Wahlström, UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR); and Maria Neira, Director of Public Health and Environment Department at the World Health Organization (WHO).

Other speakers include former Finnish President Tarja Halonen and Samoan Minister of Courts and Justice, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.

“We have the opportunity and the responsibility to bring women’s voices to the fore of climate change solutions…Women with the knowledge we hold and the ability to get things done are a valuable resource but traditionally under-utilized,” said Ms. Figueres ahead of the meeting.

Hence, it is important to empower women to be included in designing services that meet their needs and encourage women to get involved in science related careers. As a global average, only one-third of professionals in meteorology and hydrology are women.

During the conference, a high-level panel on Women and Careers in Weather, Water and Climate will examine how to attract and promote more female scientists.
“There is a need to encourage and create a conducive environment for young girls who have vision of being great future scientists to realize their vision,” said Dr. Agnes Kijazi, Director-General of the National Meteorological Service of Tanzania, a conference co-sponsor.

Conference outcomes will feed into the post-2015 development agenda, the disaster risk reduction future framework, and other future climate action, and Beijing+20 platform on gender equality.

Among UN agencies, conference participants include meteorological and hydrological experts, academic institutions and civil society representatives, national authorities, and national and international women’s rights advocates.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49262

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‘Leaders must act,’ urges Ban, as new UN report warns climate change may soon be ‘irreversible’

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2 November 2014 – Citing “clear and growing” human influence on the climate system, a United Nations report issued today has warned that if left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

Echoing that dire warning, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that if the world maintains its “business as usual” attitude about climate change, the opportunity to keep temperature rise below the internationally target of 2 degrees Celsius, “will slip away within the next decade.”

“With this latest report, science has spoken yet again and with much more clarity. Time is not on our side…leaders must act,” declared the UN chief, in Copenhagen, Denmark on an official visit that included a press conference to launch the final installment of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

According to a press release from the panel, the so-called “Synthesis Report” confirms that climate change is being registered around the world and warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.

“Our assessment finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, sea level has risen and the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased to a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,” said Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I, which participated in the compilation of the final report along with two other expert working groups.

Calling the report the “most comprehensive assessment of climate change” ever carried out, the Secretary-General urged worldwide action in light of its stark findings, saying that “even if emissions stopped tomorrow, we will be living with climate change for some time to come.”

He went on to say that the report found that the world is largely very ill-prepared for the risks of a changing climate, especially the poor and most vulnerable who have contributed least to this problem.

“I have seen for myself those rapidly melting glaciers, most recently in Greenland together with the Prime Minister of Denmark,” he said emphasizing that though he is not a scientist, he has traveled the world over, “to see the impact for myself and…add to the voices of scientists in a political way, as a common man.”

Yet, the “good news is that if we act now, we have the means to build a more sustainable world,” he said, explaining that quick and decisive action that draws on many readily available tools and technologies can put the world on the right track. Renewable energy sources are increasingly economically competitive. Energy efficiency has long proven its value. It was a myth that climate action would be costly, he said, stressing that in fact, inaction “will cost much, much more,” he added.

R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, underscored that the means to limit climate change are at had. “The solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development. All we need is the will to change, which we trust will be motivated by knowledge and an understanding of the science of climate change.”

Speaking later at the Copenhagen Energy Security Dialogues, the Secretary-General commended the global vision of European Union leaders who had taken decisive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from by 2030.

“This is one of the major achievements immediately after the Climate Change Summit which I convened,” in late September, said the UN chief, adding that while he has made the issue one of the Organization’s top priorities, he wanted to broaden the scope of measures aimed at tackling it.

Indeed as climate change “is not just a matter for environmentalists and/or scientists. It is a major development challenge that can also lead to serious security threats”, Mr. Ban said, noting that mobilizing for climate change is also mobilizing for sustainable development.

As such, the United Nations would focus on three linked priorities for next year: accelerating continued efforts to meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); shaping a “bold and ambitious” post-2015 development agenda by the end of next year; and agreeing a meaningful climate change agreement by next December next year in Paris.

“A transformative approach to energy can drive all these priorities to a successful realization,” of those aims, said the Secretary-General, noting that the Sustainable Energy for All initiative he had launched in 2011is mobilizing governments, businesses, finance and civil society to transform the world’s energy systems.

“The United Nations is bringing the world together on energy because energy is central to our future well-being as a human family,” he said.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49232

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&#39Leaders must act&#39, urges Ban, as new UN report warns climate change may soon be &#39irreversible&#39

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2 November 2014 – Citing “clear and growing” human influence on the climate system, a United Nations report issued today has warned that if left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

Echoing that dire warning, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that if the world maintains its “business as usual” attitude about climate change, the opportunity to keep temperature rise below the internationally target of 2 degrees Celsius, “will slip away within the next decade.”

“With this latest report, science has spoken yet again and with much more clarity. Time is not on our side…leaders must act,” declared the UN chief, in Copenhagen, Denmark on an official visit that included a press conference to launch the final installment Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

According to a press release from the panel, the so-called “Synthesis Report” confirms that climate change is being registered around the world and warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.

“Our assessment finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, sea level has risen and the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased to a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,” said Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I, which participated in the compilation of the final report along with two other expert working groups.

Calling the report the “most comprehensive assessment of climate change” ever carried out, the Secretary-General urged worldwide action in light of its stark findings, saying that “even if emissions stopped tomorrow, we will be living with climate change for some time to come.”

He went on to say that the report found that the world is largely very ill-prepared for the risks of a changing climate, especially the poor and most vulnerable who have contributed least to this problem.

“I have seen for myself those rapidly melting glaciers, most recently in Greenland together with the Prime Minister of Denmark,” he said emphasizing that though he is not a scientist, he has traveled the world over, “to see the impact for myself and…add to the voices of scientists in a political way, as a common man.”

Yet, the “good news is that if we act now, we have the means to build a more sustainable world,” he said, explaining that quick and decisive action that draws on many readily available tools and technologies can put the world on the right track. Renewable energy sources are increasingly economically competitive. Energy efficiency has long proven its value. It was a myth that climate action would be costly, he said, stressing that in fact, inaction “will cost much, much more,” he added.

R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, underscored that the means to limit climate change are at had. “The solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development. All we need is the will to change, which we trust will be motivated by knowledge and an understanding of the science of climate change.”

Speaking later at the Copenhagen Energy Security Dialogues, the Secretary-General commended the global vision of European Union leaders who had taken decisive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from by 2030.

“This is one of the major achievements immediately after the Climate Change Summit which I convened,” in late September, said the UN chief, adding that while he has made the issue one of the Organization’s top priorities, he wanted to broaden the scope of measures aimed at tackling it.

Indeed as climate change “is not just a matter for environmentalists and/or scientists. It is a major development challenge that can also lead to serious security threats”, Mr. Ban said, noting that mobilizing for climate change is also mobilizing for sustainable development.

As such, the United Nations would focus on three linked priorities for next year: accelerating continued efforts to meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); shaping a “bold and ambitious” post-2015 development agenda by the end of next year; and agreeing a meaningful climate change agreement by next December next year in Paris.

“A transformative approach to energy can drive all these priorities to a successful realization,” of those aims, said the Secretary-General, noting that the Sustainable Energy for All initiative he had launched in 2011is mobilizing governments, businesses, finance and civil society to transform the world’s energy systems.

“The United Nations is bringing the world together on energy because energy is central to our future well-being as a human family,” he said.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49232

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&#39Leaders must act&#39, urges Ban, as new UN report warns climate change may soon be &#39irreversible&#39

Print

2 November 2014 – Citing “clear and growing” human influence on the climate system, a United Nations report issued today has warned that if left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

Echoing that dire warning, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that if the world maintains its “business as usual” attitude about climate change, the opportunity to keep temperature rise below the internationally target of 2 degrees Celsius, “will slip away within the next decade.”

“With this latest report, science has spoken yet again and with much more clarity. Time is not on our side…leaders must act,” declared the UN chief, in Copenhagen, Denmark on an official visit that included a press conference to launch the final installment Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

According to a press release from the panel, the so-called “Synthesis Report” confirms that climate change is being registered around the world and warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.

“Our assessment finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, sea level has risen and the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased to a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,” said Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I, which participated in the compilation of the final report along with two other expert working groups.

Calling the report the “most comprehensive assessment of climate change” ever carried out, the Secretary-General urged worldwide action in light of its stark findings, saying that “even if emissions stopped tomorrow, we will be living with climate change for some time to come.”

He went on to say that the report found that the world is largely very ill-prepared for the risks of a changing climate, especially the poor and most vulnerable who have contributed least to this problem.

“I have seen for myself those rapidly melting glaciers, most recently in Greenland together with the Prime Minister of Denmark,” he said emphasizing that though he is not a scientist, he has traveled the world over, “to see the impact for myself and…add to the voices of scientists in a political way, as a common man.”

Yet, the “good news is that if we act now, we have the means to build a more sustainable world,” he said, explaining that quick and decisive action that draws on many readily available tools and technologies can put the world on the right track. Renewable energy sources are increasingly economically competitive. Energy efficiency has long proven its value. It was a myth that climate action would be costly, he said, stressing that in fact, inaction “will cost much, much more,” he added.

R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, underscored that the means to limit climate change are at had. “The solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development. All we need is the will to change, which we trust will be motivated by knowledge and an understanding of the science of climate change.”

Speaking later at the Copenhagen Energy Security Dialogues, the Secretary-General commended the global vision of European Union leaders who had taken decisive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from by 2030.

“This is one of the major achievements immediately after the Climate Change Summit which I convened,” in late September, said the UN chief, adding that while he has made the issue one of the Organization’s top priorities, he wanted to broaden the scope of measures aimed at tackling it.

Indeed as climate change “is not just a matter for environmentalists and/or scientists. It is a major development challenge that can also lead to serious security threats”, Mr. Ban said, noting that mobilizing for climate change is also mobilizing for sustainable development.

As such, the United Nations would focus on three linked priorities for next year: accelerating continued efforts to meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); shaping a “bold and ambitious” post-2015 development agenda by the end of next year; and agreeing a meaningful climate change agreement by next December next year in Paris.

“A transformative approach to energy can drive all these priorities to a successful realization,” of those aims, said the Secretary-General, noting that the Sustainable Energy for All initiative he had launched in 2011is mobilizing governments, businesses, finance and civil society to transform the world’s energy systems.

“The United Nations is bringing the world together on energy because energy is central to our future well-being as a human family,” he said.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49232

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&#39Leaders must act&#39, urges Ban, as new UN report warns man&#39s impact on climate may soon be &#39irreversible&#39

Print

2 November 2014 – Citing “clear and growing” human influence on the climate system, a United Nations report issued today has warned that if left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

Echoing that dire warning, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that if the world maintains its “business as usual” attitude about climate change, the opportunity to keep temperature rise below the internationally target of 2 degrees Celsius, “will slip away within the next decade.”

“With this latest report, science has spoken yet again and with much more clarity. Time is not on our side…leaders must act,” declared the UN chief, in Copenhagen, Denmark on an official visit that included a press conference to launch the final installment Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

According to a press release from the panel, the so-called “Synthesis Report” confirms that climate change is being registered around the world and warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.

“Our assessment finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, sea level has risen and the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased to a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,” said Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I, which participated in the compilation of the final report along with two other expert working groups.

Calling the report the “most comprehensive assessment of climate change” ever carried out, the Secretary-General urged worldwide action in light of its stark findings, saying that “even if emissions stopped tomorrow, we will be living with climate change for some time to come.”

He went on to say that the report found that the world is largely very ill-prepared for the risks of a changing climate, especially the poor and most vulnerable who have contributed least to this problem.

“I have seen for myself those rapidly melting glaciers, most recently in Greenland together with the Prime Minister of Denmark,” he said emphasizing that though he is not a scientist, he has traveled the world over, “to see the impact for myself and…add to the voices of scientists in a political way, as a common man.”

Yet, the “good news is that if we act now, we have the means to build a more sustainable world,” he said, explaining that quick and decisive action that draws on many readily available tools and technologies can put the world on the right track. Renewable energy sources are increasingly economically competitive. Energy efficiency has long proven its value. It was a myth that climate action would be costly, he said, stressing that in fact, inaction “will cost much, much more,” he added.

R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, underscored that the means to limit climate change are at had. “The solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development. All we need is the will to change, which we trust will be motivated by knowledge and an understanding of the science of climate change.”

Speaking later at the Copenhagen Energy Security Dialogues, the Secretary-General commended the global vision of European Union leaders who had taken decisive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from by 2030.

“This is one of the major achievements immediately after the Climate Change Summit which I convened,” in late September, said the UN chief, adding that while he has made the issue one of the Organization’s top priorities, he wanted to broaden the scope of measures aimed at tackling it.

Indeed as climate change “is not just a matter for environmentalists and/or scientists. It is a major development challenge that can also lead to serious security threats”, Mr. Ban said, noting that mobilizing for climate change is also mobilizing for sustainable development.

As such, the United Nations would focus on three linked priorities for next year: accelerating continued efforts to meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); shaping a “bold and ambitious” post-2015 development agenda by the end of next year; and agreeing a meaningful climate change agreement by next December next year in Paris.

“A transformative approach to energy can drive all these priorities to a successful realization,” of those aims, said the Secretary-General, noting that the Sustainable Energy for All initiative he had launched in 2011is mobilizing governments, businesses, finance and civil society to transform the world’s energy systems.

“The United Nations is bringing the world together on energy because energy is central to our future well-being as a human family,” he said.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49232

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