Guardian guide to the Durban deal
Two hours later the 16-day talks were effectively over, with a commitment by all countries to accept binding emission cuts by 2020. As part of the package of measures agreed, a new climate fund will be set up, carbon markets will be expanded and countries will be able to earn money by protecting forests.
Why it’s news: Why Durban is different to climate change agreements of the past (Q&A)
A last-minute compromise at Durban meant the new phase of negotiations about to start should be “a protocol, a legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force”. The latter is the weakest option, but according to the EU it will effectively mean countries are legally bound.
What it means: Climate deal: A guarantee our children will be worse off than us (at Damian Carrington’s Environment Blog)
Getting 194 nations to agree on anything with legal force, as happened in Durban, is an achievement, as is the rejection of the alluring calls to abandon the UN as the place to solve this global problem.
But the brutal truth is that our leaders lack the political will to do what is necessary. The delay in Durban means politicians have deepened our titanic environmental overdraft.
5 of 17: Kuyasa - Khayelitsha's own Sunshine State
In our fifth article in a series of 17 Sustainable Ideas for COP17, Dinika Govender explores the potential benefits which may overlap, when embarking on large scale community based renewable projects. The Kuyasa Energy Efficiency Project is one of those, which, while at some cost, is benefiting 2,300 homes, addressing environmental concerns and promoting skills and job creation. While negotiations around a Green Climate fund seem to be stalling, pro-active cities would be encouragedd to engage with agencies, locally and aboard to leverage financing for projects of this nature.
“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone. It’s not warm when she’s away…”
These are lyrics that the City of Cape Town seems to hope its citizens never have to sing during infamously cold, damp winter months and paraffin-powered nights. In October 2008 the City celebrated the completion of the Kuyasa Energy Efficiency Project- an initiative developed by the NGO, SouthSouthNorth* in line with Cape Town’s Energy and Climate Change Strategy- to fit almost 2300 homes with solar water-heaters (SWH’s). The project simultaneously addresses environmental concerns, low-income service delivery, job creation, skills development and socio-economic improvement.
It’s not just another bright-spark either; this project is a first for the City, and for South Africa, on numerous levels:
- It’s Africa’s first Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) registered by the UNFCCC Executive Board
- The world’s first Gold Standard project to be registered under the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.
Don't follow in this 'footprint'
In the spirit of COP17 happening in Durban right now, I thought I would look into some methods of reducing our carbon footprint.
Starting at home, opt for bio-degradable and vegetable based products. These days even computer parts and detergent are made from bio degradable material at affordable rates.
Choose local produce! Goods made and sold locally are the better option for so many reasons. Free international trade can sometimes hurt domestic trade, so by buying local, you not only help local businesses to grow and establish healthy competition, but you also reduce carbon emissions. This is simply because transportation of imported goods can have an adverse effect on the total carbon emissions in the atmosphere. In this case, locally produced canned foods can even be more beneficial than imported fresh produce.
While buying local, choose organic! This has a double wammy benefit, because it is better for your health and better for the earth.
Also, unplug your cellphone chargers when you are done with them, because they continue to use electricity when plugged in.
Switch off your computer monitor when shutting down your PC.
Make it a habit to switch off the lights to any room when you leave it.
I discovered my mother’s pestle and mortar. I use it for anything from grinding spices, making pesto to just plain taking out my human-induced frustrations :) so do your grinding, whipping, grating and chopping manually. It gives you Jean Claud van Damme muscles, and it reduces your carbon footprint.
If you’re able to afford a dish-washer, then it is a good investment. On average, dish-washers require up to 37% less water than hand washing in a basin. Also, the effective way to use a dishwasher is to load it once a day instead of washing after every meal. The dishwasher uses 80% of the electricity it consumes to heat water for dish washing, meaning that you don’t have to wait for tap water to heat up, letting cold water just run. Also, dishwashers help you save on the energy expenses that the municipality charges to pump water to your home as well as the water treatment charges for recycling water.
If you have to hand wash your dishes, a nifty thing i do with the cold water that runs while you’re waiting for it to heat up, is store it in a large container, which you can then re-distribute to the kettle, the plants in your house, or one of your 6 glasses of water for the day.
At work, here are a few things you can do to save energy.
Turn down the brightness of your monitor, and increase the contrast, as this saves electricity.
Reducing the screen size and the resolution is also helpful.
It was found that using a white background consumes more power, so opt for a grey one.
Screen savers consume the same amount of electricity as a normal screen does, so switch your screen savers off and opt for the function that automatically switches the monitor off when you are away from the PC for an extended period of time.
Switch your computer off completely when you go for meetings, lunch breaks etc.
It may seem like an inconvenience to do so, but considering that someday half the earth will be covered in water and we may have to walk around with oxygen masks, it doesn’t seem quite as bad.
As of 2009 it was estimated that 365 million people own computers. Energy saved by every one of those people everyday, can greatly reduce the amount electricity used, and therefore the carbon emitted by power stations.
For those of us who love to doodle, as far as possible take and make notes with paper and pen instead of rushing to the photo copier. Make paper presentations where possible instead of using power point presentations. When venture capitalists ask you why you are so Neanderthal in your approach to business, just tell them you’re saving energy and that will reflect well on you.
Power down when leaving the office. There is no need to leave lights on when the office is empty. Your office does in no way look more macho than the one next to it.
Chief Seattle said: ”We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors: we borrow it from our children” So when you start putting away money in your children’s education funds, invest in a better earth for them as well.
“There’s really only one label for the pathetic exercise we’ve just witnessed in South Africa: deceit. The whole climate-change negotiation process and the larger political discourse surrounding this horrible problem is a drawn-out and elaborate exercise in lying – to each other, to ourselves, and especially to our children. And the lies are starting to corrupt our civilization from inside out.”—Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon, director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation and CIGI Chair of Global Systems at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ontario, in his new article in the Globe & Mail, ‘Climate summit was a pathetic exercise in deceit’.
Staying positive as climate change talks hit delays
Just when the reasons to despair stare me imposingly in the face, and the urge to give up swells inside me, I seek the presence of people of conscience, and I feel around me the optimism of youth, with its stubborn refusal to accept a fate forced upon it.
Nauru Ambassador to the United Nations, Marlene Moses, on how she maintains hope in the face of frustrating UNFCCC climate negotiations.
¿Podrán sustituir al Protocolo de Kyoto?
Hasta el 9 de diciembre se reúnen en Durban, Sudáfrica, los responsables de más de 190 Estados a fin de celebrar la 17ª cumbre sobre el cambio climático de la ONU. El objetivo principal es debatir acerca de un nuevo tratado para la protección del medio ambiente que sustituya al Protocolo de Kyoto, que vence el próximo año.Mas…
Najah Dali : Les éléments clés du protocole de Kyoto, de la CCNUCC et les enjeux économiques
cadre des nations unies a pris naissance lors du sommet sur l’environnement qui a été tenue en Rio en 1992.
En effet, selon Najah Dali, à ce moment là la communauté internationale avec l’industrialisation a remarqué l’augmentation importante des gaz à effets de serre et leurs effets sur le climat. En effet selon Najah Dali, cette augmentation galopante des émissions a entrainé l’accélération du réchauffement climatique qui a entravera durablement le développement des pays et l’accentuation des catastrophes naturelles comme les feux de forêts, les inondations, la sécheresse,…. .
Lire la suite:Najah Dali