WWF: Renowned mountaineers to come together to help raise awareness on Climate Change

World renowned mountaineers will come together at Copenhagen on the occasion of International Mountain Day (11 December 2009) to raise awareness on impacts of Climate Change in the Himalayas. Hon’ble Minister of Forest and Soil Conservation Mr. Deepak Bohara unveiled the plans for the Summiteers’ Summit today. Government of Nepal is leading the efforts supported by several partner organizations namely ICIMOD, NTNC, NTB, NMA, the World Bank, WWF. Several other organizations including those working for the Himalayan cause are likely to join the efforts. Business affinity groups like FNCCI, CNI and Bankers’ Association will also be invited to support the event.

Climate Change has hit hard the Himalayas in general and Nepal in particular. Its effects are being manifested in different forms some of them being rapid increase in the size of glacial lakes, erratic monsoon patterns and unprecedented forest fires. Although being one of the least Green House Gas (GHG) emitting countries in the world, Nepal ranks among one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. This fact largely remains unrepresented in the global climate debate so far.

Government of Nepal and agencies concerned with the impacts of Climate Change in the Himalayas, and its knock-on effect on the population of downstream countries have been spearheading substantive efforts to raise this issue at appropriate global platforms. Notable among them is WWF’s Climate for Life campaign and the recent Kathmandu to Copenhagen Regional Climate Change Conference hosted by the Government of Nepal.

Many high profile events have been planned across Europe to build up interest in this important event on International Mountain Day. World renowned mountaineers and public figures who love the Himalayas will come together in Copenhagen to raise awareness of climate risks and opportunities in the Himalayas. A street carnival in the streets of Copenhagen will see hundreds of summiteers and friends of Nepal raising their voice for the Himalayas.  

The Legendary Mountaineers Apa Sherpa and Dawa Steven Sherpa, both of whom have been working tirelessly with WWF’s Climate For Life Campaign for the last several months, will be representing Nepal at the summit and the many preceding activities.

For further information:

Siddhartha Bajracharya, Executive Office, NTNC

T: 5526571  E:  siddhartha@ntnc.org.np

Sanjib Chaudhary, Communications Officer. WWF Nepal

T: 443 4820 E : sanjib.chaudhary@wwfnepal.org

Event Secretariat: NTNC, Jawalakhel, Kathamndu

sssh.nepal@gmail.com

From EverestNews

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WWF: Climate deal must include strong deforestation

Buenos Aires, Argentina – Global leaders must support a clear and effective deforestation target at climate talks in Copenhagen in December, or they risk crippling the world’s ability to control climate change.

As the XIIIth World Forestry Congress came to an end on Friday, WWF called for an ambitious and bold climate deal at COP 15 to give clear guidance and incentives for the forestry sector to do its part in stopping catastrophic climate change and adapt to predicted changes.

To this end, WWF during the Congress proposed a global target of zero net deforestation by 2020 to avoid runaway climate change and stop the current catastrophic trend of species loss.

WWF is calling for an ambitious and bold climate deal at COP 15 to give clear guidance and incentives for the forestry sector to do its part in stopping catastrophic climate change and adapt to predicted changes.

WWF is calling for an ambitious and bold climate deal at COP 15 to give clear guidance and incentives for the forestry sector to do its part in stopping catastrophic climate change and adapt to predicted changes.

In particular, negotiators must agree to strong financial and emissions reduction commitments to craft a climate deal that enables developing countries to halt forest loss.

“Setting immediate deforestation targets is a key component of any climate change agreement,” said Rodney Taylor, Director of WWF International’s Forest program. “If the global deal on climate change ignores the dangers of unchecked deforestation, it will set the world on an accelerated path to savage climate change.”

Despite conservation efforts, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hectares per year, or 36 football fields a minute. It generates almost 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and halting forest loss has been identified as one of the most cost-effective ways to keep the world out of the danger zone of runaway climate change.

“A zero net deforestation by 2020 target will set the scale and urgency needed to gather the political will to stop forest loss,” Taylor said.

WWF will continue to advocate for a strong deforestation target to be included in relevant international treaties and agreements, including in the Convention on Biological Diversity and COP 15.

“WWF received strong feedback at the Congress from various sectors, including governments, other NGOs, and the private sector to support our target on deforestation,” said Gerald Steindlegger, WWF International’s Forest Manager on Global Policy.

Many developing countries already are adopting major deforestation policies that mirror WWF’s call for zero net deforestation by 2020.

On Wednesday, government representatives from Argentina and Paraguay pledged during a special ceremony co-hosted by WWF and its partner organization Fundacion Vida Silvestre at the Congress to work towards zero net deforestation in the Atlantic Forest, and to implement a package of measures that include national legislation to enforce those commitments.

The Atlantic Forest initially spanned 500,000 square kms, shared between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. However, only 7.4 percent of the forest is left today – or about 35,000 square kilometers, making it one of the most threatened and fragmented subtropical forests in the world.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian government already has established a zero deforestation target by 2010 for the Atlantic Forest. Brazil also has pledged to establish protected areas covering at least 10 percent of the forest.

This year, the World Forestry Congress brought together more than 4,000 participants in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

From WWF

WWF-India among countries leading fight against climate change

BANGKOK – India, China and Japan are now leading the world to reach a deal this December that will be effective in tackling climate change while EU and the US are proving major stumbling blocks, international NGO WWF has said. 

As delegates from 177 countries gathered here Monday for the start of a two-week preparatory meet for December’s climate summit in Copenhagen, WWF applauded Japan, China and India for outlining concrete action to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases.

“By playing an increasingly constructive role in the negotiations, they are confirming their determination to become the world’s next economic leaders on the basis of a green economy and low carbon growth,” said Kim Carstensen, leader of the WWF Global Climate Initiative.

“Pledges such as Japan’s to reduce emissions 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 and that of Indonesia to keep emission growth 26-41 percent below business as usual projections by 2020 are bringing us closer to the global emission reduction targets we need,” said Carstensen.

He added that WWF was “worried about a mismatch between credible leadership in Asia and empty rhetoric in Europe and the US” on ways to tackle climate change. “While key Asian countries are offering concrete contributions to reach a deal in December, EU and US are emerging as major stumbling blocks.”

“Both developed and developing Asia are finding their way to the top in the world league of climate action. Now industrialised countries, and in particular the US, have to follow Asia’s example, and after missed opportunities in New York and Pittsburgh the talks in Bangkok present the next chance to step up.”

India’s Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session on climate in New York last week that the country was willing to report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) the actions it took to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

GHG emissions — mainly carbon dioxide — are warming the atmosphere and leading to climate change, which in turn is affecting farm output, making droughts, floods and storms more sever and more frequent, and raising the sea level. India is among the countries worst affected.

Indian negotiators at global climate talks had earlier blocked attempts by the West to make the country’s actions “measurable, reportable and verifiable” (MRV) on the grounds that industrialised countries had no business seeking such reports except on projects they paid for.

Now, without the West making any concrete offer on financing and transfer of green technologies, India has made the offer to make its mitigation actions MRV, with Ramesh saying the country has nothing to hide because it is doing a lot to move to a greener development path.

While India’s latest stand has drawn kudos from the international community, it has been criticised in some quarters back home as a possible infringement on the country’s sovereignty. At international forums though, it is likely to improve India’s negotiating position.

Despite this, hopes for an ambitious deal which would help protect the planet from irreversible damage caused by climate change will become very slim unless negotiators at the current UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks make significant progress, Carstensen added.

“After months of haggling, losing time and arguing we have now entered the last phase and have an absolutely last minute chance to rescue the climate deal.”

“The main tasks are in the hands of rich countries which need to come up with ambitious (GHG emission) reduction targets as well as finance commitments which will help developing countries to adapt to climate change,” Carstensen said.

“Delegates are equipped with a clear mandate to edit at record speed and accelerate the drafting process,” said Carstensen. “Maybe big targets and big money will only be agreed in Copenhagen, but that can’t be an excuse for wasting time, at least the crucial groundwork must be laid here. We need clarity on what the key elements are for a Copenhagen climate deal.”

From Taragana

EcoTourism-Finland to set up Innovation Centre in Delhi

Helsinki, Sep 11 (IANS) Out to prove that there’s more to Finnish technology than Nokia handphones, Finland is seeking collaborations with India in biotechnology and nanotechnology and will also set up a Finnish Innovation Centre in New Delhi.

The tiny but energy-efficient Scandinavian country also wants to work with India in healthcare, ecotourism and environment protection.

High-level delegations from the two countries will meet here in October to discuss plans for business and joint research and development. The Finnish delegation will be led by Foreign Minister Elina Kalkku.

“I can see a lot of future in the Indian market and we are looking forward to increasing research and development in sectors like science and technology, telecommunication, healthcare, ecotourism and clean technology,” Seppo I. Keranen, senior consultant, Finpro, told a group of visiting Indian journalists.

Finpro is an organisation under Finland’s Ministry of Employment and Finance. It has over 560 Finnish industries as its members.

Finland is also looking forward to setting up a Finnish Innovation Centre (called Finnote) in New Delhi by next year under a science and technology agreement signed between the two countries in 2008. Finland already has four such innovation centres in Japan, China, Russia and the US.

“Under the project we will put together researchers from both the countries and work jointly on developing new technology in various fields. The countries have great potential to work together and cater to third countries,” said Keranen, an expert on the Indian economy.

“India has highly technology-efficient people and we have high technology knowhow. So both the countries can work together in various sectors. India is a very important market for Finnish companies,” he said.

In healthcare, Finland has tied with India’s Department of Biotechnology to set up diagnostic centres in villages.

“We are in talks with some 10 healthcare companies in India to start telemedicine facilities for rural parts of India as providing better health facility continues to remain a key issue,” said Keranen, who worked as commercial counsellor at New Delhi’s Finnish embassy for five years.

Finland is also in talks with the Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments to start ecotourism in the states.

“The climate in northern hilly regions in India is more or less similar to that in

Finland. We are in talks with both the state governments to build ski resorts and energy efficient buildings as we have highly efficient technology that can keep buildings warm in even several degrees below zero,” Keranen said.

There are around 75 Finnish companies working in India while 29 Indian companies are active in Finland. The volume of business between the two countries is over $1 billion a year.

By Richa Sharma – richa.s@ians.in

WWF – UNESCO – River Flow Management in Sweden

Advanced river flow management vital to facing climate challenge

Stockholm, Sweden: Improved river flow management will be vital to protecting communities from the worst impacts of climate change and to achieving international goals on poverty reduction, according to a new report issued on the eve of World Water Week.

River Flow Management

River Flow Management

Securing Water for Ecosystems and Human Well-being: The Importance of Environmental Flows also finds that river flow management to meet diverse environmental and human needs should be funded through appropriate valuation of the ecosystem services provided by healthy rivers. These include maintenance of groundwater levels, flood and drought mitigation, and contributions to human livelihoods, nutrition and health.

The report, developed in collaboration between major global institutions including Water Week organizer the Stockholm International Water Institute, Swedish Water House, UNESCO-IHE, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), UNEP- DHI, Deltares and NGOs such as WWF, Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy, draws on the latest research and practices on environmental flows and their significance.

“Initially the emphasis in environmental flows was on the amount of water released down rivers,” said one of the report’s lead authors, Dr Birgitta Malm Renöfält, Cluster group leader at Swedish Water House.

“Now we recognize the importance of different flow levels and the timing of flows to different river functions and understand that maintaining a healthy functioning ecosystem requires much more sophisticated river management.

“For example, base flows are vital to surrounding water table levels and soil moisture levels, pulse flows shape the character or river channels and large floods replenish nutrients and recharge aquifers over wider areas.”

The report documents sensitive infrastructure development and operation and appropriate environmental flow management benefits for health and earnings in Kenya and Tanzania, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Iran and the Sudan.

With water availability expected to be one of the major and most severe impacts of climate change in many areas of the world, sufficient and equitable allocation of water will become more and more vital for both people and nature.

“The environmental community has critical tools to offer for climate change adaptation, and environmental flow regulation is an important part of the climate adaptation toolbox,” said Dr Mark Smith, Head, IUCN Water Programme.

Note: Further information on this report will be available at the Swedish Water House Cluster group booth at World Water Week, at EH 0310, Stockholm International Fairs on 17.45 CET on 16 August 2009.

For further information contact:

SIWI/SWH: Josh Paglia, josh.paglia@siwi.org, +4673914 39 96
WWF: Phil Dickie, pdickie@wwfint.org, +41797031952
UNESCO-IHE: Lara Kwak, l.kwak@unesco-ihe.org +31152151710
UNEP-DHI: Louise Korsgaard, lok@dhigroup.com, +4540544774,
Deltares: Karen Meijer, Karen.Meijer@deltares.nl, +31 15 2858537
The Nature Conservancy: Cristina Mestre, cmestre@tnc.org mobile: +1703 841-8779 work: +17036785639
Conservation International (CI): Rob McNeil, rmcneil@conservation.org mobile: +1571 232 0455 work+1703 341 2561
IUCN: Claire Warmenbol claire.warmenbol@iucn.org mobile: +41 79 404 1973

From CyberFootPrint

UN chief warns of dire future without climate deal

SEOUL, Aug 11 (Reuters) – Failure to act quickly on climate change could eventually lead to violence and mass unrest as global weather patterns drastically change, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday.

“If we fail to act, climate change will intensify droughts, floods and other natural disasters,” Ban said at a forum near Seoul that came weeks ahead of his own conference on climate change in September.

“Water shortages will affect hundreds of millions of people. Malnutrition will engulf large parts of the developing world. Tensions will worsen. Social unrest — even violence — could follow,” Ban said according to a prepared text of his remarks to a global environment forum in Incheon, west of Seoul.

Greenhouse gas emissions are widely considered to be one of the main causes of global warming. Nations will gather in Copenhagen in December to work out a new agreement on reducing emissions to succeed the current Kyoto Protocol, whose first phase ends in 2012.

Ban, calling climate change a fundamental threat to mankind, called on world leaders to act quickly so that a deal can be reached at Copenhagen.

In Bonn, delegates from about 180 nations meet for U.N. climate talks this week amid warnings that time was running out for them to reach agreement on a hugely complex pact, due for completion at the end of the year.

About 2,400 delegates at the Aug 10-14 negotiations in Bonn will try to shorten a draft text, outlining options for combating global warming, that has swollen to about 200 pages from 50 just a few months ago.

The Bonn meeting, the third in Germany this year, was added because of scant progress with the deadline looming. After Bonn, talks before Copenhagen are in Bangkok from Sept. 28-Oct. 9 and in Barcelona, Spain, from Nov. 2-6. (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Seoul and Alister Doyle in Bonn; Editing by David Fogarty)