An annual check-up for the climate movement

An annual check-up for the climate movement

An annual check-up for the climate movement on the daily Gulf Times of Qatar might seem at odds with the country’s specifics, but the wise words of the author would certainly be taken into account.

The image above is of INDIA Times

 


An annual check-up for the climate movement

An annual check-up for the climate movement COP27 was a major moment for the climate movement in 2022.
COP27 was a major moment for the climate movement in 2022.
The year 2022 was a tumultuous one in many ways. While climate-related shocks became even more prevalent and severe, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered a global energy crisis that continues to affect millions of peoples’ lives and livelihoods. Following that shock, unprecedented heatwaves across Europe, Asia, and North America, and then devastating flooding in Pakistan, highlighted the urgency of reducing our fossil-fuel dependency and reshaping our energy systems.
Fortunately, other big developments in 2022 offered grounds for hope. The passage of the US Inflation Reduction Act – the largest emissions-reduction investment in the country’s history – is a landmark achievement. Historically, the United States has been the world’s biggest carbon polluter and one of the biggest laggards in international fora. But now, the IRA should put it on a course to reduce its own emissions sharply, which will help drive down prices of renewable energy around the world. Many emerging markets and developing countries will have a chance to leapfrog past coal-fired power plants.
Yes, fossil-fuel lobbyists are pushing governments in Africa and elsewhere to invest in natural-gas development in response to the energy crisis. Many newly planned projects would be “carbon bombs” that would emit more than 1bn tonnes of carbon dioxide over their lifetimes. But the climate movement has wasted no time in calling out these efforts, and in denouncing the “dash for gas” in Africa.
As a result, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) has suffered setback after setback. With 22 commercial banks and insurers pulling out of the project, the StopEACOP campaign was gaining momentum ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in November, where it drove the message home.
COP27 was a major moment for the climate movement in 2022. Although the host country, Egypt, offered little civic space to mobilise, organisations adapted by working through existing global networks and coalitions to push for more meaningful decarbonisation commitments, human-rights protections, and financing.
In the end, the conference produced an agreement to establish a separate global fund to compensate vulnerable countries for climate-related “loss and damage.” Given that advanced economies had long refused even to discuss the issue, this is a huge win – one driven by frontline activists and spokespeople from across the Global South. But the summit’s final agreement did not include any specific language about the need to phase out fossil fuels.
Finally, other positive climate-policy developments in 2022 included the launch of Just Energy Transition Partnerships in Indonesia, South Africa, and Vietnam. With the goal of helping countries leapfrog past fossil fuels, JETPs – if done right – could be game changers in the global transition to renewable energy.
The international community also did more to protect nature in 2022. As the year drew to a close, governments at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) adopted the Kunming-Montreal Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework – a deal that many observers are likening to the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement. With a commitment to protect 30% of all land and sea areas by 2030, the framework opens a new chapter, following the collective failure to meet any of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets for 2020.
Governments and other stakeholders are finally recognising that climate change and biodiversity loss are inextricably linked. Rainforests and mangroves are not just habitats for millions of species. They are also crucial for slowing the pace of global heating, because they absorb and store vast amounts of CO2. Scientists have shown that conservation, ecosystem restoration, and better management of natural areas could contribute over one-third of the emissions reductions that we need by 2030. More to the point, there simply is no way to keep temperatures within 1.5C without reversing the decline of nature.
The COP15 deal also explicitly recognises that indigenous peoples are central to protecting nature, and it calls on rich countries to mobilise $30bn per year in biodiversity financing for developing countries by 2030.
But setting targets is merely the first step. We must move at an unprecedented pace to restore biodiversity and halt global warming. That means remaining alert to vested interests’ efforts to block progress and pushing back against false solutions – such as carbon offsetting, nuclear energy, and hydraulic fracking. Restoring nature must not come at the expense of local communities. To create and nurture a healthier relationship with the environment, we should take our cues from indigenous peoples.
Outside of UN conferences and corporate boardrooms, a quiet revolution is gathering speed. Those demanding more financing for locally owned renewable-energy systems are piercing through the longstanding barriers and refusing to be marginalised. They are building a new consensus, and making clear that matters of climate justice are non-negotiable.
I consider this quiet revolution to be one of the most exciting things that has happened over the past decade. The cyclical interplay of progress and retrogression is an enduring feature of policymaking – and of nature itself. The inevitable slumps must be met not with despair but with hope for the next upswing. While the 2022 energy crisis created a new pretext for those advocating greater investment in fossil fuels, such investments are rapidly becoming financial losers, because renewables are becoming cheaper than fossil fuels.
Around the world, communities, towns, cities, and regions are experimenting with creative climate solutions. We must identify the ones that work, mobilise support for them, and scale them up. That is how we will launch the decisive next phase of the decades-long fight against climate change and environmental destruction. – Project Syndicate
• May Boeve is Executive Director of 350.org.
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How can the Middle East and North Africa manage the region’s water crisis?

How can the Middle East and North Africa manage the region’s water crisis?

The forthcoming World Economic Forum Annual Meeting will answer some questions: How can the Middle East and North Africa manage the region’s water crisis?  In the meantime, let us see what it is all about.


How can the Middle East and North Africa manage the region’s water crisis?

Nearly 90% of children in the region live in areas of high or extremely high water stress.

Image: REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

 

This article is part of:World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is one of the most water-scarce regions in the world.

For years, the water crisis has exacerbated conflict and political tensions. Moreover, the issue continues to significantly impact the health and wellbeing of people in the area, especially women and children. In fact, according to UNICEF, nearly 90% of children in the region live in areas of high or extremely high water stress.

As global temperatures rise and the climate crisis accelerates, the MENA water crisis is expected to worsen – and impact economic growth. The World Bank found that climate-related water scarcity could lead to economic losses equaling up to 14% of the region’s GDP over the next 30 years.

Yet technological innovations and advanced water-management systems are helping to mitigate the situation. This includes the development of major desalination plants, as well as the implementation of sustainable agriculture and water-recycling programmes.

Ahead of the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, four industry leaders share their thoughts on the MENA water crisis and detail ongoing efforts to help the region overcome water scarcity in the coming years.

Peter Terium, Chief Executive Officer, ENOWA; Managing Director, Energy, Water & Food, NEOM

“In NEOM, located in the north-west of Saudi, underground water has been more and more used for agriculture and irrigation due to the increase in population in the region. This has led to a drop in the ground water table and has dried up many of the springs in the area, changing the face of the environment. The aquifers no longer have the capability to regenerate themselves due to the water demand and open dumping of wastewater on the land has led to pollution of this scarce resource.

“By replacing the underground water used for irrigation with the desalinated water, and processing the wastewater and recycling all water that normally goes to waste, we will rebalance the ecosystem and bring back the natural oasis in the region. ENOWA, NEOM’s energy and water subsidiary, is creating a circular water system. To realize this, we bring together innovation across the water value chain, and beyond.

“Globally, average water loss is about 30%. By using innovative technologies, ENOWA aims to reduce loss to 3% which reduces the overall infrastructure and costing for water. With smart monitoring technologies, 100% recycling of wastewater, and the production of clean industrial resources, we are maximizing the potential of water use in industry, farming and to rebalance nature.”

With our circular approach, we are positively impacting NEOM’s flora and fauna, and we hope to amplify the positive impact across the world.

— Peter Terium, Chief Executive Officer, ENOWA
How can the Middle East and North Africa manage the region's water crisis?
A boat lies on the dried out shore of the Euphrates river in Syria.

A boat lies on the dried-out shore of the Euphrates river in Syria. Image: REUTERS/Orhan Qereman

Bahrain Economic Development Board

“Gulf Cooperation Council members are taking a multi-faceted approach to addressing water scarcity. Saudi Arabia’s Rabigh 3 Independent Water Plant produces 600,000 cubic metres of desalinated water a day using reverse osmosis. It can meet the needs of 1 million households and is recognised by Guinness World Records as the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant.

“A region as dry as the Arabian Peninsula demands both innovation and efficiency. Bahrain’s agriculture relied exclusively on groundwater until 1985 when the government began treating wastewater for reuse. Today, recycled water covers 40% of the sector’s needs.

“Bahrain EDB focuses on attracting investments and building solutions that have a positive impact on issues like water scarcity, such as Pavilion Water – a water desalination specialist that produces fresh water with zero greenhouse gas emissions.

“Innovative farming is also helping produce more food with less water across the region. UAE-based start-up Smart Acres is a vertical indoor hydroponic farm that, compared to traditional methods, yields 20 times as much food while using a tenth of the land and 90% less water.

“International cooperation on research to solve water scarcity is already proving important, too. Oman, for example, is working with the Dutch government to introduce new ideas to the region, while the Middle East Desalination Centre in Muscat acts as a pioneering hub for research.”

Paddy Padmanathan, Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ACWA Power

“Billions of people around the world lack adequate access to water, a basic need to sustain healthy life. The Middle East and North Africa is the worst off in terms of physical water stress receiving less rainfall than other regions but, yet having fast-growing, densely populated urban centres that require more water.

“Immediately the awareness of the issue needs to be heightened and consumption needs to be contained at 150 litres per day. But to even supply that low level of consumption, we need to keep innovating.

“We at ACWA Power continue to stretch technology to reduce energy, chemical and sophisticated consumables consumption by challenging conventional practices, increasing the use of big data, the phenomenal power of computing, advanced analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence to reduce the cost of taking salt out of seawater (desalination) and by increasing the utilization of renewable energy also simultaneously reduce the carbon footprint of this energy intensive process to increase the provision of potable water at a progressively lower cost reducing the impact on climate change.

“With the track record of being the leading desalinator in the world, today dispatching 6.4 million cubic metres per day of desalinated water we are proud to have led the cost reduction challenge by bringing the cost of desalinated water from $2+ per cubic metres just a few years ago to less than $0.50 per cubic metres today.”

How can the Middle East and North Africa manage the region's water crisis?

Majid Al Futtaim Holding

“With some of the highest per-capita water-consumption rates, a hot and dry climate, wasteful water infrastructure and a heavy reliance on greenhouse gas-producing desalination, MENA countries are particularly affected by water scarcity. The region’s rapid population growth has also led many countries to rely heavily on ever-depleting ground and surface water.

“At Majid Al Futtaim, we understand the scale of the issue and began addressing it as part of our sustainability strategy. We developed a clean water investment strategy that focuses on investing in water generation technology, local offsetting and the development of renewable-powered reverse osmosis desalination plants.

As a diverse business operating across industries, Majid Al Futtaim is present in several sectors that are typically characterised by high water use. Yet the company takes several steps to effectively minimise its water footprint.

— Majid Al Futtaim Holding

“In our food and beverage retail sector, 80% of products are sourced locally from the region. We’ve also introduced micro irrigation systems and hydroponic farms into our supply chains to minimise water loss and promote sustainable farming. Meanwhile, in the fashion industry, which as a whole uses 93 billion cubic metres of water annually, Majid Al Futtaim engages with suppliers to offer sustainably made products designed to last longer as well as be re-used or recycled.

“Majid Al Futtaim also institutes sustainable water management systems into its building and community development sector. This includes, for instance, the use of on-site water treatment technologies and sustainable gardening practices.”

Robots to be oil and gas industry’s growth engine

Robots to be oil and gas industry’s growth engine

The combination of new technologies of Robots and all in the Middle East’s oil and gas industry’s growth engine is thought to help energy companies to improve efficiency and, most importantly, accelerate growth at a time of pessimism, fear, and the expectation that economic growth and the hydrocarbon markets will decline in the future.
The image above is of IGN

Robots to be oil and gas industry’s growth engine

Robots will be the industry’s growth engine, and the oil and gas sector will greatly benefit from emerging use cases.
Robots to be oil and gas industry’s growth engine robot in oil and gas sector

Advances in modular and customisable robots is expected to result in growing deployment of robotics in the oil and gas industry, says GlobalData.

GlobalData’s thematic report, ‘Robotics in Oil & Gas’, notes that, while robotics has been a part of the oil and gas industry for several decades, growing digitalisation and integration with artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and Internet of Things (IoT), have helped diversify robot use cases within the industry.

Anson Fernandes, Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “A huge number of robots are now being deployed in oil and gas operations, including terrestrial crawlers, quadrupeds, aerial drones, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).”

Robots have applications across the oil and gas industry in various tasks ranging from surveys, material handling, and construction to inspection, repair, and maintenance. They can be customised for various tasks to ease the work and improve efficiency. During the planning phases of an oil and gas project, robots can be deployed to conduct aerial surveys, or they can be employed to conduct seismic surveys during exploration. Aerial or underwater drones can be adopted depending upon the project location and work requirements.

Fernandes continues: “Robotics is a fast-growing industry. According to GlobalData forecasts, it was worth $52.9 billion in 2021 and will reach $568 billion by 2030, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30%. Robots will be the industry’s growth engine, and the oil and gas sector will greatly benefit from emerging use cases.”

Data analytics and robotics improve insight obtained from surveys and surveillance exercises. This symbiotic relationship between robotics and wider digitalisation technologies is expected to be further evolve through collaborations between technology providers and oil and gas industry players.

Fernandes concludes: “The volume of robotics use cases in the oil and gas industry is expected to grow rapidly, in tow with digitalisation. Industrial robots with analytical support from digital technologies is expected to become the mainstay across the oil and gas industry, especially in the upstream sector, where personnel safety and operational security concerns are heightened.”

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ITP.net

Draft UN nature deal calls to protect 30% of planet

Draft UN nature deal calls to protect 30% of planet

A Draft UN nature deal calls to protect 30% of the planet by 2030, as shown in EURACTIV.com with AFP, reveals our dramatic situation. Is this a good chance not to overlook; only time can tell.  
The above image is of TRENDS

Draft UN nature deal calls to protect 30% of planet by 2030

Opening the talks in Montreal, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned humanity had become a “weapon of mass extinction” and called on parties to forge a “peace pact with nature.” [UN Biodiversity / Flickr]

A UN nature deal proposed Sunday (18 December) calls to protect at least 30% of the planet by 2030 and asks rich countries to stump up $30 billion in yearly aid for developing nations to save their ecosystems.

Fraught talks seeking an agreement to save the species and ecosystems on which life depends came to a head as summit chair China presented a long-awaited compromise text.

Mapping out action for the next decade to reverse destruction that scientists say threatens a million species, the proposal called on wealthy countries to increase financial aid to the developing world to $20 billion annually by 2025, rising to $30 billion per year by 2030.

It also called on countries to “ensure and enable that by 2030 at least 30% of terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine areas” are effectively conserved and managed.

The text includes language safeguarding the rights of Indigenous people as stewards of their lands, a key demand of campaigners.

The compromise text was largely welcomed by conservationists, but still needs to be agreed upon by the 196 signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity before it is finalised.


Risk of pushback

Opening the talks in Montreal, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned humanity had become a “weapon of mass extinction” and called on parties to forge a “peace pact with nature.”

The COP15 meeting is being held in Canada because of China’s strict COVID rules.

Delegates began examining the draft agreement just as the football World Cup between France and Argentina kicked off in Qatar.

A plenary session was scheduled for Sunday evening when countries will have the opportunity to approve the deal. Negotiations over the past 10 days have been slow however and observers warned the talks, scheduled to end on Monday, could run over.

“The Chinese presidency’s draft final paper is courageous,” said Germany’s environment minister Steffi Lemke. “By protecting nature, we protect ourselves.”

“By including a target to protect and conserve at least 30 percent of the world’s lands and oceans, the draft text makes the largest commitment to ocean and land conservation in history,” said Brian O’Donnell, of the Campaign for Nature.

But there was also concern that some areas of the text had been watered down.

Georgina Chandler, of Britain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said she was worried about a lack of numeric “milestones” for restoring ecosystems by 2050.

“We’re basically not measuring progress until 28 years’ time, which is madness,” she said.

Pressure mounts on EU to maintain ambition on biodiversity at COP15

Lawmakers and civil society are calling on the EU to support an ambitious agreement on nature protection at the COP15 international biodiversity conference following concerns the bloc is not defending a robust text.

 


Funding dispute

Another major issue of contention is the funding mechanism.

Developing countries, spearheaded by Brazil, were seeking the creation of a new fund to signal the Global North’s commitment to the cause. But the draft text instead suggests a compromise: a “trust fund” within the existing Global Environment Facility.

Observers had warned the COP15 conference risked collapse as countries squabbled over how much the rich world should pay to fund the efforts, with developing nations walking out of talks at one point.

But Chinese environment minister Huang Runqiu said Saturday he was “greatly confident” of a consensus and his Canadian counterpart Steven Guilbeault said “tremendous progress” had been made.

The more than 20 targets also include reducing environmentally destructive farming subsidies, asking businesses to assess and report on their biodiversity impacts, and tackling the scourge of invasive species.

But the issue of how much money the rich countries will send to the developing world, home to most of the planet’s biodiversity, has been the biggest sticking point.

Lower income nations point out developed countries grew rich by exploiting their natural resources and therefore they should be paid well to protect their own.

Current financial flows to the developing world are estimated at around $10 billion per year.

Several countries have recently made new commitments. The European Union has committed €7 billion ($7.4 billion) for the period until 2027, double its prior pledge.


Biodiversity in Europe: EU aims to protect 30% of land and sea

With a UN biodiversity summit approaching in spring, 2021 has been hailed as a super year for biodiversity. As part of its contribution, the European Commission is preparing legislation to introduce legal protection for 30% of land and sea in Europe.

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Global e-waste generation to double by 2030

Global e-waste generation to double by 2030

E-waste, electronic waste, e-scrap and end-of-life electronics are as per Geneva Environmental Network, terms often used to describe used electronics that are nearing the end of their useful life and are discarded, donated or given to a recycler. The UN defines e-waste as any discarded products with a battery or plug and features toxic and hazardous substances such as mercury, that can pose severe risk to human and environmental health. So why Global e-waste generation is to double by 2030, raising health alarms?

 


Global e-waste generation to double by 2030 raising health alarms

International organisations and climate advocates have been raising the red flag around e-waste issue forcing businesses and governments to set e-waste policies, standards and recommendations.

Global e-waste generation to double by 2030

Electronic waste or e-waste is a global challenge threatening the health of people and the planet. International organisations and climate advocates have been raising the red flag around this issue forcing businesses and governments to set e-waste policies, standards and recommendations in an effort to improve the situation.

According to the UN, in 2021 each person on the planet will produce on average 7.6 kg of e-waste, meaning that a massive 57.4 million tons will be generated worldwide. As declared by ERI (Electronic Recyclers International), it is expected that worldwide e-waste generation will be at 67 million tons by 2030, which is almost double 2014’s waste.

In the Arab region, the Regional E-waste Monitor for the Arab States 2021 which is the first monitoring effort in the region in relation to e-waste statistics, legislation and e-waste management infrastructure, indicated that e-waste generation in the Arab region increased by 61 per cent from 1.8 Mt (4.9 kg/inh) in 2010 to 2.8 Mt (6.6 kg/inh) in 2019.

In particular, the Middle East and Africa region is facing deep challenges in e-waste management. In fact, the regional e-waste monitor for the Arab states 2021 has stated that “E-waste management in the Arab States region faces a myriad of challenges, prompted by a complete absence of e-waste-specific policies and legislation, which are key to the development of a proper system and an appropriate response.” Many solutions can improve the situation if tackled properly, such as preventing e-waste generation, adopting adequate legislations, raising awareness, improving collection and treatment of e-waste, among others.

As many businesses are already addressing the challenge part of their commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Resource Group, a regional group of companies with diversified businesses covering the Middle East and Africa, is taking serious steps to tackle the e-waste problem starting by raising awareness among its teams to collect and recycle its e-waste.

The Group has recently signed an agreement with Verdetech, for the collection of all solid and e-waste generated by the Group. This initiative falls under Resource Group’s CSR initiatives in line with its objective to support the SDGs.

“The urgency to limit solid waste and particularly e-waste has been on the rise in the world. Therefore, it is important for us to adopt eco-friendly practices at our premises to limit our environmental footprint and specifically contribute to limiting the e-waste in Lebanon and the region”, said Hisham Itani, Chairman and CEO at Resource Group.

He added, “Corporate sustainability is one of our main priorities as we aim to tackle environmental challenges and promote environmental responsibility among our teams and the communities. By partnering with Verdetech, we trust that all our electrical and electronic equipment will be recycled through innovative waste management techniques.”

Stressing on the importance of creating awareness about waste management, Ramzi el Haddad, General Manager said, “Our aim is to support businesses in their efforts towards sustainability and more specifically waste management. In fact, solid and e-waste management is a serious issue that directly affects the environment and our ecosystem. Therefore, as companies play an important role in setting new standards and behaviours, we are putting all our efforts into partnering with businesses to encourage waste prevention and recycling behaviour.”

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