Egypt wants to shift focus to developing countries in climate talks

Egypt wants to shift focus to developing countries in climate talks

In Glasgow’s COP 26, Egypt was selected to host a follow-up COP 27.  It intends to push for action on climate pledges with priority areas that will include ‘loss and damage’ funds.  It concedes that protests, the peaceful though, are to be allowed as per an official.

Egypt wants to shift focus to developing countries in climate talks – official

 

Egypt wants to shift focus to developing countries in climate talks

Wael Aboulmagd, special representative to the COP27 President. Picture taken May 24, 2022. REUTERS/Sayed Sheasha


CAIRO, May 25 (Reuters) – Egypt will position itself as an impartial arbiter while hosting this year’s COP27 U.N. climate summit, as it pushes other nations to act on climate pledges while promoting the interests of the developing world, a senior Egyptian official said.

Egypt, where unauthorised public demonstrations are banned, would also welcome protests within the rules of the Nov. 7-18 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, said Wael Aboulmagd, special representative to the COP27 president.

A natural gas exporter, Egypt takes over presidency of the U.N. climate talks from Britain. Last year’s summit in Glasgow, Scotland, ended with the nearly 200 countries in attendance promising to strengthen their climate pledges this year. read more

Wealthy nations also disappointed many in Glasgow by saying they would not deliver the $100 billion per year promised from 2020 until 2023 to help developing countries with their energy transition and with adapting to a warming world. read more

Delivering this financing is among Egypt’s priorities for COP27. It also wants to focus on securing separate “loss and damage” funds, or compensation payments to climate-vulnerable countries already suffering from climate-related weather extremes, Aboulmagd said in an interview.

“There are issues that are of interest and priority to developing countries, and there are high expectations from us as a developing country to ensure that these issues are taken on board and that they achieve commensurate progress with how important they are,” he said.

But Egypt also would seek to mediate between developed and developing countries that have clashed over issues including carbon emissions and climate financing, as it tries to help steer a move from pledges to action, Aboulmagd said.

“In this particular year it is in the interest of the process that a perception of impartiality and equal distance from everyone is maintained.”

Aboulmagd said Egypt was working to launch about 17 voluntary initiatives in areas including food and agriculture and water management, hoping to inspire ideas and action to help countries meet their pledges.

Egypt is fine tuning its own updated target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, known as a nationally determined contribution (NDC). read more

“We intend to move even faster, despite very difficult circumstances,” Aboulmagd said, referring to economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

To promote global access and representation at COP27, Egypt has sought to fast track accreditation for under-represented civil society organisations from Africa, Aboulmagd said, adding that he hoped climate campaigners and activists play a constructive role.

“There are certain rules and we’re working with the secretariat to ensure that if there are people who want to protest, they’re entitled to do that, and it’s done in a peaceful manner,” he said.

“It’s good to have people yelling at you – hopefully not throwing stuff at you, but just yelling at you and we’re accustomed to that.”

Egypt’s government had worked with hotels to provide affordable accommodation for participants in Sharm el-Sheikh, a tourist resort on the Red Sea, he said.

“What we have done to the utmost is to ensure that decent hotels and very reasonable rates are made available.”

Reporting by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Katy Daigle and Grant McCool
New postgraduate degree to put Paris Agreement into action

New postgraduate degree to put Paris Agreement into action


New postgraduate degree to put Paris Agreement into action

Plans are advancing at speed to create a new postgraduate degree specialising on the Paris Agreement on climate change in a bid to develop future leaders able to tackle the challenges of sustainability and advance transformative climate action, the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference (WHEC2022) in Barcelona, Spain, heard.
World Higher Education Conference 2022.
This conference is convened by UNESCO and University World News is the exclusive media partner.

Professor Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi, director of the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) in Tokyo, Japan, outlined the aims when opening the session at WHEC2022 on how higher education can accelerate climate action under the Paris Agreement.

She described the UNU-IAS, which she assumed leadership of in 2019, as a bridge between UN agencies and higher education, and told delegates to the Barcelona conference that work was progressing well on launching a new postgraduate degree on the Paris Agreement and climate sustainability, which was first mooted at COP26 (the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference) in Glasgow.

First of its kind

“The degree will be the first of its kind in the world and the goal is to provide the skills needed across the world to teach action… to implement the Paris Agreement through higher education.”

Professor Yamaguchi said: “Our UNU institute in Tokyo is dedicated to realising a sustainable future for the people and our planet through policy-orientated research, education and capacity development focusing on sustainability, including looking at climate change and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

The new postgraduate degree specialisation on the Paris Agreement on climate change is being developed in close collaboration with governments, leading universities and development partners and builds on an existing MSc in Sustainability and a PhD in Sustainability Science offered by UNU-IAS.

Together these two programmes currently have 38 students from 20 developing countries, with scholarships provided to over half of the students.

Develop future climate action leaders

“We are aiming to develop future leaders who will be at the forefront of the climate and sustainable development agenda,” said Yamaguchi, who announced that applications for the new Paris Agreement postgraduate degree will be invited at the end of 2022 and the programme will start in September 2023.

COP26 in Glasgow called on the world to keep the global increase in temperatures to 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial level, but to implement the measures requires a huge amount of knowledge and government cannot do everything, she said.

“You need large stakeholder coalitions to tackle issues such as phasing out coal and all parties acknowledge the importance of education about environment,” said Yamaguchi.

Transparency a key issue

Transparency, monitoring and accountability are going to be key issues for governments and businesses in meeting the Paris Agreement goals and higher education will play a key role, so people understand climate science.

“We need to develop dynamic training for experts, and coordination across sectors and institutions to collect and share data… and lack of coordination is a problem in many countries,” Yamaguchi told the conference.

Dr Won Jung Byun, programme specialist at UNESCO’s Section of Education for Sustainable Development, welcomed the new qualification from the United Nations University and told the conference that only half of national curricula worldwide mention climate change and fewer than 20% of teachers are able to explain action needed to tackle climate change.

Education systems around the world need to do much more to provide learners with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to overcome the climate crisis and sustainability challenges, she said.

Can’t just be left to higher education

But it can’t just be left to higher education, speakers at the session at the UNESCO conference stressed.

Laurent Cortese, deputy head of the Education-Vocational Training-Employment and Higher Education Division of the French Agency for Development, which mainly works in education and development in countries in Africa, said: “If we leave it to higher education, it is too late. We need a holistic approach and to work on environmental and climate issues with the rest of the education system.”

Teacher training is part of higher education in many countries, he pointed out, adding: “We need to ensure coordination between those in charge of higher education and education as a whole and show the importance of issues like climate change and biodiversity.”

Akio Takemoto, programme head at UNU-IAS in Tokyo, agreed it was important to start explaining the impact of climate change at the primary and school level and there was a need for innovative ways to provide a continuous and high-capacity educational system.

Need to look at all levels

“While there was a lot of talk about Masters degrees and PhDs, we also need highly skilled technical people and it is important we train engineers to work with these technicians. We have to look at all levels of higher education.”

Dr Kanako Morita, senior researcher at the Center for Biodiversity and Climate Change with the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan, told the session: “Youth education is important, but so are other actors, including the companies and financial institutions and local government, who are keen to learn more about climate change. We need to consider education at all levels and social scientists have a big role to play.”

Produce ‘maestros’ to get message across

Cortese said the education system needed to produce “maestros” able to get the message across and with the capacity to handle the difficult questions on a scientific basis.

“We can help identify students who can participate in such programmes in the countries where we intervene. Too often, we all work among ourselves with people who we agree with, but that’s not always the most productive.

“We need to set up partnerships with people who don’t necessarily think the same way we do, [and] that would force students to examine their arguments and to review them.

“It is important to develop soft skills and to meet the needs of different people and not just work with university partnerships with the same outlook.

“We need to establish partnerships with companies, so people go outside their comfort zone and are prepared when they meet people who might not think as they do and who are able to see things in a different way.”


Nic Mitchell is a UK-based freelance journalist and PR consultant specialising in European and international higher education. He blogs at www.delacourcommunications.com.


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Russia and Climate Change benefits

Russia and Climate Change benefits

The news of more than a month now has been and still is that of Ukraine.  The refusal of the latter to get in step and put itself in the lap of the big brother gives us all this crash of landscapes and other nuisances of the country’s built environment. What if Russia played all its cards except that of Global Warming.   Explanations on Russia and Climate Change benefits can play in its favour. After all, Climate Change is Cataclysmic — but not apocalyptic, to say the least.

The above-featured image is for illustration and is of WorldAtlas.

Indeed, it is easy to see that with this, Russia with a good part of its now sterile land set aside because covered with snow for most of the year, will be thawed and possibly turned and transformed into a good land and potentially farms.

Climate change is therefore not negative as it should be for the rest of the planet’s network.  Canada, the Scandinavian countries, Iceland, and Greenland must also benefit.

On the other hand, it is the opposite that is confirmed day by day in its southern parts.  Would this hint at a redistribution of food production around the world?

As everyone should know today, arctic poles and tips of glaciers are melting, seawater rising, temperatures going up, semi-arid lands drying up, desertification advancing in bordering areas, and countless natural disasters among many others are the convincing results that dominate our planet.  Few can deny these anymore.

So, the great Russia, which is only great because it is adjacent to this huge and vast Siberia.  This one with frozen ground and/or covered with snow all-year-round had never allowed any large-scale human settlement, except for some exploitation of natural resources at great expense, here and there. 

Global warming is remedying all this.  That said, with or without the blessing of the rest of the world, Russia may end up with vast tracts of agrarian mounds.  A situation that will prevail once this skirmish is concluded with not only this direct impact on Russia’s geography but also on its future position as a food giant. 

With a little luck, Ukraine could be able to find itself but with some modestly in the same position of a major supplier of food to the world and if it incorporated into the EU, it will be able to turn the latter, into another great of the new “Food Power”. 

In conclusion, we seem to be at the dawn of a novel distribution of world food shares with the ultimate heavy price still on the countries of the south.

Building the Green-Recovery Consensus

Building the Green-Recovery Consensus

LOLWAH AL-KHATER, Assistant Foreign Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, is Executive Director of the Doha Forum and BRIAN FINLAY, President and CEO of the Stimson Center elaborate an article of Project Syndicate on how Building the Green-Recovery Consensus should be undertaken as off these days.

The above-featured image is for illustration and is of Project Syndicate

Even if everyone can agree in principle that the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic should be equitable and sustainable, that doesn’t mean it will be. What is needed is a concrete roadmap with clear goals, timelines, and innovative ideas to ensure that policymakers around the world are on the same page.

March 21, 2022

DOHA – While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is capturing global headlines, COVID-19 continues to wreak socioeconomic havoc around the world. The pandemic has taken more than six million lives, pushed 124 million people into extreme poverty, and impeded progress toward achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Fortunately, around five billion people have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the World Health Organization and Gavi have set a goal of vaccinating 70% of people in all countries by this July.

Notwithstanding the horrific war in Ukraine, the pandemic and its lasting toll will continue to top the list of pressing global concerns alongside climate change. The effects of the latter crisis are already being felt daily, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report shows. Just recently, extreme temperatures and droughts have ravaged West Asia and North Africa. Rising sea levels are threatening many island states and low-lying countries. Catastrophic flooding has inundated parts of Europe and China. And wildfires have torn across the American West and large swaths of Australia.

Scientists now warn that “business as usual” will likely increase the average global temperature, relative to the pre-industrial level, by a catastrophic 3-4º Celsius by the end of the century. To keep global warming at a far safer level, below 1.5ºC, carbon dioxide emissions will need to fall by 45% (from 2010 levels) by 2030, and then to net-zero by 2050.

Now that we know Omicron to be less deadly than earlier COVID-19 variants, we should use this moment to build on the momentum generated last November at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. The world needs to draft a recovery plan that goes well beyond pandemic response by also starting to tackle climate change. The recovery must be not only broad-based but also green.

What does this mean in practical terms? In advance of the 20th edition of the Doha Forum on March 26-27, our organizations teamed up to explore 20 targeted initiatives for driving a just, healthy, and sustainable global recovery. These are outlined in a recently published report, Building Back Together & Greener.

To make the recovery green and sustainable, we propose a Global Green Hydrogen Alliance to facilitate more efficient, climate-friendly methods of producing hydrogen. Once established, the next steps would include setting up a global inventory of green hydrogen programs, protecting intellectual property and licensing rights while expanding global access, and encouraging alliance-wide standard setting for safe storage and transportation.

A fair and inclusive recovery requires more investment in human capital – particularly to upgrade workers’ skills – and an emphasis on supporting the people who are most at risk. Planning processes should privilege public and private financing for low-carbon activities and infrastructure that have the greatest potential to generate jobs for young people and other vulnerable groups facing employment challenges.

To ensure that the recovery supports health and well-being, we need a Global Fund for Social Protection to assist developing-country governments in providing adequate social programs. Such a fund would boost coordination efforts and mobilize domestic and external resources to provide a buffer against economic shocks, including those induced by climate-related environmental disasters.

Finally, to realize the potential of digitalization in advancing the recovery, we need to promote large-scale investment in information- and communications technology infrastructure, both to achieve digital equity and to leverage the economic, health, and environmental potential of new technologies. International organizations and governments should work with businesses to provide effective and reliable digital connectivity, including through targeted investments in the steady digitalization of most (if not all) public services.

Several significant international meetings will be held over the next seven months, each of which will provide an opportunity to take steps toward a shared recovery. But marshalling governments, businesses, and civil society behind a coherent, representative, and sustained global implementation strategy will require a culminating meeting.

That is why we are calling for a “Green Pandemic Recovery Summit,” to be orchestrated by the United Nations and the G20. A two-day event, timed to coincide with the annual UN General Assembly in September, would help to ensure that political leaders at the highest levels commit to pursuing sustainable and equitable socio-economic development in the post-COVID era.

The trillions of dollars spent by wealthy countries during the pandemic shows that there are financial tools available to tackle serious challenges. What is needed is political will, creative market incentives, and a practical blueprint, with clear goals, timelines, and programming ideas.

Resources drawn from related initiatives can help. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Build Back Better World partnership, and national-level “green deals” are generally aligned in their key objectives. UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s Our Common Agenda report offers additional timely and ambitious ideas for delivering global public goods and addressing major risks.

People and countries are understandably still focused on the pandemic, the fear that humanity is nearing the point of no return with respect to climate change, the war in Ukraine, and other global threats. Fortunately, we already have the multilateral institutions that we need to forge a global political consensus for tackling these overlapping crises. We now must leverage these tools accordingly.

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Why is turning to Saudi Arabia for oil so controversial?

Why is turning to Saudi Arabia for oil so controversial?

The reasons are many but the British Prime Minister who according to the latest BBC piece of international broadcast, decided to visit some of the Gulf leaders to mainly talk about ending reliance on Russian oil and gas, will discuss energy security and other issues in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates today. But because critics have expressed concerns about the human rights records of these two countries, he pledged to also raise certain human rights issues although fostering some understanding between the Saudis and the West has always been left to the next day.

Let us here have a look at the supply of oil and gas issue that seems at this stage in contradiction with the latest world trend of distancing all advanced economies from fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, the EU leaders appear to be subtly trying to gain and eventually incorporate the aggressed nation within their ranks; it will certainly increase their “Food Power” vis a vis the rest of the world.


Why is turning to Saudi Arabia for oil so controversial?


UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended a trip to Saudi Arabia, saying “the widest coalition” is needed to end reliance on Russian oil and gas.

But maintaining close ties with the Gulf kingdom is controversial among critics of its human rights record.

Why is Saudi Arabia so important for oil?

The US, UK and EU have announced that they will buy less Russian oil and gas, because of its invasion of Ukraine. However, prices have rocketed.

Saudi Arabia is the largest producer in the oil cartel Opec and has the spare capacity to help lower prices by increasing supplies.

Opec oil production

It means Western countries need its goodwill and to keep on friendly terms with its ruling family.

Read more on the BBC‘s article.

The above-featured image is for illustration and is of the BBC.

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