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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Hosting success sets new standards for future mega sporting events

Hosting success sets new standards for future mega sporting events

A visiting official says that hosting success sets new standards for future mega sporting events. The Qatar World Cup is the first edition of the significant soccer tournament ever held during December, and in the Middle East.

Qatar invested significantly in the mega-event, including revamping its national infrastructure. The sought-after ‘soft power’ implications start slowly but surely to show as the games unfold.

On the other hand, sustainable development requires, per the UN an integrated approach that takes into consideration environmental concerns along with economic development but, above all sustainability in the future. Will all those built-up infrastructures be of some use?

 


Qatar’s hosting success sets new standards for future mega sporting events: Bosnian Deputy PM

The Peninsula 25 November 2022

DOHA: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina HE Dr Bisera Turkovic said that Qatar did an amazing work to welcome the world during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and succeeded in establishing an incredible and excellent infrastructure, indicating that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has set new standards for future sporting mega-events.

In her remarks to Qatar News Agency, Her Excellency pointed out that Qatar’s hosting of such a global event will inspire generations of young people to come to embrace each other and create a more tolerant world.

Her Excellency said: “The whole world was watching the Al Bayt stadium for the opening ceremony. I am happy that I was present as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, from the Western Balkans and a European country. The opening was a great global event for the first time to be held in an Arab country. Qatar has emerged into a modern, prosperous state, whose citizens enjoy opportunities and security, thanks to the wise leadership of HH the Amir, following the footsteps of HH the Father Amir.”

HE stressed the need to develop the culture of tolerance and respect, as highlighted during the World Cup opening ceremony, saying: “This is the first World Cup taking place in an Arab country and in a Middle Eastern country. It is a great chance for people to get to know a different culture and to learn about one great religion in the world.”

“The more we know the better chance we have for progress and stability in the world. Qatar offers open hand to all who want to come and witness what the Qatari nation achieved in such a short period of time offering unity of basic values and appreciation for difference with full respect of their own culture and religion,” Her Excellency added.

HE Dr. Bisera Turkovic indicated that previous World Cup hosting countries were not subjected to smear campaigns as Qatar was, saying: “Other countries did not receive such scrutiny when hosting global sporting events, even though those countries had many more things that could be criticized.”

Her Excellency explained that Qatar once again stresses that there is more that can unite people rather than divide them, and as sports are a healthy part of societies, it should remain clear from political influence, struggle to dominate, and imposition of bad habits such as alcohol and drugs.

The Bosnian official expressed her happiness that a Bosnian folklore group was present to take part in the world cup festivities at Katara Cultural Village for this truly global event.

HE Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that there are strong fields of cooperation between Bosnia and the State of Qatar, including political, economic, and cultural cooperation that is based on friendship and fraternity. This has been maintained through the exchange of visits between officials of the two countries at the highest levels and documented by the signing of many agreements and bilateral cooperation protocols. Her Excellency expressed her hope to see economic cooperation expansion during the coming period in all sectors.

Her Excellency added that the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been working hard to attract public and private investment from Qatar through having more connectivity between the two countries, enabling direct flights with Qatar Airways, and increasing rights and security for Qataris in ownership of the real estate in Bosnia.

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COP27 is a Golden Moment for MENA

COP27 is a Golden Moment for MENA

COP27 is a Golden Moment for the MENA region as it is held in its Red Sea’s Sharm el-Sheikh at the edge of the desert of the Sinai Peninsula.

COP27 is a Golden Moment for Middle East and North Africa to Confront Climate Crisis

November 6-18, Egypt will host the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh. As an African and Middle Eastern country, Egypt has such a unique opportunity to be able to influence the agenda items and bring more focus not only to Africa’s climate adaptation needs but for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as a whole. EARTHDAY.ORG will be discussing regional focused topics ranging from mitigation, adaptation, and finance to collaboration at the Climate Education Hub. COP27 sets the main items to discuss global climate disruption.

The world is on track to be 1.8 – 2.4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures by the end of the century. Following the mixed outcomes of COP26 in Glasgow, global environmentalists are heavily relying on this year’s COP to produce tangible emissions-cutting and real game-changing measures that climate risks desperately demand.

MENA Focused

With COP27 in Egypt and COP28 planned for the United Arab Emirates in 2023, this is a golden moment for the countries of the MENA region to connect climate action to broader economic and security priorities. Policy makers must take full advantage of the first of two consecutive COPs in the region to discuss with international alliances all possibilities of cooperation. Given the facts that MENA is one of most vulnerable regions affected by heat waves, rising sea levels, and sand storms, there is no time left to leave off solutions on the shelf.

EARTHDAY.ORG

EARTHDAY.ORG has continued to step up as a leader in the global collaboration to alleviate the climate crisis. Along with leading the global Earth Day, EARTHDAY.ORG  realizes that one of the key solutions in advancing the environmental movement is Climate education and Environmental Literacy. “International solidarity to facilitate the development of environmental curricula in all schools is a must,” said Saadia F. Hassoon, President of Together to Protect Human & the Environment Association (Together), and partner of EARTHDAY.ORG in the Middle East.

Since 1970, EDO has supported dozens of partners including NGOs, universities, teachers and governments through technical resources and curriculums. To speed accelerating solutions to climate change, EARTHDAY.ORG will host the first ever Climate Education Hub at COP27. The hub aims to create a platform for educators, students, NGOs, and stakeholders to negotiate and share ideas leading to practical resolutions of the global climate crisis.

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Growing plants on buildings can . . . .

Growing plants on buildings can . . . .

Leaders from almost 200 countries will meet in Egypt on 6 November for the Cop 27 summit. Would growing plants on buildings be of any interest? 

According to an Egyptian official, the focus should be moving from “pledges to implementation”.

The conference aims to deliver action on issues critical to tackling the climate emergency, from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience and adapting to the impacts of climate change to delivering on the commitments to finance climate action in developing countries. in the meantime, growing plants on buildings can reduce heat and produce healthy food in African cities.  Here is the story.

The above image is of Seylou/AFP via Getty Images

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Growing plants on buildings can reduce heat and produce healthy food in African cities

Olumuyiwa Adegun, Federal University of Technology, Akure

Persistently high temperatures and related heat stress are a big problem for people living in cities, especially in slums and informal settlements. It’s a problem that is expected to continue.

According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel in Climate Change assessment report, heat exposure in Africa is projected to increase in terms of person-days. That is, the annual number of days when the temperature is over 40.6℃ multiplied by the number of people exposed. Heat exposure will reach 45 billion person-days by the 2060s, over three times the rate between 1985 and 2005. This will make sub-Saharan Africa’s exposure to dangerous heat one of the highest globally.

Heat exposure challenges are increased by a shortage of basic services and infrastructure, along with low-quality housing, poor socio-economic conditions and few green spaces in slums and informal settlements.

Our recent study in Akure, south-west Nigeria, shows that poor residents in informal neighbourhoods experience higher heat exposure, compared to residents in rich neighbourhoods. Through a survey of 70 residents in each neighbourhood, we found that poorer households in low-income neighbourhoods were more disadvantaged and have lower capacity to adapt to heat. Housing features in the poorer neighbourhood did not completely prevent excess heat.

Richer households in more affluent neighbourhoods were able to install features such as air conditioners, ceramic tiles and shady plants which the poorer ones could not. For example, while 78% households had air conditioners in the rich area, only 22% had them in the poor neighbourhood.

Green spaces have the potential to reduce heat and, in turn, improve health, especially in vulnerable urban areas such as informal settlements.

Another study I led experimented with vertical greening systems in low-income communities in Akure and Lagos – both cities in Nigeria – and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The experiment established that vertical greening was a solution for heat problems in informal neighbourhoods. And it had the added benefit of providing healthy food in the form of vegetables.

Mitigating heat exposure

Exposure to high temperatures often leads to health problems.

A recent study I led in Tanzania shows typical heat-related health problems reported among people residing in informal settlements. Among 405 residents surveyed in the study, 61% reported skin rashes, 42% reported malaria, 38% reported recurring headaches, 30% reported high blood pressure, 20% reported dizziness while another 22% reported confusion and inability to concentrate. Lower productivity at work (29%) and higher costs of cooling their spaces (57%) are other heat-related problems which, if not addressed, can negatively impact health conditions.

We designed and installed a vertical greening prototype made from high-density polyethylene pipes placed horizontally on walls of some residential buildings. The prototype was planted with indigenous leafy vegetables. In Nigeria, jute leaf (Corchorus olitorius), Lagos spinach (Celosia argentia) and African spinach (Amaranthus viridis) were planted. In Tanzania, Amaranthus spp., potato leaves (Ipomoea batatas), pumpkin leaves (Telfairia occidentalis) and legumes known locally as “majani ya kunde” were planted.

Growing plants on buildings can . . . .
Vertical farm green wall.
Courtesy Author

Our findings

These vertical gardens provided healthy vegetables for the residents to eat. From a typical prototype in Nigeria, up to 1kg of vegetables were harvested in a six-week cycle. In Dar es Salaam, the different vegetables yielded varying quantities. For example, pumpkin leaves produced about 300g of vegetable harvested per 20-day cycle. For Amaranthus spp, a leafy vegetable, and potato leaves, bunches weighing about 660g and 450g were harvested respectively per cycle.

One Dar es Salaam resident said:

We can get vegetables which could have been bought … We usually harvest one type of vegetable twice per week, we are doing three days rotation to each type of vegetable, but it is for family use only … we never harvest for sale, unless a neighbour comes to ask for free.“

A Lagos resident said:

I have been getting vegetables. Like the ones I plucked today, it’s very green as you can see. And it is fresh. It nourishes the body more than the one you get from market.”

The vertical gardens also affected the indoor air temperature of the rooms they enveloped. Up to 2.88℃ maximum temperature and 0.7℃ minimum temperature reductions were recorded during a 45-day field measurement campaign held in September and October 2021 in Akure.

Wall temperature reduced by as much as 5°C during the 30-day measurement campaign undertaken between December 2020 and January 2021 in Dar es Salaam.

The temperature difference made by the vertical gardens means that residents feel more comfortable and thus may be less at risk of heat-related health problems.

Way forward

Vertical greening can be scaled up. Parks and other green open spaces are usually created in formal and affluent neighbourhoods. While this is good, it must be complemented by policy initiatives and programmes that promote citizen-led, community-based vertical farming in dense informal settlements.

Incentives relevant for each local environment or community might help vertical greening to gain traction. There should be a strong push for vertical greening systems – for food, microclimate control and other health-related benefits.The Conversation

Olumuyiwa Adegun, Senior Lecturer, Department of Architecture, Federal University of Technology, Akure

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

 

Qatar 2022 accelerates environmental rating practices

Qatar 2022 accelerates environmental rating practices

With only a few weeks to go, Qatar 2022 carries on accelerating its environmental rating practices.  It envisages the after the event.

Qatar 2022 accelerates environmental rating practices

Qatar 2022 accelerates environmental rating practices

Doha: From the moment Qatar won the rights to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, the country has prioritised sustainability in the construction of all its infrastructure projects, including eight state-of-the-art stadiums.

In order to meet stringent environmental standards in line with FIFA’s requirements, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) worked closely with the Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD) to have all Qatar 2022 infrastructure projects rated under the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS).

Launched in 2007 as the Qatar Sustainability Assessment System, GORD rebranded it to GSAS to include projects across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in 2012. It is the region’s first integrated and performance-based system that assesses and rates buildings and infrastructure for their sustainability impacts. GSAS is aimed at improving the design, construction and operations of buildings, while also identifying sustainability challenges specific to the MENA region’s building environment. In 2014, FIFA approved GSAS as the sustainability rating system to assess all infrastructure built for this year’s World Cup.

Since then, all eight Qatar 2022 stadiums have achieved a minimum four-star GSAS rating for Design & Build, starting with the redeveloped Khalifa International Stadium and concluding recently with both Lusail Stadium and Stadium 974.

Five World Cup venues earned a top GSAS rating of five stars for Design & Build, while six stadiums earned a Class A* rating for Construction Management.

The venues were also certified for their operations and energy centre efficiency.

“The GSAS system is now used to assess new buildings across Qatar – it’s an example of World Cup legacy in action,” said Dr. Yousef Alhorr, Founding Chairman, GORD.

“In the past 10 years, the system has been applied on over 1,500 building projects, including the metro, stadiums and even new cities, such as Lusail. The ratings range from two to five stars, depending on the project. The process of evaluation is extensive and separated into desk review and site audit.”

The use of GSAS certification has been invaluable in measuring the country’s sustainability goals, which were first laid out in Qatar National Vision 2030, with the World Cup providing the perfect milestone to expedite and catalyse sustainable development and major sustainability-oriented projects in the country.

It has also been invaluable in helping both Qatar and FIFA remain on course to fulfilling the objectives set out by both entities in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Sustainability Strategy, with Qatar 2022 set to change the way future World Cup competitions and other sporting mega events are organised around the world.

“From the very beginning, sustainability has been at the heart of all of our projects for Qatar 2022,” said Eng. Bodour Al Meer, the SC’s Sustainability Executive Director.

“We are thankful to GORD for helping us to reach our sustainability targets by auditing each of our World Cup stadium sites 11 times. The projects we have delivered showcase the impact of hosting the first FIFA World Cup in the region and are helping to push the sustainability message further than ever before.”

In addition to eight exemplary green stadiums, Qatar 2022 has also provided training to hundreds of professionals in green building practices, enhanced supply chains for sustainable products and materials, and new innovative engineering solutions. These contributions will lead to the successful delivery of more green buildings in the future.

 

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