Tag Archives: United Nations

WILDLIFE : China’s nature reserves exceed global average

The size of nature reserves in China reached almost 15 percent of the country’s total land areaby the end of 2012, exceeding the global average of 12 percent. China Daily reports

Li Ganjie, vice-minister of environmental protection, announced the figure at a celebration ofthe 2013 International Day for Biological Diversity on Wednesday.

China's nature reserves exceed global average

Swans and tens of thousands of rare migrant birds spend the winter in Poyang Lake Nature Reserve inYongxiu county, Jiangxi province. China has established 286 national nature reserves in the past 20years. Duan Changzheng / for China Daily

The figure has grown from 6.9 percent in 1993 to 14.9 percent today. The number of national-level nature reserves has increased from 77 to 363, marking the achievements the Chinesegovernment has made to promote biodiversity since the country signed the United NationsConvention on Biological Diversity 20 years ago.

“Setting up nature reserves is seen as the core measure in biodiversity conservation to preventthe current loss of species and habitats,” said Zhang Shigang, country coordinator of theUnited Nations Environment Program China.

That’s why the theme of the 2013 International Day for Biodiversity in China is “biodiversity andnature reserves”, while the international theme is “water and biodiversity”.

“The United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment indicates that in the past 50 years, 60percent of the world’s ecosystems have been degraded. Loss of biodiversity reduces our food,medicine, clean air and water. The ecosystem that human beings rely on is fragile,” said ZhangXinsheng, chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Council.

“China has very rich biodiversity of its own,” he said. “The 2012 IUCN Red List cites over 5,000plant and animal species living in China, and of those nearly 1,000 species are under threat.”

Patrick Haverman, deputy country director of the United Nations Development Program China,said the natural capital of biodiversity has been greatly overused during the country’s pursuit ofeconomic development, and if China’s development is to be sustainable in the long term, itmust conserve biodiversity as its ecological base.

“The challenge both in China and globally is in harmonizing economic growth with thepreservation of the integrity of natural capital. More particularly in China, the challenge is toreconcile the conservation of this country’s rich ecosystems with the demands of development,which has already lifted more than 500 million people out of poverty,” Haverman said.

He said the UNDP appreciates and supports the significant efforts for biodiversity conservationundertaken in recent years by the Chinese government.

The government has given conservation of biodiversity high priority, according to Vice-MinisterLi.

The China National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for 2011-2030,released in September 2010, set guidelines for the country’s efforts to protect biodiversity overthe next 20 years.

Celebrating our weather!

World Meteorological Day 2013

Watching the weather to protect life and property

Celebrating 50 years of World Weather Watch

Each year, on 23 March, the World Meteorological Organization, its 191 Members and the worldwide meteorological community celebrate World Meteorological Day around a chosen theme. This day commemorates the entry into force, on that date in 1950, of the WMO Convention creating the Organization. Subsequently, in 1951, WMO was designated a specialized agency of the United Nations System.

This year, the theme is “Watching the weather to protect life and property” - http://www.wmo.int/pages/publications/showcase/documents/WMD_2013_brochure_EN_final.pdf

Landmark Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Celebrates First Anniversary

English: United Nations postage stamp: ONUDI (...

English: United Nations postage stamp: ONUDI (UNIDO – United Nations Industrial Development Organization) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nairobi, Kenya – The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) celebrates its first anniversary tomorrow.  Launched by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with an initial group of six country partners and the United Nations Environment Programme, the Coalition has quickly grown to 55 partners, including 27 countries, the European Commission, as well as the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and eighteen NGOs.

Source: http://www.enn.com/press_releases/4126

“In its first year the Coalition has been brilliant in developing a spirit of urgent optimism, a spirit that is critical for solving the daunting problem of climate change,” stated Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, one of the NGO members.  “And it’s already working on plans for taking its strategies to the scale it needs to meet the bold challenge of cutting the rate of warming in half for the next 40 years, with the World Bank pledging billions of new dollars for their efforts. The Coalition is a rare climate success story.”

The CCAC is the first-ever global effort specifically dedicated to reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). SLCPs include black carbon (soot), recently recognized as the second most powerful climate pollutant after carbon dioxide, methane and ground-level ozone, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used as refrigerants and to make insulating foams.

To address these pollutants, the Coalition has undertaken a set of fast-action initiatives: reducing methane from urban landfills and from the oil and gas industry; reducing black carbon emissions from brick kilns and from heavy duty diesel vehicles and engines; promoting alternatives to HFCs; scaling up finance to reduce all SLCPs; and developing SLCP National Action Plans.  The Coalition is also developing additional proposals to address open burning of biomass and pollution from cookstoves.

Fast action to reduce SLCPs has the potential to cut the rate of climate change in half, slowing global temperature rise by up to ~0.6°C by 2050, while preventing 2.4 million air pollution-related deaths per year, and avoiding around 30 million tonnes of crop losses annually.  Reductions of SLCPs are complementary to reductions of carbon dioxide emissions and can often be achieved simultaneously.  If large-scale reductions of both SLCPs and carbon dioxide are undertaken immediately, there is still a high probability of keeping the increase in global temperature to less than 1.5°C above the pre-industrial temperature for the next 30 years and below the 2°C guardrail for the next 60 to 90 years.

“The success of the CCAC shows that more and more countries are now recognizing the multiple, cost-effective benefits that swift, coordinated action on SLCPs can deliver,” said UN Under Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, who put the CCAC at the top of his list of UNEP’s accomplishments in 2012. “UNEP has partnered with researchers for over ten years to bring the science of short-lived climate pollutants to the fore. This research clearly shows that action on SLCPs can deliver important near-term climate gains, and contribute to the achievement of health- and food security-related goals,” added Mr. Steiner, speaking from the UNEP Governing Council meeting in Nairobi.

In addition to cutting the rate of global warming in half, reducing emissions of SLCPs is particularly beneficial for some of the most vulnerable and threatened regions on the planet, including the Arctic, which is warming at more than twice the global average rate, and setting off self-amplifying warming feedbacks, according to UNEP’s Year Book 2013 released this week.  Addressing pollutants such as black carbon, which has especially powerful warming effects in regions of ice and snow, may be the most effective means of slowing and delaying imminent climate impacts in those regions in the near term.

IGSD has long been a champion of efforts to reduce HFCs, black carbon, methane, and tropospheric ozone, and serves as the NGO representative on the Coalition’s Steering Committee.

DOHA: ‘China mostly satisfied’ with climate change talks

English: United Nations Framework Convention o...

English: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – COP14. Poznań. Poland Polski: Konferencja Klimatyczna ONZ w Poznaniu. 1-12 grudnia 2008. Wejście główne MTP Poznań. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto Protocol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

From China Daily : China is satisfied with the achievements of the United Nations climate talks held inDoha, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular press briefing that by maintaining the basic legal institutions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Changes and its Kyoto Protocol, the talks advanced multilateral climate change talks in general and sent out a positive signal to international society.

However, Hong said developed countries diluted their responsibilities and the common but differentiated principle in the talks. They also lack the political will to reduce emissions and transfer techniques, he said.

“That’s the reason why the talks have seen no more achievements and is the main obstacle the international society will be faced with when countering climate change issues,” Hong said.

China will further strengthen cooperation with other countries on the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Changes and its Kyoto Protocol, Hong added.

United Nations climate talks held in Doha on last Saturday resulted in the adoption of a package of drafts for the second period of Kyoto the Protocol and commitments on climate financing after overnight negotiations over differences between developed and developing countries.

Japanese Quake Shows country still on edge

English: An aerial view of Minato, Japan, a we...

English: An aerial view of Minato, Japan, a week after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated the area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Is history to repeat? I’ve seen damage first-hand, and hope not!

English: Map of 2011 Tohoku(Sendai) earthquake...

English: Map of 2011 Tohoku(Sendai) earthquake observed tsunami heights in Japan. 日本語: 東北地方太平洋沖地震で観測された、日本各地の津波の高さ(英語版)。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the International Herald Tribune:  It was perhaps the surest sign that Japan remains unnerved by last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. After a large quake on Friday hit near the same area stricken last year, broadcasters on the public television network NHK threw aside their usual reserve to repeatedly issue worried warnings about tsunamis, with one host frantically urging people to “flee now to save your life!”

For the network, which has long taken pride in its staid presentation of the news, the tone was a distinct break with past, when a premium was put on avoiding panic and retaining the type of composure in the face of adversity that is so valued in Japan.

This time, the country appeared to get lucky. The 7.3-magnitude quake that struck at 5:29 p.m. under the seabed off the northeast shore of Honshu, the country’s largest island, was the largest aftershock since immediately after last year’s quake, according to the National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado. But it was small compared to last year’s 9.0 quake, which the center said released about 1,200 times more energy and which created a tsunami that wiped away seaside villages. About 18,600 people died in the double disaster.

On Friday, the water rose only about three feet in some places. And the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency said that the Japanese authorities reported they had detected no trouble at any of the nuclear plants in the area. Last year, the wall of water generated by the quake swamped the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which later had meltdowns in three reactors that spread contamination over wide areas of land.

Although buildings swayed on Friday in Tokyo and as far away as Osaka, about 550 miles from the epicenter, there were no immediate reports of heavy damage, according to news agencies. Several people were injured in the north, news reports said, but as of Saturday morning only one person was reported missing and possibly dead.

NHK reported that the man, a fisherman from the Tohoku region, took his boat out to sea to ride out any tsunami. His boat was later found about three miles offshore without him on it; but since there appeared to have been no large waves, it was unclear what might have happened to him.

Earlier, NHK appeared to be taking no chances of playing down the potential for disaster, flashing the words “Tsunami! Evacuate!” in big red letters until the warnings were lifted about two hours after the quake.

The broadcaster was stung by an outpouring of criticism last year that it had not urged people along the shoreline forcefully enough to flee the destructive waves. (The public network was also criticized for some of its post-earthquake coverage, when it was accused of going too soft on the government.)

In a country that has always kept a studied calm during its all-too-frequent earthquakes, the reaction to Friday’s quake was reported to be swift and orderly, with some residents calmly leaving for higher ground before a tsunami alert was issued. Still, residents spoke of the emotional strain from the continued aftershocks and fears of another tsunami.

A man named Taichi Sato said on Twitter: “For us, the disaster isn’t over. Something could happen that could destroy what we’ve only started to rebuild.” According to his Web site, he runs a project bringing volunteers to do tsunami cleanup in Ishinomaki, which was hard hit last year.

Elsewhere, there were signs that complacency might be creeping back. On Thursday, a radiological cleanup worker helping to remove contaminated soil from Naraha, a town in Fukushima Prefecture that remains partially evacuated because of radiation fears, appeared not to be worried about storing bags of that dirt along the coastline.

The worker, who declined to give his name, brushed off questions over whether those bags might be torn in another tsunami. “There isn’t going to be another tsunami,” he said.

Ken Belson and Shreeya Sinha contributed reporting from New York.

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