RSS

Tag Archives: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

Climate 2014 – and Hell Froze over !


There is a point in life where almost all of us have tried our hand on painting a picture. Be it in school or a fair ground. And still life is one of the most enduring subject which every aspiring artist wants to capture and every great master has perfected.

But all pale by comparison when the Grand Master, mother Nature herself creates a still life…. it surpasses everything man can ever hope to achieve.

The Telegraph picture has been able to capture the beauty of this rare phenomenon. But what it has not been able to capture is the powerful message it sends across…Nature if she choose to, can make any life come to a stand still…forever.

And that is the take away from this for the Climate Change skeptics and the politicians and businessmen who are doing Real Politick in Davos once again ! Be it by omission or presence, the world business suddenly is not finding climate change a hot enough subject to discuss anymore.

Global warming !! When Hell itself is freezing over ?

 Hell frozen over as US big freeze shatters temperature records –In one small town in Michigan the snow was so deep a snow plough got stuck. What makes it noteworthy is that the place is named Hell. The 600 residents had to endure temperatures of minus 20 degrees. Forecasters predict an improvement but at the moment it’s so bad that Hell has literally frozen over.

Surely this has nothing to do with Global Warming, one could argue. And to be fair one can not attribute such conditions as affects of Global Warming with complete certainty….yet!

But if one reads the AR-5 report of the IPCC  it would seem that the computation that have been done on Climate Models have been fairly accurate. And evidence is slowly pointing towards the rampant destruction of the environment with our high carbon life-style as one of the primary reason for the discomfort we are facing with much more regularity than ever before.

And to prove that the phenomena is not restricted one must look at what is happening on the other side of the Atlantic….

First floods, then the snow: Warning as big freeze set to add to rain woe

As heavy rain continued to batter parts of Britain, forecasters said temperatures could plummet as low as -2C (28.4F). The midlands and the north are set to be the worst hit on Sunday and the cold snap could carry on into next week.‘There may be ice, with a chance of snow, particularly in the north of England and Scotland,’ the Met Office told Metro. There are fears that excess rainwater, which is still draining into rivers, will combine with further wet weather to ‘top up’ flood waters. Dozens of homes have been evacuated in Oxford amid further downpours. In nearby South Hinksey, water 1.2m (4ft) deep gushed into at least six homes. Resident Chris Jankiewicz has been trying to protect his property with sandbags. ‘The water is up to my thighs in places. The best way to get around is in a big pair of waders – or a canoe,’ the 45-year-old said. ‘I’ve lived here about 20 years and this is the worst I’ve seen it.’

….and beyond !

City saw Three Seasons in last Six days – Friday 25 Jan Times of India.

Mumbai: Within a span of six days, weather in the city has spanned three seasons. On January 18, Mumbai witnessed the coldest day of the season as temperature dipped to 13.2 degrees C followed by a round of showers on January 21, but simultaneously, temperature rose by 3-4 degrees over the normal average prompting people to shrug off their woolens. “By January 19-20, a trough developed over Arabian Sea causing clouding and rain on January 21.Mumbai,Dahanu and parts of Maharashtra received light showers, while Gujarat saw widespread rain. By then minimum and maximum temperatures had increased by 3-4 degrees,” said K S Hosalikar, deputy director general,IMD,Mumbai. He said the rise in temperatures has halted and a small reversal had occurred. “The temperature has reduced to 2 degrees above normal, and will remain within the normal value over the next few days. There is no likelihood of rain in the immediate future.” On Friday, minimum temperature in Santa Cruz and Colaba was around 19.8 and 21 degrees C respectively, even as the maximum touched30degreesCin Colaba.

AR1Climate Change is a natural process. Anthropogenic Global Warming is not. By accelerating the process which is a complex mix of Air, Water, Land, and the various features inherent in these is extremely dangerous. And the most worrying part is even if we do come to know how the system functions, which has achieved a perfect balance so as to sustain life-form over many millennia. Do we really have the understanding to fix it before it is too late?

To understand the gravity of the situation readers must understand the complexity of Earth and how it functions. This can be understood by Climate modeling which started in the mid 1970’s and had a very basic understanding and computational facilities to predict the anthropogenic effects on Climate Change.

AR2But as technology developed, so did the understanding and capacity of the scientists to add more aspects into the model.

This gave us some understanding of how the earth reacts with the elements. Climate modelling also led us to understand and appreciate that just as in life, in nature too there is no clear black and white. Thing are always a subset of another while retaining a distinct character at the same time. For example if we have a hot day, there would be higher water evaporation, which leads to more cloud formation. Clouds in turn blocks the sun and thus brings down the temperature which in turns reduces evaporation which in turn reduces formation of clouds.

AR3From understanding how clouds and rainfall reacts to warming in time we started to understand the role of the ocean in a little more depth, but much is still unknown.

By the Fourth Assessment Report or AR4 it was understood that the chemical reactions that are taking place due to emissions of human induced (anthropogenic)  warming caused by pollutants which are reacting with the natural process to throw up an altogether different variable. While much more needs to be understood and studied, the recent AR5  is out and is giving us much more answers with greater certainty than before.

Still much more work needs to be done until we can accurately predict the changes which are taking place, well in advance so AR4as to steer the World into proper mitigation and adaptation actions.

But to compute the total earth using all the variables require more than the few Peta-flops of computing we presently are able to achieve. And the most complex factor is of human actions in terms of mitigation and adaptations which have been taking place since the warnings have been put in place and running parallel to the pollution which we are creating.

What would be the sum total between the rate of pollution which no doubt is higher than the mitigation actions ? Can we accurately predict our daily weather conditions? Or we shall have to be ever on our toes to face the challenges of freak weather, as is evident from Thypoon Hyan to the great Freeze that has gripped the USA ?

While that is a debate we all need to get involved. Why it should be so must be pondered from the facts which is presenting itself. Which on a closer look would show that it is an economic disaster slowly unfolding and compounding the already fragile health of the World Economy !

Jan 26 (Reuters) – A shortage of propane heating fuel during a brutal U.S. cold snap this month threatens to sharpen the year’s most urgent energy policy debate – how much of its newfound shale oil and gas bounty should America export? …..U.S. propane production has grown in recent years thanks to the shale oil and gas boom, but the resulting higher supplies have caused domestic prices to sink below global levels. That in turn, has encouraged exports of the fuel from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Japan and Latin America, where prices are higher.The shortage in the Midwest comes at a confluence of events: namely, record-breaking cold at the start of January, when stocks were already low after large amounts of propane were used to dry out a bumper corn harvest.A pipeline outage during most of December exacerbated the situation, and this week’s freezing weather, expected to last to the end of the month, has heightened the situation. All the while prices have soared.

Unrelenting Winter Weather Sends U.S. Into Deep Freeze – ….Sheets of ice on bridges and overpasses made for a treacherous commute Friday morning in San Antonio and Houston, Tex. and as far east as Lake Charles, La., The Weather Channel reports. Ice and some snow are expected to build up in some areas, though authorities don’t anticipate extensive power outages.

Bad weather events almost always brings to stand-still the high-carbon modern life-style we all live. It not only impacts ones daily life but also has an inherent sociopolitical threat at a Global scale. If one reads the two news items above, it is apparent that energy security which is always a flashpoint in World affairs is directly affected. Should the spell of extreme weather events continue with more and more severity which is what the IPCC AR5 predicts as very much likely, world peace would be under tremendous strain.

For the common man it is not easy to understand that his/her difficulty to commute or warm his home or feed himself and family, if prolonged can lead to War ! But that is the reality of Climate Change. And that is why it of utmost importance that each and every individual and organization wise up to the facts of impacts of Global Warming!

If we don’t we may have to pay Hell….as the Americans say!

 

Tags: , , , ,

Millennium Development Goals – towards Sustainable Living


The UNFCCC Rio+20; is over. We all must look towards the next one. And while we do, it is our duty to make the common person understand in as simple term as possible the agenda of the Millennium Development and how it is related to their every day life.

English: A 2005 photograph of James Lovelock, ...

English: A 2005 photograph of James Lovelock, scientist and author best known for the Gaia hypothesis. Photograph taken by Bruno Comby of Association of Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy. Original at http://www.ecolo.org/lovelock/. Released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license versions 2.5, 2.0, and 1.0. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The eminent British scientist James Lovelock, back in the 1970s, formulated his theory of Gaia, which held that the Earth was a kind of super organism. It had a self-regulating quality that would keep everything within that narrow band that made life possible. If things got too warm or too cold—if sunlight varied, or volcanoes caused a fall in temperatures, and so forth—Gaia would eventually compensate.This was a comforting notion to many. Later, he said he was wrong, “I have to tell you, as members of the Earth’s family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilization are in grave danger,” he wrote in the Independent in 2006. .

The world has warmed since those heady days of Gaia, and scientists have grown gloomier in their assessment of the state of the world’s climate. NASA climate scientist James Hanson has warned of a Venus effect,” in which runaway warming turns Earth into an uninhabitable desert, with a surface temperature high enough to melt lead, sometime in the next few centuries.

pleistocene extinction

pleistocene extinction (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a provocative, gripping book, Scientific American editor Fred Guterl says – The sixth “mass extinction event” in the history of planet Earth is currently under way, with over two hundred species dying off every day. The cause of this seismic event is also the source of the single biggest threat to human life: our own inventions. But for all our talk about sea levels and biotechnology, do we really know what our future will actually look like? Will our immune systems be attacked by so-called super bugs, always evolving, and more easily spread than ever? Will the disappearance of numerous species cripple the biosphere? And if it does, what happens then? We find ourselves in a trap: Technology got us into this mess, and it’s also the only thing that can help us survive it.

So, what must be done ? Elinor Ostrom winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics says –  The good news is that evolutionary policymaking is already happening organically. In the absence of effective national and international legislation to curb greenhouse gases, a growing number of city leaders are acting to protect their citizens and economies.

pleistocene extinction

This is hardly surprising – indeed, it should be encouraged. This grassroots diversity in ‘green policy making’ makes economic sense. ‘Sustainable cities’ attract the creative, educated people who want to live in a pollution-free, modern, urban environment that suits their lifestyles. This is where future growth lies. Like upgrading a mobile phone, when people see the benefits, they will discard old models in a flash. Most major cities sit on coasts, straddle rivers, or lie on vulnerable deltas, putting them on the front line of rising sea levels and flooding in the coming decades. Adaptation is a necessity. But, with cities responsible for 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation is better. Of course, true sustainability goes further than pollution control. City planners must look beyond municipal limits and analyse flows of resources – energy, food, water, and people – into and out of their cities. Setting goals can overcome inertia, but everyone must have a stake in establishing them: countries, states, cities, organisations, companies, and people everywhere. Success will hinge on developing many overlapping policies to achieve the goals.

If one reads into the Euro Zone crisis, all that is being debated is whether there should be austerity or business as usual. And in this whatever the European Union has gained and trying to gain in the area of Climate Change abatement, would be the first casualty. Because those who advocate austerity would find sustainable development “costly” to implement and those who oppose it would consider sustainable development as barrier to growth, the high carbon growth which did bring the Nations to their prime but at the cost of the environment; which would be glossed over by impassioned speech more or less with the justification that they are doing this for the benefit of the people. And Peoples and Sheep from time of Anthony when he buried Cesar, get easily swayed in not recognizing the actual ambition of the Orator. And Europe is not alone in this, there are already grumblings on the Bunker fuel tax, Euro Zone has levied from January 2012; with even India along with China and Russia of the BRICS  group opposing it.

Capitalism, the form which is practiced today, measures profit by monetary gain only. It has so dis-oriented  the “experts” and “leaders” that it is difficult for them to come out of it. The system has trained Law & Business Graduates to distrust, mistrust, lie and intimidate at every turn. And when this is topped with greed and avarice, the heady mix is a dangerous concoction of disastrous results, which at times just needs a small nudge from Nature to implode/explode into a catastrophe – the most recent example is Fukushima, Lehman Brother episode. The Indian list is endless, so I best leave it for now by just saying; it is being mentioned that, should we be able to repatriate the money parked in off-shore accounts, India can have the 5 year plan of  Sustainable Growth covered in one go.

Although among climate experts, there’s an extraordinary level of agreement with 97 out of 100 climate scientists agreeing that humans are causing global warming. Action taken on the ground are far from satisfactory.

English: Inaugural Ministerial Meeting of the ...

English: Inaugural Ministerial Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate in Sydney, Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why is this happening? It is because the mandarins in power are straight jacketed in their thoughts vis-a-vis international commerce & trade as well as Geo-politics. Habits die hard and the more seasoned the diplomat, the more suspicious s/he would be of every proposal; even if it were for Climate change abatement and Sustainable Development. It came to as no surprise, when just post the failure of Copenhagen UNFCCC COP15 summit, a very high up in the Indian delegation said that, the failure is not because no one understood the grim reality of climate change; but inherently all consider it just another gathering of World Economic Forum in disguise. So each Nation / Group look at maximizing their economic benefit.

It is therefore imperative for the common person to understand the reasons and patterns behind the hardships they are facing and what their children would face; they need to understand that many are out of work because the corporates did not factor in the climate risks when polluting the earth endlessly, and being part of the employee pool we to have our fair share in it. This has to led to food crises in many Nations, drought & famine in other. This  desperate atmosphere at times creates situation for war & piracy at high-seas. It also encourages impressionable minds to dream of “paradise” when they willingly explode having nothing to lose.

When all the chips are down the only thing a human needs is -FOOD & SHELTER just like all other animals in this eco-system and Climate change is leading the world towards that disaster. The evidence of impending Armageddon is all around us to see, the trick is to abate it in time. Adaptation is a stop-gap option not the solution. Sustainable practice is all encompassing. It can not be seen in isolation. This I could learn over time through experience. From looking at sustainability through the narrow prism of Energy Efficient Building Design, it slowly dawned unto me that the buildings I think of designing and the Renewable Energy I love to promote can not exist in vacuum. They are but an infrastructure service for betterment of Humanity, and if modern Civilization gets devoid of mankind due to Climate change  what purpose would the buildings serve?

As the 8 Millennium Development Goals suggests – 1. Eradication of Extreme Poverty & Hunger. – talk to a hungry person of not cutting down a tree for sale as fire-wood so that s/he can feed the family, it just won’t work.

2. Achieve Universal Primary Education.-how else would the citizens understand and adapt to the various programs for betterment of the under privileged, who are fooled at every turn by the unscrupulous and thus face the brunt of any natural or man-made calamity.

3. Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women. – it is a fact that women have better intuition, more caring, perceive more colors  , can identify more through  smell, have a better memory power than men and have Emotional intelligence  far better then men. The list is endless. In India as in the rest of the world “Mother Goddess” was supreme. Today in India the worship of the female power as Goddess Shakti is only but a lip service, without understanding why our ancient ancestors put so much currency on the empowerment of women. For without having the Mother teaching a child to nurture how can Nature sustain itself ?

4. Reduce Child Mortality. Although India has the highest “youth capital”; it also has a dismal record of child mortality. A Country prospers on the back of the people – the farmer, the solider, the mason, the weaver; without able body to shoulder the burden, there would neither be food, shelter or clothing and none to protect the Nations wealth. 

5.Improve Maternal Health.- If the wealth of a Nation is its able citizens, then the continuity can only be maintained through sustained efforts to keep the mother of the child, who is the future of the Nation, healthy.

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other disease. –Without education, gender equality and eradication of poverty; the complete physical, physiological and ecological balance suffers leading to disease and destruction.

Only by achieving the desired result in the above six can we complete the other two

7. Ensure Environment Sustainability- Reduction of Green House Gases and other forms of pollution is the only way to stop the Extinction of the modern Civilization.

8. Develop a Global Partnership for Development. – Sustained efforts in global partnership on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) which
“serve as a crucial enabler for territorial development, accelerating progress in poverty reduction, while promoting inclusive growth.” By sharing knowledge of sustainable development practice Nations can learn from each other and create better job opportunities while veering away form the disastrous High Carbon Economy of today.

Courtesy:amazon.com/The-Fate-Species; scientific american.com/The Fate of the Species.;  abc.net.au/environment.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Post Rio+20 – the path towards the actual Green Economy.


English: Graph showing Human Development Index...

English: Graph showing Human Development Index and Ecological Footprint. The “sustainable” criteria of ecological footprint within global capacity, and human development index above 0.8, is shaded. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the eve and post Rio+20 UNFCCC meet a lot of things happened which needs to be understood for its far reaching implications in the near future. Highlighted below are a few paragraphs –

The world’s fixation on economic growth ignores a rapid and largely irreversible trend of natural resources depletion that will seriously harm future generations, according to a newly released report that unveils a new indicator aimed at encouraging sustainability.

On 17 June 2012, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (the Rio+20 Summit), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) and partners launched the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012.(IWR 2012)

The IWI report examined changes in the combined wealth of twenty countries, which together account for almost three quarters of global GDP, from 1990 to 2008. Despite reporting a growth in GDP Brazil, China, South Africa and the United States were shown to have significantly depleted their natural capital including fossil fuels, forests and fisheries.

Around the same time a letter was published at the Rio+20 Summit.The Clean Revolution campaign, a major initiative by The Climate Group and a range of partners from the public and private sectors that calls for a ‘green growth’ push out of global recession. The letter, says: “By the end of the decade, the low carbon market could triple in value to over US$2 trillion. At a time when government and business leaders everywhere are calling for strategies that deliver growth, we have an historic opportunity before us to lead the world out of recession and into a more stable, sustainable future. This is the time for a green industrial revolution led by real investment in clean technologies and infrastructure. The ‘Clean Revolution’ is essential if we want to ensure we save our economies from the crippling costs of runaway climate change, and create meaningful jobs and enhance energy security.” It will be a new Industrial Revolution – Tony Blair.

The attempt to have subsidies removed all together from fossil fuel was the first  step in the right direction. It was bound to fail, but that itself is a success. Because never before so many groups from such diverse back ground could raise the collective voice against the fossil fuel lobby and be heard.

English: Created in Photoshop, based on "...

English: Created in Photoshop, based on “Sustainable development” diagram at Cornell Sustainability Campus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What must be understood is that to have a resurgent economy, one must have the resources in place. And today, the World has an historic opportunity to remove inequality. Today we do not, other than in theory; have a developed against a developing world. Because once we change the indices which measures development and growth, it is the “least developed” and “emerging economies” which have more Natural wealth than some of the developed Nations who have over exploited their own.

However, the developed Nations like the EU & the USA, Japan, Russia, Australia and others have enormous technological advancement and knowledge base, which should be exchanged in fair-value for equitable distribution of the Earth’s Natural resources. And at the same time efforts must be made to replenish what is possible. It is indeed a fantastic time to do business which by default has to be sustainable because there are no options left. The best part is the large conglomerates and corporations survival depends on continued and constant supply of raw material for production. And they will ensure that Sustainability in all form of modern living is applied. It would be done either with partnership or coercion.

The call for going beyond material wealth to gauge our well-being and make sure that well-being is achievable and sustainable for future generations has long appeared in much of the sustainable development, environmental, and ecological economics literature, significantly less in economics and development literature. The present pre-occupation with the Green Economy, we fear, will not provide the change we seek if we do not address the fundamental problem of what precisely we are measuring and the indicators we need to develop. 

English: Sustainability chart

English: Sustainability chart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These words in the IWR 2012, underscores the changing mindsets of the economies which have an impact in this World. And it would be well for all Nations to adapt and adopt measures which lead to an age and era where history will define it as the Golden Age of Mankind, when generating wealth would no more mean accumulation of riches which are intrinsic in nature but have the true resonance of Sustainable Development Goals and Millennium Development Goals .

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A clarion Call to Sustainable Living


A couple of days ago, I was giving a presentation as how through my firm I can provide Solar Photo Voltaic system to all Commercial and Infrastructure projects which require large amount of energy to operate.  And that too in an OPEX format, by that I mean I have investor backing who would want to become RESCO. Presently it is  on roof-top model. So Hospitals, Hotels, Malls, Commercial Complexes and Airports, Rail-stations etc, which have large roof-top can have power. It would obviously lower Diesel consumption, which is generally used for back-up.

The idea as I have mentioned in my earlier article Green Business Ideas – Applying Solar OPEX model on Green Buildings will make Grid parity easy. is becoming popular but when we want to scale, its facing the biggest road block of subsidised tariff on fossil fuel. Even when my concept of Solar OPEX is ready to handover ownership on the 10th -15th year, and only charging discounted tariff on generation, due to heavy subsidy in the industrial sector the idea just can not germinate under the intense competition from the subsidy. We can provide power to all at about INR 8.50/- but all arguments fall flat when the industry and in some states even commercial power is at INR 4.50 – 6.00/-.

Recently there has been an article which says that a lobby consisting of industry captains, NGO‘s and common persons are petitioning the UNFCCC meet at Rio, to come out with strong laws which would abolish subsidy on fossil fuel. And to be honest, this would give birth to the best Green Business Idea of this century.

Long there has been talk of how one must charge the true value of water, only then the waste of it can be limited. Longer has been the demand to remove subsidy from fossil fuel. Granted it is a political hot-potato, but if one shows a slight more maturity and instead of short-sighted goal explain to the people the farsightedness of this measure, I am sure people would understand. Unfortunately, mostly vote bank politics and corporate greed drive policy.That we have finite resources must be advertised with all the collective forces we can gather and impart that knowledge to all.

We must now begin to evolve an universal law. Not laws which govern different countries. Constitution of each country is different. What is crime for one can be heroism for another. How then we are the United Nations?Let there be diversity in approach to a solution but let laws that govern the sustainability of Earth be one. To be adopted by every member nation. It is only then we can have prosperity. It is not a tall task to achieve because, when 134 Nations can come together to force a recalcitrant Nation to subjugate, it can as well be applied to save the Earth from disaster.

Today our civilisation is in a cusp. It is time we move away from the era of Capitalist consumerism. Human history had many epoch – the stone age, the bronze age, the iron age. And Human Civilisation did thrive. Excellence was achieved. So much so that they still stand testimony in the name of Arayabhatta, Chanakiya,Confucius, Aristotle. In great monuments like the Pyramids in the Americas and West Asia, the monuments in Macedonia and Greece, the Great Wall and many more. They stand testimony to time. Sustainable thoughts & deeds and also sustainable buildings. Sadly today we can not be as advanced in thoughts as our ancestors, the reason is complete disconnect from Nature.

Though I do not advocate any religion, yet in paganism which was followed around the globe once, there was a direct connect to Nature. We must evolve ourselves into a collective which can rise above religion and creed, greed and short-sightedness to evolve a solution which is the NEXT CIVILISATION. An era where B-Crop are norm then exception and Sustainable is not a catch phrase but a human and corporate agenda.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rio+20 – the Green Initiative.


The statement from Paul Simpson, CDP’s Chief Executive Officer reads;

….. as we approach the Rio+20 Earth Summit, which will focus heavily on how to account for the way businesses use the planet’s natural capital. Investors and corporations are becoming increasingly aware of the extent to which their value chains are influenced by natural resource constraints which lead to increasing price volatility and risk of business interruption. CDP has pioneered a global disclosure system that helps businesses understand and value the current and future impacts from a changing climate and natural resource scarcity, as the world seeks to move towards a sustainable economy.

Forests provide essential ecosystem services that underpin our well being and economic prosperity and their destruction contributes around 15% of global carbon emissions. The issues of energy, climate change, water and forests should not be considered in isolation as all are inextricably linked. Having this information in one place will encourage and facilitate joined up thinking on the subject.

Making climate finance an effective driver of sustainable development, is now the most important subject that needs a through discussion, it was observed at the side events in the run up to Rio+20 Summit – on the 13th June that, Climate finance could become a powerful driver of sustainable development. By supporting mitigation, adaptation and capacity building, it can help build the governmental, social, economic and physical infrastructures needed to achieve poverty reduction and green economy growth. However, without concerted efforts to strengthen the governance of climate financing, these goals will remain elusive.

Presently climate money is channelled through a complex network of public and private institutions, where decision-making can be opaque and unaccountable, and independent oversight absent or under-funded. This heightens the risk of policy capture, mismanagement or corruption; all serious impediments to the Rio+20 agenda. Fiduciary standards such as those espoused by the GEF represent an important attempt to safeguard climate financing against abuse. Transparency, accountability and ethics are fundamental. But what are the challenges to implementing and enforcing these safeguards? And what are the best practice scenarios we can learn from?

The Rio+20 conference comes at a critical time in the development of climate finance governance. This year the global Green Climate Fund will enter into operation, once key decisions are taken over its governance structures. In 2012, OECD countries will also have to deliver on outstanding fast-track climate finance commitments, meaning billions of US dollars should enter circulation before December. Given the potential volumes involved and the relatively untested nature of its institutional framework, climate finance must be treated as a new and emerging challenge’, distinct from development aid. The Rio+20 outcome document currently under negotiation is missing this link.

World leaders have a chance at Rio+20 to stop subsidizing fossil fuels to the tune of nearly $1 trillion and make an important dent in reducing global warming.

English: CSR approaches CSR framework

English: CSR approaches CSR framework (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The above statements which I have gathered together, shows that there is a lot of movement towards actually having a GEF which can make the desired positive change towards climate change. But what is most important is to have CSR mandatory, in India we are having a lot of buzz around the Government proposal of making CSR mandatory with both FICCI and CII opposing it. Before we understand in depth the reason for this opposition, let us put on record that nearly 16% of the top 100 listed companies in India are already having an  CSR policy in place.

Now how many from the 16% are actually into People -Planet -Profit the 3 bottom line, which should make the baseline of any CSR is not known.

Authenticity in Corporate Social Responsibility

Authenticity in Corporate Social Responsibility (Photo credit: Geoff Livingston)

Corporate will do anything in which they see value. So when we speak of  CSR, and CDP would be seen as such; we must be able to actually gauge which corporate is actually  utilizing Community resources, and giving back to the People and Planet over and above what it must. Because more often than not, the mandatory obligation such as rehabilitating the project affected people, say from a mining site or a hydro-power project is passed on as CSR.  So the danger lies in the CDP being used for market study of a corporate to understand its future business plans and passed on as CSR.

Another, danger is that we are already seeing a lot of commitment  based  on absent funds, especially in relation to solutions which have a direct bearing to climate change. There are Governments which in one hand declaring a financial crisis and on the other hand committing Millions for Climate change mitigation. How are both possible ? At Rio+20 we must keep our hearing sharp to understand fact from fiction.

Having said that, we all know that Peoples are interested in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. And this may be somewhat possible even without “money” as we understand the term. My suggestion would be that policy makers around the World can sit down and list product and process which they have in excess and find a system to barter that advantage with other Nations who have a deficit of the same. Thus some of the commitments which otherwise would have required money and man-power can be overcome. The idea is to look at “profit” from all-together different perspective and thus give a new meaning to the “triple bottom line”.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Save Petroleum form Extinction – Save Earth !


Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 ...

Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 relative to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Petroleum products Nylon zippers, ballet tights,plastic hangers, pantyhose, permanent press clothing, flip flops/thongs, fake fur, polyester clothing, ball point pens ink, computer diskettes, computers copiers, magic markers, telephones, microfilm, cameras, earphones, footballs, knitting needles, tennis racquets, golf balls,  stuffed animals, band aids, Vaseline, rubbing alcohol, Pepto-Bismol hair colouring, soap, cough syrup, hair spray, lipstick, denture, adhesives, egg cartons, candles, wax paper, nylon spatulas, Teflon pans, Formica linoleum, garden hoses, plungers,  floor wax, Plexiglas, balloons, CDROMs, check book covers, video cassettes, credit cards, dice, watch bands, Plastic furniture… If I recycle these and don’t use…Petrol, Diesel, Kerosene, LPGAnti-freeze, trash bags, shopping bags, spray paint, freezer bags, plastic bottles (Each year, 1.5 million barrels of oil go to making plastic water bottles used in the United States. Less than 25% are recycled)….I get to save Petroleum. I reduce Global Warming and save the petroleum for more productive use than burning it all up or thrashing it to fill up land-fills.

Climate_Change_Attribution_fr

Climate_Change_Attribution_fr (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So will Rio+20 UNFCCC meet think about these? Create awareness? If it needs to convince the World to turn around and reverse the 3.5°C rise in temperature, it needs to think and think from the view point of how to save our most precious resource, petroleum.

The one and only Petroleum, which helped us move away from wearing the Shakespearian tights to the colourful nylon stockings. Thus heralding the modern era, where we no more die of charcoal fumes but coal, petrol, nuclear etc a whole mix of deadly fumes as it helped in quantum jump of the Industrial revolution. If that is not progress, what is ?

On a more sombre note; More than six billion men, women and children will inhabit urban areas around the world in 2050 when the global population would have surged to nine billion, putting stress on the natural resources that supply energy and food. The Earth resources are finite, be it Land, Potable water or Forest cover and the minerals which are trapped under the forest cover. And it does not take a genius to understand that per capita profit is directly related to the amount of product and produce you have for trade.

Therefore, in the Rio+20 summit, let us not talk about Global Warming and Climate change and how important it is to abate it to ensure survival of civilization. But how profits world over would dip, if resource management is not taken up on an urgent basis.

It would be wise for the OPEC countries to stop selling crude to the Gasoline manufacturers but demand a long-term business relation with Plastic furniture manufacturer, Nylon makers and other petroleum by-product manufacturers and demand a premium. (and a hefty sum from all the air-borne paratroopers who need a plastic cloth to bail them out during emergencies or when they drop down on foreign soil to create an emergency for the ruling dispensation).

OPEC kind of controls the fate of Dell, Apple, Nokia, Victoria Secrets,Vaseline et all; if OPEC does not offer them the plastic they so need how can they profit? Therefore if OPEC ask for guarantees that their crude would not be burnt up into thin smoke but used to create the various by products they would profit more. Once the datum of the raw material changes, its value proposition at source would increase. So it can obviously make more profit and at the same time the OPEC Nations can bask in the glory of creating the Messiah solution for saving Earth from GHG induced Climate change. At least a major part.

And this would automatically give a fillip to renewable energy and bio-fuel industry too; which can finally take up its rightful place as the real energy providers in terms of electrical generation and transportation fuel.

Therefore it is not necessary for climate supporters to fight the coal and petroleum lobby but make popular through sustained information the by-products of petroleum and coal which very few people give a thought to and ask them what they prefer most. To burn up this precious substance or make maximum use of the by-products; many of which have a fair chance of recycle and reuse.

It would be prudent for all to understand that the modern life-style we are so comfortable with would vanish with the depletion of Coal & Petroleum. Products we take for granted would not come by cheap and plenty. It is therefore the need of the hour for the Citizens of every Nation to understand the challenges. Lastly this article only covers just two products which with their finite limit, can cause so much discomfort. We are yet to find out how to feed 9 Billion with food and water and then find them shelter!

All religion says 9 times God came to earth…. will we make it to 10 Billion? Or Extinction stares at the face.

Save Petroleum from Extinction – Save your Business with a Green Idea (oyeta936.wordpress.com)

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CIICESD : Business of Green is taught best by those in Business.


World Business Council for Sustainable Development

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Rio+20 Summit will be held this year June. And WBSCD would be there in its full force hoping for singular change towards a low carbon economy. On June 1992, the eve of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) [also known as the Earth Summit or Rio Summit] in  a new global organisation – Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) – was founded to involve business in sustainable development issues. The primary focus then was to give industry and business a voice in the Earth Summit. Today, after 20 years, with more than 170 members of important global companies, the WBCSD (morphed from BCSD) continues its business leadership catalyzing change towards sustainable development, based on eco-efficiency, innovation, and corporate social responsibility.

INDIA – named after the river Indus, which the original inhabitants along its banks called -Sindhu  and the ancient army from Greece under Alexander pronounced with a “H” thus the term “Hindu“.  And then we have “Bhagiratha” who brought the Ganges to earth, as depicted in the mythology.

And the most telling – our country is called both India & “Bharat”, at once bridging the modern with the ancient. Reminding us in each word that, one must keep its roots to the glorious  & Eco-responsive past while forging ahead into the future. India the very name itself has been derived from the life giving water, without which no life is Sustainable – anywhere in this Galaxy! And when one reads the story of Bhagiratha, one would find it so close to the story we once again are facing today; scarcity of water. Everyday articles are written about how future Wars would be fought for Water.

So, it comes as no surprise when modern India, whose soul is ancient and steeped in the culture of sustainable living, which I have mentioned more in my previous article, has its businessmen naturally adapt to what each must have learnt between the process of being a child – man – businessman ; Sustainability. Indians always knew of it, but it got buried in the sands of crony capitalism. Which is being dusted off by the efforts of CIICESD and the likes.

Diagram showing aspects of sustainable develop...

Diagram showing aspects of sustainable development as Ecology, Economy and Society bounded by Environment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sustainable face of Business  India came out into the fore in 1991 – with a similar and parallel movement at the very same time as the BCSD; CII decided to establish an Environmental Management Division (EMD) that would work under the aegis of the CII National Environment Committee. EMD was established on Monday, June 1, 1992. This was the origin of Indian industry’s contribution towards meeting the goals of Agenda 21, a declaration that was passed during the Earth Summit. This with time, grew to become CII-ITC CESD of today headed by Ms. Seema Arora . The CII – ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development is an institution that creates a conducive, enabling climate for Indian businesses to pursue sustainability goals. It creates awareness, promote thought leadership and build capacity to achieve sustainability across a broad spectrum of issues.

Arm-in-arm with the NAPCC – National Action Plan on Climate Change; CIICESD is the doer of what the Government of India envisages through the various missions within NAPCC. Lush green fields are found where the grass roots are strong, else the moisture from deep within the soil can not be extracted to nourish. The various programs on sustainability CIICESD conducts throughout the year, in training, seminars etc is towards a path of creating awareness among those who already know, yet need to understand how to impart their knowledge to others. This capacity building would enable India adapt to conduct all its business sustainably in the era of grave Business Risk due to human induced Climate Change.

The most interesting part, is that CIICESD with its depth of reach among all the leading industries, imparts the knowledge to the young managerial staff who are slated to move up the ladder, thus in the process inculcate the training received in all their real time assignments. But it is easier said than done, unless the Companies itself takes a board-room decision to implement the thoughts of CIICESD on their shop-floors. There is room for scope in this.

The three pillars of sustainability. Click on ...

The three pillars of sustainability. Click on image areas for more information. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As awareness on Global Warming and Climate change will grow, with its immediate impacts felt  around the World, ( as is happening ) the task of CIICESD and other forums engaged in the task of  promoting sustainable economy would become more and more critical.  As was evident with the recently concluded  Business forum on Climate Change  organised by CIICESD to devise strategies for effective long – term low carbon transformation. For without adapting to the challenges which are already critical, business in all sectors would suffer. The Stern Review concludes in its in-depth study that unless quick and effective measures are taken, beyond 2020, should the World continue in its path of high -carbon growth, the reactionary climate related devastation would cost the world nearly 20% of the World GDP.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,