Climate Change & Environment
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Road to Paris Notes from the U.N. Bonn Climate Negotiations

Early in June, the United Nations climate change negotiations wrapped up in Bonn, Germany. The negotiations, aimed at consolidating a text in time for the massive COP21 conference in Paris later this year, succeeded in trimming the agreement draft a mere five pages in 10 days of talks -- down from 89 pages to 85.

The co-chairs of the process -- representatives from Algeria and the United States -- stressed the importance of investing time in Bonn building trust rather than streamlining the text. They lauded countries' willingness to cooperate, all the while dismissing that it would require months to reach a meaningful agreement at this pace, not the 10 days that are actually scheduled between now and Paris.

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Natural Concerns - VIP Interview H.E. Mohammed al Mashnouq

Environmental degradation has emerged as one of the key challenges facing Lebanon’s socio-economic development, costing the country $908.8 million each year.

What initiatives aimed at improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of solid waste management is the Ministry of Environment currently undertaking?

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Middle East & North Africa Regional Meeting of the CVF Hosted by Lebanon in Geneva

Fourteen recommendations to improve the regional response to climate change have been agreed to following a meeting of the Middle East and North Africa region, held in Geneva, Switzerland on 28-29 2015, and hosted by Lebanon. The meeting, gathering eleven countries from the Middle East and North Africa region, was the last in a series of Climate Vulnerable Forum workshops being convened during 2014-2015 in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific, and involving 50 countries.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum regional event for the Middle East and North Africa was organized by the Permanent Mission of Lebanon to the United Nations at Geneva and the Ministry of Environment with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). 11 governments participated in the event, with 14 recommendations adopted by Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen.

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Climate Change Costs Pakistan $24bn Annually

Planning Commission Water Resources Chief Naseer Ahmed Gilani said that Pakistan is facing an annual loss of $24 billion due to the adverse impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.

He was addressing a seminar, early in June, titled combating climate change impacts arranged by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in connection with the World Environment Day.

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The Reason Behind Big Oil’s Change of Heart on Global Warming

After years of opposing efforts to fight climate change, Europe’s biggest oil and gas corporations have made a stunning about-face.

In a letter addressed to the head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the chief executives of Shell, BP, and four other energy giants asked the world’s political leaders to put a price on carbon.

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Study: Global Warming Risks Changes to Ocean Life Unprecedented in the Last 3 Million Years

Continued warming of the Earth’s oceans over the next century could trigger disruptions to marine life on a scale not seen in the last 3 million years, scientists warn in a study released in June.

The changes could include extinctions of some of the ocean’s keystone species as well as a widespread influx of “invasive” animals and plants that migrate to new territory because of changing environmental conditions, the report says.

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Norway Divests From Coal

The Norwegian Parliament voted early in June to order the country’s huge oil fund — at $890 billion, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund — to pull billions of dollars of investments out of companies that derive 30 percent or more of their business from mining or burning coal. The move is a major boost to the three-year-old campaign to persuade large investors to divest their fossil fuel stocks. And it could add to the momentum toward concrete action at the climate-change summit conference to be held in Paris in December.

That much is good. There is, however, a problem. Norway is also Europe’s biggest producer of other fossil fuels, and the money that the country is pulling out of coal came from more than four decades of pumping oil and gas out of the North Sea. Coal may be a worse offender on the climate change front, and the Norwegian legislators may truly have the planet’s best interests at heart, but it is hard to avoid the perception of hypocrisy in Norway’s selective combat against carbon emitters.

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Major Economies Falling Short on Emissions Target

MAJOR industrialized economies are far off track in helping the world meet the UN’s global warming target, a monitoring group said yesterday.

Carbon pledges made by 31 economies — members of the Group of Seven and the European Union — mean that by 2030 they will contribute only 30 percent of the effort they should, it said.

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IKEA Pledges 1 Billion Euros to Help Slow Climate Change

IKEA, the world's biggest furniture retailer, plans to spend 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) on renewable energy and steps to help poor nations cope with climate change, the latest example of firms upstaging governments in efforts to slow warming.

Chief Executive Peter Agnefjall said the measures would "absolutely not" push up prices at the Swedish group's stores. The investments will be "good for customers, good for the climate and good for IKEA too," he told Reuters.

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Mexico Can More than Quadruple Share of Renewable Energy by 2030

A new IRENA report released today at an event in Merida, Mexico finds the country can increase the amount of renewable energy in its energy mix from 4.4% in 2010 to 21% by 2030.

Renewable Energy Prospects: Mexico also finds that Mexico could generate up to 46 per cent of its electricity by 2030 from renewable sources including wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal and biomass – a six fold increase from today’s levels.

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