Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Ways to correct deficiencies of GDP indicators is by putting more emphasis on measuring the well-being of the population than on economic production"

Economist Joseph Stiglitz suggest "ways to correct deficiencies of GDP indicators is by putting more emphasis on measuring the well-being of the population than on economic production.”

President Nicholas Sarkozy says "France would pioneer the use of the new technique"

United States economist Joseph Stiglitz, India’s Amartya Sen, both Nobel laureates, and 20 other economists of world renown on Monday presented a report in Paris, on ways to improve the measurement of economic growth and correct the deficiencies of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) indicators.

President of France Nicholas Sarkozy commissioned the report in February last year, when he named a special panel to find new ways to measure growth that would take into account social well-being.

Mr. Stiglitz, who heads the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progess, wrote in the executive summary: “It is time for our statistics system to put more emphasis on measuring the well-being of the population than on economic production.”

Currently, growth is measured as a percentage increase or decrease in GDP, which is a measure of the value of goods and services generated in a country and has long been seen by many as a crude benchmark.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Mr. Sarkozy said France would pioneer the use of the new technique and urge other countries to follow suit.

“In the whole world, citizens think that we’re lying to them, that the figures are false and, worse, that they’re being manipulated,” he said, calling for a new measure for economic performance.

The report was released at a time when many world economies are beginning to come out of recession, but unemployment is continuing to rise and consumer confidence, to fall. A new indicator, incorporating a notion of lifestyle and national well-being might help the President counter criticism and mounting discontent among the French electorate.

Mr. Sarkozy’s reforms have been seen as being predominantly “pro-rich” and he is struggling to find favour with the common man.

“We are now engaged in a collective reflection and we shall not stop here. There will be a before and after this commission,” Mr. Sarkozy said.

Calling for “another future, another model, another world,” he said the financial crisis would oblige the world to change its ways.

(download the report @ www.minefe.gouv.fr)

( source: http://beta.thehindu.com/business/Economy/article20308.ece)

Monday, September 14, 2009

"The politics of climate change starts with science" says Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland at the 3

Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Climate Change, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland addressing the at the 3rd World Climate Conference said "the politics of climate change starts with you, with the science. Science, in turn, must be translated into political action. When deciding on what to do with climate change, political leaders must be guided by the best available scientific knowledge."

Following are some excepts of her speech;

In a situation where climate politics has become high politics, it is extremely useful to have international scientific bodies made up of nationals from all groups of nations. This protects the independence of the research undertaken and increases the credibility of the scientific results produced.

The importance of having a scientific and rational basis for opinions and actions was imprinted in me during my studies to become a medical doctor. A doctor must base any action on sound science to be credible. The same applies to politicians. Climate politics must base itself on the results of the work of many of you who are here today.

We now know that even if we manage to halt and reduce emissions of green house gases, the climate will continue to change and so, therefore, must we. All countries will need to adapt to a changing and more erratic climate. Droughts, floods, storms, and a rise in sea levels will increase the risk of famine, disease, and displacement, in particular in vulnerable least developed and small island developing states. It is therefore imperative that we focus on adaptation.

The basis for all adaptation is a high quality early warning mechanism. The first challenge is therefore to establish a sufficiently comprehensive and fine-masked system for collection of relevant data over time. Once that is in place, we need a sufficiently advanced system for modeling and prediction, into which the data is fed.

The result is a weather forecast. The problem is that a forecast is not enough. We already know that by 2020, up to 250 million people in Africa will face growing shortages of water due to climate change. Still, very little is done to prepare for such a development.

Our challenge is to communicate information about what to expect in a more efficient manner to those who need this information in order to make the right decisions, for their country, their business, their farm, their family, and their lives. Climate information must be fed into the process of decision-making at all levels.

Women and children are among the most vulnerable. But women are also among the most powerful agents for change. Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement is one example. Improved climate information must empower women and make them drivers of adaptation.

Many may think that we already have access to the information we need, and question the relevance of an initiative for a new framework for climate services. To do so is, to say the least, a blatant expression of ignorance or arrogance, or both.

It was heartbreaking to hear the stories from the Horn of Africa in 2006, when shepherds were not alerted ahead of a long awaited drought. Consequently, they were not able to take precautionary action and slaughter and sell off their herd before it starved to death and famine set in. It is always the poor who are left out of the information stream. This has to change. Improved communication of weather information will save lives.

When we know that disaster sooner or later will strike, we can prepare and thus reduce suffering. Bangladesh, Cuba and Vietnam are examples of countries who have invested in disaster risk reduction. Studies have shown that these kinds of investments are among the most cost-effective adaptation investments the world can make.

If we are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals we have agreed upon, it is essential that we integrate climate science into our development plans and strengthen adaptation efforts. Adaptation is an essential investment in a safer, more prosperous future for us all.

The need for strengthened climate science has never been more apparent - or more necessary. We need to work together, harnessing the world’s best minds for more informed, science-based decision making to meet this grave threat.

And as we do so, we must draw on all the strengths of the United Nations system, for climate change is far more than an environmental issue. It affects everything from the health of our economy to the health of our citizens. It is about the future of life as we know it on our planet – the only home we have.

Clear, credible scientific data is essential for informed decision-making at the global level in Copenhagen this December. It is essential for those in the business community who are creating the new green technologies that can drive low-carbon growth. And it is vital to creating a more informed public discourse on our response to climate change. The science demands we act boldly, or we may not get a second chance.

(source: http://www.wcc3.org/sessions.php?session_list=opening)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Climate Sustainability PLATFORM at CPHCO2009 (at Øksnehallen, Copenhagen from 3-6th December 2009)

Just before the COP15 commences, the PLATFORM will get into action at the Copenhagen Climate Exchange (CPHCO2009) at Øksnehallen, Copenhagen from 3-6th December 2009. The PLATFORM will provide all stakeholders a preparatory opportunity before getting into the climate negotiators from 7-18th Dec. at the Bella Centre.

Climate Sustainability PLATFORM is an open forum for climate negotiators, sustainability influencers, local government, civil society, business and people to dialogue, debate, discuss and build partnerships for climate sustainability solutions and pathways. The PLATFORM will be operating at the Copenhagen Climate Exchange (CPHCO2009) at Øksnehallen, Copenhagen from 3-6th December 2009. The four days will be allocated to activities under the themes of Adaptation, Mitigation, Finance & Technology, and a Shared Vision. The main activities of the PLATFORM are;
Climate Sustainability DIALOGUE: This is an open platform for participants to get their voices heard. Speakers, panelists and facilitators will be joined by voices from the audience representing the regions and stakeholders of the world. The will challenge the COP15 negotiations, demand climate justice, and make statements for media to be published.
Climate Sustainability CAMPUS: A series of training WORKSHOPS on climate change and sustainability issues offered specially for NGOs, business, local government and stakeholder participants to enhance their knowledge required to engaging climate negotiations and lobbying. An international faculty of expert lecturers and resources persons will be available to deliver these workshops.
Climate Sustainability ENTREPRENUER: A unique forum where business, local government and civil society engage in dialogue, debate, exchange and partnership building for sustainable enterprise solutions. Climate sustainability solutions providers in the exhibition of the CPHCO2009 will have a forum to talk about their innovations, technologies, projects and case studies.
Climate Sustainability MESSAGE: A MESSAGE by the Copenhagen Climate PLATFORM participants to be presented at the Copenhagen Climate Exchange, and at the KlimaForum, Peoples Climate Action and other important constituencies for lobbying during the COP15 period and after. The MESSAGE will become a living document for an evolving network of global climate sustainability advocates who will work in continuity towards a global climate sustainability agreement by 2012.

For the agenda, participation, speakers opportunities and further information please contact:
Mr. Uchita de Zoysa
Convener – Climate Sustainability PLATFORM
tel/fax: +94 11 2768459 mobile: +94 777 372206
skype: uchita.de.zoysa 

Monday, September 7, 2009

Africa Threatens to Veto Climate Deal!

"If needs be we are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threaten to be another rape of our continent,” said Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who will represent the African Union at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen.

Africa will veto any global climate change agreement that does not meet its demand for money from rich nations to cut the impact of global warming on the continent, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Thursday.

"We will use our numbers to delegitimize any agreement that is not consistent with our minimal position," Meles told a conference of climate change experts in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, according to Reuters.

"If needs be we are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threaten to be another rape of our continent."

Meles did not specify how much money Africa would be looking for at December’s UN climate conference in Copenhagen. However, some experts have said the continent should ask for up to $200 billion a year.

Africa contributes little to the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming but is expected to be the hardest hit by the drought and flooding cycle that is already affecting parts of the continent.

Last month, ten African leaders held talks at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa and agreed on a common stance ahead of the Copenhagen talks.

"Africa will field a single negotiating team empowered to negotiate on behalf of all member states of the African Union," said Meles, a former rebel leader who has been chosen to represent the union in Copenhagen.

(source: http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=2022 )

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Stop wearing suits, jackets and ties to save electricity" - Bangladesh PM orders male government employees

Bangladesh Prime Minister Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina told officials that doing so would minimise their use of air-conditioners. Bangladesh suffers from daily power cuts as power plants are unable to meet the country's demand. A senior official told the BBC the government would soon encourage businesses to follow its example. Bangladesh's official dress code has been rewritten - after Sheikh Hasina ordered government employees to do more to ease the country's energy shortage. Even ministers now will no longer be expected to wear suits and ties. During the hot months between March and November, men have been ordered to wear trousers and shirts instead, and these do not have to be tucked in any more. Officials and ministers have also been told not to turn their air-conditioners below 24C. In June, the government introduced daylight saving, and the clocks moved forward by one hour, in another attempt to cut energy consumption. It has said it will also soon spend $6bn (£3.6bn) on new power plants, operated by private companies. The current state-owned plants have not been able to keep up with Bangladesh's large population and its economy, which has been growing at about 6% annually for the past five years. The energy sector in the country has been beset by allegations of mismanagement and corruption.

(source BBC News Dhaka, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8234144.stm)