International Environment Forum - A Bahá'í inspired organization for environment and sustainability en Greta Thunberg’s Remarks at the Davos Economic Forum <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Greta Thunberg’s Remarks at the Davos Economic Forum</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">23. January 2020 - 22:25</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/9" hreflang="en">Climate change</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Greta Thunberg’s Remarks at the Davos Economic Forum</h2> <p>22 January 2020<br /> New York Times, reporting from the World Economic Forum in Davos</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>DAVOS, Switzerland — Greta Thunberg spoke here Tuesday afternoon at an event hosted by The New York Times and the World Economic Forum. Here is the full transcript of her remarks:</p> <p>One year ago I came to Davos and told you that our house is on fire. I said I wanted you to panic. I’ve been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do. But don’t worry. It’s fine. Trust me, I’ve done this before and I can assure you it doesn’t lead to anything.</p> <p>And, for the record, when we children tell you to panic we’re not telling you to go on like before. We’re not telling you to rely on technologies that don’t even exist today at scale and that science says perhaps never will.</p> <p>We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching “net zero emissions” or “carbon neutrality” by cheating and fiddling around with numbers. We are not telling you to “offset your emissions” by just paying someone else to plant trees in places like Africa while at the same time forests like the Amazon are being slaughtered at an infinitely higher rate.</p> <p>Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough of what is needed and it cannot replace real mitigation and rewilding nature.</p> <p>Let’s be clear. We don’t need a “low carbon economy.” We don’t need to “lower emissions.” Our emissions have to stop if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5-degree target. And, until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.</p> <p>Because distant net zero emission targets will mean absolutely nothing if we just continue to ignore the carbon dioxide budget — that applies for today, not distant future dates. If high emissions continue like now even for a few years, that remaining budget will soon be completely used up.</p> <p>The fact that the U.S.A. is leaving the Paris accord seems to outrage and worry everyone, and it should. But the fact that we’re all about to fail the commitments you signed up for in the Paris Agreement doesn’t seem to bother the people in power even the least.</p> <p>Any plan or policy of yours that doesn’t include radical emission cuts at the source, starting today, is completely insufficient for meeting the 1.5-degree or well-below-2-degrees commitments of the Paris Agreement.</p> <p>And again, this is not about right or left. We couldn’t care less about your party politics. From a sustainability perspective, the right, the left as well as the center have all failed. No political ideology or economic structure has been able to tackle the climate and environmental emergency and create a cohesive and sustainable world. Because that world, in case you haven’t noticed, is currently on fire.</p> <p>You say children shouldn’t worry. You say: “Just leave this to us. We will fix this, we promise we won’t let you down. Don’t be so pessimistic.”</p> <p>And then, nothing. Silence. Or something worse than silence. Empty words and promises which give the impression that sufficient action is being taken.</p> <p>All the solutions are obviously not available within today’s societies. Nor do we have the time to wait for new technological solutions to become available to start drastically reducing our emissions. So, of course the transition isn’t going to be easy. It will be hard. And unless we start facing this now together, with all cards on the table, we won’t be able to solve this in time.</p> <p>In the days running up to the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum, I joined a group of climate activists demanding that you, the world’s most powerful and influential business and political leaders, begin to take the action needed.</p> <p>We demand at this year’s World Economic Forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments:</p> <p>- Immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction.</p> <p>- Immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies.</p> <p>- And immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels.</p> <p>We don’t want these things done by 2050, 2030 or even 2021. We want this done now.</p> <p>It may seem like we’re asking for a lot. And you will of course say that we are naïve. But this is just the very minimum amount of effort that is needed to start the rapid sustainable transition.</p> <p>So either you do this or you’re going to have to explain to your children why you are giving up on the 1.5-degree target. Giving up without even trying. Well I’m here to tell you that, unlike you, my generation will not give up without a fight.</p> <p>The facts are clear, but they’re still too uncomfortable for you to address. You just leave it because you think it’s too depressing and people will give up. But people will not give up. You are the ones who are giving up.</p> <p>Last week I met with Polish coal miners who lost their jobs because their mine was closed. And even they had not given up. On the contrary, they seem to understand the fact that we need to change more than you do.</p> <p>I wonder, what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing a climate chaos that you knowingly brought upon them? That it seemed so bad for the economy that we decided to resign the idea of securing future living conditions without even trying?</p> <p>Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fueling the flames by the hour. And we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p><small>Source: <a href="">…</a></small></p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 23 January 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Thu, 23 Jan 2020 20:25:35 +0000 admin 1031 at Leaves - January IEF newsletter is available <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Leaves - January IEF newsletter is available</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">17. January 2020 - 19:08</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Read on line: <a href="/newslt127"><strong><em>Leaves</em></strong> 22(1) January 2020</a> light text version with fewer illustrations.<br /> Download as a <a href="/fl/IEF_Leaves200115.pdf">pdf version</a> [680 kb].</p> <table background="/gr/BLEAF1.JPG" style="background-color: rgb(0, 153, 0); width: 100%; height: 55px; text-align: left; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"> <tbody> <tr> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:08:08 +0000 admin 255 at Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">15. January 2020 - 15:48</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/51" hreflang="en">Governance</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century</h2> <p>New book by Augusto Lopez-Claros, Arthur Dahl and Maja Groff </p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <img src="/gr/GlobalGovernance.jpg" alt="Global Governance" style="width: 179px; height: 333px;"> </div> <p>As the world teeters on the brink of any number of global catastrophes from climate change to the increasing temptation to use weapons of mass destruction, and where hope for world peace is receding, it is time to put global governance back at the center of international debate. IEF members Arthur Dahl and Maja Groff, together with Augusto Lopez-Claros, have done just that in their new book <i>Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century</i> published by Cambridge University Press on 23 January 2020. In over 500 pages of careful reasoning, they lay out the deficiencies in the present United Nations system and propose all the changes necessary both to correct flaws built into the UN Charter at its inception to make it acceptable to the victorious powers defending their national sovereignty, and to adapt it to the needs of a global system facing new challenges that did not exist in 1945. In this year of rethinking the role of the United Nations on its 75th anniversary, positive proposals to face and resolve global catastrophic risks are needed more than ever.</p> <p>Part I of the book provides the background, reviewing the challenges of the 21st century, providing a short history of proposals for global governance and the first real steps in the League of Nations and the United Nations, and looking at the example of European integration after World War II, starting with a Coal and Steel Community and building the supranational institutions of the European Union step by step as trust was built that interstate cooperation could work.</p> <p>The second part of the book presents proposals to reform the central institutions of the United Nations to give it the competencies in legislative, executive and judicial functions that are taken for granted in national governments but are still limited at the global level.</p> <p>The General Assembly would be reformed with proportional representation and the power to adopt binding legislation in those areas requiring global governance, including peace and security and the global environment. It would be supported by advisory mechanisms, including scientific advice across global issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, atmospheric and oceanic pollution, and management of the global commons. Technology assessment of issues such as geoengineering, nanotechnology, gene editing, and artificial intelligence would provide the basis for global legislation prohibiting dangerous and encouraging constructive uses while applying the precautionary principle. An Office of Ethical Assessment would ensure that fundamental human and environmental rights and responsibilities are considered in any measures adopted. A Second Chamber of Civil Society would allow all the major groups and stakeholders to propose and comment on the necessary actions to protect the common global interests of humanity and the planet. One immediate step that could catalyse progress in this direction would be the creation of a World Parliamentary Assembly already under discussion.</p> <p>At the executive level, the disfunctional Security Council would be replaced by a UN Executive Council chaired by the Secretary-General, with all governments having a voice and none a veto. It would oversee the effective management of the UN System, with subsidiary bodies for disarmament, mediation and conciliation, and an International Peace Force able to implement decisions for collective security to ensure world peace. The transition to collective security would require carefully staged and balanced reductions in national armaments as the international force becomes operational, while the human and material resources presently devoted to unproductive military expenditures would be redirected to constructive uses. An independent UN funding mechanism would ensure adequate resources to carry out the necessary functions of global governance.</p> <p>The International Court of Justice would be given binding jurisdiction to interpret global law and adjudicate international disputes. It would be supported by the International Criminal Court, an Anti-corruption Court and an International Human Rights Tribunal, as well as an Office of the UN Attorney-General and an International Judicial Training Institute. A UN Bill of Rights would define both individual and national rights and responsibilities.</p> <p>To give global governance the capacity to manage the multiple global risks that threaten our future, the UN Specialized Agencies would be enhanced and completed with agencies for global economic management and regulation of the private sector, and to reduce inequalities within and between countries. The global financial architecture would be reinforced and the International Monetary Fund given the capacity to address threats of financial collapse. Responding to global environmental crises requires that the many environmental conventions should be consolidated under global legislation for effective management of climate change, biodiversity, chemicals, plastics, and the equitable distribution of natural resources. Global management is also needed to deal with population imbalances and the inevitable mass displacement of populations being triggered by the climate crisis and sea level rise.</p> <p>The book gives particular attention to cross-cutting issues such as corruption, the destroyer of prosperity that has now reached a scale requiring international enforcement. Major attention also needs to be directed to education for transformation, so that all lesser loyalties are subordinated to a sense of global citizenship as members of one human race.</p> <p>The last part of the book explores the values and principles necessary to underlie an enhanced international system, so that global good governance can be operationalized. This is required both to build public support and participation in governance at all levels, and to ensure that all those working within the international system and contributing to its processes believe in its values and are there to be of service to all of humanity.</p> <p>The big question, of course, is how to get from here to there. The book discusses some immediate steps forward, and explores scenarios of alternative future paths. Since previous steps towards global governance were the result of the terrible suffering of World Wars I and II, it is possible that another crisis will be necessary to push governments to act finally in their own common interest. Launching the debate now on bridging the governance gap at the global level, by showing that UN reform is not impossible and that there are practical ways forward, should prepare the way for rapid action once the inertia of the present system is overcome.</p> <p>While there will obviously be opposition to these proposals, particularly by vested interests in the present system and the contrary forces rejecting multilateralism, there is no real alternative in a globalized world to achieving effective global governance. The longer we resist, the more painful will be the transition. In today’s globalized world, national sovereignty has been eroded to almost nothing. For more than a century, the world has ignored calls to acknowledge that the Earth is one country and all humanity its citizens. Now the planet itself, through the climate catastrophe and biodiversity collapse, is sending us signals that we ignore at our peril. Everyone everywhere needs to take this message to heart. All of our governments need to be pressured to acknowledge that their national autonomy can only be guaranteed by an effective global government. The more governments come on board to support these proposals or others like them, the sooner can the process of building global governance for the 21st century get under way.</p> <p>The book <i>Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century</i>, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 515 pages, can be ordered from Cambridge University Press and as an e-book on Amazon, and is available on line in <a href="">open access</a>.<br> <a href="">Order from Cambridge</a><br> <a href=";qid=1578675426&amp;s=books&amp;sr=1-1">e-book from Amazon</a></p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" height="66"></p> <p><small>Last updated 20 January 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Wed, 15 Jan 2020 13:48:07 +0000 admin 1029 at WEF Global Risks Report 2020 <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">WEF Global Risks Report 2020</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">15. January 2020 - 12:55</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/57" hreflang="en">Environment</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> WEF Global Risks Report 2020</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 15th edition of the World Economic Forum’s <i>Global Risks Report 2020</i> is published as critical risks are manifesting. The global economy is facing an increased risk of stagnation, climate change is striking harder and more rapidly than expected, and fragmented cyberspace threatens the full potential of next-generation technologies — all while citizens worldwide protest political and economic conditions and voice concerns about systems that exacerbate inequality. The challenges before us demand immediate collective action, but fractures within the global community appear to only be widening. Stakeholders need to act quickly and with purpose within an unsettled global landscape.</p> <p>For the first time the <i>Global Risks Report</i> is dominated by the environment, with climate-linked issues like extreme heat and ecosystems loss highlighted. Geoeconomic and political pressures are also top short-term concerns.</p> <p>Following a year of floods and droughts, when fires ravaged Australia and the Amazon, and teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg was chosen as Time’s Person of the Year, it is perhaps little wonder that environmental issues dominate leaders’ concerns for the future. But the latest edition of the World Economic Forum’s <i>Global Risks Report</i> shows how loudly they are sounding the alarm. Established leaders and up-and-comers agree: climate change is the stand-out long-term risk the world faces.</p> <p>The report, which identifies the top threats facing our world by likelihood and extent of impact, names failure to mitigate and adapt to climate change as the key concern for the Forum’s network of business leaders, NGOs, academics and others. The group places it as the number one risk by impact and number two by likelihood over the next 10 years. In fact, respondents to the Global Risks Perception Survey, which underpins the report, rank issues related to global warming – such as extreme weather and biodiversity loss – as the top five risks in terms of likelihood over the coming decade. This is the first time one category has occupied all of the top slots since the report was launched in 2006. Climate change is hitting harder and accelerating faster than many people predicted. And efforts to meet commitments to limit global warming are slipping, with countries veering off course. </p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Long term risk outlook by likelihood over the next decade</h3> <p>1. extreme weather<br> 2. climate action failure<br> 3. natural disaster<br> 4. biodiversity loss<br> 5. human-made environmental disasters<br> 6. data fraud or theft<br> 7. cyberattacks<br> 8. water crises<br> 9. global governance failure<br> 10. asset bubble</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Top ten long term risks by impact</h3> <p>1. climate action failure<br> 2. weapons of mass destruction<br> 3. biodiversity loss<br> 4. extreme weather<br> 5. water crises<br> 6. information infrastructure breakdown<br> 7. natural disasters<br> 8. cyberattacks<br> 9. human-made environmental disasters<br> 10. infectious diseases</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Short-term risk outlook in 2020</h3> <p>1. economic confrontations<br> 2. domestic political polarization<br> 3. extreme heat waves<br> 4. destruction of natural ecosystems<br> 5. cyberattacks: infrastructure<br> 6. protectionism on trade/investment<br> 7. populist and nativist agendas<br> 8. cyberattacks: theft of money/data<br> 9. recession in a major economy<br> 10. uncontrolled fires</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Gathering economic clouds</h3> <p>Growing downward pressure on the global economy, driven by fragile macroeconomic structures and financial inequality, is deemed the biggest short-term threat by the ‘multi-stakeholders’ questioned. The risk of stagnation is exacerbated as leaders increasingly follow nationalist policies. Over three-quarters of respondents think this darkening economic outlook and domestic political polarization are set to become more likely in the short term.</p> <p>Trade tensions and geopolitical turbulence are also adding to the economic uncertainty – in particular the potential fallout from the United States and China’s trade stand-off. The two countries account for more than 40% of global GDP. They are also the world’s top two emitters of greenhouse gases. So the world’s economic performance and ability to address climate change is inextricably linked with theirs.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Risks in a digital world</h3> <p>Geopolitical and economic uncertainties are also driving concerns about digital technology: unequal access, a lack of governance, and more frequent and more damaging cyberattacks. The report highlights how long-mounting interconnected risks are starting to be felt. The synchronized slowdown of the global economy, the warmest temperatures on record and an increasingly unstable geopolitical environment are creating significant challenges. “It is sobering that in the face of this development, when the challenges before us demand immediate collective action, fractures within the global community appear to only be widening,” the report says. </p> <p>Waiting for the fog of geopolitical and geoeconomic uncertainty to lift before taking action is not a viable option, and would mean missing crucial windows to address pressing issues, it continues. The good news is that, despite global divisions, some businesses are committed to looking beyond their balance sheets towards tackling the urgent issues that are looming.</p> <hr> <p>Source: WEF, Charlotte Edmond, Senior Writer, Formative Content, 15 January 2020.<br> <a href="">…</a></p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" height="66" width="142"></p> <p><small>Last updated 15 January 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Wed, 15 Jan 2020 10:55:01 +0000 admin 1028 at Rethinking Success: a way to save the planet and ourselves <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Rethinking Success: a way to save the planet and ourselves</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">11. January 2020 - 19:49</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Rethinking Success: a way to save the planet and ourselves</h2> <p>Webinars starting with Arthur Dahl 18 December 2019</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>In support of the next IEF annual conference in partnership with ebbf - Ethical Business Building the Future, in Lisbon, Portugal, 14-17 May 2020, we are planning a year-long consultation on the theme of "Rethinking Success" and its implications. Register for the conference at: <a href="">…</a>. Early bird registration expires 28 February 2020.</p> <p>The theme is being introduced in a series of ebbf webinars on Zoom. The first was on 18 December 2019 with IEF President Arthur Dahl giving a systems perspective on "Rethinking Success: what key dimensions of success are we failing to address". It is available on YouTube at <a href=";">;</a>, and the text is <a href="/ddahl19i">here</a></p> <p>Laily Miller-Muro, Director of the Tahirih Justice Centre will be in a webinar on 15 January 2020. Go to <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>IEF Board member Victoria Thoresen will also participate in an ebbf webinar on 5 February 2020.</p> <p>More events and ways to participate will be announced as plans are developed.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 11 January 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Sat, 11 Jan 2020 17:49:41 +0000 admin 1021 at Australia is burning, coral reefs are dying. What next? <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Australia is burning, coral reefs are dying. What next?</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Arthur Dahl</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">9. January 2020 - 14:46</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Australia is burning, coral reefs are dying. What next?</h2> <p>Blog by Arthur Dahl</p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>As we watch in horror at a continent in flames and hear repeated stories of dying coral reefs, it is important to ask what comes next? I am no expert on Australian vegetation, but ecological science can offer some theoretical considerations, and suggest the significance of the climate crisis to what we are observing around the world. I do know about coral reefs, and see striking parallels with what is happening on land.</p> <p>Many ecosystems are adapted to major disruptions. Forest fires are a natural occurrence. Coral reefs are smashed by cyclones. Resilience is one sign of successful ecosystems. They are knocked down and bounce back. The result is often a mosaic of parts of ecosystems at various stages of regeneration, some mature and fully developed, others going through stages of succession towards maturity. On land, some species regenerate from rootstocks after a fire, or seeds buried in the soil sprout in the new sunlight. Some conifers only release their seeds after a fire has opened their cones. Fires are a natural occurrence in areas with dry seasons like Australia and California. A damaged coral reef can be repopulated by larvae and immigrants coming from elsewhere, assuming there is a healthy reef as a source.</p> <p>What has changed is the scale of human impacts, especially linked to climate change. In a landscape of burned and unburned areas, seeds are carried into the burned area by birds or the wind, wildlife moves in from adjacent habitats, and the forest regenerates. When climate change increases the frequency of fires or storms so that there is insufficient time for the ecosystem to recover, the ecosystem is degraded and may lose essential species or components. With the massive burns in Australia, such large areas are affected that there are not longer adjacent forests to support regeneration. Coral bleaching over large areas from high water temperatures has the same effect; the ecosystem loses the capacity to recover. Instead, the degraded area is occupied by weeds or invasive species, or algae on the reef, and this can prevent the return of the original communities.</p> <p>An additional factor on land has been the natural desire to protect forests from fire, either because of human occupation of the area with houses, tourism or other activities, or simply because burned areas are unattractive. Where fires were a natural part of the ecosystem cycle, returning nutrients to the soil, clearing out an excessive accumulation of biomass and preventing really destructive fires, the result has been devastation when a fire does finally occur. The sequoias of California have fire-resistant bark, so occasional fires would clear out fast-growing competitors and allow young sequoias to establish themselves. Controlled burning is necessary to maintain the sequoia ecosystem. The many houses burned in Australia suggest that some forests where fire is a necessary part of the ecosystem are inappropriate for human habitation.</p> <p>In the light of these significant impacts of the climate crisis, what is required to compensate for the damage we have caused? Where we have destroyed natural resilience, we must replace it with compensating human actions. First would be to save and protect any remaining fragments of the natural ecosystems that have survived and might contribute to recovery. Then we shall have to replant native species before invasives take over, and artificially rebuild the key elements of the original ecosystem. As the forest or reef regenerates, then missing elements of wildlife can be reintroduced. As we acknowledge the environmental havoc we have wrought, and cut back our damaging activities, environmental restoration will become a priority to rebuild the carrying capacity of our planet so that it can support an ever-advancing, sustainable human civilisation.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="66" src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" /></p> <p><small>Last updated 9 January 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-blog-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/267" hreflang="en">Climate change</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/291" hreflang="en">Coral reefs</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/292" hreflang="en">Forest fires</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 09 Jan 2020 12:46:11 +0000 Arthur Dahl 1027 at UN75 Launched <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">UN75 Launched</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">3. January 2020 - 19:32</span> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/70" hreflang="en">United Nations</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> UN75 Launched</h2> <p>To mark its 75th anniversary in 2020, the United Nations is igniting a people’s debate, UN75. Launched by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on 2 January 2020, it promises to be the largest and furthest-reaching global conversation ever on building the future we want.</p> <p>In a world of dramatic changes and complex challenges, from the climate crisis to population shifts to the unknown course of technology, we need collective action more than ever before. Through UN75, the United Nations will encourage people to put their heads together to define how enhanced international cooperation can help realize a better world by 2045, the UN’s 100th birthday.</p> <p>At this pivotal moment in history, UN75 asks three big questions:<br> &bull; What kind of future do we want to create?<br> &bull; Are we on track?<br> &bull; What action is needed to bridge the gap?</p> <p>Anyone can join the conversation. Online and offline, in formal and informal dialogues, UN75 will involve as many people as possible, ideally in all 193 UN Member States. Together, they will share their hopes and fears, assess current and future risks and opportunities, and source solutions for global cooperation.</p> <p>Parallel global opinion polling and media analysis will provide statistically representative data. Consolidated views and ideas will be presented to world leaders and widely disseminated.</p> <p>For the United Nations, UN75 will be a year of listening and learning. UN organizations, country teams and key stakeholders will have pivotal roles in taking three actions:<br> &bull; Connect people; bring together diverse groups, especially those not often heard, to shape a new global dialogue.<br> &bull; Amplify their voices: open channels for people to talk and be heard!<br> &bull; Inspire action: provide feedback, and share and advocate solutions.</p> <p>Timeline:<br> &bull; Official Launch 2 January 2020<br> &bull; UN Charter Day 26 June 2020<br> &bull; UNGA 2020 21 September 2020<br> &bull; UN Day Close 24 October 2020<br> &bull; Official Close 31 December 2020</p> <p>UN75 video: <a href="">…</a></p> <p>Go to: <a href=""></a> </p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" height="66" width="142"></p> <p><small>Last updated 3 January 2020</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Fri, 03 Jan 2020 17:32:52 +0000 admin 1025 at Governance, Science and the Climate Crisis <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Governance, Science and the Climate Crisis</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">3. January 2020 - 13:36</span> <section class="field field--name-comment field--type-comment field--label-hidden comment-wrapper"> </section> <div class="field field--name-subjects field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/51" hreflang="en">Governance</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/9" hreflang="en">Climate change</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/60" hreflang="en">Science</a></div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> Governance, Science and the Climate Crisis</h2> <p>International Environment Forum<br> January 2020 </p> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <p>The International Environment Forum (IEF) proposes launching a campaign with others to strengthen the science-policy interface in the United Nations (UN) system with formal links to decision-making processes, with a major focus on the climate crisis, in order to overcome the inertia of present governance mechanisms. This will also mean new efforts to explain the challenges and their ethical implications and to build public support for actions, including at the local level. Since the General Assembly can create subsidiary advisory bodies without approval required by the Permanent Members of the Security Council, we can try to build sufficient momentum among interested countries, supported by adequate public pressure, to strengthened scientific advisory bodies and their role in the UN.</p> <p>The main risk addressed is the failure of political processes at the national and global levels to truly listen to scientific warnings about climate catastrophe, biodiversity collapse, pollution impacts and other environmental threats. While they do pay attention to scientists and adopt global goals for transforming the world in a more sustainable direction, they continue in practice with business as usual. The science of complex systems shows that all these risks are interlinked, and could lead to a complex catastrophe with major social and economic consequences as well. The interest created in improved global governance during the UN 75th anniversary could create opportunities to push this issue as part of wider UN reform. One early aim should be to give the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) the power to identify binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions that would be required to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement and to negotiate their equitable distribution.</p> <p>Given the difficulties in the UNFCCC and the number of governments that are turning away from multilateral action and even from accepting scientific realities, it will be a challenge to build support in some countries for strengthening scientific advisory mechanisms. Political will in too many countries is linked to powerful economic interests, political expediency and ideological positions that resist change, and decades of science advice have done little so far to alter this. There is also the common focus on short-term national interests in the political and diplomatic machinery of governance. </p> <p>However many other countries are setting objectives and targets, parts of the private sector see responding to the climate crisis as a good business opportunity, and consumers are shifting their life-styles and demand. Public acceptance of the changes required to respond to what science is revealing about the havoc done to natural systems is generally more widespread, especially among the young, as the calls for climate justice demonstrate. The potential is there for a widespread movement to accelerate change, both to bring the advice and knowledge of scientists more directly into global decision-making, and to work around the obstacles that some countries will certainly try to put in the way.</p> <p>One need is to move from science as the source only of negative news and warnings of disaster, to a source of positive solutions and visions of the better world that can emerge from the necessary economic and social transition. This can be coupled with ethical arguments around justice, equity, solidarity and moderation in lifestyles that can also build wider support in civil society, youth movements and faith-based organizations. Given the acceleration of the climate and biodiversity catastrophes, there is no rational alternative to the ultimate adoption of these proposals if we want a dignified life for future generations on this planet.</p> <p>Strengthening the role of independent scientific advice can increase the effectiveness of governance in the fundamental transformation required to move towards sustainability, and reduce the rapidly-accelerating costs of inaction. We need to develop arguments that listening to the knowledge that comes from science, and experience in the form of indigenous and local knowledge, leads to better outcomes, and build momentum for reform. Some countries are leading the way, and they will demonstrate that transformation is both possible and beneficial. Accelerating climate change impacts and the consequences of collapsing biodiversity will ultimately force governments to change their position, so making rational arguments now will facilitate this. There has already been a significant shift in public opinion in recent years, so further improvement in the next five years is certainly possible. The challenge is to channel that into institutional change at the global level, but there are also positive proposals for this that can gain momentum.</p> <p>For the IEF, as a small organization operating without funding, this will be implemented through:<br> - Information on our web site, newsletter and outreach to our members;<br> - Participation in major events in partnership with others (ebbf-Ethical Business Building the Future, Together First, Global Governance Forum, Baha’i International Community, etc), including at the United Nations and COP 26;<br> - Contributions to our major group, the Scientific and Technological organizations, in collaboration with the International Science Council;<br> - Preparation and distribution of statements on social media and in video clips;<br> - Contribution to on-line courses on climate change and other educational activities;<br> - Empowering our members and others to take action in their local communities.<br> We can only do a small part of what is required, and welcome partnerships to extend these activities.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Science and governance</h3> <p>As an organization predominantly of scientists, we see the importance of the science of complex systems and an integrated perspective on the multiple challenges facing the world, including the climate catastrophe, the biodiversity crisis, the degradation of natural resources and irresponsible approaches to pollution and wastes on the environmental side; inequality reflected in extremes of wealth and poverty, migration, fragmentation and extremism on the social side; and a materialistic economic system plundering the planet for the benefit of the few while leaving most of the population behind. We contributed to the formulation of the Earth Charter as well as the 2030 Agenda and actively support the Sustainable Development Goals. But scientific knowledge, by itself, does not change individual behaviour or guide system change. From our Bahá’í-inspired perspective, the ethical dimension of human values and a vision of a higher human purpose are required to motivate change and to bring people to accept short-term sacrifices for the long-term common good, learning to live within planetary boundaries. We see changing values as fundamental to progress, and scientific and ethical approaches as complementary. We need to create momentum from many stakeholders beyond the scientific community for a strong voice for science in UN reform and responding to the climate crisis.</p> <p>For environmental risks such as the climate crisis and the collapse of biodiversity, natural science is the primary warning mechanism, allowing us to learn of the impacts of our actions, but it still has too little impact on decision-making in the UN or on fundamental systems change as required by the 2030 Agenda. We need to work to change this. Two of our members shared in the 2018 New Shape Prize of the Global Challenges Foundation for their proposals on global governance, and many of our members are scientists working at the science-policy interface, so we can speak from experience. We also have an interest and experience in strengthening the role of science at the local level, building local responsibility, resilience and innovation.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Strengthening science in policy-making</h3> <p>Some of the most urgent global crises today are environmental, including climate change, biodiversity loss, chemical and plastic pollution, and resource destruction, in which scientific knowledge plays a defining role. Yet scientific advisory processes are fragmented, limited in scope, and often with little impact on policy and decision-making, whether at the local, national or global levels of governance. Greta Thunberg’s message has been to listen to the science. We propose that the partners in Together First launch a dialogue with all the relevant stakeholders on how to create scientific and technology assessment processes where they do not exist and to increase the effectiveness of those that are already in place in contributing to better governance of catastrophic environmental risks. This could ultimately lead to institutional changes to incorporate scientific advice more comprehensively into governance at all levels.</p> <p>One of the significant failures of governance in the modern era is the inadequacy of arrangements to ensure that scientific advice is properly considered in policy-making. Few politicians have scientific or technical training, scientific reports are often not in the most accessible language or easiest to access, and for most decision-makers, scientific information about environmental risks, if available, is just one factor to be weighed against political, economic or ideological interests which usually take precedence. Even the concepts of expertise, independent scientific knowledge and truthfulness are increasingly questioned. Determining what is true or correct becomes a matter of political expediency.</p> <p>Risk identification and assessment is largely a scientific process, and scientific research is generally the human activity that first identifies new risks. One problem at present is the long time it takes for research to be undertaken and formally published, confirmed by other research, communicated effectively to the public and decision-makers, accepted as requiring a response despite resistance from special interests that may be harmed by any action taken, incorporated into the necessary institutions and regulations, and effectively enforced at the global level, while problems are accelerating. The latter steps in this process are still weak if not entirely lacking in present global governance. Scientific advisory processes need to be built into every relevant part of the UN system. This proposal would help to build momentum for improvements in this area, reinforcing the many other efforts that need to go in the same direction.</p> <p>While the focus of this proposal is on the climate crisis as one of the most urgent priorities, the resulting strengthening of the science-policy interface in the UN and other international organizations will serve as a model for a similar response to other threats such as pandemics and the rise of anti-microbial resistance. Similar scientific advisory mechanisms are needed to protect human health, building on what already exists in the World Health Organization, but extending them where necessary to risks not yet adequately covered. In particular, what needs strengthening is the use of that science to adopt binding regulations at the global level, and to provide the means for enforcement.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Reforming global governance</h3> <p>The failings to consider science in policy making at the national level are even more apparent internationally, where governments jockey for power and influence, if not dominance, in the political and economic anarchy of sovereign nations and multinational corporations. This is not to deny the important roles of science internationally, with global research programmes, international scientific assessments including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), scientific advisory mechanisms under various multilateral agreements, and many scientific and technological organizations (including IEF) accredited to the United Nations as a major group. The problem is more the disconnect between the available scientific information and the actions taken by governments, businesses and other actors. For example, despite more than 30 years of increasingly pressing warnings about greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, and commitments by governments to take action through the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, among others, emissions are still rising, fossil fuel companies plan major increases in exploration and production, and the damaging results of global heating are accelerating. Voluntary agreements and the good will of some actors are outweighed by those profiting from business as usual, as shown by failures at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP25) in Madrid.</p> <p>The only solution, in a globalized world and economy hitting if not overshooting planetary boundaries, is more effective global governance. Yet the UN is increasingly seen as ineffective, multilateralism is often denigrated, and many countries are retreating within their borders under populist and nativist pressures and a rise of autocratic if not despotic rulers. The forces of disintegration, coupled with the climate crisis, represent existential threats to human society. The countervailing forces of integration are not yet sufficient to power the necessary fundamental transformation in human society called for in the UN 2030 Agenda.</p> <p>To address this challenge and to stimulate widespread discussion of the ways forward, Augusto Lopez-Claros, Arthur L. Dahl and Maja Groff (the latter two members of IEF) have written “Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century”, being published by Cambridge University Press on 23 January 2020. They consider the deficiencies in the UN going back to its creation 75 years ago, and propose the reforms necessary to make it fit to address not only peace and security, but also all the problems that have emerged since its founding, many of which are best understood from a scientific perspective. The proposals extend to the global level those elements of governance that are generally taken for granted at the national level, with legislative, executive and judicial functions and means of enforcement, and they won the New Shape Prize of the Global Challenges Foundation in 2018.</p> <p>In brief, the General Assembly would have proportional representation, and the capacity to adopt binding legislation on global issues including peace, security and the global environment. An Executive Council with a management function for the UN system would replace the Security Council, and oversee an International Peace Force. The International Court of Justice would have binding jurisdiction, complemented by the International Criminal Court, an Anti-corruption Court, and a Human Rights Tribunal. Various scenarios are discussed for ways forward. If some present Permanent Members block UN Charter revision, then a Charter replacement conference could be held to establish a new and more effective organization, which could then merge with those parts of the present system worth preserving. Once an international legislative process is in place, the way would be open to adopt coherent legislation for environmental issues like climate change, biodiversity loss, chemical management, and protection and management of the global commons.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Scientific advisory processes</h3> <p>The book makes several proposals to formalize scientific inputs to drafting legislation and other elements of global governance. Scientific advisory processes would be strengthened and made more coherent, building on the present IPCC, IPBES and scientific advisory bodies under the various conventions, with direct links to the General Assembly. A science office in the UN would provide authoritative advice on the state of the planet, and monitor trends, planetary boundaries, and system interactions.</p> <p>A strong technology assessment process would be added to consider issues such as geoengineering for climate change mitigation; the threats to biodiversity from the release of genetically-modified organisms and new creations; the impacts of present and proposed releases of chemicals, plastics, nanomaterials and other novel substances; access to and security of information and communications technologies, and their misuse in damaging manipulations of public opinion; and uses of artificial intelligence, among others. It would assess their risks, and propose legislation to the General Assembly that would be required to minimize risks and encourage beneficial uses. For example, an independent science-based global mechanism is needed to review research in the field of genetic modification, to screen proposals to release GMOs into the environment, to authorize those that meet essential criteria of safety and usefulness, and to monitor releases for unexpected side effects, just as is done with medicines. Global governance must provide for the capacity to use this scientific advice to regulate and if necessary prohibit technologies with substantial risks, applying the precautionary principle.</p> <p>A second Chamber for Civil Society would be created, advisory to the General Assembly, building on the present major groups and stakeholders, and formalizing their role in considering the global common good and the views of multiple stakeholders as inputs to the legislative process. In this chamber, the scientific and technological community would be able to interact with other groups and explore innovative solutions to problems as they arise.</p> <p>These science-based reforms would give the UN the capacity to identify and hopefully manage global catastrophic risks. A global consultative process operating on the basis of scientific evidence and driven by considerations of the public global interest (rather than allegiance to narrower priorities based on national sovereignty) would change the current dynamic of large-scale inertia on the part of governments and help them to rise to confront the critical problems that we face.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Global governance of the environment</h3> <p>Global environmental challenges demonstrate the need for a strengthened global capacity for environmental governance, whether in one or several specialized agencies, supported by international scientific advisory and technology assessment processes designed to be protected from partisan national interests and industrial lobbying. This should cover climate change and ocean acidification, energy, atmospheric pollution, dangerous chemicals, wastes such as plastics impacting the environment and human health, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the global dimension of natural resources management. Some flexibility will be needed to take on new environmental risks that may be identified in the future. The many existing environmental programs, conventions and other bodies should be gradually integrated into this framework, retaining their competences and successes while reducing fragmentation and overlap. There will be a growing need for environmental restoration, requiring a global agency for knowledge sharing, technical assistance, and financial support to repair the damage done to our life support systems by the pillage of our planet by past and present economic activities.</p> <p>One requirement of environmental governance is ensuring that the scientific input to policy-making is adequate and independent, that the risks and uncertainties are presented correctly, and that sufficient attention is devoted to long-term as well as short-term societal priorities. This requires coordinated and sustained research, monitoring and scientific advisory procedures appropriate to each environmental process, with structures for multilevel governance at the scales most relevant to each characteristic or problem. Decision-makers also need to be scientifically literate to be able to understand scientific advice.</p> <p>Climate change is a complex and diffuse risk that has long seemed somehow to lie outside short-term priorities. Because of its political sensitivity and economic implications, scientists have tended to make conservative evaluations of the scientific data, while there have been unanticipated accelerations in various scientifically-monitored processes. It is not easy to assess the probability of tipping points beyond which runaway processes become uncontrollable and with timing that is uncertain. For climate change, science will need to determine the planetary limits for greenhouse gas concentrations as the basis for negotiations on the allocations for each country to respect those limits, as only objective science can provide a sufficient basis for the difficult sharing of responsibilities to return within those limits. The “Global Governance” book also discusses climate-induced migration, adaptation, ocean acidification, and the energy transition.</p> <p>Similar scientific assessment processes will be needed for other global risks, such as global pollution risks from chemicals and nuclear radiation, the management of plastics and other persistent wastes, and the need to remain within other planetary environmental boundaries such as for biogeochemical cycles. The atmosphere, its composition and contaminants need to be monitored. Global governance of dangerous chemicals including pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and endocrine disrupters, will be an obvious area to develop, producing considerable economies in overlapping national testing and regulatory processes, and filling gaps where countries do not have the technical means to manage such dangerous products.</p> <p>Science needs to guide the management and equitable distribution of the planet’s natural resources and sources of energy. Global dimensions of land use, freshwater supplies, the atmosphere and the oceans will eventually need to be covered. Accounting systems need to include natural resources, assets and processes as global natural capital to be maintained for planetary sustainability, with only the interest on that capital considered an available economic resource. This will require groups of experts of the greatest knowledge and confidence, similar to those making up the IPCC, in all the relevant domains.</p> <p>Another issue is biosphere integrity, and the need for a coherent approach to the protection and ultimately restoration of the biological heritage of the planet and the integrity of the biosphere on which we all depend for survival. This includes both the functional diversity of ecosystems and life support systems, and genetic diversity represented by species and genetic resources. Saving what is left and eventually trying to restore essential ecosystems will require international efforts beyond the national capacity of many countries. Global levels of coordination, scientific research and advice, and often financial support, will be necessary to assist countries to preserve what is left of their natural heritage.</p> <p>The book also covers the challenges presented by population growth, carrying capacity, age distribution and migration. A scientific foundation is needed for the larger issues of the human carrying capacity of the planet, the relationship of population to resources, and questions of population concentration and movement.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Focus on the climate crisis</h3> <p>The climate crisis is, together with the linked collapse of biodiversity, the most urgent environmental catastrophic risk. Despite the best efforts of governments through the UNFCCC, informed by the IPCC, government action is inadequate if not actively negative. The progress in building a spirit of multilateralism to address this issue that reached its peak with the signing of the Paris Agreement ((PA) in 2015 is dwindling, as the failure of COP25 to make significant progress shows. The analysis of countries’ announced voluntary commitments shows they are vastly insufficient to reach the objectives of the PA. We must push for the next step to binding and enforceable reductions in emissions by strengthening this dimension of global governance.</p> <p>Climate change, biodiversity loss, resource destruction and pollution are destroying the carrying capacity of the planet and represent existential threats that must constrain human activity and impacts. Business as usual is suicidal, as the youth are crying in the streets. This is not an issue that should be subject to political compromise, like only half shooting yourself in the head. We must shut down damaging activities now to prevent further environmental destruction, before addressing the damage now done and eventually restoring the planet’s carrying capacity in the future. Of course, this means transforming everything from energy and transport systems to food production, industrial processes and infrastructure, not to mention individual lifestyles, but the costs will be less than the damage now occurring, and this will boost the economy despite the pain of the transition.</p> <p>The climate crisis is an existential threat. Governments decided together in Paris to set a goal of well-below 2 degrees and preferably 1.5° of global heating. This is a values-based choice informed by science but also by the experienced reality of all those living on low islands, among others. It is essential that governments show that they are trustworthy and keep the agreements they have made, strengthening the rule of law. The recent failure of COP25 to make significant progress on finalising the last elements of the PA’s rule book and urging for strong upgrading of mitigation ambition in countries final PA commitments to be shared in 2020 shows how important this year will be. Certainly the threat of ecological havoc argues for stronger global governance, but we need a more organic pathway towards gaining the trust of the people to accept such a system. The present trend is to reject multilateralism, and as governments discredit themselves, citizens will turn more and more against any authority whatsoever. Their fundamental trust in scientists, public servants, and leaders has to be re-established. </p> <p>The IPCC has emphasized the urgency of action on climate change, so all avenues need to be pursued simultaneously. While action at the global level is lagging, implementation at the national and local levels must be the foundation for further action. Ultimately international law must be strengthened as the only solution to bring the planet back to a habitable space for human society.</p> <p>The immediate concern is getting the current Paris Agreement implemented, not so much through one fix at the global level, but through an organic change from bottom up. The willingness to subject national self-interest to the common global good must grow from both leaders and citizens. The focus should be on multilevel governance and on ensuring national policy processes take international commitments seriously, requiring more than a legal perspective. We need open and transparent governance and implementation, with connections between and across layers of governance. Political will is mostly lacking and requires pressure from the public. The gaps are at the community and national levels where work is needed. The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals provide a broader framework beyond the Paris Agreement, within which we should work, integrating the social, economic and environmental dimensions. We need consultations among people and national and local governments. How do we identify our own responsibility regarding the global carbon budget? What is fair? What is possible? These are questions that we all need to discuss at every level and identify the underlying core ethical principles. What is important now is institutionalising an open participatory process to do this in every country.</p> <p>Given the urgency of action on climate change, everyone in the world needs to be informed. Even the small impact of an organization like ours, with messages that resonate with people’s values and motivation, may help to increase consciousness of the worst climate risks. If this can become a theme across many other partners, it could have significant impact. The advent of any major crisis would make decision-makers and the public more receptive to these messages if they have heard them in advance. </p> <p>The well-grounded scientific advice from the IPCC provides an objective basis for setting planetary limits for greenhouse gas concentrations, but it does not have a mandate to propose solutions. The institutional challenge is to turn the planetary boundary into binding emissions limits for each country and other relevant entities such as corporations. Mechanisms for determining the criteria for responsibility and allocating shares equitably are the next step forward in strengthening the global response to the climate crisis.</p> <p>The requirement that governance decisions need to take into account objective realities as defined by science provides an additional measure of accountability. Everyone can see whether the actions taken will deliver what science requires, or fall short. In the case of the climate crisis, it was already obvious in the Paris Agreement that the announced Nationally Determined Contributions to greenhouse gas reductions would fall far short of the goal set in the Agreement and a ratcheting mechanism was incorporated in the Agreement to pressure governments to increase their commitments in subsequent periods. Such voluntary mechanisms are clearly not up to the challenge that climate change represents. The next steps need to be to allocate reduction targets to countries based on the science and agreed principles, and then to make meeting those targets binding, with penalties for falling short, in a more strict form of accountability.</p> <p>The pressures on populations from the impacts of climate change can lead to conflict and political violence. Prolonged drought in Syria drove rural populations to the cities, identified as one of the causes of the prolonged Syrian conflict. If plans are not made to anticipate and organize the massive displacements of coastal populations from sea level rise, and people fleeing drought and extreme heat that will make regions uninhabitable, conflict and violence are certain to increase massively. Adequate scientific assessment can identify the areas and people at risk, so that their forced displacement can be anticipated and organized without excessive human suffering. Efforts will also be needed to determine the countries with resources to receive these migrants and to educate the receiving populations to welcome them rather than reject them.</p> <p>Climate change is also one of the major threats to ecosystems and biodiversity around the world, with one estimate suggesting that 2°C of global heating would threaten 20 percent of global biodiversity, and a 4°C rise would exterminate half of the world’s biodiversity. The IPCC has already warned of the continuing collapse and possible extinction of coral reef ecosystems around the world. Climate action can also help to resolve the biodiversity crisis, beyond simply valuing and conserving nature. The third and fourth aspects of the 2050 vision under the Biodiversity Convention are sustainable use and restoration. At present, intensive agriculture is depleting soil carbon, while land conversion, deforestation and coastal development are destroying natural carbon sinks rich in biodiversity. A shift to sustainable use and even restoration can turn carbon sources back into sinks and remove carbon from the atmosphere. The available data on ecosystems and biodiversity are inadequate and much more difficult to collect, requiring significant investment in scientific research, monitoring and assessment to prevent crises being discovered too late to be corrected. A coherent multinational scientific assessment and advisory process for biodiversity building on the IPBES is thus a priority to be included in the effort to increase the use of science for global policy-making.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Climate governance</h3> <p>Climate change governance, because of the urgency and impact of the climate crisis, as well as the strong and objective scientific justification for action, could be the first step towards broader global governance reform. Once some trust is built in the equity and effectiveness of constraints on national sovereignty in the global common interest in this narrow area, the way will be open to extending the experience to other areas of global risk. </p> <p>Ultimately, the transformation towards a low-carbon society should be embodied and guided by new institutions of global governance, replacing national sovereignty by national autonomy, with institutions at the global, national and local community levels that work in a coherent and integrated way guided by subsidiarity as an essential principle for the allocation of responsibility. Governance should cover the economic system to ensure that it serves the common good, incorporating strong scientific advisory and technology assessment components to protect the planetary environment, and providing the ethical framework to guarantee human rights and institutions of service to society meeting everyone’s needs.</p> <p>What would be the aims of a global governance approach to the climate crisis? The science is clear on the impacts of greenhouse gases, the resulting global heating on the climate, and the global heating potential of each gas. There are also reasonable estimates of the emissions for each greenhouse gas, including carbon dioxide, from different types of human activities, and, therefore, of national contributions -- past, present, and projected -- to global heating. It is thus possible to set limits for greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere beyond which any particular acceptable level of human-induced global heating, presently estimated as 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level, would be exceeded. Model scenarios can calculate the emission reductions necessary to stay below that limit, or trajectories that might include overshooting the limit but then, by extracting gases from the atmosphere, come back to the limit. Of course, there are uncertainties around tipping points in the planetary climate system which could produce self-reinforcing feedbacks, such as releasing the methane stored in permafrost and undersea methane hydrates, resulting in runaway global heating. The precautionary principle requires that we avoid approaching such uncertain tipping points, although there is some evidence that we may already have passed the point of no return. New proposals for a Climate Risk Governance Commission could help to take the debate forward, lifting it above political and ideological debates.</p> <p>A global governance mechanism would need to determine an equitable allocation among countries of the reductions required to collectively respect global limits. This might include a consideration of historical contributions to the problem, present emission levels, the financial capacity to cover the costs of emission reductions and investment in alternatives, the technical capacity to plan and install alternatives, the governance capacity to manage and enforce the transition, the anticipated costs of adaptation to changes already underway that must be budgeted for, vulnerable populations to be protected, and the local availability of renewable energy resources that could be developed. Some consideration would also be needed to determine the liability of high emitting countries for the damage their emissions are causing to other countries. Liability and compensation are highly political issues with historically high emitters refusing to admit responsibility, knowing the financial consequences. The allocations of emission reductions so determined would need to be supported by binding global legislation, with incentives for desirable new investments and penalties for countries, corporations and other actors who fail to respect their allocated limits. This also means appropriate enforcement and dispute settlement mechanisms.</p> <p>There are other ethical and practical dimensions of the transition to more sustainable energy, food production, and industrial systems that will need to be considered. Countries with weak capacities will need to receive outside support in the common interest. Workers and communities that have depended on emitting industries and damaging activities for employment and income will need to have alternatives developed for them. There are always winners and losers in any change, and if the losers are not offered another way forward, they will resist the change. Major parts of most economies will need to be reoriented in new directions.</p> <p>Another role for global governance will be in organizing the adaptation of our planetary society to the climate changes already underway, in anticipating their consequences, in acknowledging the need for solidarity with the victims, and in acting preventively to reduce human suffering. A sea level rise of half a meter is already locked in, even if strict emission targets are met. Thus, some island nations will become uninhabitable and disappear, and around the world many coastal populations will be displaced. Organizing the moving and settlement of displaced populations with no hope of return, estimated at hundreds of millions, will be a global challenge. Where is there room to receive them? How will new communities be built for them? What employment opportunities can be created for them? How can their cultures and social capital be safeguarded? Who will pay for all this? The rich have caused the problem, and the poor are the first victims.</p> <p>From the perspective of building better global governance, addressing the climate crisis could be an important precursor. The scientific evidence is clear, the ethical responsibility evident, and the alternatives unthinkably catastrophic. Turning the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change into an institution with the capacity to adopt and enforce binding legislation and to negotiate the equitable sharing of responsibilities both for emissions limits and financial compensation, which would be a significant step beyond the 2015 Paris Agreement, could be the first example of just and effective global governance in one narrow area. As governments see the obvious benefits and the equitable sharing of costs from such an approach, and as they learn to trust each other as well as the supranational institutions that they create, a first step will be taken that could subsequently be enlarged to other domains requiring global governance. The European Union started as a simple coal and steel community before gradually expanding its scope. Action to prevent a climate catastrophe could serve as a similar example at the global level.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Building motivation</h3> <p>The environmental message from IEF will be that science identifies the planetary boundaries, the crossing of which has serious consequences. The international society has set clear objectives in the PA that would limit, but far from eliminate, these consequences and scientists have been asked to support this by laying out the possible pathways to reach those goals. However, science cannot be the moral compass to decide which pathways we should adopt. Science is a wonderful tool to enable us to become aware of how we are destroying the natural world and what kind of governing institutions would be effective, but it does not dictate what we should do. Societies do that together, based not only on scientific knowledge in its present exclusive connotation, but on a broader knowledge generation enterprise that should encompass all of humanity. The social, economic and environmental lines of action are complementary and mutually reinforcing. They all require a major effort at motivation, whether in building political will, listening to the science, or abandoning economic fetishes and false assumptions and turning dislocations to positive ends. We are collaborating with the Global Governance Forum in supporting its comprehensive proposals for reforming the UN system, including recommendations on scientific advisory processes and climate change.</p> <p>Our efforts will be asking how to use the accelerating crises (whatever they may be) to power positive change, to remove roadblocks and to enable the necessary transition. How do we reset our priorities to respond to the present challenges? How do we get from here to there? Our discourses will raise the questions to ask and the assumptions to challenge. We shall encourage learning from experiments, promote examples of working alternatives, and suggest positive directions for the future. Since there will be surprises ahead, we shall highlight the need to build resilience in all systems and communities. Can we reduce vulnerabilities in our food and water systems, our energy supplies and communications, our local economies and institutions? How do we give young people hope in the future and the motivation to work for positive change despite the difficulties? We shall target all levels, with a focus where our competencies lie at the local and global levels. In keeping with our purpose and expertise, we shall emphasize the complementarity of scientific and ethical/spiritual dimensions of the issues, and encourage collaboration with faith-based organizations.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Education for transformation</h3> <p>Any effective approach to governance needs to consider the role of education. Formal educational systems should teach a proper understanding of science, complex systems and integrated approaches, and ethical values that favour solidarity, cooperation and service to the common good.</p> <p>One foundation of science is the basic principle of access to knowledge for everyone. Education both conveys knowledge and teaches how to access it. Global governance must ensure that every person on the planet can acquire the knowledge needed to be a constructive and informed member of society. Every community should be invited to collect, preserve and transmit the knowledge of its history, culture, arts, science, agriculture and industries, and every nation has its own rich heritage. The advancement of science depends on the free exchange of knowledge, in which everyone, everywhere should participate. An evolving global civilization will increasingly reflect the knowledge required to live peacefully and sustainably on this planet.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Access to science</h3> <p>One specific issue that needs to be addressed is inequality in access to scientific information and to knowledge in general. The abuse of the concept of intellectual property by large multinational scientific publishing houses and other corporate interests for profit has resulted in the privatisation of the commons of scientific knowledge. If scientists want to publish their findings in reputable journals or books, they must sign away their intellectual property rights to the publisher while receiving no remuneration, only the recognition that comes from having their work read by others. In some cases, they must pay high page charges for open access. Peer reviewers also contribute their knowledge and judgment without any personal benefit as part of the open culture of science. </p> <p>Currently the major scientific publishers have bought up the journals of scientific societies and consolidated into a few large multinationals. Expensive books and journal subscriptions go only to the best-endowed university libraries. Individual scientists outside such institutions, or in economically disadvantaged countries that cannot afford to buy the literature, can access the scientific literature online, but only by paying a high fee to read each article, even those that they have authored, which is generally beyond their means. This recent privatization of scientific knowledge effectively restricts cutting-edge science to only the wealthiest countries and researchers in institutions. A new kind of scientific poverty is thus spreading around the world; this trend must be actively countered and reversed at the international level to ensure the steady advancement of science, access to knowledge in general, and innovation at the global level. There is a counter-movement toward open access, but it still covers only a fraction of the scientific literature, and not the most significant part.</p> <p>This has become a global problem and requires solution through improved global governance of scientific knowledge in the common interest. The response to many catastrophic risks will in many cases require diverse approaches at the local level adapted to each particular situation, for which local and regional scientific capacities need to be developed, supported by the flow of information from the global level. Science needs to be accessible to everyone.</p> <h3 style=" color: rgb(0, 153, 0);">Conclusions</h3> <p>While this proposal focusses on the short term, our vision includes all three time frames. In the short term, we encourage our members to work on community motivation at the local level and through their own networks, while trying to stimulate global discussion of the need for improved science-based global governance and UN system reform, profiting from UN@75, COP26 and the 50th anniversary in 2022 of the Stockholm Conference, for which environmental assessment was a major theme. In the medium term, the aim is to formalize scientific advisory processes in existing decision-making mechanisms, and especially to strengthen global governance for climate change as the best issue to leverage wider acceptance of scientific inputs to governance. The long-term focus is strengthening the rule of international law through UN system-wide reform incorporating scientific advice at the heart of global governance.</p> <p>There is an immediate need for a wide international debate on the role of science in governance at all levels, especially at the global level, for pressing environmental problems. Many of the proposals above can start to be implemented immediately without waiting for fundamental reform in the UN system. The scientific community itself can consider how to coordinate and improve its inputs to policy and decision-making processes, in collaboration with other civil society organizations. Other organizations can complement this by translating the scientific messages into more accessible language and taking them to their wider constituencies. For decades we have disregarded the warnings of science and the limits to growth. The planet itself is now telling us that time is now short and a fundamental transition is our only path to a sustainable society. </p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;"> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" width="142" height="66"></p> <p><small>Last updated 3 January 2020</small></p> </div> </div> Fri, 03 Jan 2020 11:36:05 +0000 admin 1023 at Key outcomes of COP25 climate talks <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Key outcomes of COP25 climate talks</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Arthur Dahl</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">20. December 2019 - 13:41</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><div style="text-align: center;"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> Key outcomes of COP25 climate talks</h2> </div> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <p>For those interested in the climate negotiations, the report by Climate Brief on the outcomes of the Madrid Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change gives an excellent review of the key outcomes:</p> <p><a href="">…</a></p> <p>The year 2020 will be extremely important for action on the climate crisis, as well as on biodiversity and on the future of global governance. </p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" height="66" width="142"></p> <p><small>Last updated 20 December 2019</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-blog-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> Fri, 20 Dec 2019 11:41:36 +0000 Arthur Dahl 1022 at The Crucial Role of Educators in Combating the Climate Crisis <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">The Crucial Role of Educators in Combating the Climate Crisis</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/6823" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="Rafael Amaral Shayani">Rafael Amaral …</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">16. December 2019 - 11:06</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"> <h2 style="text-align: center; color: rgb(0, 153, 0);"> The Crucial Role of Educators in Combating the Climate Crisis</h2> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>By IEF Member Rafael Amaral Shayani PhD, Professor of Electrical Engineering at University of Brasilia, Brazil </b></p> <hr> <p>Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions hit a new record in 2018, according to the UN Meteorological Agency (WMO) report for COP25, with the energy sector being one of the major emitters of GHGs. This situation raises reflections on the importance of university education in engineering and the role of professors in reversing this situation. </p> <p>It seems that concern about the climate crisis has yet to be mobilized throughout society. This crisis is one of great global proportions that can lead to important changes in temperature, and therefore, life on the planet. Nevertheless, GHG emissions continue to increase, as if the problem is far away and no immediate action is needed. </p> <p>The behavior of people who consider only short-term actions, without glimpsing at the effects in the medium or long terms, has been portrayed in several literature classics. For example, in HG Wells' (1866-1946) “War of the Worlds”, when newspapers report that Martians have attacked the Earth, the population continues its daily routine, believing that the problem will automatically be solved by Earth's gravity which is greater than that on Mars. Then the emergency occurs and affects everyone’s lives. Likewise, Franz Kafka (1883-1924) illustrates in "The Metamorphosis" the train of thought of a person who is suddenly metamorphosed into a cockroach. His biggest concern is being late for work, ignoring a huge and more important event that will affect his entire life. </p> <p>The Paris Agreement, signed at COP21 in 2015, draws our attention to the importance of integrated, holistic, and balanced non-market approaches; it also underlines the importance of capacity-building to combat climate change. This is aligned with educator’s goals that are to build the capacity of students! However, strong technical knowledge is not enough to reverse the climate crisis! Students need to develop a holistic and humanistic vision that is critical, reflective, creative, cooperative, and ethical; that contemplates innovative and entrepreneurial performance; that recognizes societal problems; that adopts multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary points of view; that considers global, political, economic, social, environmental, cultural, safety, and health aspects; and that is committed to social responsibility and sustainable development. Such qualities for students are cited in the new National Curriculum Guidelines for Brazilian Engineering Courses, updated in 2019, which calls for innovation in the teaching approach. </p> <p>The question is: how can students be motivated to apply their vast technical background to solve major problems in today’s society? The solution lies in deeply touching the student's innermost self, empowering them, and emphasizing their ability to solve social problems, thereby focusing on the human being, not just on technological development. We are not looking for the cheapest way to generate energy (which is often fossil fuels), but we want to generate energy in harmony with the environment! Teachers and professors can contextualize their classes by considering the UN Sustainable Development Goals so that students can learn how technical content studied in the classroom can be applied to everyday problems so as to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, generate clean energy, reduce climate change, preserve life, and promote peace and justice, as well as other goals of the 2030 Agenda. Such an approach will be a source of motivation for many students! </p> <p>The crucial role of every educator, related to the development of students, can be summarized in the words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá (1844-1921): “Teach them to dedicate their lives to matters of great importance, and inspire them to undertake studies that will benefit mankind”. Such is the role of a true educator: to inspire students to act for the benefit of humanity.</p> <hr style="width: 100%; height: 2px;" /> <div style="text-align: center;"> <p><img src="/gr/IEFlogo5.gif" height="66" width="142"></p> <p><small>Last updated 16 December 2019</small></p> </div> </div> <section class="field field--name-field-blog-comments field--type-comment field--label-above comment-wrapper"> </section> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Blog tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/290" hreflang="en">Education</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/267" hreflang="en">Climate change</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 16 Dec 2019 09:06:53 +0000 Rafael Amaral Shayani 1019 at