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Nigeria, Malawi Leaders Slam The West at COP26

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and his Malawian counterpart Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera (pictured above) have directly blamed the western rich nations for their historical responsibility on African continent.

The leaders were speaking at the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference being held in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom. Nearly 120 world leaders gathered in Glasgow on Monday to address what scientists and health experts say is the world’s biggest crisis: climate change.

This COP26 summit brings parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

President Buhari and President Chakwera from Malawi stood out at the opening of the Summit of Heads of State and Government at COP26.

For example, the President of Malawi, Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, who directly pointed the finger at the historical responsibility of developed countries for Southern Africa’s poor carbon performance.

South Africa is the continent’s largest CO2 emitter and among the world’s largest contributors, with almost 1.5% of global emissions.

The meeting came on the heels of a G20 summit that delivered, at best, mixed results on climate, with the leaders of the world’s richest countries failing to agree on key targets, such as a firm deadline for the end of coal power.

Landmark deal on forests

The first major commitment to emerge from the conference was a big one: more than 100 leaders, representing more than 85% of the world’s forests, agreed to end deforestation by 2030.

The deal will be officially announced Tuesday, but a UK government statement confirmed the deal late Monday.

Among the nations taking part in the pledge are Canada, Russia, Colombia, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which holds some of the world’s most important carbon sinks.

Crucially, Brazil also signed up. A deforestation crisis has ravaged the Amazon in recent years, putting one of the world’s most crucial natural defenses against climate change at risk, and the country’s President Jair Bolsonaro has been urged both at home and abroad to toughen his response.

Issues that stand in the way of progress

Trust: Forget talk of temperature rises or dirty coal. The real challenge facing negotiators at this key conference is the issue of trust, or the lack of it.

Credibility: Key to any success in Glasgow has to be the credibility of the host nation. France is generally seen as setting the bar for what a successful presidency looks like, when it hosted the Paris COP in 2015.The government’s strong commitment to the Paris goal of achieving net zero by 2050 – that is, to not add any more carbon emissions to the atmosphere than it can remove – creates credibility, he says.

Volume of work : One of the biggest challenges for this COP is the sheer volume of work. The postponement of last year’s meeting due to Covid is one cause, but it’s also because efforts to carry out the negotiations virtually haven’t worked. Delegates were happy to talk, but refused to take decisions until they met face to face.

The process itself: There is a growing sense among many participants that this UN negotiating process is no longer fit for purpose. The need for consensus from 197 parties, and the legalistic and technical nature of the talks, means there is, in reality, very little room for actual negotiations.

The spin: For months, politicians, negotiators and journalists have been arguing over what success at this conference looks like. This isn’t Paris in 2015 or Copenhagen in 2009, where deal/no deal made it very easy to tell if it was thumbs up or down. The UK’s stated aim to “keep 1.5C alive” – referring to the limit to the annual rise in average temperatures, compared to pre-industrial times. It is a handy sound bite that belies the massive shift in ambition required to achieve it.

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Environment

Rare African Elephant Twins Born in Northern Kenya

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For the first time in since 2006, incredibly rare African elephant twins have been born at Samburu national park a reserve in northern Kenya.

It is very rare for elephants to produce twins and according to scientists, twins form only 1% of all elephant births, as a mother does not usually have enough milk for two calves.

The birth of elephant twins came as a surprise to research and protection organisation Save the Elephants which monitors the family of elephants in the park.

Elephants have only a 1% chance of having twins, with most twin births occurring in wild African elephants, according to the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad.

The giant and intelligent mammals can have about four to five babies in their lifetime, and some species of elephants can be pregnant for a whopping 22 months.

The elephant world’s largest land animal, whose scientific name is elephas maximus, these ponderous pachyderms can grow can grow to more than 13 feet in height and weigh 7 tons.

Elephants are more than just genial giants; they are vital to the planet.

There is a day dedicated to their recognition – World Elephant Day on Aug.12, which is dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world’s elephants.

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Environment

Pacific Ocean Tonga Volcano Erupts

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The Australian Volcanic Ash Observation Centre has reported a major eruption of a volcano in Tonga, in the Pacific Ocean, north of New Zealand.

According to this monitoring centre, the most recent eruption of the volcano was recorded at 22:10 on Monday.

The information is corroborated by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which revealed that it recorded “big waves” in the region, presumably related to the volcano’s activity in the South Pacific.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai undersea volcano erupted on Friday, triggering a tsunami that affected the Pacific from Japan to Peru and the United States of America.

“The tsunami had a huge impact on the northern coast of Nuku’alofa”, the capital of Tonga, but there are no reports of casualties in the archipelago, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society estimates that at least 80,000 people have been affected in the archipelago.

The atmosphere in the region is covered with volcanic ash, there have been power cuts and communications failures, so New Zealand has announced the dispatch of a plane to assess the damage.

The impact of the eruption and the tsunami were felt globally, with different scales of intensity.

In Peru, two women died on a beach, because of “abnormal waves” caused by the volcano, more than 10,000 kilometers away.

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Environment

Rwanda Says Increased Sulphur In Air Not Linked To Nyiragongo Volcano

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Rwanda’s border district of Rubavu is currently suffocating with high levels of sulphur pollution in the air but government says it is not linked to the ongoing Nyiragongo volcanic activity.

Early this week, the Volcanic Observatory of Goma reported that Nyiragongo volcano was exiting various fumes, particulates and seismic activity causing panic in zones surrounding the mountain.

Across the border, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority deployed a team to assess the quality of the air in Rubavu District and the water quality of Lake Kivu.

This agency installed 6 additional mobile air quality monitoring units and took numerous samples from Lake Kivu. The findings indicate that water quality of Lake Kivu remains stable with no observable changes from the long term average.

Measurements show that the quality of the air in Rubavu District is currently unhealthy, with increased levels of particulate matter (PM 2.5) being recorded over the last three days.

While the air quality has worsened in recent days, this is likely the result of human activity such as pollution from motorised transport and wood and charcoal burning rather than volcanic activity, which would have led to increased levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2).

“Due to the poor air quality, residents in Rubavu District are encouraged to continue wearing masks and limit outdoor physical activity where possible,” REMA said in a statement.

 

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