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Russia Responsible For 6.9% of World’s Carbon Dioxide Emissions Since 1850

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According to data from the Union of Concerned Scientists, Russia ranks fourth in the world for annual carbon emissions.

But if overall emissions since the pre-Industrial period are taken into account, Russia moves to third place, behind the United States and China, Carbon Brief said.

In total, Russia has emitted around 170 billion tons of CO2 in the past 170 years, Carbon Brief’s analysis said.

“Historical responsibility for climate change is at the heart of debates over climate justice,” Carbon Brief wrote.

This year’s Carbon Brief analysis includes emissions from land use and forestry, two key sectors of Russia’s economy, for the first time. About one-third of Russia’s emissions are linked to these areas.

While fossil fuels and construction have been taking up an increasing share of global carbon emissions since the 1950s, land use and forestry remain large sources of emissions.

The analysis comes ahead of the COP26 climate conference, which climate scientists say will prove critical in securing commitments to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial levels and avoiding catastrophic ecological consequences.

Despite making up 10% of the world’s population, industrialized nations have contributed 39% in overall carbon emissions since 1850, Carbon Brief said.

Meanwhile, developing countries are responsible for 23% of emissions while making up 42% of the global population.

Industrialized countries (the U.S., Germany, Russia, the U.K., Japan and Canada) top the Carbon Brief ranking both for annual emissions and per-capita emissions. In contrast, China, India, Brazil and Indonesia’s per-capita emissions are much lower due to their large populations but still account for high overall emissions.

Russia has yet to commit to any new major climate reforms ahead of COP26, which is due to start in three weeks.

Six of the top 10 carbon emitting nations have yet to present their more ambitious climate strategies as required under the Paris Agreement.

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Environment

U$280Billion Needed To Fix Climate Change Effects In Kenya, S.Africa, Ethiopia

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Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa will need to spend a total of U$280billion in the next thirty years to fix climate change challenges.

According to a new research study released on Monday, investments of about $280 billion will be needed to cope with the effects of climate change in 35 cities in South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia by 2050.

The research was conducted by the Coalition for Urban Transitions (CUT), that advises governments on economic development and climate change.

“Africa’s urban development is likely to confront unprecedented biophysical risks,” the group said.

“Three pillars will be crucial for low-carbon, climate-resilient urban development: compact urban growth, connected infrastructure, and clean technologies.”

The group observed that Africa is the fastest urbanizing continent and also the hardest hit by global warming.

Africa’s urban population increased 20-fold between 1950 and 2015 to some 567 million people, making “efficient and inclusive urban planning extremely difficult,” according to the report.

A further 950 million people are expected to live in African cities by 2050.

South Africa will need U$215 billion in investment in its cities, Kenya U$27 billion and Ethiopia U$42 billion, the report found.

While it’s a large sum, the investment in the 35 centers with over 250,000 inhabitants each would deliver $1.1 trillion in benefits, with Johannesburg accounting for $260 billion of that and Nairobi $100 billion.

Trillions of dollars of investment will be needed across the continent, the group said. Impediments to raising the capital include “weak municipal creditworthiness and inefficient revenues collection mechanisms,” it said. “Mobilizing finance at scale will necessitate that the regulatory and financial frameworks and policies are reformed rapidly to unlock investment in cities.”

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Environment

DRC’s Conservation Chief Resigns From ICCN

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Reports reaching Taarifa confirm that Cosma Wilungula, Director General of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) temporarily suspended by his supervisory authority, has just resigned from his post.

In a correspondence which he addressed respectively to the President and to the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr. Wilungula said his decision to resign was triggered by an unhealthy climate which has developed between him and his supervisers saying makes it impossible for him to serve his country.

“I note that by this unhealthy climate which is developing between this ministerial authority towards myself, I can no longer continue to serve my country in this post for the time being. That’s why, I personally judged to present my resignation to you as CEO of ICCN ”, he explained his decision.

Wilungula also returned to the accusations against him which earned him the preventive suspension.

“The serious breaches of regulatory duties and mismanagement are in no way justified because, in fact, during my mandate I have never been the subject of disciplinary action, let alone any disciplinary sanction whatsoever”, he noted.

In his letter of resignation, the director general still praises his sixteen years of management of this public establishment.

“I left the ICCN at the level where, despite sporadic state subsidies, but with the tireless support of partners, under my aegis, we achieved several records that there is no need for everything indicate here, but including the most recent for illustration, the electrification of a large part of the province of North Kivu, by the creation of four hydroelectric power stations and the removal of the Salonga National Park from the world heritage list in danger,” he said.

A few days ago, Eve Bazaiba, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, set up a joint commission to rule on the case of Cosma Wilungula, and later suspended him.

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Environment

Ecological Governance Boosts Fight Against Climate Change

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I report, “Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis”, which was released on Aug 9, is the most authoritative study on climate change, and will help improve global environmental governance and prompt countries to negotiate climate treaties.

The IPCC report is expected to be high on the agenda of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in October-November.

Compared with the previous IPCC reports, the latest one emphasises that many of the impacts of human activities on climate change are irreversible, indicating that the global fight against climate change needs to be strengthened to prevent further damage to the environment.

Natural disasters and extreme weather events such as cyclones, unusually heavy downpours, record high temperatures and uncontrollable forest fires have become more frequent in recent years due to climate change.

To combat climate change, the European Union, Canada, Chile, Fiji and other economies have enacted climate change policies and set specific carbon emission targets.

On Sept 22, 2020, while addressing the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Xi Jinping said China will increase its nationally determined contributions (which according to the Paris Agreement embody a country’s efforts to reduce national emissions and adapt to climate change), and take measures to ensure its carbon emissions peak before 2030 and realise carbon neutrality before 2060.

Compared with other countries, China’s intervening period between peak emissions and carbon neutrality is shorter. So China has to make arduous efforts to achieve the two goals.

China has included the two goals into national development plans and policy documents, such as the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035; the Guiding Opinions on the Coordination and Strengthening of the Work related to Climate Change and Ecological Environment Protection; and the Notice on Implementing Pilot Environmental Impact Assessment of Carbon Emission of Construction Projects in Key Industries issued by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Also, some provinces have worked out road maps and action plans for reducing emissions. For example, Zhejiang province has devised a peak carbon neutralisation scientific and technological innovation action plan, Hebei province has worked out a plan called “Measures for Coordinating and Strengthening Work Related to Climate Change and Ecological Environment Protection”, and Chongqing municipality has made carbon emissions a part of the environmental impact evaluation and included it in the criteria to grant pollution discharge permits.

China’s national carbon emissions trading system, which officially started operations on July 16, has the potential to play a key role in achieving China’s long-term climate goals-of peaking emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060.

Under the guidance of the government, Chinese companies are making greater efforts to reduce emissions, with many companies in the energy generating and household appliance manufacturing sectors working out their road maps to achieve their respective targets of carbon neutrality.

And many retail companies and other organisations have introduced incentive plans to motivate consumers to buy energy-saving and low-carbon products to boost green consumption and encourage a low-carbon lifestyle.

All this in order to help the country achieve its climate targets as soon as possible.

To achieve “net-zero emissions”, however, China will need to undergo a profound economic and social transformation. And to choose the right path to carbon neutrality, China should reform key industries such as energy, transportation and construction, modify the production and consumption structure, and upgrade the technological standards.

As for specific measures, the role of the economy and the rule of law should be given full play by, for instance, improving laws, standard systems and government supervision, strengthening the market mechanisms including the green certificates and carbon emissions trading systems, and increasing publicity and education.

To better tackle climate change, we need the joint efforts of governments, NGOs, businesses, and people around the world. However, due to their different interests, political systems and technology development levels, many countries have not taken adequate, effective measures to combat climate change.

As Inger Anderson, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said at a news conference on Aug 9, only 110 of the 191 signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have submitted new or updated nationally determined contributions ahead of the Glasgow climate conference.

In addition, exchanges and cooperation among countries in terms of funding, technology and human resources related to climate change also need to be strengthened to boost the global fight against climate change.

 

Yue Xiaohua is an associate professor at the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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