When the pandemic struck, many countries were quick to close their borders, turning inward in the scramble to protect lives and livelihoods. Sadly, the crisis has done little to bond nations against this shared, invisible foe – in some cases, blame for the outbreak and rows over responses actually exacerbating geopolitical tensions.
However, some effects of COVID-19 may yet unite us, in the profound ways the disease has impacted almost every part of life across the planet, giving us a rare opportunity to pause and consider how we live. News of an effective vaccine makes the prospect of a ‘return to normality’ more hopeful but have these dramatic accelerations in existing trends already changed how we travel, work, and consume, and the face of our cities for good?… Seguir leyendo »
The leaders of the G20 have endorsed the concept of the ‘circular carbon economy’ (CCE) as a way to promote economic growth and manage emissions in all sectors.
Championed by Saudi Arabia under its presidency of the G20, the CCE is framed as an extension of the circular economy and adds a new category – remove – to the established principles of reduce, reuse, recycle (the 3Rs) referring to removing carbon dioxide (CO2) both at the combustion stage and directly from the atmosphere.
Removed from reality?
The CCE purports to include a wide range of technologies, but at its heart, the CCE agenda is a renewed push for technologies to remove and store CO2, and to turn that stored CO2 into value-added products.… Seguir leyendo »
Historically, Iraq lay claim to one of the most abundant water supplies in the Middle East. But the flow of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers has reduced by up to 40% since the 1970s, due in part to the actions of neighbouring countries, in particular Turkey, upstream.
Rising temperatures and reduced rainfall due to climate change are also negatively impacting Iraq’s water reserves. Evaporation from dams and reservoirs is estimated to lose the country up to 8 billion cubic metres of water every year.
A threat to peace and stability
Shortages have dried up previously fertile land, increasing poverty in agricultural areas.… Seguir leyendo »
Mass human displacement crises like those in Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Myanmar do not dissipate within a year or two. The average age of a refugee camp globally is 18 and counting.
Meanwhile, the pressures on resources and services in neighbouring countries absorbing an influx of vulnerable people can be harsh. Imagine the overstressed schools and hospitals where intake has doubled in areas of Jordan and Lebanon, and the damage to ecosystems and elephant habitats where camps have sprung up in Bangladesh.
The fallout from such crises is prompting new ways of working in the international humanitarian system. These recognize that short-term, emergency responses can jeopardize national development goals if maintained indefinitely.… Seguir leyendo »
In August, frustrations over crippled public services, drought and unemployment in Al-Basra governorate boiled over. The acute cause was a water contamination crisis. By the end of October, hospital admissions of those suffering from poisoning exceeded 100,000 according to health officials. Crops and animals in the rural areas have been severely affected by lack of water and current levels of salinity, with thousands migrating to Basra city.
The unrest continues, stoked by local and regional tensions, and even threatens the export of oil from Iraq’s only deep water port, Umm Qasr. But the crisis of water governance that triggered it endangers more than oil, and will exacerbate problems of child health, migration and interstate conflict.… Seguir leyendo »
Ireland currently has an €8 billon national investment fund with an estimated €300 million invested in fossil fuel shares. Under the bill, the government will be required to sell its investments in fossil fuels. How significant is this in terms of Ireland’s stocks and shares in non-renewable energy?
This decision relates to Ireland’s national investment fund which has specific objectives like making investments that have a positive economic impact. The new bill is the result of civil society and multi-party support for the idea that the investments in fossil fuels are in conflict with Ireland’s commitment to the 2015 Paris climate change agreement.… Seguir leyendo »
At the One Planet Summit in Paris last week, the World Bank Group announced that, from 2019, it will no longer finance upstream oil and gas. This reflects the Bank’s decision to realign its development assistance with climate commitments. But how does this square with the priorities of those countries that want to use their fossil fuels to drive economic growth and improve access to energy? And can it meaningfully affect CO2 emissions, when alternative sources of investment and assistance are still available for oil and gas development?
Between 2000 and 2015, around $4.8 billion of official development assistance went to upstream oil and gas development, and $22.2 billion to (often-linked) thermal power generation.… Seguir leyendo »
While receding from the headlines over the last two years, the human and political costs of the refugee crisis in Greece have only risen. This summer, thousands of people in Chios and Samos island encampments remain exposed to disease, violence, mental deterioration as well as searing heat. Athens is suffering from growing homelessness, abuse and trafficking problems as people’s asylum or relocation claims are rejected or they avoid registration in fear of deportation to Turkey. Charities working on the ground including Medecins sans Frontieres refer to conditions as ‘dire’ and ‘inhumane’.
Yet the humanitarian response in Greece beginning in 2015 is considered one of the most expensive in history.… Seguir leyendo »