Australia has been burning for more than two months. Sobering images show summer vacationers sheltering from the flames while awaiting rescue, the burned wreckage of homes and businesses, and the charred bodies of kangaroos and koalas. The fires are leading to political controversy over the Australian government’s refusal to acknowledge the climate change threat — and what Australia should do about it.
Climate change has contributed to the devastation
Australia’s landmass is nearly the size of the contiguous United States, and fires this year have consumed some 25 million acres — slightly less than the size of Indiana, and far more acreage than the devastating fires in California or Brazil last year.… Seguir leyendo »
The latest round of global climate negotiations just concluded in the coal city of Katowice, Poland. This was the 24th meeting of the “conference of the parties” (COP) to the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change — and the most important meeting since COP 21, the 2015 Paris agreement.
What was at stake?
This year’s negotiations were about finalizing the “Paris rule book” — and they somewhat miraculously did, with an accord on the rules finally reached Saturday.
The Paris agreement ushered in a different approach to reducing greenhouse gases, after previous false starts. Unlike the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, where diplomats collectively negotiated emissions-reduction targets, the Paris agreement asked countries to come forward with their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) — their best offers of emissions reductions they thought they could achieve.… Seguir leyendo »
California hosted the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last week in an effort to galvanize stronger commitments to address climate change in advance of this fall’s critical climate negotiations in Poland.
With President Trump’s 2017 announcement of the intended departure of the United States from the 2015 Paris agreement and news that countries are underperforming on their Paris commitments, the summit was intended to recharge the climate community. Cities, regions and companies would move forward with ambitious commitments to reduce emissions, and then national governments would follow suit.
Nonstate actors can lead, but they need the support of national governments.… Seguir leyendo »
In Australia, Scott Morrison was sworn in as prime minister (PM) on Friday night, after an internal party revolt that led to the downfall of Malcolm Turnbull, who had been PM since September 2015. Conservative backbenchers within Turnbull’s own right-leaning Liberal party rejected his proposal to address climate change through an emissions-reduction target, and challenged his leadership.
Why is climate such a politically explosive issue in Australia? Depending on whose count, this is the third or seventh time that an Australian prime minister has been brought down by climate issues.
Australia is quite vulnerable to climate change, but complicated domestic politics have prevented the country from addressing the problem.… Seguir leyendo »
On May 23, the World Health Organization elected a new director-general (DG): Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, known as Tedros. The first DG from an African nation, he is also the first nonmedical doctor to lead the organization. With a doctorate in public health, he served as Ethiopia’s health minister from 2005 to 2012 and foreign minister from 2012 to 2016.
This is a fraught moment in WHO’s history, given the organization’s budget crisis — and criticism during the 2014 Ebola crisis. Can Tedros succeed?
A switch in WHO elections
Tedros, who succeeds Margaret Chan from China as DG, made his name leading Ethiopia’s efforts to stem deaths from malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS and maternal mortality.… Seguir leyendo »