Naturaleza (Continuación)

The NGO Major Group Organizing Partners have finalized their key document for the Rio+20 Summit. “TheFutureWeWant” outlines the common vision for “sustainable development” throughout the planet sought by those nongovernmental organizations – mostly social and environmental activist groups. There are many noble sentiments in its 283 statements. There also is much that raises serious concerns. “Sustainable,” “sustainability” and “sustainable development” appear in the text an astounding 390 times. Like “abracadabra,” these amorphous words are supposed to transform even corrupt societies into Gardens of Eden under United Nations auspices. They will use less, pollute less, be sustainable, get along and save species and the entire planet from their worst enemy: human beings.…  Seguir leyendo »

Latin American and Caribbean governments have a huge opportunity to safeguard the future well-being and prosperity of people across the region during the Rio de Janeiro meeting this week at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

The conference will seek an agreement among both rich and poor countries about how to achieve the three goals of promoting economic growth and overcoming poverty, increasing social justice and reducing inequality, and protecting and nurturing the environment and the global commons, such as the oceans and the atmosphere.

However, there have been some suggestions that these three objectives are “in tension,” and that success in achieving one requires the sacrifice of another.…  Seguir leyendo »

In June 1992, world leaders, including President George Bush, agreed to combat climate change at the Earth Summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro. This week, at “Rio+20,” leaders, experts and activists will once more gather to ponder the fate of the planet.

Optimism will be in short supply. Since the first conference, global carbon emissions have increased by some 50 percent — an outcome that those who were present 20 years ago would surely have seen as disastrous. And we are continuing this sorry trend: As the Arctic becomes ice-free, we can expect that it will be drilled for oil.

But below most radars, and despite the alarming news, the seeds of an energy revolution are being sown.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Wednesday, world leaders will gather in Rio de Janeiro to review progress made in the 20 years since the 1992 U.N. Earth Summit and hopefully to chart a new path toward a more sustainable future. Protecting the planet and its people must be their first priority.

Our central concern is that governments are currently refusing to make the transformative changes needed to resolve the global sustainability crisis.

The scientific evidence is clear that the environmental dangers are rising quickly. Based on current trends, we are likely to move toward a world warmer by 3 degrees, and we may well cross tipping points with potentially catastrophic consequences.…  Seguir leyendo »

Thousands of politicians, bureaucrats and environmental activists have gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which runs through Friday. This time, 20 years after the original 1992 Rio Earth Summit, delegates are minimizing references to “dangerous man-made climate change” to avoid repeating the acrimony and failures that came from the United Nations’ recent climate conferences in Copenhagen; Cancun, Mexico; and Durban, South Africa.

Instead, Rio+20 seeks to shift international focus to “biodiversity” and supposed threats to plant and animal species as the new “greatest threat” facing planet Earth. This rebranding is “by design,” according to conference organizers, who have been uncharacteristically candid in describing sustainable development and biodiversity as an “easier sell” than climate change.…  Seguir leyendo »

More than 50,000 U.N. officials, scientists, environmental advocates and a few heads of state will gather this coming week in Rio de Janeiro for a conference on sustainable development. They’re assembling 20 years after the first Earth Summit was held in the same city, and the goal now, as it was then, is to figure out how to cut dangerous greenhouse gases and help the 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty. Or, to put it more starkly, how we can live ethically without threatening the ability of future generations to live at all.

That’s what’s on the agenda.

But what we want to know is: What’s on the menu?…  Seguir leyendo »

Nearly 20,000 species of animals and plants around the globe are considered high risks for extinction in the wild. That’s according to the most authoritative compilation of living things at risk — the so-called Red List maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

This should keep us awake at night.

By generalizing from the few groups that we know fairly well — amphibians, birds and mammals — a study in the journal Nature last year concluded that if all species listed as threatened on the Red List were lost over the coming century, and that rate of extinction continued, we would be on track to lose three-quarters or more of all species within a few centuries.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una ballena puede pesar más de cien toneladas, una musaraña menos de cinco gramos. Pero a pesar de este detalle, ambos animales se parecen en esencia: respiración con pulmones, sistema circulatorio por arterias, vasos y capilares, primera alimentación por mamas, regulación de la temperatura corporal mal que le pese a la incertidumbre ambiental. El concepto mamífero es viable a lo largo de una escala de tamaños colosal. Sin embargo, no es lo mismo ser grande que ser pequeño. El tamaño de un animal condiciona todo su estilo de vida. El cuerpo de un mamífero es, entre otras cosas, una máquina que genera energía en un espacio de tres dimensiones pero que se disipa al exterior a través de una superficie que solo tiene dos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nearly 20,000 species of animals and plants around the globe are considered high risks for extinction in the wild. That’s according to the most authoritative compilation of living things at risk — the so-called Red List maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

This should keep us awake at night.

By generalizing from the few groups that we know fairly well — amphibians, birds and mammals — a study in the journal Nature last year concluded that if all species listed as threatened on the Red List were lost over the coming century, and that rate of extinction continued, we would be on track to lose three-quarters or more of all species within a few centuries.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sunday was Earth Day, the annual jamboree of the green movement held worldwide since 1970. Unfortunately, a review of the accomplishments of the advocates of environmentalism and population control since that spectacular debut shows very little reason to celebrate.

The seminal scriptures of modern-day environmentalism were Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” Paul R. Ehrlich’s “Population Bomb” and the publications of the Club of Rome. While stylistically quite different, these books all served to rally the public around a core anti-human philosophy. As the Club of Rome put it, “The Earth has cancer, and the cancer is man.” Such misanthropic views could only have the most horrific consequences.…  Seguir leyendo »

Many Earth Day celebrations will commemorate the 50th anniversary on Sunday of the publication of the environmental classic “SilentSpring” in 1962. Indeed, author Rachel Carson has been cited more often than any other environmental writer after Henry David Thoreau. But just because a book is popular doesn’t mean it’s true.

Carson’s passionate prose is persuasive. Unfortunately, it led many readers and policymakers to overgeneralize from isolated cases. Her caution that we should be wary of misuse of pesticides is praiseworthy, but there were major oversights in her work – errors that have played a role in shaping environmental policies that have cost millions of lives and dollars.…  Seguir leyendo »

Recientemente ha tenido lugar en Marsella la cumbre mundial sobre el agua. La base del análisis geopolítico sobre el agua descansa en su desigual reparto: ¡nueve países se reparten el 60% del caudal anual mundial de agua dulce! Las tensiones de todo tipo vinculadas al acceso al agua, la rivalidad por el control del aprovisionamiento se han convertido en temas de reflexión geopolítica. Algunos no han dudado en decir que, en el siglo XXI, el agua será lo que fue el petróleo en el siglo XX, y que acabará habiendo guerras por el control y acceso al agua. Indudablemente, cuando se habla de una materia indispensable, los riesgos de enfrentamiento se multiplican.…  Seguir leyendo »

Avant de pointer les améliorations nécessaires pour la future décennie en matière de politiques européennes de conservation de la biodiversité, il faut d’abord saluer le rôle déterminant joué par l’Europe sur de telles questions. Dès 1979, l’Europe s’est dotée d’outils pour protéger les espèces emblématiques et en danger, en construisant peu à peu un réseau de sites Natura 2000 à partir des directives Oiseaux (1979) et Habitats-Faune-Flore (1992). Ces directives demandent à chaque pays la création d’un réseau de sites dévolus à la protection des espèces d’oiseaux, des autres espèces animales et végétales et des habitats menacés.

En s’imposant à l’ensemble des pays membres, Natura 2000 propose un cadre ambitieux de préservation de ces entités menacées, mais son efficacité reste limitée : le déclin de nombre de ces entités n’a pas été stoppé, d’après le bilan fait en 2007.…  Seguir leyendo »

Trees are on the front lines of our changing climate. And when the oldest trees in the world suddenly start dying, it’s time to pay attention.

North America’s ancient alpine bristlecone forests are falling victim to a voracious beetle and an Asian fungus. In Texas, a prolonged drought killed more than five million urban shade trees last year and an additional half-billion trees in parks and forests. In the Amazon, two severe droughts have killed billions more.

The common factor has been hotter, drier weather.

We have underestimated the importance of trees. They are not merely pleasant sources of shade but a potentially major answer to some of our most pressing environmental problems.…  Seguir leyendo »

El 31 de marzo se celebró la hora del planeta, una buena ocasión para revisar el estado de la lucha contra el cambio climático, un asunto alrededor del cual las opiniones tienden a polarizarse en los extremos. Para unos, la evolución del clima a varias décadas vista no puede predecirse con certeza; es imposible que las grandes potencias pacten un asunto económicamente tan complejo; además, la humanidad ya se adaptará al cambio cuando se agrave. Para otros, el planeta está abocado a catástrofes encadenadas, nuestro modo de vida supone una irresponsabilidad moral y las futuras generaciones se preguntarán “¿cómo podían seguir tan tranquilos con sus vidas?”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Afin de réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre (GES), l’Union européenne a créé le Système communautaire d’échange des quotas d’émission (SCEQE), un mécanisme prévu par le Protocole de Kyoto. Sa mise en œuvre se fait en phases échelonnées de 2005 à 2013.

En 2008, l’UE a adopté une directive intégrant le trafic aérien à ce système. Ainsi, depuis le 1er janvier 2012, toutes les compagnies aériennes qui opèrent en Europe sont tenues de racheter l’équivalent de 15% de leurs émissions de CO2 dans le cadre du SCEQE.

Cette décision a provoqué de vives réactions de compagnies aériennes et d’Etats étrangers:

– le Congrès américain a voté un projet de loi interdisant aux compagnies aériennes américaines de se conformer à la nouvelle réglementation;

– des compagnies aériennes basées aux Etats-Unis et au Canada ont déposé un recours auprès de la Cour de justice de l’UE.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cada vez que salgo de viaje, preparo mi equipaje la noche anterior y coloco mi pasaporte y billete de avión en mi equipaje de mano. Al día siguiente, antes de salir de casa, compruebo que mis documentos aún están donde los dejé la noche anterior. Si nos detenemos a pensar un momento, mi comportamiento es un tanto sorprendente e irracional, pues recuerdo perfectamente dónde coloqué mis documentos. De hecho, siempre los coloco ahí. ¿Por qué lo compruebo? Tal vez hagan algo parecido en la misma situación. Si es así, no se alarmen. Demuestra que tanto ustedes como yo tenemos una mente reflexiva, una notable habilidad cognitiva que nos permite interrogarnos sobre nuestros pensamientos, revivir el pasado e imaginar el futuro.…  Seguir leyendo »

In a cavernous London conference center so devoid of life as to seem a film set for “The Matrix,” 3,000 scientists, officials and members of civil society organizations met in the last week of March to consider the state of the planet and what to do about it.

The Planet Under Pressure conference is intended to feed directly into the “Rio+20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development this coming June, 20 years after the Earth Summit in Rio convened the largest number ever of heads of state and produced, among other things, two international conventions, one for climate change and the other for biological diversity.…  Seguir leyendo »

A l’occasion de la sixième édition du Forum mondial de l’eau (FME)à Marseille (du 12 au 17 mars), les enjeux liés à l’accès et à la distribution de cette ressource vitale ont retrouvé une actualité. Les données chiffrées sur les populations n’ayant pas accès à l’eau et à l’assainissement dans le monde, le taux de mortalité lié aux maladies hydriques, l’ampleur des pollutions qui touchent la ressource, l’acuité du stress hydrique, l’impact du changement climatique sur la disponibilité en eau et sur les catastrophes naturelles, etc., ont été une nouvelle fois répétées, commentées, analysées. Quelles réponses politiques la communauté internationale apporte-t-elle à ce sujet essentiel ?…  Seguir leyendo »

Le changement climatique est un problème extrêmement complexe qui, pour être géré, nécessite un effort véritablement global, non seulement entre les gouvernements, mais également entre de multiples niveaux, environnements, sociétés, juridictions et secteurs économiques.

Les dernières décennies ont vu l’émergence d’une gouvernance transnationale – définie ici comme la coordination d’actions et de recommandations officielles en vue de la réalisation d’objectifs publics par-delà les frontières nationales, et pour laquelle l’appareil des Affaires étrangères d’un Etat ne sert pas d’intermédiaire. Ces actions se font généralement par le biais de réseaux composés d’un éventail d’acteurs publics et non étatiques chargés de la formulation d’engagements volontaires et de normes ayant une précision et une spécificité différentielles.…  Seguir leyendo »