Posts

How To Stop Climate Finance CorruptionLast December, the non-governmental organization Transparency International released its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) that documents levels of perceived public sector corruption in many countries. This document was published at the same time as the UN climate conference in Qatar. These two events are related because many of the countries with the highest ratings of corruption in the CPI are the countries that need the most urgent funding for climate change-resilient infrastructure. The United Nations cannot afford to let climate change finances be diverted by corruption. The two most important things to keep in mind when investing in climate finance are that anti-corruption is cheaper than corruption and that the time to act is now.

Taking climate funding away from corrupt countries and giving it to nations that are perceived to be less corrupt is not an option. The countries that were originally allocated funds during the UN conference need and deserve them. We must then focus on how to best reduce the corruption of climate financing in these poverty-stricken countries. This takes more money in the short-term but will pay off in the long run. Installing accountable policies, systems and personnel is an important step to making sure that the money is not squandered. The monetary gain of investing more money, in the beginning, is evident in a recent study of North Africa by the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis. In the current corrupt environment, a particular solar power project was projected to cost $2 trillion dollars. However, when they adjusted for a 5% reduction of corruption in the region, the price tag for the project dropped to $750 billion. This huge monetary difference, in the long run, would more than cover the necessary funds to set up a less corrupt system now.

There is no time to lose when installing anti-corruption systems. Climate finance initiatives are a new phenomenon. This makes it easier to tackle problems with corruption than it will ever be. If we can make sure that the system is as secure as possible in its infancy, then there will be no need to do the tedious business of trying to untangle and rebuild a system that never worked efficiently. The keys to fighting corruption are transparent payrolls, budgets and decision-makers, explanations of why decisions are made, input from citizens and monitoring by independent sources. These are technical necessities for an anti-corrupt system, but more importantly, there must be a political will to make them a reality. Climate finance could change the face of our future for the positive, but it is up to people and governments to invest in it.

– Sean Morales

Source: AlertNet
Photo: SABC News

Smog From China is Crossing BordersSmog in China is an ongoing issue. China’s ongoing process of industrialization has resulted in extreme amounts of pollution in many of its cities. Because of the national dependence on particularly dirty fossil fuels, millions of citizens wear surgical masks when venturing outside because the air is just too dirty to breathe safely.

Until recently, the problem has been largely confined to China itself. Those afraid of global climate change, however, have been calling attention to the issue for years. Now, smog from China is crossing borders and affecting its Japanese neighbors. This presents another challenge to test Chinese-Japanese already strained relations.

Associate Professor Toshihiko Takemura of Kyushu University, who studies pollution for the University, explained that in Kyushu, “the level of air pollution has been detectable in everyday lives since a few years ago.”

China is notorious for quashing public dissent on sensitive issues like government shortcomings. However, in recent weeks, there have been uncanny amounts of focus put on environmental shortcomings by both state television and party officials.

Hopefully, the new Chinese Premier will work hard to drastically reduce China’s levels of pollution, bettering the health of the country’s citizens while improving relations with China’s estranged neighbor.

Jake Simon

Source: news.com.au
Photo: Japan Times

Free Oxford Course on Climate Change
Oxford University, one of the top-rated British schools, boasting such notable alumni as Stephen Hawking, Kris Kristofferson, and Dr. Seuss is now offering a free online course on climate change titled “An Introduction to the Science of Climate and Climate Change.”

The course, conducted entirely online, is being made available through the website www.climate.net, which is a global program that aims to educate the public about climate science, thereby increasing awareness of climate change-related issues.

The course content outlines the basics of climate science and modeling, which considers specific variables involving climate change in an attempt to paint a wider picture of the possible effects on local ecosystems and weather patterns. In addition to having a greater understanding of climate science and modeling, this course on climate change will also allow for a deeper interpretation of the modeling results. Once completed with an overall score of 90 percent or higher, there is also the option to take the advanced course titled “Constructing and Applying High Resolution Climate Scenarios.” This course is tutor-supported, allowing for instructor feedback that enables the student to have a better grasp of the production and/or analysis of climate-related data.

This course is a wonderful opportunity for anyone looking to be better informed on the often confusing climate-related issues that dominate the daily news. And even better, it educates those looking to separate truth from fiction in regards to global warming, annual rainfall, and food security, all issues that underpin global poverty.

– Brian Turner

Source: Climate Education
Photo: The Telegraph

Climate Change Hits Hard in China
The world is changing in optimistic ways. Rates of malnutrition have halved in twenty years, infant mortality has halved in fifty years, and literacy rates have increased 33 percent in twenty-five years. The efforts of an international infrastructure founded on aid and education are paying off.

But there is still more progress yet to be made.

In 2013, global climate change is an irrefutable fact of life. Comparable to the important work of anti-poverty advocates is the work of environmentalists. As our world changes, experts have recommended that industrialized nations cut their carbon emissions greatly in order to stabilize the planet’s temperature and control some of the long-term implications of that shift.

These cuts are not only for developed nations, however, but also for those whose markets are still developing.

“Though global warming began with industrialized countries, it must end—if it is to end—through actions in developing ones,” writes The Economist. Particularly implicated are the economic giants of Asia – India and China, with The Economist citing that India, “accounted for 83 percent of the worldwide increase in carbon emissions in 2000-11,” with China claiming a quarter of the globe’s current carbon emissions.

Climate change is nothing new and has been happening steadily since the Industrial Revolution, with the past ten to twenty years seeing some of the fastest rates of change during the anthropocene. Members of industrialized nations have the privilege of heating, cooling and water upon demand that most of the world does not, and may not have noticed the shifts in seasonal weather patterns that have been occurring. Therefore, while developed nations have cultivated a culture of excess, life has only gotten harder for the lives of those in developing nations since the Industrial Revolution.

Now, however, officials have recognized that the facts are the facts and that we’re all in this together.

In a new book titled “Greenprint: A New Approach to Cooperation on Climate Change,” by Aaditya Mattoo and Arvind Subramanian, the authors raise the point of the responsibilities of developing markets to expand responsibly while developed markets must constrain themselves into sustainable practices.

“The trouble, as the authors admit, is that emissions cuts will also be costly for China and India. Messrs Mattoo and Subramanian estimate that if the two countries were to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2020 (compared with doing nothing), their manufacturing output would fall by 6-7 percent and their manufactured exports by more than that. As still relatively poor countries, they are less able to bear the pain.”

While all of us bear the blame for the state of our planet, it’s the duty of governments to care about climate change and for both local and international communities to take action. Sustainable technologies, reducing the waste of valuable resources such as food and energy, and investing in sustaining the biodiversity we still have left are all great ways to start, and projects that we can all be a part of.

So, Borgen readers, this author’s advice? Pick up the phone and call your representatives. Make a difference and be part of a solution.

– Nina Narang

Source: The Guardian
Photo: China Daily