Your search found 31 Results

  1. 1
    374595

    Thirsting for a future: water and children in a changing climate.

    Scharp C; Canuto JG; Bamford E; Rees N; Choi Y; Klauth C; Lysaght P

    New York, New York, UNICEF, 2017 Mar. 80 p.

    Climate change is one of many forces contributing to an unfolding water crisis. In the coming years, the demand for water will increase as food production grows, populations grow and move, industries develop and consumption increases. This can lead to water stress, as increasing demand and use of water strain available supplies. One of the most effective ways to protect children in the face of climate change is to safeguard their access to safe water and sanitation. This report shares a series of solutions, policy responses and case studies from UNICEF’s work around the world.
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  2. 2
    374424

    Climate change: time to "think family planning." An advocacy toolkit for family planning advocates.

    International Planned Parenthood Federation [IPPF]; Population & Sustainability Network

    [London, United Kingdom, IPPF], 2016. 21 p.

    Family planning is a critical, human rights-based, and cost-effective approach to climate change adaptation and resilience building. The aims of the paper are for national family planning advocates to be better placed to ensure: (a) national development (including climate change) planning processes include greater emphasis on family planning; and (b) more “climate change programmes” include family planning actions, therefore increasing overall investment and action in reproductive health. After defining “climate change” and introducing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 10 arguments are summarised which national family planning advocates are encouraged to employ, to suit their national contexts, to further these aims.
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  3. 3
    374423

    Climate change: time to "think family planning." A communications toolkit for family planning advocates.

    International Planned Parenthood Federation [IPPF]; Population & Sustainability Network

    [London, United Kingdom, IPPF], 2016. 9 p.

    This paper asserts that family planning is a critical, human rights-based, and cost-effective approach to climate change adaptation and resilience building. The aims of the paper are for national family planning advocates to be better placed to ensure: (a) national development plans (including climate change planning processes) include greater emphasis on voluntary family planning; and (b) more “climate change programmes” and strategies include family planning actions, therefore increasing overall investment and action in reproductive health. The accompanying policy paper summarises strategies which family planning advocates are encouraged to employ, to suit their national contexts, to further these aims. This Communications Toolkit summarises how those arguments can be edited into key messages and how those key messages can be used to reach advocacy targets in the run up to COP22, the next Climate Change Conference, to be held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 7 to 18 November 2016.
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  4. 4
    374221

    Inheriting a sustainable world? Atlas on children’s health and the environment.

    Drisse MN; Goldizen F

    Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2017. 164 p.

    In 2015, 26% of the deaths of 5.9 million children who died before reaching their fifth birthday could have been prevented through addressing environmental risks – a shocking missed opportunity. The prenatal and early childhood period represents a window of particular vulnerability, where environmental hazards can lead to premature birth and other complications, and increase lifelong disease risk including for respiratory disorders, cardiovascular disease and cancers. The environment thus represents a major factor in children’s health, as well as a major opportunity for improvement, with effects seen in every region of the world. Children are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, because it is children who will inherit the legacy of policies and actions taken, and not taken, by leaders today. The third SDG, to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages,” has its foundation in children’s environmental health, and it is incumbent on us to provide a healthy start to our children’s lives. This cannot be achieved, however, without multisectoral cooperation, as seen in the linkages between environmental health risks to children and the other SDGs. This publication is divided by target: SDGs 1, 2 and 10 address equity and nutrition; SDG 6 focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); SDGs 7 and 13 call attention to energy, air pollution and climate change; SDGs 3, 6 and 12 look at chemical exposures; and SDGs 8, 9 and 11 study infrastructure and settings.
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  5. 5
    374075

    Unless we act now: the impact of climate change on children.

    UNICEF. Division of Data, Research and Policy. Policy, Strategy and Networks Section

    2015 Nov; New York, New York, UNICEF, 2015 Nov. 84 p.

    This report aims to build the evidence base on children and climate change by focusing on the major climate-related risks; children’s current and future exposure to these risks; and the policies required to protect children from these risks. The report has three sections. The first section explores the major climate-related risks and their potential impacts on children – how climate change might influence the burden of disease for children – and examines the cumulative impact of repetitive crises on children and families. The second section examines how children may be affected under various scenarios of action - from business-as-usual to ambitious action in addressing climate change. The final section outlines a series of broad policy recommendations to prevent further global warming, decrease children’s exposure and increase their resilience to climate change and environmental risks.
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  6. 6
    372946

    Guidelines or other tools for integrating gender considerations into climate change related activities under the Convention.

    United Nations. Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC]

    [Bonn, Germany], UNFCCC, 2016. 33 p.

    Drawing on relevant web-based resources, this technical paper aims to provide an overview of existing methodologies and tools for the integration of gender considerations into climate change related activities under the Convention. The paper assesses selected tools and guidelines in terms of their methodology, information and data requirements, capacity-building needs, lessons learned, gaps and challenges, and relevance for social and environmental impacts. Parties may wish to use the information contained in this paper in their consideration of entry points for the integration of gender considerations into the formulation and implementation of strategies for mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
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  7. 7
    372938

    Gender mainstreaming practices in the context of climate responses.

    Burns B; Lee A

    [New York, New York], Women’s Environment and Development Organization [WEDO], 2015 Oct. 26 p.

    The impact of climate change is already causing widespread socio-economic and environmental loss and human suffering around the globe. Climate change erodes human freedoms and limits choice. However, the impacts of climate change are not felt equally. Without measures to address the injustice of climate change, those with the fewest resources, countries and individuals alike, will be most susceptible to its negative effects; and those in positions of wealth and power will be the first to benefit from transitions in the economy towards a low carbon society. Climate change impacts and solutions, when viewed through an intersectional lens, encompass a wide diversity of experiences due to age, ethnicity, class, and in particular, gender. Gender is a social construct. While not immutable nor universal, gender shapes expectations, attributes, roles, capacities and rights of women and men around the world. Climate change affects everyone, but women and men experience the impacts differently, and women are often disproportionately negatively affected. Women, compared to men, often have limited access to resources, more restricted rights, limited mobility, and a muted voice in shaping decisions and influencing policy. At the same time, gender roles generally ascribed to women such as informal, reproductive work often relate to caregiving for households and communities, caretaking of seeds and soils, maintaining traditional agricultural knowledge, and responsibility for natural resource management such as firewood and water, and thus these roles create opportunity for engagement as women bring diverse and critical solutions to climate change challenges. Effective climate policy is only possible when it is informed by the experiences of and responds to the rights, priorities and diverse needs, of all people. 2015 is a critical year for climate policy, as well as the broader global sustainable development agenda. It is also a critical time to review progress on gender mainstreaming in the context of climate change responses, including key challenges and opportunities to move toward an equal and sustainable future. This background paper focuses on the UNFCCC. It begins with a review of gender mainstreaming generally; followed by an exploration of gender mainstreaming in the context of UNFCCC policies and programs and a related section on what gender-responsive actions look like; then identifies gaps and opportunities; and finally concludes with recommendations for the UNFCCC.
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  8. 8
    340742

    Health in 2015: From MDGs, Millennium Development Goals to SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals.

    Boerma T; Mathers C; AbouZahr C; Chatterji S; Hogan D; Stevens G; Mahanani WR; Ho J; Rusciano F; Humphreys G

    Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], 2015. [216] p.

    In 2015 the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to the end of their term, and a post-2015 agenda, comprising 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), takes their place. This WHO report looks back 15 years at the trends and positive forces during the MDG era and assesses the main challenges that will affect health in the coming 15 years.
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  9. 9
    333683

    21 issues for the 21st century: Result of the UNEP Foresight Process on Emerging Environmental Issues.

    United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP]

    Nairobi, Kenya, UNEP, 2012. [60] p.

    The purpose of the UNEP Foresight Process is to produce, every two years, a careful and authoritative ranking of the most important emerging issues related to the global environment. UNEP aims to inform the UN and wider international community about these issues on a timely basis, as well as provide input to its own work programme and that of other UN agencies, thereby fulfilling the stipulation of its mandate: “keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action”. This report is the outcome of that process and presents the identified issues titled: 21 Issues for the 21st Century. These issues cut across all major global environmental themes including food production and food security; cities and land use; biodiversity, fresh water and marine; climate change and energy, technology and waste issues. (Excerpt)
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  10. 10
    333403

    Human Development Report 2011. Sustainability and equity: a better future for all.

    United Nations Development Programme [UNDP]

    Basingstoke, United Kingdom, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. [185] p.

    This Report explores the integral links between environmental sustainability and equity and shows that these are critical to expanding human freedoms for people today and in generations to come. The point of departure is that the remarkable progress in human development over recent decades that the Human Development Report has documented cannot continue without bold global steps to reduce environmental risks and inequality. We identify pathways for people, communities, countries and the international community to promote environmental sustainability and equity in mutually reinforcing ways.
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  11. 11
    333302

    A pocket guide to sustainable development governance.

    Stoddart H; Schneeberger K; Dodds F; Shaw A; Bottero M; Cornforth J; White R

    [London, United Kingdom], Stakeholder Forum, 2011. [137] p.

    The guide was initiated by Stakeholder Forum and the Commonwealth Secretariat in response to the perceived 'knowledge gap' on the history and dynamics of global governance for sustainable development. As the 'institutional framework for sustainable development' has been identified as one of the two core themes for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD 2012), it is hoped that the guide will provide the necessary background information on global sustainable development governance to allow both governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to familiarize themselves with the key issues more comprehensively. As the topic of 'sustainable development governance' is potentially vast, the guide has been broken down into four distinct sections: Concepts for Sustainable Development Governance; Global Institutions for Sustainable Development Governance; Reform Proposals for Sustainable Development Governance; Processes for Sustainable Development Governance.
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  12. 12
    333124
    Peer Reviewed

    The gender perspective in climate change and global health.

    Preet R; Nilsson M; Schumann B; Evengard B

    Global Health Action. 2010; 3:5720.

    Background: Population health is a primary goal of sustainable development. United Nations international conferences like the Beijing Platform for Action have highlighted the key role of women in ensuring sustainable development. In the context of climate change, women are affected the most while they display knowledge and skills to orient themselves toward climate adaptation activities within their societies. Objective: To investigate how the gender perspective is addressed as an issue in research and policymaking concerning climate change and global health. Methods: A broad literature search was undertaken using the databases Pubmed and Web of Science to explore the terms 'climate change,' 'health,' 'gender,' and 'policy.' Climate change and health-related policy documents of the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Communications and National Adaptation Programs of Action reports submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of selected countries were studied. Assessment guidelines to review these reports were developed from this study's viewpoint. Results: The database search results showed almost no articles when the four terms were searched together. The WHO documents lacked a gender perspective in their approach and future recommendations on climate policies. The reviewed UN reports were also neutral to gender perspective except one of the studied documents. Conclusion: Despite recognizing the differential effects of climate change on health of women and men as a consequence of complex social contexts and adaptive capacities, the study finds gender to be an underrepresented or non-existing variable both in research and studied policy documents in the field of climate change and health.
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  13. 13
    333075

    Towards a green economy: Pathways to sustainable development and poverty eradication. A synthesis for policy makers.

    United Nations Environment Program [UNEP]

    Nairobi, Kenya, UNEP, 2011. [52] p.

    We argue in UNEP's forthcoming Green Economy Report, and in this extracted Synthesis for Policy Makers, that the rewards of greening the world's economies are tangible and considerable, that the means are at hand for both governments and the private sector, and that the time to engage the challenge is now. In this report, we explored through a macroeconomic model the impacts of investments in greening the economy as against investments in "business as usual" -- measuring results not only in terms of traditional GDP but also impacts on employment, resource intensity, emissions and ecological impact. We estimated, based on several studies, that the annual financing demand to green the global economy was in the range of US$ 1.05-2.59 trillion. To place this demand in perspective, it is less than one-tenth of the total global investment per year (as measured by global Gross Capital Formation). Taking an annual level of US$ 1.3 trillion (i.e. 2% of global GDP) as a target reallocation from "brown" investment to "green" investment, our macroeconomic model suggests that over time, investing in a green economy enhances long-run economic performance and can increase total global wealth. Significantly, it does so while enhancing stocks of renewable resources, reducing environmental risks, and rebuilding our capacity to generate future prosperity. Our report, Towards a Green Economy, focuses on 10 key economic sectors because we see these sectors as driving the defining trends of the transition to a green economy, including increasing human well-being and social equity, and reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Across many of these sectors, we have found that greening the economy can generate consistent and positive outcomes for increased wealth, growth in economic output, decent employment, and reduced poverty. (Excerpts)
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  14. 14
    325696

    Protecting health from climate change: World Health Day 2008.

    World Health Organization [WHO]

    Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2008. [32] p.

    Climate change also brings new challenges to the control of infectious diseases. Many of the major killers are highly climate sensitive as regards temperature and rainfall, including cholera and the diarrhoeal diseases, as well as diseases including malaria, dengue and other infections carried by vectors. In sum, climate change threatens to slow, halt or reverse the progress that the global public health community is now making against many of these diseases. In the long run, however, the greatest health impacts may not be from acute shocks such as natural disasters or epidemics, but from the gradual build-up of pressure on the natural, economic and social systems that sustain health, and which are already under stress in much of the developing world. These gradual stresses include reductions and seasonal changes in the availability of fresh water, regional drops in food production, and rising sea levels. Each of these changes has the potential to force population displacement and increase the risks of civil conflict. (excerpt)
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  15. 15
    325695

    Protecting health from climate change: World Health Day 2008. Summary of issues paper.

    World Health Organization [WHO]

    [Geneva, Switzerland], WHO, 2008. 2 p.

    There is now widespread agreement that the earth is warming, due to emissions of greenhouse gases caused by human activity. It is also clear that current trends in energy use development and population growth will lead to continuing - and more severe - climate change. The changing climate will inevitably affect the basic requirements for maintaining health: clean air and water, sufficient food and adequate shelter. Each year, about 800 000 people die from causes attributable to urban air pollution, 1.8 million from diarrhoea resulting from lack of access to clean water supply, sanitation, and poor hygiene, 3.5 million from malnutrition and approximately 60 000 in natural disasters. A warmer and more variable climate threatens to lead to higher levels of some air pollutants, increase transmission of diseases through unclean water and through contaminated food, to compromise agricultural production in some of the least developed countries, and increase the hazards of extreme weather. Climate change also brings new challenges to the control of infectious diseases. Many of the major killers are highly climate sensitive as regards to temperature and rainfall, including cholera, and the diarrhoeal diseases, as well as diseases including malaria, dengue and other infections carried by vectors. In sum, climate change threatens to slow, halt or reverse the progress that the global public health community is now making against many of these diseases. (excerpt)
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  16. 16
    323435
    Peer Reviewed

    Will increased awareness of the health impacts of climate change help in achieving international collective action?

    Orr D

    Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2007 Nov; 85(11):826-829.

    Climate change is estimated to cause some 150 000 deaths annually, a figure that could double by 2030. The lack of a credible global system to reduce greenhouse gases is one example of the difficulties of finding a path for collective action on issues that affect the whole world. Could a better understanding of the impact climate change has on human health help break the political impasse? Environmental experts predict increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, that coastal areas will receive more rain and inland areas more droughts, and more frequent extreme weather events. However, estimating the burden of disease due to climate change is difficult. Climate change will have the most severe impact on countries with a low capacity to adapt. But if changes happen rapidly even rich countries will suffer problems such as heat stress, more respiratory illness, and changes in vector- and rodent-borne diseases. Some projections estimate that in 80 years climate change may double the population living in areas at risk for dengue fever and increase by 2-4% the proportion of people living in malaria risk areas. (excerpt)
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  17. 17
    323434
    Peer Reviewed

    Reducing the impact of climate change.

    Brown H

    Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2007 Nov; 85(11):824-825.

    The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that there is overwhelming evidence that humans are affecting climate and it highlighted the implications for human health. The World Health Organization (WHO) is helping countries respond to this challenge, primarily by encouraging them to build and reinforce public health systems as the first line of defence against climate-related health risks. (excerpt)
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  18. 18
    281927
    Peer Reviewed

    The Millennium Project: the positive health implications of improved environmental sustainability.

    Melnick DJ; Navarro YK; McNeely J; Schmidt-Traub G; Sears RR

    Lancet. 2005 Feb 19; 365:723-725.

    Ensuring environmental sustainability is essential to achieving all the Millennium Development Goals. Longterm solutions to problems of drinking-water shortages, hunger, poverty, gender inequality, emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, maternal and childhood health, extreme local weather and global climate changes, and conflicts over natural resources need systematic strategies to achieve environmental sustainability. For this reason, the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Environmental Sustainability has concluded that protection of the environment is an essential prerequisite and component of human health and well-being. Economic development and good health are not at odds with environmental sustainability: they depend on it. One important dimension of environmental sustainability is the need to maintain ecosystem services critical to the human population. These services include providing food, shelter, and construction materials; regulating the quantity and quality of fresh water; limiting soil erosion and regenerating nutrients; controlling pests and alien invasive species; providing pollination; buffering human, wild plant, and animal populations from interspecific transfer and spread of diseases; and stabilising local weather conditions and sequestering greenhouse gases to contain climate change. A second and equally important dimension of environmental sustainability is the need to control water pollution and air pollution, including the emission of greenhouse gases that drive climate change. These so-called brown issues can have a severe effect on human health and ecosystem function. (excerpt)
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  19. 19
    184564

    Population, resources and the environment: struggling towards sustainability.

    Hinrichsen D

    In: An agenda for people: the UNFPA through three decades, edited by Nafis Sadik. New York, New York, New York University Press, 2002. 175-188.

    This analysis looks at the United Nations Population Fund's (UNFPA's) work in the area of population-environment-development linkages. It then analyses the collective effects of 6 billion people, their consumption patterns, and resource use trends, in six different critical resource areas. (excerpt)
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  20. 20
    182241
    Peer Reviewed

    The relationship of long term global temperature change and human fertility.

    Fisch H; Andrews HF; Fisch KS; Golden R; Liberson G

    Medical Hypotheses. 2003 Jul; 61(1):21-22.

    According to the United Nations, global fertility has declined in the last century as reflected by a decline in birth rates. The earth’s surface air temperature has increased considerably and is referred to as global warming. Since changes in temperature are well known to influence fertility we sought to determine if a statistical relationship exists between long-term changes in global air temperatures and birth rates. The most complete and reliable birth rate data in the 20th century was available in 19 industrialized countries. Using bivariate and multiple regression analysis, we compared yearly birth rates from these countries to global air temperatures from 1900 to 1994. A common pattern of change in birth rates was noted for the 19 industrialized countries studied. In general, birth rates declined markedly throughout the century except during the baby boom period of approximately 1940 to 1964. An inverse relationship was found between changes in global temperatures and birth rates in all 19 countries. Controlling for the linear yearly decline in birth rates over time, this relationship remained statistically significant for all the 19 countries in aggregate and in seven countries individually (p <0:05). Conclusions. The results of our analyses are consistent with the underlying premise that temperature change affects fertility and suggests that human fertility may have been influenced by change in environmental temperatures. (author's)
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  21. 21
    075439

    Policymakers summary of the scientific assessment of climate change.

    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]. Working Group I

    [Geneva, Switzerland], World Meteorological Organization [WMO], 1990 Jun. 27 p.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) proclaimed that it is certain that the greenhouse effect is real, and it keeps the earth warmer than before. Emissions from human activities significantly increase the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and nitrous oxide leading to warming of the earth's surface, which will result in more water vapor, a major greenhouse gas. It is calculated with confidence that some gases are more effective than others in changing climate. Carbon dioxide has contributed over 1/2 of the greenhouse effect. Long-lived gases, such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and CFCs adjust only slowly to changed emissions, and it would take longer for stabilization if emissions continue at the present rate. Over 60% of the emissions of long-lived gases need to be reduced at once to stabilize their concentrations at the present levels. A 15-20% reduction is necessary for methane. Several predictions are made: under the IPCC business-as-usual scenario of continued gas emissions a .3 degrees Celsius increase of global mean temperatures per decade during the 21st century. This exceeds the increase over the last 10,000 years, and would raise global mean temperatures by 1 degree Celsius by 2025 and by 3 degrees by the end of the 21st century. Other scenarios assume controls and yield increases of .1-.2 degrees Celsius per decade. Land surfaces and high northern latitudes would warm rapidly with regional climate changes (higher temperatures and reduced rain in southern Europe and central North America). The average of global sea level rise would be about 6 cm/decade over the 21st century from the expansion of oceans and melting of land ice. By 2030 the rise would be 20 cm and 65 cm by the end of the 21st century. Many uncertainties exist that require more observations, models, and research for better understanding of climate processes.
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  22. 22
    157833

    IB89005: Global climate change.

    Justus JR; Fletcher SR

    Washington, D.C., National Council for Science and the Environment, 2001 Apr 11. 10 p. (CRS Issue Brief for Congress)

    Global warming, a result of human activities affecting the heat-energy exchange balance between earth, atmosphere and space, is said to have far-reaching effects on agriculture, forestry, and ecosystems. Attention has been focused on possible extremes of climate change and need for better understanding of climatic processes. However, the US dependency on fossil fuel makes the emission reduction effort a challenge. In response, the Congress reviewed scientific information on climate change in order to formulate policy responses. This problem is addressed to world leaders since it is a global concern calling for participation in international conferences, passage of legislation, and communication with international organizations. On the other hand, the administration of President George Bush considers the 1997 UN Kyoto Protocol, which is aimed to legally bind the emission reductions. In view of this, a review of the US climate policy was initiated seeking new approach to international cooperation.
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  23. 23
    151178

    UN: Talks scheduled in Bonn to build global [consensus on climate change. Press release].

    United Nations Information Service

    Bonn, Germany, UNIS, 1999 Oct 12. 6 p.

    This paper outlines the scheduled talks for the Fifth Session of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Bonn, Germany, from October 25 to November 5, 1999. It is noted that some 5000 participants from 150 countries are expected to attend. The ultimate objective of this convention is the stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. A full agenda of political and technical issues that will determine how the international community minimizes emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will be tackled by ministers and senior government officials. Negotiations will be held to define the rules by which developed countries can lower the costs of meeting their targets by reducing emissions in other countries through flexibility mechanisms. This paper provides a background to the international responses on climate change and describes the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol.
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  24. 24
    151085

    Understanding climate change: a beginner's guide to the UN Framework Convention.

    United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP]. Information Unit on Climate Change [IUCC]

    Geneva, Switzerland, UNEP, IUCC, 1995. 20 p. (UNEP/IUCC/95/1)

    The 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is one of a series of recent agreements through which countries around the world are banding together to face the challenge of addressing global climate change. It is noted that human activities are changing the way energy from the sun interacts with and escapes from the earth's atmosphere; thus there is a risk in altering the global climate. Among the expected consequences are an increase in the average temperature of the Earth's surface and shifts in worldwide weather patterns. This document presents a Beginner's Guide to the UNFCCC. It specifies several problems faced by the world and the response of the Convention to these problems. It also reflects a reasonable view on how the world might function politically in the future. The responses given are based on a cooperative rather than a confrontational approach that is designed to work well in a multipolar world in which many countries have influence and power to apply pressure to persuade others to meet their obligations.
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  25. 25
    082305

    Jessica Tuchman Mathews: the case for reinventing technology to promote sustainable development.

    Lerner SD

    In: Earth summit. Conversations with architects of an ecologically sustainable future, by Steve Lerner. Bolinas, California, Commonweal, 1991. 25-38.

    The public debate on the environment leading to the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil has been restricted to global climate change instead of global change. The Summit should be part of an ongoing process and not a framework convention followed by protocols. Separate conventions for biodiversity and deforestation are likely to emerge, even though one convention integrating both biodiversity and deforestation is needed. Many environmental and development issues overlap, suggesting a need for an international group to coordinate these issues. Negotiating separate conventions for the various issues is costly for developing countries. Rapid population growth contributes to environmental degradation, but no coordinated effort exists to reduce it. The US continues to not support the UN Population Fund which, along with threats of US boycotts and disapproval, curbs initiatives to reduce population. At present population and economic growth rates, an environmental disaster will likely happen in the early 2000s. Developing countries, which also contribute greatly to global warming, will not take actions if industrialized nations do not initiate reductions of greenhouse gases. Developed countries emit the most greenhouse gases, have been responsible for most past emissions, and have the means to initiate reductions. Of industrialized nations, the US stands alone in setting targets to reduce carbon dioxide. Unlike some European nations, the US does not have an energy policy. The US abandoned public transportation for the automobile while Europe has a strong public transportation system. The World Bank has improved greatly in addressing global environmental issues, but only 1% of its energy lending is for energy efficiency. The Bank knows that projects implemented by nongovernmental organizations are more successful than those implemented by governments, yet it continues to lend money to governments. Humans need to redesign existing linear systems to be like nature's circular systems in which by-products are starting products for another reaction.
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