South Africa | Centre for Science and Environment

South Africa


The inconvenient truth

Many years ago, in a desperately poor village in Rajasthan, people decided to plant trees on the land adjoining their pond so that its catchment would be protected. But this land belonged to the revenue department and people were fined for trespass. The issue hit national headlines. The stink made the local administration uncomfortable. They then came up with a brilliant game plan—they allotted the land to a group of equally poor people. In this way the poor ended up fighting the poor. The local government got away with the deliberate murder of a water body.

Green Climate Fund: Yes and NO

cop17.jpg

Durban, December 7: Today, Wedsensday 7 December, 2011, the high-level segment will discuss the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Ministers will put their wise heads together and decide the fate of the GCF, which has had quite a stormy year since its inception at the Cancun CoP in 2010. Their goal is to create what is called a ‘cover decision’ that adopts the governing instrument and puts in place an interim arrangement until the GCF is finally operational.

High-level segment: the freaths of bresh air

Durban, December 7: Tuesday wasn’t a heavy day at the Nkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre for the ‘non-governmental’, the way my presence at CoP 17 is measured, reported and verified. For country negotiators, though, it was a heavy-duty day: throughout the day, informal groups of delegates were locked in consultations.

Red flag to green fund

red_flags.jpg

Durban, December 1: Arguments and stalemates are a passé at UN climate change conferences. UN’s 17th Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP17), being hosted at Durban, South Africa saw its first impasse after three days of the negotiations, when a group of countries from disparate economic standing stopped the adoption of a report that could help set up the $100 billion a year fund to combat the effects of global warming in developing countries.

Sharing the wealth of minerals: Policies, practices and implications

It is now well recognised across the world that wealth generated by the mining sector comes at a substantial development cost, along with environmental damages and economic exclusion of the marginalised. This has also been exhaustively documented in India. In fact, the major mining districts of India are among its poorest and most polluted. Considering the negative externalities of the mining sector, new policies and practices are being explored and implemented across the world to ensure that mineral wealth can be converted into sustainable development benefits for local communities.

mine.jpg

Sharing the wealth of minerals: Policies and practices across the world

Note by the Centre for Science and Environment, based on extensive research published in its book, Rich Lands, Poor People: is ‘sustainable mining possible?
August 2010

All is not well: climate negotiations in a new avatar

Climate change negotiations—cold after the freeze at Copenhagen—have warmed up again. In early April, negotiators met in Bonn, Germany, on the possible agreement that could be signed at the meet scheduled in December 2010 in Mexico. This was followed by a US-convened meet of the Major Economies Forum, better named the major emitters forum, in Washington. Next weekend, the group calling itself BASIC—China, Brazil, South Africa and India—is meeting in Cape Town to come up with its common position on negotiations.

The US and us

Visiting the US, one thing came home to me: the country has very little political will to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Policy makers and media professionals talk about the climate change crisis. But any opinion on cutting emissions, based on historical or even current responsibility, is just dismissed. The public perception, seemingly carefully nurtured, is it is runaway pollution in China and India that will devastate the world. Indeed, talk about serious action by the US is hushed up, for it will play into the hands of the Republicans.

Follow us on 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
gobar times