Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Series on Climate change issues in Developing Countries

The BBC has been doing a series on Climate Change. They are interviewing scientists as well as ordinary people on their perceptions of climate change. the series is going to different parts of the world to see how people in different cultures are coping with the changes in their environment. This issue is looking at people's perceptions in developing countries that climate change is an act of God. It is a very interesting series. Have a look.

Friday, 19 November 2010

EU Climate Aid delivered by the EU to Developing Countries.

At the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009,  developed countries agreed as part of the Copenhagen Accord to provide climate aid to developing countries to help them counteract some of the effects of climate change in their regions. The list of countries and amounts pledged is available here.

The EU has just announced as part of a fast-start report to be presented at the Climate Change Conference in Cancun later in November, that it has delivered 2.2 billion Euros to help developing countries cut emissions and adapt to climate change between 2010 and 2012. However the EU is actually falling short of its pledged commitments to finance climate chainge aid. A number of EU countries have not yet delivered  their pledges or are attempting to renounce the commitments pledged at Copenhagen alleging the financial crisis. Italy in particular has renoucned its committment and is no loger included in the updated list of donors.

The report shows that almost half of the EU funding in 2010 went to mitigation to help poor countries cut their emissions by adopting low-carbon technologies and a third went to adaptation projects. A further €362 million was allocated to forest protection. However over half of the finance was delivered in loans and only €1.05bn in grants, according to the report. Climate finance will be a key topic for negotiation at the Cancun conference. The UN  commissioned a report on climate change financing which recognises the scale and the urgency of  supporting and financing mitigation measures in developing countries.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Guidelines to protect wildlife from wind farms

Guidelines have been issued by the EU to protect wildlife from possible effects of windfarms. These guidelines are to be implemented in the EU Natura 2000 network of protected sites. Euroactiv has announced that the new guidelines have been issues specifically to protect vulnerable species and habitats in 26,000 sites accross Europe which comprise the EU Natura 2000 network. These guidelines are in agreement with the EU's Habitats and Birds Directives. It is important to recognise that wind farms are an important contributor to the EU's energy mix therefore manufacturers of wind turbines should be aware of these guidelines.

Some of the potential impacts on birds and bats are collisions, habitat loss, or the alteration of migration or foraging paths because of the turbines.

Friday, 5 November 2010

The EU laggs behind in the reduction of energy consumption

The EU commission presented an action plan for energy efficiency covering 10 priority areas as far back as 2006. The plan included things like standards for energy-efficiency in equipments such as boilers, copiers and lighting. The plan also included new energy standards for buildings and legislation to limit the CO2 emissions from cars. However the plan was not implemented and a re-draft is currently being worked on.

EuroActiv has indicated that the long awaited plan will not be ready until February 2011. Leaked documents from the new plan acknowledge that the EU will not reach its 20% reduction in energy consumption by 2020 and that in fact, only half that figure might be attained.

The new plan to be unveiled next year includes a strategy for five areas: buildngs, transport, industry, the energy sector and the public sector.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Partnership between the Reformed Church in Hungary and the Kirk

The Church of Scotland recently hosted a delegation from the Reformed Church in Hungary. The Hungarians came to the UK under the sponsorship of  the ECEN Eco-Management group which propomotes the development of twinning partnerships between churches in Europe with an Eco-Management ethos. ECEN also promotes the twinning of churches who would like to develop an eco management approach to their activities. The Hungarian delegation visited different Councils within the Church of Scotland and an agreement has been signed between both organisations. The low-down of the agreement is a project for the development and promotion of eco-congregations in Hungary.

The main goal of the project is to adapt the“Eco-congregation” programme to Hungarian church life, and to sensitize Hungarian churches and church members to care for creation in a self-supporting way. The Reformed Church in Hungary committs itself to develop and promote eco-management programs in Hungarian congregations and other church institutions since up to now, isolated programs and projects have been accomplished in the church, but the increasing need for environmental provision has prompted  them to establish a wide-ranging initiative of church environmental activities in Hungary. The project has established the following outputs by 2012.
Exchange information on activities and facilities within both countries
Import and adapt ideas from “Eco-Congregation Scotland” project, 
Form an Advisory Council in Hungary to help congregations to make the link between environmental issues and Christian faith both in spiritual and practical life,
Organise conferences in Hungary on the Christian eco-management, 
Establish a Hungarian homepage and printing leaflets to disseminate eco-congregation facilities, 
Translate relevant materials from http://www.ecocongregation.org/
Establish an Eco-Congregation Award Scheme in Hungary.
Congratulations on the agreement. This opens up great prospects of cooperation between churches in Hungary and Scotland.