Bali, Copenhagen and Paris. Towards a new Global Climate Change Treaty: Liberia’s contributions and…

first_imgThe threats and impacts of climate change on human existence are dire and have been increasing exponentially. At the United Nations Conference on the Environment convened in 1972 in Stockholm, Sweden, the world first recognized the deleterious effects of changes in our global climate system and more interestingly, the massive changes mother earth would undergo if this menace continues unabated. At the conclusion of the conference on the environment, world leaders made bold, sustainable, and collective decisions to amass and harness resources at their deposal for climate change mitigation and adaptation programs.Two decades later, the world met again in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or Earth Summit to reinforce some of the agreements and commitments that were made to battle changes in climate systems as well as addressed the anthropogenic (human induced) causes of climate change. As the evidence of climate variation became prevalent, the world could no longer wait and therefore decided to establish the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entrusted with the principal responsibility of working with all countries to address this global threat. Typically, the convention was established to bring together governments and 193 parties have since signed it. It is Interesting to note two other conventions germinated from the Rio Summit, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD). While the UNFCC convention seeks to solicit bold and generic commitments from governments (which is political), it proposes, on the other hand, binding detailed agreements from governments though a protocol. The first Legally Binding Protocol from the convention on climate change (UNFCCC) was the Kyoto Protocol which describes governments contributions in terms of emission reductions to meet the target level of Green House Gases (GHG) in the atmosphere required to stabilize global mean temperature below 2 Degree Celsius. Another way to achieve this was by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents to 350 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere as the most dangerous GHG on our climate defense system.Since its establishment, the UNFCC has been holding annual meetings or Conference of the Parties (COPs) to discuss and share experiences on the progress and challenges facing the world. This year, in Paris, the UNFCCC will host its 21st COP. At COP 3 (1997) in Kyoto, Japan, the world made tremendous progress in developing and agreeing to the first legally binding treaty on climate change to reduce GHG emissions. Enthusiasm flared around the globe especially from climate change proponents that mankind has agreed to take bold and strategic actions to safe the planet from another human “induced” disaster.  As parties offered their reduction commitments, the UNFCCC requested obviously, ratification of the protocol. Over 83 parties have signed the protocols but surprisingly, the US senate refused to budge and sign even though few years later it (US) claims to have contributed significantly in emissions reducing targets far above some of its counterparts that ratified the protocol. Canada later left the protocol in 2012.As Kyoto phases out, the UNFCCC, failing to curb human-induced warming to below 2º Celsius (3.6º Fahrenheit), calls for a more ambitious and legally enforceable global agreement which sets our planet in line with this threshold. Sadly, current trajectory implies warming far beyond this limit, possibly 4-6º Celsius by the end of this century. The year 2014 was the hottest on instrument record, and we in Liberia can attest to the anecdotal evidence of extreme heat even approaching the raining season. Other governments are arguing that the reduction target required to achieve the below 2 degrees C mark is infeasible and economically impossible.New mechanisms such as carbon offsetting and sequestration, including reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancement of carbon stock (REDD+) has been introduced over the last decade since the coming into force of the Kyoto Protocol. Some of these measures compliment the protocol while others are means to improve on the protocol for a new climate regime.The road to a new legally binding agreement to replace Kyoto has been long, disputable, politically manipulative and scientifically discouraging. Despite all of these, Paris offers a glimpse of faint hope for a new agreement based on the unbiased science of climate change, available finance, and unstinted commitment from industrialized countries.Liberia’s Contributions to the Global Fight Against Climate ChangeTypically, least developed countries (LDCs) offer little in terms of finance and technology to address climate change. As a matter of fact, LDCs suffer the brunt of climate change impacts while their contributions are miniscule. Liberia has made tremendous progress in addressing climate change despite its minimum contribution to the problem. The remaining 43% of the Upper Guinea Forest presents a unique opportunity to sequester trillions of tons of carbon while concomitantly reducing and avoiding emissions from deforestation and degradation. A round up of Liberia’s key contribution includes the establishment of the National Climate Change Steering Committee (NCCSC) and its Secretariat (NCCS), which was originally hosted in the Office of the President of Liberia thus sending a strong message that the government was considering climate change as a critical national development challenge requiring high level support. Before that, the Government of Liberia, through the EPA and its key partners launched the development of the country’s strategy for adapting to climate change. The National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) created in 2008, was in fulfillment of the UNFCCC requirements and articulates the government’s visions and strategy for improving its adaptive capacity to climate change. Initial funding for the NAPA was secured to enhance resilience in Agriculture, strengthen coastal defense in selected coastline cities, etc.As mentioned supra, Liberia’s forest provides a humongous opportunity to be a key global contributor to climate change mitigation program. Taking lead on this, the government, with support from the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) developed a 3-year plan to test the country’s readiness for REDD+ an acronym for Reducing Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. This program calls for the forest to remain standing while harnessing its ability to sequester carbon. As logging will be minimally conducted on a sustainable scale, the aim here is to increase the country’s capacity to capture trillions of tons of carbon in the atmosphere while receiving incentives for the services including financing, protection of key biodiversity, and promotion of alternative livelihood for fringe forest community dwellers. The Norwegian government has committed US$150 million (One Hundred and Fifty Million United States Dollars for REDD+ related programs in Liberia while the FCPF initial US$3 million (Three Million United States Dollars support to test REDD+ in Liberia has been reinforced with additional funding.In 2012, Liberia was required through a global effort to report on its emission level under a system called “National Communication.” To date the country has submitted its first national communication and is preparing for its 2nd national communication. This document expresses the country’s emission profile from all sectors and helps to better inform global actions about Liberia’s contribution to the total GHG emission. On top of that, the government is also currently developing its climate change strategy and policy and anticipates a draft or finished product before the UNFCCC meeting at the end of the year.As the World braces itself for a global treaty this year in Paris, the UNFCCC has introduced a new concept out of the latest COP20 (in Peru) called the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). This initiative seeks to engender a comprehensive list of emission reduction commitments from all governments and parties to the convention which could form the basis for negotiating a new treaty. Industrialized countries like the US and the European Union have submitted their INDCs along with other LDCs. The Government of Liberia team is currently assessing the different emissions from all sectors and weighing its options on what level of commitment can be offered towards this fight. This INDC should not be mistaken for the amount of carbon that can be captured under the REDD+ program.ChallengesLiberia faces an enormous challenge to build the required institutions and systems for carbon rights, including benefit-sharing mechanism, providing equity distribution to forest communities, access to financing, and availability of cutting-edged technology. Parallel to these are the lack of political support and national buy-in for climate change. Some may argue that political support must be eked out of public officials by technicians and climate change activists. Over the years, honestly, these proponents have tried to creat a humongous awareness on climate change and gradually we may just be getting there. Below this list of constraints/challenges is the fact that Liberia is always outnumbered by its counterparts at the COP negotiations. While countries like Nigeria, for instance, are taking over 25 delegates for negotiation, Liberia is represented by 4-5 persons. It becomes increasingly daunting to manage the simultaneous meetings that occur during the course of the COP. In spite of all these, Liberia is making all strides to contribute and participate in the fight against climate change.Urias S. Goll is a trained environmental economist and a blogger and can be reached for comments via email [email protected] this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgDonegal U16 girls manager Terry McCole says he and his squad are relishing the challenge of Down at Red Hughs Killygordon on Sunday.McCole leads his side into championship battle on Sunday for their first match in a group which also includes Tyrone, Antrim and current Ulster kingpins Cavan.Preparations have been far from ideal for McCole and his backroom team. Adverse weather over the last number of months have led to a number of training postponements and it has been difficult to arrange challenge matches.McCole was also a late appointment into the position, but he’s content with the squad he has assembled and believes his squad have the ability to compete and do well in the Ulster Championship.McCole’s squad trained collectively for the last time last night at the Finn Valley Centre.However, they will meet again on Friday at the LYIT campus for a team meeting to go over some tactics and to see how some of his squad who are struggling with injuries are feeling. McCole told Donegal Daily, “It’s been hectic since I got the job in January, it would’ve been great if we were at it a few months earlier but it wasn’t to be.“We held trials and we had 134 girls attend which was a remarkable turn-out.“The quality was high and it was difficult to narrow down our panel but we’re very happy with the squad we have.“Weather has caused havoc with our schedule, we’ve had matches called off and it’s been very difficult to try and get pitches at this time of the year.“Ideally we’d have liked to have got more challenge games under our belt, but that hasn’t happened, but the squad have trained hard and are looking forward to Sunday.” McCole has praised the dedication and commitment of his squad over the last number of months and hopes they get the rewards their efforts deserve.“The girls are absolutely first-class to work with, they’re tuned into everything we say and take everything on-board.“They’ve trained really hard over the last number of months and like us are just looking forward to the match against Down on Sunday.“Playing before the Donegal Senior Ladies match adds to the occasion for them and hopefully we’ll see many of this squad progress to Senior football in the coming years.” McCole says the state of ladies football is in a very healthy state and has praised the efforts of volunteers at grassroots level all across the county.“Termon, Glenfinn and Milford have been traditionally strong and still are, but teams in the southern part of the county are starting to catch-up and are putting in massive efforts with ladies sides at all levels.“Four Masters had a great run in Ulster last year and my own club Ardara are progressing well at several different age groups.“In the Rosses Donal Sharkey has done brilliant work with Naomh Muire and they’re producing some quality players.“Hopefully we get a good crowd on Sunday and everybody gets out and supports both sides.”McCole also praised the dedication of his backroom team who have worked tirelessly along with him since January.“Declan Walsh has been my right-hand man and takes the majority of the coaching, he’s been fantastic and is a great person to have involved.“Larry Griffin, Yvonne Harvey and Michelle Bennett have also contributed hugely to the project and we’re looking forward to the challenge the group presents.“We have three home games which is a huge advantage for us and we’re away to Antrim.“Hopefully we get off to a good start against Down, but we’re under no illusions as to how difficult the task will be, but we’re ready for it and looking forward to Sunday.”Throw-in is at 1pm, followed by the Donegal Senior Ladies v Meath at 2.45pm.DONEGAL U16 GIRLS PREVIEW : MCCOLE RELISHING CHALLENGE OF DOWN IN ULSTER CHAMPIONSHIP was last modified: March 12th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:championshipdonegalDownGAAGirlsLFGATerry McColeU16Ulsterlast_img read more