NGO’s Walk Out — Many NGOs, including Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Action Aid, Friends of the Earth and others, walked out of the Conference today, frustrated by the slow pace of progress in the negotiations and complaining about the corrosive effect of “dirty energy” corporations on countries’ positions. Wearing t-shirts stating “#COP 19 — polluters talk, we walk.” But the NGOs warned that they would intensify their lobbying efforts in capitals and in the UNFCCC process. The backs of the t-shirts read “#volveramos — we’ll be back.” Dramatic actions and protests have long been part of COPs as the negotiations enter their final stretch — the talks are likely to continue well into the night on Friday.
Laughing gas and climate change — It has been known for some time that emissions of nitrous oxide — N2O — can be a potent greenhouse gas that lingers in the atmosphere for years. But a new UNEP study finds that concentrations of the gas could double by 2050 and, because it is an ozone-depleting gas, could potentially undermine gains in the ozone layer recovery. The report, Drawing Down N2O to Protect Climate and the Ozone Layer, warns that nitrous oxide is now the most important ozone-depleting emission and the third most potent greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere.Reducing N2O emissions has major cost benefits since emissions are connected to diverse economic sectors from agriculture, chemical manufacturing and electricity production to waste management, transportation and fish production.According to UNEP, the use of the gas could be regulated through the Montreal Protocol, one of the most successful environmental treaties.
Urban Conundrums — No government official has to be more aware of the impacts of climate change than the world’s mayors and managers, many of whom came to Warsaw to participate in a dialogue on how cities and states or regions are dealing with the issues. Many are concerned that their efforts are not adequately reflected in the global negotiations, which are carried out by national governments — which often lag well behind innovative local communities. And many are moving to promote better public transportation — like Warsaw — to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. But what does a mayor do to promote a “green city” when the production of fossil fuels contributes to the local economy? In Canada’s Vancouver, in British Columbia, Penny Ballem says, “It’s a tricky balancing act. You have to keep everything from getting polarized.”