Green Our World!

No. 2 Vol. XLIV 2007

Climate change has finally taken hold in the public consciousness. With it, inevitably, comes a sense of urgency that decisive action is needed now, before it is too late. This special issue of the UN Chronicle offers, through a range of unique perspectives, a comprehensive snapshot of where we currently stand with regard to climate change."

Sophy Bristow

Business And Climate Change: Rising Public Awareness Creates Significant Opportunity

Imagine the scene: the year is 2027-China is responsible for 15 per cent of the world's energy consumption; California has imposed permanent water rationing; relief agencies warn that late rains again raise the spectre of widespread hunger in southern Africa; and cases of malaria are being reported among holidaymakers in Greece and Turkey.

Ban Ki-moon

Now Is The Time: We must find a global response to this most global of problems

The lines were drawn as the industrialized nations of the Group of Eight gathered in Heiligendamm, Germany on 6 June 2007. The forces mustered to fight global warming were divided into competing camps.

Roberto Dobles Mora

Costa Rica's Commitment: On The Path To Becoming Carbon-Neutral

Current scientific evidence increasingly shows that the benefits of strong early action far outweigh the costs of inaction. If we do not drastically and promptly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions now, we are risking a catastrophic disruption of the complex of interlinked environmental, economic, health, moral, political and social systems that sustain civilization as we know it.

Kemal Dervis

Devastating For The World's Poor: Climate Change Threatens The Development Gains Already Achieved

Climate change has emerged as one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the world. Twenty years ago at the United Nations, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway's former Prime Minister and former Director-General of the World Health Organization, first drew global attention to the threats posed by climate change to the earth and its inhabitants.

Portia Simpson Miller

Confronting Climate Change: A Shared And Global Responsibility

Climate change is recognized as a most serious threat facing humanity. No one is immune to its effects. The impact of climate variability and climate change on human and natural systems poses serious challenges to our objective of reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development.

Herman Mulder

Sustainable Development And Climate Change:A Business Perspective

Twenty years after the Brundtland Report asserted it was in the common interest of all peoples and nations to establish policies for sustainable development, the pace of sustainability is finally accelerating. Notwithstanding a number of serious political and security issues that politicians are struggling to effectively address, the case for sustainability in a global context has become more apparent, and even mainstreamed in some countries, during the last few years.

Juan Hoffmaister

A Future to Look Forward to : Youth and Children Demand Global Climate Stabilization

Youth and children, as the next generations, have the right to a clean future-they do not wish to inherit a toxic, radioactive, dirty and carbon-driven world. We demand a clear definition of sustainable energy and time-bound targets for the implementation of a sustainable energy policy that will free us from respiratory ailments, air pollution, climate change and a radioactive legacy.

Cesar Maia

We Cannot Lose Our Green And Our Blue: Climate Change Threatens Our Urban Environment

Global climatic change will affect all aspects of social life in the twenty-first century. The measures necessary to confront the challenges brought about by global warming and to mitigate its impact go far beyond the indispensable technological transition in the production process and changes in consumption habits of individuals. The future of cities and what we now call urban will also undergo transformations.

Margareta Wahlström

Before The Next Disaster Strikes: The Humanitarian Impact Of Climate Change

Climate change is an issue so large in scope and so potentially overwhelming in importance that it might be helpful for us to pause and focus our attention on practical steps we can take to adapt to a warming planet and reduce its negative impacts.

Wendy Abrams

Cool Globes: Increase Awareness and inspire Action Against Global Warming

In 2001, I read a Time magazine article on climate change, which stated that in the next 100 years the Earth's temperature could rise by 3? to 11? Celsius. It then dawned on me that this was within my children's lifetime. How would these changes impact the world they live in? Will they be left to deal with the consequences of our behaviours?

Helen Clark

Consolidating Political Will: We Need A New Vision Of Sustainability

The issues of sustainability, particularly climate change and clean energy, as well as energy security and access, are compelling concerns of our times. Through the issues raised by climate change, the goal of sustainable development has been given a tangible core and a renewed sense of urgency.

Derek Newberry

Industrial And Rural Energy In China: Innovative Private-Sector Initiatives Lead The Way

China's massive industrial sector is an economic juggernaut, helping to drive national gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates of around 10 per cent per year. But while the country's highly productive factories and plants may be boosting national prosperity, their rapid expansion carries with it a serious environmental burden and costly energy inefficiencies that are increasingly becoming a barrier to China's sustainable development, thus contributing to climate change.

Emyr Jones Parry

The Greatest Threat To Global Security: Climate Change Is Not Merely An Environmental Problem

Climate change is transforming the way we think about security. This will not be the first time people have fought over land, water and resources, but this time it will be on a scale that dwarfs the conflicts of the past, said the Congolese representative at the UN Security Council debate in April 2007. The French called it the number one threat to mankind.

Paritosh Kasotia

The Health Effects Of Global Warming: Developing Countries Are The Most Vulnerable

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that the increase in global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) is primarily due to fossil fuel use and, in a smaller but still significant level, to land-use change.

Climate Change Around The World: A View From The UN Regional Commissions

The most recent meeting of the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD 15) examined global climate change, along with energy, air and industrial development, as a comprehensive cluster of issues. The risk of climate change commands the most widespread preoccupation of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Governments throughout the world.

Josef Mantl

A Future To Look Forward To: Youth and Students Campaign for a Sustainable Future

The Sustainable Future Campaign is a programme designed by an international team, in coordination with the United Nations Youth and Student Association of Austria, to provide educational platforms to engage global youth and encourage environmental development efforts.

Timothy E. Wirth

The Challenge Of Building Consensus Beyond The Scientific Community

The imminence and severity of problems posed by the accelerating changes in the global climate are becoming increasingly evident. Heatwaves are increasing in severity, droughts and downpours are becoming more intense, the Greenland ice sheet is shrinking, sea levels are rising and the increasing acidification of the oceans is threatening to disrupt the marine food chain.

Rhone Resch

The Promise Of Solar Energy: A Low-Carbon Energy Strategy For The 21st Century

In an increasingly carbon-constrained world, solar energy technologies represent one of the least carbon-intensive means of electricity generation. Solar power produces no emissions during generation itself, and life-cycle assessments clearly demonstrate that it has a smaller carbon footprint from cradle-to-grave than fossil fuels.

Barry Kantor

Sustainable Development within the Climate Context

Sustainable development is an important requirement of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) set up under the Kyoto Protocol. It helps to maintain environmental integrity and should be assessed rigorously prior to any investment in a CDM project. The benefits include certainty in CDM application, reduction of risk to investors, developers and owners, and the provision of cost-free assistance to developing countries, which could reduce the enormous divide between the North and the South.

Ismail Serageldin

Interaction Of Climate Change And Land Degradation: The Experience In The Arab Region

The Arab region is comprised of 21 countries, extending from North Africa to South West Asia, over an estimated total area of 14.1 million square kilometres. Its vast terrain includes physiographic features of plains, plateaus, dry valleys and relatively limited highlands and mountainous areas.

Hans Hoogeveen

Forests and Climate Change: From Complex Problem to Integrated Solution

Global warming has become everyday news, often featured in alarming statements by Heads of Governments, scientists or environmental activists. We now know that melting glaciers, erratic global weather patterns, droughts, raging wildfires and creeping invasive species of flora and fauna in new localities are all unmistakably the effects of climate change.

Sálvano Briceño

Global Early Warning Systems needed: Creating Partnerships to Cope with Natural Disasters

Every year in the past two decades, more than 200 million people, on average, have been affected by natural hazards. Disasters have caused a massive loss of life and negative long-term social, economic and environmental consequences. Vulnerable societies have been deeply affected, particularly in developing countries with less coping capacity.

Kiyo Akasaka

Guiding Principles Needed: Towards A Global Strategy For Climate Change

Ever since I attended the Kyoto Conference on Climate Change in 1997, I have been fascinated by the development of the international debate on this issue. There are few forces that can literally reshape the global landscape as climate change can. Rising sea levels, melting glaciers, lakes that are drying up and rainforests that become savannahs are just some of the changes that are wrought by climate change.

Raj Jadhav

Green Architecture In India: Combining Modern Technology With Traditional Methods

We have been trying to address the ill effects of modern energy-depleting technology by inventing new technologies in architecture. While such a quest is inevitable, I propose combining solutions developed by our ancestors with contemporary technological innovations to achieve significant results in sustainable architecture.

Yuwei Zhang

'Warming of the Climate System Is Unequivocal': Highlights of the Fourth IPCC Assessment Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988 to recognize the problem of potential global climate change.

Alexander Ginzburg

How To Avoid The Unmanageable And Manage The Unavoidable Climate Changes

Alpine ski resorts are churning out artificial snow, wrote Laura MacInnis in her story, Fake Snow in Alps, Moscow Blooms: Green Christmas?, published by Reuters News Service on 13 December 2006. Daisies are blooming by the Kremlin and retailers are fretting that Europeans are simply too warm to go Christmas shopping in a record mild winter.

Peter Jackson

From Stockholm to Kyoto: A Brief History of Climate Change

In the midst of the current international debate on global warming, it is instructive to note that it has taken the United Nations and the international community some two generations to reach this point.

Duane Smith

Climate Change In The Arctic: An Inuit Reality

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) characterizes the circumpolar Arctic as the world's climate change barometer. The 160,000 Inuit who live in northern Canada, Greenland, Alaska and Chukotka in Russia have witnessed the changing of the natural environment as a result of global warming for almost 20 years.

Achim Steiner

The UN Role In Climate Change Action: Taking The Lead Towards A Global Response

Over the coming weeks and months, the three Special Envoys on climate change appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be making whistle-stop tours of key capital cities to build a solid and sustainable consensus on action over climate change.

Apisai Ielemia

A Threat To Our Human Rights: Tuvalu's Perspective On Climate Change

If there is one issue that strikes at the heart of my nation, Tuvalu, it is climate change. Tuvalu is a small coral atoll nation located in the middle of the South Pacific. Our lives are closely linked to the marine environment and we live off the bounty of the ocean, with fish being our main source of protein.