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Why trade can save the planet, if we do it better

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In the Indian tech hub of Hyderabad, I recently visited an ultra-modern campus that is home to some of the country’s youngest and brightest minds who crank out code as part of the software outsourcing revolution. The campus itself is a world of wonders – an oasis of cutting-edge environmentalism coupled with state-of-the-art technology.

The site is powered by rows of solar panels, built in China, with back-end technology and cabling from Australia, India, the United States and the European Union. It’s paired with a biogas plant built from parts far and wide. It’s one of the business, tech and green success stories of India’s economy, and it is producing a generation of Indian engineers who are building new skills in large-scale renewables deployment or in the kind of district cooling solutions that will feature in the green buildings of the future.

It’s a powerful symbol of how trade and the spread of goods, services and ideas can help unlock the kind of dramatic low-carbon shift we need to make in the global economy. Trade brings cutting-edge technology far and wide, disrupting business-as-usual practices. Trade ensures that technology gets to where it is needed, the newest and most efficient machinery available. More broadly, trade is also one of the most powerful engines for economic growth and poverty reduction.

The 2030 Agenda calls on all countries to use trade to create a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient world. To this end, we must seize the positive momentum of countless win-win ideas and actions springing up all around the world. We need to stop thinking of environment and trade as isolated issues. Instead we must align trade and trade policies with environmental and social objectives.

We need to all speak more about the linkages between trade, environment, resilience and the effect this connection has on people. The problem, however, is that the trade and environment communities often do not see eye to eye and do not interact enough. That’s something UN Environment is working to address.

Earlier this year, Roberto Azevêdo, Director General of the World Trade Organization and myself, launched an initiative to broaden and deepen the dialogue among governments, the private sector and civil society on practical ways to use trade to strengthen the environment and the global economy.

Our aim is to shine a light on opportunities to bring trade and environment closer together, and to highlight the importance of close collaboration between governments, entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, environmental activists, and civil society at large. To kick off this effort, on 2 October UN Environment and the World Trade Organization will host a high-level dialogue on “Making Trade Work for the Environment, Prosperity and Resilience” at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. The event will call for actions from countries, civil society and the private sector to bring trade into closer alignment with a healthier, sustainable, resilient and prosperous world.

Today we still see far too often trade that drives already unsustainable levels of resource consumption, waste produced and discarded, contributing to surging greenhouse gases, pollution and biodiversity loss. For example, emissions from the transport sector, the backbone of international trade, are growing rapidly and represented, in 2015, around 18% of all man-made CO2 emissions.

Meanwhile recent extreme weather events such as flooding and hurricanes have illustrated the vulnerability of the supply, transport and distribution chains that underpin modern-day trade. These events, as well as natural disasters, failure to mitigate or adapt to climate change and water crises rank among the top five risks in terms of their perceived impact within the next ten years.

To counter these developments, we need trade and environmental governance to reinforce one other and foster resilience. This can amplify good practices, sustainable production and consumption, investments in the environment, and the development of green technologies. In fact, G20 countries could lift their average economic output by up to 2.8 per cent by 2050 through a combination of policies to mitigate climate change and to foster investment in low-emission, climate-proof infrastructure. Coherent trade and environment policies can further support less-developed economies to integrate into green global value chains through open markets.

Trade cannot be a goal in itself. Trade must drive a better, greener and more inclusive future. Our joint initiative with the WTO holds the potential to translate this vision into reality.

To make green products available to all, we need trade policies that promote innovative solutions and reduce tariff- and non-tariff barriers on the import and export of these goods. We need to cut red tape and barriers for trade in sustainable goods and services, including environmentally sound technologies.. We also need trade policies that connect sustainable production with sustainable consumption and promote a broader shift that helps consumers to make better choices.

Global trade governance must evolve and become a true ally of multilateral efforts to protect the environment, including the Paris Agreement. Carbon pricing could serve as a mechanism to reduce the global footprint of trade and to encourage investment in green sectors. The global trading system must also actively contribute to eliminating environmentally harmful practises. New international trade rules on fossil fuel and fisheries subsidies will not only benefit the environment, they will also promote a fairer trading system. Removing fossil fuel subsidies, for example, would raise government revenue by US$ 2.9 trillion, while also reducing global carbon emissions by more than 20 per cent and air pollution-related deaths by 55 per cent. Environmental ministries and action groups should be closely involved in these negotiations.

Collaboration cannot be limited to international rule making or institution — what about establishing environment and trade committees at the national-level to ensure that trade policies are aligned with environmental goals?

Many important initiatives are already underway: For example, my home country, Norway, is tackling trade in waste. Under a new proposal, plastic would be added to the list of wastes subject to controls under the Basel Convention – effectively treating it as hazardous. Meanwhile, China is already eliminating plastic waste imports, halting one of the outlets for our unsustainable use of the material and contributing to a more circular economy.

One thing is clear – our government policies, individual actions and trade practices that promote environmentally sound technologies and spur innovative solutions will determine the future viability of our planet. We can and must do better.

UN Environment

Green Planet

Let’s play the squid game: but we play for our planet this time

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image source: netflix

Squid game is a current Netflix’s trend series and no one can escape from its influence. The world has Squid game fever now and there are a lot of people who want to partake and experience being in these games. People are lining up to try the popular games in the show and the Squid game’s challenges are piling up in social media and YouTube. This show is climbing up to the first place and achieving global popularity.

In the Squid game, the people who have debts are trying hard in playing the children’s games to win the billion-prize money but the punishment is death. The struggle and the poverty are focused in this series. Besides, it highlights the greed of the people and how it can awaken the devil’s side of human beings. The friendships, sympathy and care can be destroyed easily because of the greed for surviving and money. Apparently, this show is giving a special taste to the audience by the direct approach about our society and socioeconomic conditions. Therefore, it is no wonder that this gains a lot of popularity and becomes Netflix’s most-watched series in history.

Since Squid game wave is striking hard, people are addicted to the show and their willingness to try out the games of this show are unstoppable. So, this time can these passionate audiences participate in the Squid game competition for the sake of our planet? Nowadays, the state of our planet is serious and encountering a plethora of threats; pollution of air and water, ozone layer depletion, climate change, rising sea levels, land degradation, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and so on. 

Due to these environmental concerns, a lot of groups are rising up to spread awareness within the public. These socially conscious groups around the world try hard to inform how the single action of the people can impact the earth. Not only to protect the environment but also to reduce the existing environmental issues, the people from different backgrounds, societies and places have to work together. Although plenty of people are now concerned for their home planet and searching for the answer to solve these issues, educating the public to increase more awareness and attention still needs more room to develop.

To promote environmental awareness and actions to help our planet, the growth of the Squid game can play a perfect role. The unbeatable amount of Squid games addicted fans who are also concerned for the state of the planet can be used in encouraging the public more for the current issues of the earth. Let them play these trend games that they are dying to play and at the same time, the promotion for the actions to preserve the earth will be done.

Creating the competition which inspire Squid game series for our home planet

Type of games and the Rules

Just like in the Squid game series, in this competition, there will be traditional children’s games which were popular in the past. But this time, the games will be collected from various countries. Therefore, the contestants can experience various cultures, explore new things and as a consequence, they will feel connected to each other. Besides these traditional games, there will be games that can help to reduce the carbon footprints such as planting the trees as much as they can in the given time, creating innovative staffs by recycling or reusing the materials and so on. The prime rule for this competition is that the player cannot quit till the game ends and they will have to agree to take the punishment no matter what. And manipulation to each other is not allowed and all the players will be equally treated while in the games.

Host and sponsors

The international organizations such as WWF, IUCN, UNESCO, UN, ASEAN, ADB, etc can be the host in this game. Since these organizations are helping to identify the environmental problems and supporting the protection, they can be the best candidate to be a host in the competition. Along with them, the big corporations who are embracing sustainability can be the sponsors, in other words, they will take the role of VIPs just like in the Squid game series. As the businesses can make greater profits and create better images by considering the economy, social and environment in operating their businesses. Being the sponsors in this game will help them in implementing the better CSR programs and pursuing sustainability. This is one of the best ways to acquire the public’s attention, also loyal customers and as a result, their brand image and competitive advantage will also be improved.

Players

Who will get the invitation for this game?

A group of socially conscious, young generations and also the people who want to experience the games can be the players in this competition. Most of the youths are worried about the future of the planet and they are concerned about the impacts of the environmental issues. They want to change their lifestyles to be more environmentally friendly compared to the older generations. Due to this competition, the adults can have a chance to remember their nostalgic childhood times and the young can experience these old games while they can make effective things for the planet.

Prize

The prize is one of the incentives to stimulate the people to play in this game. The bitter truth is one of the powerful incentives is money. A group of winners will get the money to invest in the environmental projects. Frankly, to protect our environment and planet, billion dollars is one of the requirements.

Punishment

As the players are competing for the sake of the earth, the punishment will definitely not be death. But instead, the players who will get eliminated from the games will have to spend their times at the special place for several days. That special place is located in one of the biggest landfill sites. Losers of this competition have to work in that place and they will have to help in the disposal services.

To conclude, if this competition actually happens in the future, it will bring certain benefits for the environment, society and businesses. So, why do not we inspire this current most-watched series “Squid game” to spread awareness and encourage the people to save the planet, Earth. Let’s give a chance for the people to play in their favorite childhood’s games, be green and save our home.

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Green Planet

Climate change and global challenges

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The whole world has been severely affected by climate change and the Covid-19 epidemic. The natural character of the whole world has also changed due to the rise in global temperature. Given the current situation, all the people of the world are in a state of panic about the horrors of the coronavirus. The world has been devastated by hundreds of disasters since the 1960s. More than 50 million people have become destitute. Many people have died. And most of the disasters are accompanied by constant climate change.

In 2020, 4 crore people became homeless due to deteriorating weather and climate change. At the same time, the adverse effects of the weather are becoming more extreme due to climate change from this year. This year it will break the record and stand at 5 crore. Many people have to leave their country. This number is double the current refugee population in the world. Not just any particular country or people, people all over the world are facing the harmful effects of climate change. Especially in the last 20 years, this effect has spread from Asia, Europe, Africa to the Americas.

Increasing use of fossil fuels is warming the weather, forcing more people to flee their homes due to unexpected floods or storms. Besides, factors like crop damage and drought are also making this trend more evident. Politicians in rich countries are fearful of increasing pressure on their country’s infrastructure due to the influx of environmental refugees from other countries.

Carbon emissions play the biggest role in climate change. Low-income countries are also deprived of 100 billion a year in promised compensation for carbon emissions. Asia has the highest number of people displaced due to environmental reasons. In countries such as China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, millions of people live in low-lying coastal areas or in delta-adjacent areas. More and more people are at risk of flooding due to population growth and urbanization, and the rapid rise in sea level is being added to this.

People have already witnessed extreme weather, drought or heavy rains, cyclones.  That is to say, the destructive form of climate and nature is gradually becoming manifest. Mankind is being blamed for this hostile behavior of nature. People are taking care of nature in many ways. Rivers are being occupied and the mountains are being cut indiscriminately. Houses are being built on agricultural land. In this way, oppression on nature is going on in various ways, due to which nature is becoming hostile. We are ruining all our own achievements. As a result, there has been severe inflammation.

The world’s population is constantly growing. There is no end to the discussion and criticism about population growth. It is time to take stock of what new steps can be taken or how human suffering can be reduced. With the increase in population, new problems have been added. It may seem unbelievable but it is true that every day around 25,000 people in the world die due to eating habits and malnutrition. In addition, the world is facing many adverse reactions including shortage of potable water, air toxicity, depletion of resources, housing problems and the destruction of the Ozone layer.

At the root of this is population growth. The temperature in the capital Dhaka has risen due to rapid population growth. A study has identified 25 high-risk areas in Dhaka as a result of rising temperatures. These areas have been named ‘Hit Island’. The performance of the people of this area is decreasing day by day with the increase of various diseases.

Assistance is needed to increase the capacity of CVF countries to deal with the dual threat of epidemics and disasters, especially those affected by the increased frequency of climate-related disasters. Climate-risk countries contribute the least to global greenhouse gas emissions, but they suffer the most. 2021 is a very important year for climate issues as the United States returns to the Paris Agreement. The COP-26 conference on climate change in Scotland next November is expected to yield some good results on climate change. The main goal of COP-26 is to address the impact of climate change and to educate the world about its harmful effects. Bangladesh has also participated in this climate change prevention project.

In ancient times there was a close relationship between man and nature. Ever since man came in contact with civilization, he has learned to strike at nature. Over time, man began to wreak havoc on nature. The problem of environmental pollution is increasing day by day. The trees were not spared from the victims of cruelty. As a result, fear is constantly concentrated in our habitable world. We look for different ways to get rid of it. But if we let nature be like that, we would not have to suffer this consequence in our lifetime.

Blinded by the fascination of speed, people have cut down the forest and set up houses, sometimes they have driven away the animals there. In recent times, mountains are being cut down and forests are being cleared somewhere. Deforestation is endangering the lives of many people. Even though the seasons are changing, these incidents add to our anxiety. But trees can be very resistant to prevent global warming. If the environment does not survive, the problems of the world will intensify. Animals, human beings will face loss of everything. The main reason is the indifference of the people.

 A closer look reveals that this apathy has a significant effect on the depraved market economy. Rivers, hills, soils, forests are all instruments of income growth in the eyes of that market. In order to earn income from these sources, natural resources are being destroyed, centuries-old trees are losing their lives or the source of the boundless beauty of nature is being endangered. In the past, there was a connection between man and nature, which is why in many places forests have survived because those who grew up in contact with plants can realize the contact with nature by finding ways to do the necessary work without harming the plants.

Climate change is responsible for recent disasters. We have to fight hard to save the world from increasing global warming. World leaders must take strong action, including global initiatives, to leave a sustainable future for the next generation. The international community has a special responsibility to assist countries at risk of climate change in their adaptation and mitigation efforts.

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Green Planet

It’s not fair to single out the five countries in the Greta Thunberg UN children-climate case

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Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg. UN Photo/Cia Pak

The Greta Thunberg UN case decision just came out today. You might remember that back in 2019, Greta and other children brought a headline case before the UN to prove that climate change affects children’s rights, and it’s a hard issue of law and rights — something that has been long resisted in the area of human rights law when it comes to the environment. The environment has always been one of those peripheral issues for human rights law and that’s why today’s decision is groundbreaking. In a historic ruling that came out today, the UN Child Rights Committee has found that a State party can be held responsible for the negative impact of its carbon emissions on the rights of children both within and outside its territory.

The countries that are bearing the international public slap in the face in this case, however, (Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey) are not the biggest emitters and polluters. They were selected as a target of the case not for the worst climate impacts, but simply because they have ratified the additional Protocol of the UN Child Rights Convention, so a case against them can be brought; the biggest emitters haven’t. So it’s a bit like a “catch whoever you can”, and that should be born in mind in the discussion.

The countries in the UN Greta case are the classical international law countries (Europe and Latin America) who have agreed that their human rights practices can be reviewed and challenged. The biggest carbon emitters, on the other hand, haven’t agreed to accept cases.The US hasn’t even ratified the Child Rights Convention, as the only country in the world, let alone the Additional Protocol for direct cases.

The case is very important as a test case and one which develops the nexus between human rights law and climate. It develops the principles of the reasoning and the legal parameters — that’s the take-away. We should remember that the five singled out countries are not the bad guys when it comes to climate change.

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