In the recently launched landmark report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading scientists warned that we only have 12 years to prevent the global environmental catastrophe caused by irreversible climate change. This will require rapid and far-reaching climate action in all sectors, including energy, industry, buildings, transport, agriculture and cities.
While industry is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for nearly one third of total global emissions, it is also a leading provider of climate technology solutions and green jobs.
As the UN’s specialized agency promoting industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is committed to enabling a paradigm shift in industrialization in developing countries as a means to build low-emission climate-resilient societies.
Speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24), UNIDO Director General LI Yong said, “Innovation is key to addressing climate change and promoting economic and social prosperity.”
UNIDO is currently implementing over 400 projects, which directly contribute to achieving the targets and goals set by both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To enhance knowledge sharing and demonstrate proven and effective solutions for replication and scaling up, UNIDO showcased some of these projects during COP24 side events.
For instance, the UNIDO-GEF Global Cleantech Innovation Programme, which supports small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs in developing innovative climate and clean energy solutions as profitable business models, prominently featured in multiple technology-related side events.
UNIDO also presented its clean cooking fuels initiative, which promotes the production of biofuels in developing countries, as well as the manufacturing of the stoves on an industrial scale.
A dedicated side event marked the fifth anniversary of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), the implementing arm of the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism. Hosted by UNIDO and UN Environment, the CTCN promotes the accelerated transfer of environmentally sound technologies for mitigation and adaptation action in developing countries.
Tackling e-waste challenges in Latin America
The issue of e-waste continues to represent a threat to both the global environment and human health, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. E-waste is the quickest-growing waste stream in the world.
Currently, the world produces approximately 50 million tonnes of e-waste a year. This equals the total weight of all the commercial airliners ever made. This figure is predicted to rise to 120m tonnes by 2050.
From 17–22 March, political and technical representatives from 13 countries across Latin America and e-waste experts from around the world will meet in San Jose, Costa Rica, to discuss how to tackle the e-waste landscape in the region.
The second Expert Meeting on the Effective Management and Disposal of E-waste in Latin America under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is being convened by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in cooperation with the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica and with co-financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF.
The meeting is part of a UNIDO-GEF project to assist 13 Latin American countries both technically and financially, advising on e-waste policies and regulations, suitable management technologies, business models, capacity-building, and awareness-raising.
At the national level, the project seeks to strengthen policies and train technical staff and government officials. At the regional level, the project seeks to harmonize key aspects of e-waste policies and strengthen regional cooperation and knowledge exchange. A key element of this year’s Expert Meeting is the E-waste Academy for Managers with the participation of renowned e-waste management experts.
UNIDO collaborates with a large number of organizations on the project, including the United Nations University (UNU), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as various other partners, such as Dell, Microsoft, RELAC and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA).
The meeting coincides with Global Recycling Day on 18 March. Launched in 2018, the Day is an initiative of the Global Recycling Foundation to help recognize and celebrate the importance of recycling for preserving precious primary resources.
China to host World Environment Day 2019 on air pollution
Today, the head of Chinese delegation, Zhao Yingmin, Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment, and Joyce Msuya, Acting Head of UN Environment, jointly announced that China will host the global World Environment Day celebrations on 5 June 2019 with a theme of air pollution.
Approximately 7 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution, with about 4 million of these deaths occurring in Asia-Pacific. World Environment Day 2019 will urge governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together to explore renewable energy and green technologies, and improve air quality in cities and regions across the world.
The Government of China has committed to organizing World Environment Day celebrations across multiple cities, with Hangzhou, in the province of Zhejiang, to host the main event.
The announcement comes as environment ministers from across the globe participate in the world’s highest-level environmental forum in Nairobi. Negotiations at the Fourth UN Environment Assembly 11-15 March are expected to tackle critical issues such as stopping food waste and promoting the spread of electric cars. It also follows the publication of a review report of 20 Years’ of air pollution control in Beijing.
“China will be a great global host of 2019’s World Environment Day celebrations,” said Joyce Msuya at the announcement on Friday. “The country has demonstrated tremendous leadership in tackling air pollution domestically. It can now help spur the world to greater action. Air pollution is a global emergency affecting everyone. China will now be leading the push and stimulating global action to save millions of lives.”
China with its growing green energy sector, has emerged as a climate leader. The country owns half the world’s electric vehicles and 99 percent of the world’s electric buses. By hosting World Environment Day 2019, the Chinese government will be able to showcase its innovation and progress toward a cleaner environment.
According to a new UN report on air pollution in Asia and the Pacific, implementing 25 technology policies could see up to a 20 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide and a 45 per cent reduction in methane emissions globally, leading to a third of a degree Celsius saving of global warming.
World Environment Day is a UN Environment-led global event, which takes place on June 5 every year and is celebrated by thousands of communities worldwide.
Since it began in 1972, it has grown to become the single largest celebration of our environment each year.
Air Pollution facts:
- 92 per cent of people worldwide do not breathe clean air
- Air pollution costs the global economy $5 trillion every year in welfare costs
- Ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reduce staple crop yields by 26 per cent by 2030
Reducing carbon emissions: EU targets and measures
To prevent dangerous climate change, the EU has committed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 under the Paris Agreement .
In November 2018, the European Commission presented a long-term strategy for the EU to achieve a climate-neutral economy by 2050, including eight possible pathways.
Ahead of a European Council meeting in May, where EU leaders are expected to adopt the strategy, the European Parliament adopted a resolution outlining its recommendations on 14 March 2019.
MEPs called for the EU to
raise the 2030 emission reduction target and reiterated the Parliament’s
position to allocate at least 35% of the EU’s expenditure on research to
support climate objectives.
To reach its climate goal, the European Union has come up with ambitious legislation.
An Emissions Trading System
The EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) aims to reduce the industry’s carbon emissions by obliging companies to hold a permit for each tonne of CO2 they emit. Companies have to buy them through auctions. There are some incentives to boost innovation in the sector.
The European Emissions Trading System is the world’s first major carbon market and remains the largest one. It regulates about 45% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions and covers approximately 11,000 power stations and manufacturing plants in the EU. The goal is to reduce emissions by 43% compared to 2005.
Tackling carbon emissions from other sectors
Sectors not covered by the Emissions Trading System – such as transport, agriculture, buildings and waste management – still account for nearly 60% of the EU’s overall emissions. Emissions from these sectors will be cut by 30% by 2030 compared to 2005.
This will be done through agreed national emission targets which are calculated based on countries’ gross domestic product per capita. Lower-income EU countries will be provided with support.
Managing forests for climate change
EU forests absorb the equivalent of 10.9% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions each year. The EU wants to use this power to fight climate change.
New legislation aims to prevent emissions caused by deforestation and oblige each EU country to compensate changes in land use, which lead to emissions of CO2, by better managing or increasing their forests.
Reducing car emissions
Cars and vans produce 15% of EU’s CO2 emissions. The EU is working on legislation to toughen car emissions standards. The Parliament is also calling for measures to facilitate the shift to electric and hybrid vehicles.
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