International governors group signs deforestation reduction commitment in Brazil
A group of state-level leaders from Indonesia, Peru, Brazil and several other heavily forested nations this week committed to make significant cuts to deforestation rates by 2020. However, the agreement will only hold if partners from wealthy nations provide adequate financial support.
The Rio Branco Declaration, spearheaded by the Governors' Climate & Forests Task Force, commits signatories to reducing deforestation by 80 percent by 2020 "contingent upon adequate, sufficient and long-term market and non-market performance based funding," according to a press announcement.
U.K.-based group claims self-regulation won't stop China's role in illegal logging
As China faces increasing international scrutiny for its role in driving illegal logging around the globe, an environmental nonprofit charges that the country's newly proposed measures to curb the practice won't be enough to keep forests standing.
The U.K.-based Environmental Investigation Agency, a lobbying group, today published its formal comment on the Chinese government's draft guidelines for forest product companies trading in other nations.
U.S. lags behind much of the world in investing in Africa's energy development
KAMPALA, Uganda -- President Obama's appeal for greater U.S. investment on the African continent was not major news in this booming East African capital where economic progress can be measured by glassy new office towers built for Chinese energy firms and the recent opening of Kampala's upscale Acacia Mall, where the main imprint of U.S. culture and business is a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.
Uganda's national newspaper, New Vision, ran its coverage of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit deep inside yesterday's editions, alongside a photo of the American president whom many Africans view as their strongest ally -- Bill Clinton. (The newspaper's website did publish the full text of Obama's remarks, along with photos of the current president.)
With eyes on Paris, African leaders push for climate funding
There will be no climate change agreement in 2015 unless wealthy nations fill the "empty vault" of the Green Climate Fund, a top African diplomat said yesterday.
Speaking alongside climate change negotiators from Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania, Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, the lead negotiator for the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- as well as the African group of diplomats in the U.N. talks -- said money to support poor countries will be a critical element of any new deal. The fund, designed to facilitate the mobilization of billions of dollars in annual aid, is technically up and running. But only one country -- Germany -- has pledged money to it.
Africa, where 60% are without power, sees fossil fuels as a bridge
Renewable energy is in Africa's future. But coal and natural gas is the future for the power-starved continent.
That message from energy ministers as part of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit yesterday came as officials also emphasized how deeply threatened the region is by climate change. But on a continent where 600 million people still lack access to basic energy services, one leader after another said tapping into new power -- clean or dirty -- is their top priority.