Talking Points on Climate Change and the Environment
Watch eloquent short video by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
"The destruction of the earth’s environment
is the human rights challenge of our time."
Global warming and environmental damage from the
fossil-fuel industry already affect all of us, although responsibility
lies primarily with the rich industrialized countries and the newly
industrializing powers. Africa is the most vulnerable continent,
but extreme weather and sea-level rise have hit New Orleans and
New Jersey as well as Lagos.
When industries make decisions based on short-term profits,
encouraged by government subsidies to established industries, they
systematically discount damages from "externalities." Visible
results include the devastation of oil-producing areas in the
Niger Delta and of coal-producing areas, whether in South Africa or West Virginia.
The longer-term consequences in rising temperatures and more
extreme weather will be even more devastating.
Action to combat climate change depends in part on decisions made in international
conferences, where the primary obstacles to action are
the rich countries and the newly industrializing powers. But
efforts at many other levels are also of decisive importance.
Fossil-fuel divestment campaigns, as they grow and multiply,
can affect investment choices. So can technological innovation.
Notably, clean energy can already be more cost-effective than large-scale fossil fuel plants
in supplying distributed energy access to Africa.
install off-grid solar panels in Kirambo, Rwanda.
August 3, 2015 Africa/Global: Climate Change Roundup
Coal is the most damaging of fossil fuels, both for human health and
for the planet. Although it still dominates in some countries,
including South Africa, the case against coal is rapidly gaining
ground around the world. On business grounds as well, coal is losing
its competitive advantage. 2015, many are suggesting, may be the
beginning of the end for coal.
July 29, 2015 USA/Africa: Obama Visit Roundup
In analyzing high-profile presidential visits, it is difficult to
sort out symbolism from substance in the sheer volume of news
coverage and commentary. And despite the flurry of announcement of
"deals" at each stop, the main lines of policy are rarely altered
and often reflect continuity not only within one presidential
administration but also from one administration to another. The
content of private conversations of lower-level officials as well as
others involved in the visits may be just as significant as the
formal meetings of presidents. Even more significant may be the
issues not discussed because common assumptions go unquestioned on
July 21, 2015 Africa/Global: "Stop The Bleeding"
With the exception of inclusion of a statement promising to address
"illicit financial flows," the outcome document of the Financing for
Development conference in Addis Ababa (July 13-16) broke little new
ground. Significantly, rich countries vetoed action on a greater
role for the United Nations in setting international tax standards,
preserving that role for the club of the OECD countries dominated by
the United States and Europe. But civil society momentum for more
significant action is continuing to grow, as was marked by the
launch of the "Stop The Bleeding" campaign at a continent-wide
gathering in Nairobi in June.
July 14, 2015 Burundi: Diplomacy Falling Short
As Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni travels to Burundi for yet
another attempt to mediate in the crisis caused by the determination
of President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek a third term in the elections
now scheduled for July 21, it is clear that international diplomatic
efforts are still failing to reverse increasing repression and
escalation of violence. Despite multiple mediators and international
declarations of concern, most recently calling for disarmament of
the pro-government militias and commitment to a government of
national unity, the incumbent president has good reason to conclude
that he can continue to resist the pleas of his international
critics as well as to repress internal opposition.
by date | by place | by topic
July 6, 2015
Africa/Global: People's Test on Climate
June 30, 2015
South Africa: Marikana Perspectives, 2
June 30, 2015
South Africa: Marikana Perspectives, 1
June 22, 2015
Africa: AIDS Struggle Continues
June 15, 2015
Eritrea: "Rule of Fear, Not Law"
June 2, 2015
Africa/Global: Capital Flows in Context
June 2, 2015
Africa/Global: Tax Justice & Inequality
May 25, 2015
Africa/Global: Africa, Race, and World Order
May 18, 2015
Africa/Global: Decarbonizing Development?
May 11, 2015
West Africa: Ebola Down But Not Out
May 5, 2015
Africa/Global: Renewables Gaining Ground
April 27, 2015
Burundi: On the Brink?
April 22, 2015
South Africa: Saying No to Xenophobia
April 14, 2015
Europe/Africa: Deaths at Sea
April 8, 2015
Garissa: Not Just Numbers
March 30, 2015
South Africa: Energy Futures Contested