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Climate Change News

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The White House should come up with a strategy for federal research into large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system that could help tackle climate change, a new watchdog report concludes.

The Government Accountability Office found in its report more than 50 current studies, totaling slightly more than $100 million, focusing on piecemeal strategies to reverse climate change, but none directly addresses what would happen if adventurous programs on carbon dioxide reduction and solar radiation management were put in place.

Read more: White House Should Coordinate Geoengineering Research to Help Fight Climate Change

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MANILA, Philippines—A coalition of major international environment groups has called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to take a stronger stand on climate change in the upcoming climate talks in Cancun, Mexico.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Green Peace and Oxfam, under the banner Coalition on ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious and Binding Climate Deal (A-FAB), called on ASEAN leaders to show their commitment in dealing with the problem of climate change in Cancun, Mexico, in a statement issued on Saturday.

Read more: ASEAN urged to take stronger stand on climate change

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ASEM city leaders

Governors and mayors exchanged ideas on tackling major issues including climate change at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), which involved the leaders of world cities for the first time.

Leaders and representatives from the cities, including Bangkok, Berlin, Brunei, Rotterdam, Seoul, Tokyo, Helsinki and Vientiane — underlined the importance of ASEM in providing a platform for dialogue and cooperation at the local level.

Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said large cities in Europe and Asia shared the same challenges such as urbanization, environment sustainability and multiculturalism.

“Every city has a different character and solution, but we can learn from each other,” he said during a press conference Friday.

Earlier in the morning, delegates shared a light moment when they planted mangroves in Pantai Indah Kapuk in North Jakarta. They later discussed the road maps to a greener city in a session on sustainability and climate change.

Read more: ASEM gives city leaders new ideas

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St Cyprians School and Hout Bay High School, in the Western Cape, are the first two schools in the world to participate in the Shout project, an environmental initiative that harnesses thepower of education and technology.

The sixth annual Microsoft Worldwide Education Innovation Forum kicked off this week with a tour of the two schools in Cape Town, as part of a demonstration to show how technology can facilitate 21st Century learning, while bringing awareness around climate change.

Shout was created out of a partnership between Microsoft Partners in Learning, TakingITGlobal and the Smithsonian Institution, based in Washington.

Read more: Local schools take on climate change

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INCHEON, South Korea, Oct 29, 2010 (IPS) - Even as Asian ministers discussed ways to reduce disaster risks here, news broke of a twin tragedy in Indonesia – a tsunami triggered by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake, and the eruption of the country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi, whose name means "mountain of fire".

Speaking to journalists at the Fourth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held here on Oct. 25- 28, Sugeng Triutomo, deputy chief of Prevention and Preparedness at Indonesia’s National Agency for Disaster Management, remained optimistic that the country’s "spirit" will not be broken. 

"These disasters should not stop the development of our country," Triutomo said. "These disasters should make us strong… and more resilient to (future) disasters." 

But already, local reports are pointing to the failure of early warning systems installed on Indonesia’s remote western Mentawai islands, where 3-metre high waves have left close to 400 people dead and thousands more homeless or missing. 

Ironically, it is precisely these disaster risk management measures, such as early warning systems that are able to prevent higher death tolls, that the ministerial conference sought to implement in the region. 

Ministers at the meeting have approved a five-year regional roadmap to establish climate-resilient systems for disaster risk management by 2015 at the regional, national and community levels. 

Read more: ‘Vulnerable’ Asia Seeks To Reduce Disaster Risks

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Amid pressure from environmentalists to fast-track a planned moratorium on logging permits, a senior official says the government has not issued concessions for natural forests and peatlands since 2009. 

Under an agreement signed by Indonesia and Norway in Oslo in May, Indonesia has vowed to stop issuing forestry permits for peatland and primary natural forests for two years. 

That moratorium is set to take effect from Jan. 1, 2011. 

In return, Norway will set up a $1 billion fund for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD-Plus) schemes, a UN-backed carbon trading mechanism, in Indonesian forests. 

Read more: Indonesia Government Slows Logging Permits Before Ban

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Legazpi City (29 October) -- Albay Gov. Joey Saceda was named on Tuesday the Senior Global Champion of Disaster Risk Reduction at the opening of the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR at Convenzia, Songdo, Incheon Metropolitan City, in South Korea.

United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary General Margareta Wahstrom representing UN Sec Gen Ban Ki Moon handed the award to Salceda as Senior Global Champion of DRR during the opening ceremonies of the Asian Ministerial Conference on DRR on Tuesday.

Salceda in an emailed acceptance speech he said the people of Albay are honored by the award from the United Nations as a recognition of our zero casualty performance for the past 16 years.

He said," The people of Albay thanked the UN ISDR for this award, and we accept the award as a challenge to sustain our disaster risk reduction program in pursuit of Millennium Development Goal."

He claims that given the rising climate risks, no development is possible without adaptation, however it is development that gives meaning to adaptation.

Read more: Salceda named UN senior global champion of disaster risk reduction

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Eco business.comCarbon industry experts have identified investments in energy efficiency projects as the biggest potential for Singapore’s energy landscape.

The country’s National Environment Agency’s Climate Change Programme assistant director Adrian Tan said on Thursday that an increasing number of companies are harnessing the potential of these small-scale projects despite their yielding significantly lower carbon credits than large-scale lucrative natural energy projects.

Carbon credit projects are validated by the United Nations under its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) scheme.

Read more: Next wave of carbon projects in energy efficiency

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An HSBC Holdings Plc survey has found climate change as the number one concern for people in Vietnam.

Over two-fifths (43%) of 1,000 Vietnamese respondents said climate change and how to respond to it are among their biggest concerns these days, according to HSBC’s Climate Confidence Monitor.

The online survey – which was done by Lightspeed, one of the world’s leading online market research companies, in August and September 2010 – interviewed a minimum of 1,000 people in each of 15 markets.

Read more: Vietnamese concerned about climate change: HSBC survey

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State President Nguyen Minh Triet has proposed the United Nations provide information and financial assistance to help Vietnam cope with climate change as Vietnam is among countries suffering the worst consequences of climate change.

The Vietnamese State leader made the proposal while receiving UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon following an official welcoming ceremony in Hanoi on October 28. 

Vietnam is commited to implementing the UN Resolutions, particularly the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and highly values the UN’s contributions to peacekeeping, international security, economic development and ensuring human rights, said President Triet. 

Read more: Vietnam wants UN assistance to cope with climate change

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