Egypt Independent: Environment-Main news en Executive regulations of coal usage presents to Cabinet <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Egypt&rsquo;s Ministry of Justice and Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs have finished revising the executive regulations for the industrial use of coal as an energy source, the minister of environment Khaled Fahmy said on&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; line-height: 115%;">Wednesday</span><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">.&nbsp;</span></p><p>The regulations are now pending cabinet approval.&nbsp;</p><p>The regulations include two appendices for coal usage in the cement industry and electric power plants.</p><p>Meanwhile, 19 cement companies and four electricity stations have requested using coal, according to the minister of environmental.&nbsp;</p> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:28:00 +0000 Egypt Independent 2446750 at sites/default/files/photo/2012/12/18/54605/coal.jpg World Bank chief: Tackling disasters vital to end poverty <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>In the past 30 years, the world has lost more than 2.5 million people and almost US$4 trillion because of natural disasters, the president of the World Bank said on Friday as governments prepare to adopt a new global plan to reduce disaster risk.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Speaking in Tokyo on his way to the northeastern city of Sendai, where a UN conference aims to finalize the plan, Jim Yong Kim said the 2010 earthquake in Haiti destroyed more than a decade of growth in the country, and in 2013, Typhoon Haiyan pushed nearly half a million Filipino households into poverty.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Over the last 16 months, the Ebola epidemic killed nearly 10,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and caused those countries&#39; growth rates to plunge from some of the highest in the world to expected levels near or below zero, the World Bank chief said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;To end poverty, we must continue to expand our understanding of how to manage disasters and deploy this knowledge aggressively,&quot; Kim said in prepared remarks to journalists.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Due to global warming, the frequency, intensity and duration of extreme weather events like droughts will increase, he warned, making disaster risk &quot;worse in the future&quot;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The conference tasked with agreeing the new disaster reduction plan opens on Saturday and will be attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and 20 heads of state and government, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Denis McClean, spokesman for the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), said the current 10-year plan, known as the Hyogo Framework for Action, had been a &quot;limited success&quot;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;In many countries we have seen the growth of a culture of disaster risk management which was not there before, and would not have been possible without the guidance and the guidelines contained in the Hyogo Framework for Action,&quot; he said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>By 2015, 86 countries had set up formal national bodies to coordinate disaster risk reduction efforts, and 121 countries had enacted legislation to support policy to reduce disaster risk, according to the UNISDR.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In addition, there are now 85 national disaster loss databases, giving those countries a headstart in tackling the factors that cause deaths and economic losses when hazards like floods or an earthquake hit, McClean said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Fewer lives lost</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Jo Scheuer, director for climate change and disaster risk reduction with the <u><a href=""><span style="color:#0000ff;">United Nations</span></a></u> Development Program, said voluntary frameworks like the Hyogo agreement were important because they steered investments, strategies and programs in the right direction.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;In terms of dealing with disaster events, we are in much, much better shape than we have ever been before, and you see that in (a) reduction of loss of life,&quot; he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Sendai.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;A global framework does have an impact on what happens on the ground,&quot; he said, citing improvements in early warning systems, search and rescue, evacuation drills and identifying safe shelters.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But while the world has got better at dealing with disaster events, it is not yet basing development decisions on risk information in an accountable way, so that building codes are enforced, for example, Scheuer said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Philippines Senator Loren Legarda said her country had responded to the Hyogo Framework for Action by enacting laws on disaster risk reduction and climate change.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But 10 years after the framework was adopted, &quot;we realize the gaps in implementing our laws&quot;, she said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>When Typhoon Haiyan hit the central Philippines in 2013, more than 6,300 people died because many living in vulnerable areas were not evacuated ahead of the storm, demonstrating the importance of early warning systems, she added.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Efforts must be made to raise awareness that laws to protect people exist, and to find resources to put them into practice, Legarda said. &quot;Doing otherwise means...death, means loss of livelihood,&quot; she said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>At preparatory talks on Friday ahead of the start of the Sendai conference, negotiators failed to reach agreement on thorny issues in the draft text for the new global plan, including targets to measure progress and how to increase funding for disaster prevention.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Talks could continue through Tuesday, in a form to be decided on Saturday, so that a final version of the plan could be presented for approval on Wednesday, when the conference is scheduled to close.</div> Sat, 14 Mar 2015 11:28:00 +0000 Reuters 2446120 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/03/14/501010/japan_03-14-15.jpg More eco-friendly economy saves Egypt 30% in power consumption <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div><div>Enhancing energy efficiency could save Egypt 30 percent (33 billion KW) of electricity consumption, according to a United Nations Environment Programme <u><a href=""><span style="color:#0000ff;">study</span></a></u>.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt has already installed 225 MW of wind energy capacity with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, said the UNEP in a report following the 15th <u><a href=""><span style="color:#0000ff;">African Ministerial Conference on the Environment</span></a></u> (AMCEN) in Cairo, which wrapped up Friday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Besides rationing the energy consumption, the report cited an increase in GDPs and a reduction of rural-urban gaps in several African countries as a favorable outcome of shifting to green economy. This has been done using various measures, such as imposing taxes on petroleum in the case of Algeria and rehabilitating forests in Burkina Faso&rsquo;s case.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Enormous sustainable, renewable and untapped resources exist on this continent. Africa receives 325 days per year of sunlight and is using less than 7 percent of its hydroelectric potential and less than 2 percent of its geothermal capacity,&rdquo; the report quoted UNEP director&nbsp;Achim Steiner as saying during the conference.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&rdquo;But what is required to scale-up these investments is the right mix of policy, incentives, capacity development and informational tools,&rdquo; Steiner added.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Since the election of president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2014, Egypt has leaned towards renewable energy sources to offset a chronic shortage in the petroleum supply needed for the operation of power stations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>During an interview with the satellite channel&nbsp;ONTV, business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, chairman of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, said that 70 percent of Egypt&#39;s economic problems lie in the energy sector, adding that a major US$2 billion project for the generation of solar energy is scheduled to be introduced during the Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh on 13 March.</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p> Sun, 08 Mar 2015 11:33:00 +0000 Mohamed Mostafa 2445701 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/01/17/499612/solar_energy.jpg Is climate change fuelling war? <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>For years, scientists and security analysts have warned that global warming looms as a potential source of war and unrest.</p><p>Storms, droughts, floods, and spells of extreme heat or exceptional cold: all can destroy wealth, ravage harvests, force people off land, exacerbate ancient rivalries and unleash a fight for resources, they say.</p><p>These factors are predicted to become more severe as carbon emissions interfere with Earth&#39;s climate system.</p><p>Yet some argue there is evidence that man-made warming is already a driver in some conflicts.</p><p>&quot;In a number of African countries the increase in violent conflict is the most striking feature of the cumulative effects of climate change,&quot; South Africa&#39;s Institute for Security Studies (ISS) warned in 2012.</p><p>&quot;In the Sahel region, desertification is causing clashes between herders and farmers because the availability of cultivated land is being reduced.</p><p>&quot;Climate-related effects of this nature are already resulting in violent conflicts in northern Nigeria, Sudan and Kenya,&quot; it added.</p><p>The idea leapt to prominence in 2007, when UN chief Ban Ki-moon said violence in Sudan&#39;s Darfur region was sparked in part by a two-decade-long decline in rainfall that devastated cattle herds.</p><p>Arab nomads were pitched against settled farmers in a rivalry for grazing and water.</p><p>The tensions bloomed into full confrontation between rival militias -- an escalation due &quot;to some degree, from man-made global warming,&quot; Ban argued.</p><p>Others have drawn a link between the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings and climate change-induced heatwaves in cereal-exporting countries.</p><p>Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan took their grain off the global market -- and within four months, global food prices hit their second record peak in three years.</p><p>This may have lit the fuse in powder-keg Arab countries burdened by poverty, youth unemployment and authoritarian rule, according to this view.</p><p>Former US vice president Al Gore, now a Nobel-honoured climate campaigner, believes climate change was a factor, among others, in the Syrian conflict.</p><p>&quot;From 2006 to 2010, there was a climate-related historic drought that destroyed 60 percent of the farms in Syria, 80 percent of the livestock and drove a million refugees into the cities, where they collided with another million refugees from the Iraq war,&quot; Gore said in Davos last month.</p><p><strong>- Caution -</strong></p><p>Climate scientists are cautious about drawing a causal link between global warming and current conflicts -- as opposed to future ones.</p><p>&quot;The example of Darfur is often put forward to illustrate the effect of climate on conflict between groups,&quot; French climatologist Jean Jouzel writes in a new book.</p><p>&quot;But the reality is more complex, and most researchers acknowledge that the political and economic context was the prime factor.&quot;</p><p>Mark Cane, a professor of Earth and climate sciences at Columbia University in New York, said there was &quot;a strong case&quot; to link discontent in Syria to the drought which in 2007-2010 was the worst ever recorded there.</p><p>But he pointed to a problem: ascribing a role for climate change, usually discernible over decades, to a single weather event.</p><p>Furthermore, &quot;it is impossible to look at any single conflict and argue conclusively that it wouldn&#39;t have happened but for a drought or some other climate anomaly,&quot; Cane told AFP by email.</p><p>Governance and other factors also weigh in, he noted. What magnified the impact of Syria&#39;s drought, for instance, was gross waste of water and a surge in population, other experts have said.</p><p><strong>- Risk factor -</strong></p><p>Scientists are cautious about declaring a link between conflict and climate change until the evidence is overwhelming.</p><p>In the military, though, it&#39;s different. Armed forces have to respond swiftly and cannot wait until the proof is all there, which is why climate is now a risk factor in their planning.</p><p>In many countries, military analysts already include climate change in risk management, Neil Morisetti, a former British admiral and climate advisor to the British government, now director of strategy at University College London, told AFP.</p><p>&quot;Some will say it (the risk) is here already,&quot; he said.</p><p>&quot;If you look at where climate change is going to have its greatest effect, and is already having an effect, it&#39;s that belt north and south of the equator... this is where a lot of raw materials are, where the world&#39;s supply chains and trade routes run, and where ultimately a lot of the number of the markets and emerging powers are.&quot;</p><p>And a volatile world, said Morisetti, &quot;poses a risk to political geo-stability.&quot;</p><p>Whether or not they agree that the effects are evident, the experts are united in their heralding of worse to come.</p><p>&quot;Human security will be progressively threatened as the climate changes,&quot; the UN&#39;s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCC) warned in its overview report.</p><p>The Pentagon agrees.</p><p>&quot;Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty and conflict,&quot; it said in a 2014 Global Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap.</p> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 09:45:00 +0000 AFP 2444089 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/21/484151/02climate-master675.jpg