It’s time to admit there is no future in fossils.

December 5, 2011 2 comments

By Niranjali Amerasinghe

Niranjali Amerasinghe, Staff Attorney

Following the UN climate talks in Durban can be a tedious business. Even for a conference junkie like me.  There are times when the discussions get so mired in petty political bargaining that it’s hard to keep the bigger picture in mind.  People seem to forget why they’re actually there: to find a solution to the biggest environmental threat ever faced by humanity.  This involves making significant changes to the status quo, like transitioning away from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy.  There is no way we will limit global warming to 1.5oC degrees Celsius (a level above which impacts from climate change are expected to be radically more extreme) if governments continue to pander to the special interests of the fossil fuels industry. Read more…

Advertisements

What’s at stake at Durban? We are.

November 23, 2011 1 comment

By Kristen Hite, Interim Director, Climate Change Program

In recent years we’ve seen global predictions on climate change becoming increasingly dire.  In recent weeks it’s gone from bad to worse:  The International Energy Association, often criticized for how its future projections of energy production rely too heavily on fossil fuels and nuclear energy just issued a report that says our current energy patterns will lead us to a global rise in temperature of 4 degrees Celsius or worse, leading to “irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change.”  This comes on the heels of a new analysis by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which tells us that impacts are worse than expected and that climate change is increasingly responsible for natural disaster damages to the tune of billions of dollars annually.  Put simply: we can’t avoid climate impacts—we’re already experiencing them and they are getting worse.  But we can avoid locking in an unsustainable future that guarantees widespread destruction to communities and ecosystems across the globe—that is, if diplomats representing 190+ countries agree on how to act. Read more…

Breaking the global paralysis on endocrine disruptors

November 10, 2011 Leave a comment

By Baskut Tuncak

Over the past two decades, the urgent need for global action on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has become undeniable.   A little-known global agreement—SAICM—might provide the best opportunity for global action to prevent further health and environmental harm from EDCs.

Read more…

SAICM and Nano: A unique chance to develop an international governance mechanism for this new emerging issue

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

By David Azoulay

Nanomaterials are those tiny materials (1 nanometer is about 1/100,000 of the width of a human hair) that behave radically differently than would expected, relative to their bulk counterparts. Examples include carbon nanotubes and nano silver. Promoters of nanotechnology promise life-changing and civilization-saving applications, while scientific institutions and citizen organizations across the world argue for precaution. These materials show drastically new toxicological profiles, and some of Read more…

Categories: Chemicals Tags: , , ,

Global negotiation on chemicals offer hope for developing countries…and the world

November 4, 2011 1 comment

By David Azoulay

David Azoulay, Senior Attorney

Hundreds of government delegates will join representatives of intergovernmental organizations, health and environmental advocates, as well as business groups in Belgrade, Serbia November 15-18 to improve the management of toxic chemicals. The Belgrade meeting, known as an Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG), sets the stage for the Third International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM3) in September 2013.

Both events are part of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), a broad global agreement to improve policies and practices. Next year will mark the 50th Anniversary Read more…

Multilateralism works! An insider’s analysis of Basel COP10

October 26, 2011 Leave a comment

By Hana Heineken, Law Fellow

My very first COP experience, the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention in Cartagena, Colombia, was hailed by delegates, observers, and the UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner as the most successful Basel COP in the history of the Basel Convention.  I was fortunate to have joined CIEL’s delegation that participated in such a momentous event.

COP10 began with Read more…

Vaccines and the Draft Mercury Treaty

October 24, 2011 1 comment

by Baskut Tuncak

Last week, the Associated Press reported that the international treaty being negotiated to address mercury pollution could ban vaccines that use mercury as a preservative. The preservative, thiomersal (also known as thimerosal), is widely used in vaccines that are distributed in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions where refrigeration may not be available. The AP article included quotes from experts that an absolute ban on thiomersal would be “ridiculous” and “a terrible idea.”

The only problem with the article’s premise is that the chance of governments agreeing to an absolute ban on mercury vaccines is about as good as the Tea Party endorsing President Obama’s reelection and demanding that the United States ratify the Kyoto global warming treaty: Read more…

Categories: Chemicals Tags: ,