Foreign Policy Blogs

Bits and Bobs , January Edition

The UN Process , As you know, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), located in Bonn, is the governing body for the Kyoto Protocol, its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and much of the work that the UN does on climate change.  Its executive secretary, Yvo de Boer, has this perspective on the road after the Bali meetings. Aside from the enormous international media exposure that the conference received and the setting out of a timetable, there were, de Boer notes, immediate results in "the areas of adaptation funding, technology transfer and reducing emissions from deforestation."  He calls for a global "Climate Change Marshall Plan" in which the industrialized countries will help the developing world with energy efficiency and other measures. 

Hawaii , The White House is hosting a get-together this week in Hawaii as a follow-up to the meetings it held in Washington in late September.  I mentioned those talks here and how bad the reviews were here.  As Reuters reports in World's big polluters meet in Hawaii over climate, the 15 largest GHG-emitting nations will meet, along with reps from the UN and the EU.  One skeptic of these talks, Angela Anderson of the non-partisan Pew Environment Group, is quoted here:  "The question back in September was, "Does the fact that they’re launching this process indicate some change in the position of this administration?'  There has been no change in position whatsoever in this White House. They were hoping to sell their position to the rest of the world and that's not working."

Reuters further reports, however, that the Bush administration has made a $2 billion pledge for a clean technology fund. 

Japan , Meanwhile, the Japanese government has made a $10 billion commitment, and they expect to make a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.  See Tokyo sets emissions cut target from the "Financial Times" and also this op-ed from the Japanese Prime Minister.  Yasuo Fukuda.  This statement, from the leader of the world's second-largest economy remember, jumped off the page at me:  "We all know we must change our ways of living. A carbon-free society can no longer be a mere fantasy.  It is the shining house on the hill for which we must all reach."  Carbon-free society!  You go, Yasuo!

Energy Islands , I couldn't resist this item on what might or might not be a fantastical approach to renewable energy:  archipelagos of artificial islands that will produce electricity, clean water and even food.  See Energy islands could use power of tropics from "The Guardian."  The architect Alex Michaelis is vying for Richard Branson's $25 million prize for a big, innovative GHG-reducing project.  The article reports:  "At the heart of each island is an ocean thermal energy conversion plant which can create electricity from sea water where the difference between the temperature of the surface water and the deep is 20C or more."  Here's an excellent graphic showing how the system would work.  



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change