Ban Ki-moon Optimistic About Copenhagen Agreement

The Voice of America is reporting that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is optimistic about the world’s nations coming to an agreement about how to tackle climate change.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon told reporters he would go to the Danish capital next week to open the high-level segment that he expects will draw more than 100 heads of state and government.

“I am encouraged and I am optimistic. I expect a robust agreement at Copenhagen summit meeting that will be effective immediately and include specific recommendations on mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology. This agreement will have an immediate operational effect,” he said.

His remarks come as scientists released new data showing the first decade of this century will likely turn out to be the warmest ever. The findings from the World Meteorological Association also predict 2009 will be the 5th warmest year since global record-keeping began in 1850.

Keep reading at Voice of America

Meanwhile in Canada, Greenpeace unfurled banners on Parliament Hill pointing out that Ignatieff and Harper are total failures. Good for Greenpeace for a little direct action.

Copenhagen Conference Begins

Arguably, the most important UN conference started today in Denmark: The Copenhagen Conference to address climate change. This conference sets out to ensure that there will be a place for humans to live healthy and peaceful lives in a sustainable fashion.

Environmental concerns have led to food scarcity issues to potential causes of regional conflict and now countries are doing something about it. Personally, I hope that Canada stops sabotaging international conferences on climate change (like in Bali) and that Canada stops being a second voice of support for the USA’s disastrous climate policies.

Now is the time for real change.

From the AFP:

The meeting will climax on December 18 with more than 100 heads of state or government in attendance.
Opening ceremonies began with a short film featuring children of the future facing an apocalypse of tempests and desert landscapes if world leaders failed to act today.
“There will be hundreds of millions of refugees,” Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN’s panel of climate scientists, said in the film.
“Please help save the world,” said a little girl, plaintively.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen told opening ceremonies that the world is looking to the conference to safeguard humanity.
“The world is depositing hope with you for a short while in the history of humanity,” Rasmussen said. Poll: Public want action
“For the next two weeks, Copenhagen will be Hopenhagen. By the end, we must be able to deliver back to the world what was granted us here today: hope for a better future.”

Keep reading about Copenhagen.

Also, The Guaridain is liveblogging the conference..

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

Today is Blog Action Day 2009 and this year’s issue is climate change. If you’re a blogger you should join in on the awareness-raising campaign by posting about climate change. The ultimate goal this year is to influence the upcoming Copenhagen conference.

Here’s some climate change news that goes underreported: you can slow climate change by having and promoting safe sex.

In Pakistan, for instance, family planning and reproductive health services “still remain out of reach for millions of Pakistanis,” she said in a 2008 research commentary she co-authored, ‘Population, Fertility and Family Planning in Pakistan: A Program in Stagnation’.

Yet, Hardee asks, how come scientists and climate change experts fail to make the crucial connection between sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and climate change? She says the global architecture around climate change addresses mitigation and adaptation policies on technological solutions while social sectors, including health, are not sufficiently included on its radar.

The senior researcher at the Washington-based Population Action International (PAI), which promotes universal access to family planning and reproductive health care services, says it is critical that voices supporting SRHR and family planning are heard in the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, to be held on Dec. 7 to 18 in Copenhagen.

She calls for “more people-centered global and national adaptation approaches that meet the full range of people’s needs”.

Read more about population and climate change.

Copenhagen to Build Bicycle Highway

The most bike-friendly city in the world is about to get better by building commuter highways designed for bicycles.

You can read all about it at Copenhagenize.

Currently 55% of the citizens in central Copenhagen ride a bicycle daily and the number is 37% for Greater Copenhagen. While in many other countries anybody who cycles to work is often considered a ‘bicycle commuter’, most of the 500,000 people who cycle to work or education in Copenhagen don’t fit into the Danish version of this statistical category.

A ‘commuter’ is loosely categorised as someone who travels more than 10 km to work. The City of Copenhagen and the surrounding towns are aiming to increase the trips by bike on the new routes. There is an efficient network of public transport throughout the region but just as any train passenger or motorist knows, it feels much quicker and is much quicker if you don’t have to stop all the time. The same principle applies to cycling to work and it is the key to the development of this new net of superhighways.

Just like anywhere, there are many people who cycle longer distances but the focus for the new plan is the ‘middle ground’ – the zone between 7 and 15 km from the city centre.

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