Climate & Energy Quick Takes: US Wants Diminished UN Climate Roll, Madagascar Sanctions Illegal Logging, Hindu Epic Recitation Helps Plant Trees


photo: Julian Rotela via flickr.

Lots of newsworthy stuff coming through in that last 48 hours, so here's a quick recap:

US Says Diminished UN Climate Roll Would Help
The Guardian and others have reported that US climate negotiator John Pershing has said that the UN should relinquish its central role for future climate change negotiations. Citing the chaotic nature of the COP15 talks, Pershing said "It is...impossible to imagine a negotiation of enormous complexity where you have a table of 192 countries involved in all the details." Pershing instead suggested that the leading economies of the world should lead the talks.

Somehow I think all those smaller nations of the world, tired (and used to) being steamrollered by the major economies of the world might not like Pershing's suggestion so much.


photo: World Resources Institute via flickr.
Madagascar Legalizes Rosewood Exports - Gives Green Light to National Park Logging
Madagascar's civil turmoil hasn't done good things for its natural resources, if the aim is the manage them sustainably. Illegal logging both in and out of protected areas has been rampant of late. Well, as Mongabay reports, the interim government has now legalized logging of rosewood from the nation's national parks.

Resumption of the rosewood trade could be a windfall for traders -- rosewood is one of the few sources of foreign exchange at the moment in Madagascar, where banks -- especially in the north -- are reported to be having difficulty facilitating large cash transactions. With elections approaching, rosewood may also be seen by politicians as a means to fund campaigns, according to an observer, who spoke to mongabay.com on the condition of anonymity.


photo: Gemma Longman via flickr.
Cold Quells UK Wind Turbines
The recent cold and snowy weather across the UK has brought with quiet winds, Yale Environment 360 tells us. Rather than generating the current average 5% of electrical demand, this has dropped to just 0.2% in recent days.

If there's a better demonstration of the importance of a diversified energy supply, including good storage solutions developed for renewables, I'd like to hear it.


image: Wikipedia
Ramayana Recitation Hopes to Help Slow Climate Change, Deforestation
Those unfamiliar with the Hindu epic the Ramayana don't worry, for our purposes all you need to know is that it's an epic poem and that recitations of it and public plays based on it are done every year in India. But now, as the Economic Times tells us an NGO in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is trying to turn these recitations into a positive environmental act.

After the perfomances, Raunak Evam Jagruk Samaj Sanstha is distributing saplings as prasad (consecrated offerings, usually some sort of food) to those attending the events. So far the group has distributed some 18,000 saplings.

REJSS' director says,

You know the importance of prasad among Hindus, who traditionally accept it after prayers as they believe the prasad has been blessed by the almighty. We provide saplings as prasad to the devotees, who readily accept them and plant them taking into account the religious context.

You can say it's our religious formula to protect the environment and fight against global warming. Planting trees is something simple everyone can do to reduce carbon dioxide.

The original article doesn't mention how many of these saplings are maintained and reach maturity--a perennial problem with this sort of program--but it's a certainly interesting twist on an age-old custom.

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Tags: Deforestation | Global Climate Change | India | United Kingdom | United Nations | United States | Wind Power

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