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FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE - A MOVEMENT TO COUNT ON

Today, September 20, a global school strike takes place as a start to a whole week of various actions.

On September 23, the UN Secretary-General has called for an extra-ordinary climate meeting due to the big school strikes and next Friday, September 27, it is time for another global strike. Thousands of workplaces and trade unions will also participate and, in total, millions of people are expected to venture out into the streets to demand a better environmental policy.


Mankind is facing a whole new paradigm in the development of climate and society, which requires a change in our thinking patterns and behaviors. Over the past centuries, we have evolved from living in the agricultural community to the industrial community. A journey of good and evil. Industrialism and growth have, on the one hand, contributed to the economic and social improvement of the lives of a large part of humanity, not least the late Hans Rosling reported on. The other side of industrialism has led to an extensive climate impact combined with our current way of life. Mankind is therefore now on the threshold of the new global and digital society with, according to science, a comprehensive climate challenge to deal with.


Whether or not the need for change is necessary, there are shared opinions and insights about it. One thing is certain, however, that we need to act now, before the development goes over. New insights take time to convey. Once upon a time, people struggled to declare that the earth was not flat but round based on what we have been able to perceive so far and today we are struck by the similarity in thought patterns when today we hear individuals say that we are not facing a climate crisis.

 


In Chinese, "crisis" consists of two characters, one of which means a "serious opportunity" and the other "an opportunity". Today we have to deal with both perspectives and as we succeed in this we have increasingly established ourselves in a new paradigm in the development of the world. In any case, it is extremely interesting to live in this age when so much can be done to create a better world, only we realize the need and want to be involved.


The Fridays For Future movement started last fall after Greta Thunberg began her climate strike in August. Today, a year later, school strikes are being held for the climate around the world. Environmentally aware young people create global climate networks. In less than a year, Fridays For Future has grown into a global movement that has created demonstrations with millions of participants.
On Monday, September 23, the UN Secretary-General called for an extra-climate meeting as an effect of the school strikes.


- We need everyone involved. The emission curve must drastically point down already next year if we are to have a chance to stay under 1.5 degrees of global warming. But both global emissions and Sweden's emissions are rising. Politicians must move from word to action now if we do not want to risk a collapse of society, says Isabelle Axelsson, organizer at FridaysForFuture Stockholm.
The climate strikes over the coming week are expected to be the largest ever, and the number of participants is considerably higher in advance than during the demonstrations on March 15 when more than 2 million people participated worldwide.
Young people who are committed to the climate and the survival of mankind, which is a common issue across the generational boundaries and also the business world are now starting to wake up.

 

The demands of Fridays For Future for politicians and those in power are as follows:
• Limit global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels
• Follow the Paris Agreement and prove it
• Listen to climate research
• Environmental and climate justice for all.

 

Anders Blomkvist/Sprinkle Daily 

Strong civil society movements are needed to ramp up pace of change, says study

 

Scientists set out how to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

Greenhouse gas emissions could be halved in the next decade if a small number of current technologies and behavioural trends are ramped up and adopted more widely, researchers have found, saying strong civil society movements are needed to drive such change.

Solar and wind power, now cheaper than fossil fuels in many regions, must be scaled up rapidly to replace coal-fired generation, and this alone could halve emissions from electricity generation by 2030, according to the Exponential Roadmap report from an international group of experts.

If the rapid uptake of electric vehicles in some parts of the world could be sustained, the vehicles could make up 90% of the market by 2030, vastly reducing emissions from transport, it said.

Avoiding deforestation and improving land management could reduce emissions by the equivalent of about 9bn tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2030, according to the report, but contradictory subsidies, poor planning and vested interests could stop this from happening.

Key to any transition will be the growing social movements that are pressing for urgent action on climate breakdown. By driving behavioural change, such as moving away from the overconsumption of meat and putting pressure on governments and companies, civil movements have the power to drive the transformation needed in the next decade, say the report’s authors.

Christiana Figueres, a former top climate official at the UN, said: “I see all evidence that social and economic tipping points are aligning. We can now say the next decade has the potential to see the fastest economic transition in history.”

Christiana Figueres
Pinterest
 Christiana Figueres, a former top climate official at the UN. Photograph: Julien Paquin

The experts identified 36 developments that would produce the emission cuts needed, from renewable energy to changes in food production, the design of cities, and international transport, such as shipping. All of them are judged possible to achieve by 2030.

“While the scale of transformation is unprecedented, the speed is not,” said Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “This is now a race against time, but businesses and even entire industries have made many significant transitions in less than 10 years.”

Social movements will be a top priority because consumers can put pressure on the companies whose goods they buy, and public support makes it possible for political leaders to adopt bolder policies. Countries including the UK, France, Sweden and Norway have adopted a net-zero-carbon target for 2050.

Owen Gaffney, the director of strategy at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, a co-author of the report, called on digital platforms such as Facebook, Amazon and Google to play a part.

“Given that [these platforms] are now mediating behaviour and consumption, they might do more to support societal goals, for example around advertising and the promotion of high-carbon [activities]. Governments might look here too as a place for policy innovation.”

He said governments also needed to do more to support behavioural change, from dietary choices to making public transport more available.

However, the detailed policy measures required to meet 2050 net-zero-carbon targets have yet to be worked out by national governments. The report’s authors believe they can demonstrate that taking action now across sectors such as energy generation, buildings, transport and food production and consumption will make it possible. Putting off taking action will result in higher costs and make more rapid change necessary in the future, they say.

The report did not examine the potential costs but Gaffney pointed to a study last year by the New Climate Economy that estimated the economic benefit of a lower-carbon future at $26tn (£21tn) by 2030. The UK’s Committee on Climate Change has estimated the cost of reaching net zero at 1-2% of GDP by 2050.

The need to move to net zero carbon by 2050 – effectively reducing most of the world’s output of carbon dioxide emissions, and increasing the absorption of carbon by vegetation and other means – is based on the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In its report last year, the body of leading climate scientists found there would be dire effects if temperatures were to exceed 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, and found reducing carbon to near zero by mid-century was the best way to avoid this.

 

 

SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/19/power-halve-greenhouse-gas-emissions-2030-climate-scientists

 

 

 

Conflicts around the world cause oil prices to rush - at the same time Greta Thunberg receives environmental award

On a daily basis, we are reminded of human impact on the climate in combination with ongoing conflicts around the world. The question, however, is whether we have really taken ourselves seriously in the ongoing climate crisis? For sure, it must be the future of the planet that will guide us in our sustainability efforts, which also includes a sustainable economy and growth. Conflicts around the world directly affect the oil price and thus the fuel price, which today according to media reports will initially rise by SEK 0.40 per liter of gasoline. (Swedish price)

The ongoing transformation to fossil-free will affect every part of society and also permeate global politics. Some basic examples of the need for reorganization are that bees' living environment must be improved, biodiversity increased, plastic use reduced and fish stocks must recover. The fires in the rainforests need to build up and reduce carbon dioxide emissions through smarter use of renewable energy sources in combination with creating a social sustainability for people around the world.
On the same day that Prime Minister Stefan Löfven previously read the government statement where the ongoing transition to fossil-free can not have gone unnoticed, Frans Timmermans, responsible for climate, was presented as one of three executive vice-chairmen of the European Commission, which indicates that the EU has recognized the need for a actions.

 

 

 

Although the pace of change is not yet close to what science requires, something the Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg constantly emphasizes, it can no longer be argued that the survival of the planet is a forgotten issue. If the focus during the big climate meeting in Paris 2015 was on negotiation, today it is rather on implementation. In Sweden, as part of the prevention of future effects of climate change, there is talk of building floodwalls against flooding. Protests will then come when people risk losing out on the sea view and affecting the market value. However, we should reflect for a moment on all those whose homes and lives are already lost today due to increased sea levels and floods of an extent we have never seen before. For this reason, the upcoming climate summit in New York focuses on action including a number of initiatives from both countries and other actors.

UN leader Antóinio Guterres hopes to be able to increase the pace and show a number of good examples of sustainability work. The Swedish industry's climate commitments to contribute to the industry's transformation impress, for example, "steel without the coal project" Hybrit. But there are several other examples, initiated by various innovative Swedish companies with a view to a global market, often in a start-up phase. These start-up companies, which are often in need of capital, have realized the gravity of the situation and want to influence the climate and sustainability work in, for example, the energy sector.  In parallel with this work, it is inspiring to now hear of the news that Greta Thunberg and the environmental movement Fridays for future during a ceremony in Washington D C received Amnesty International's "Ambassador of conscience award".

The award has previously been awarded to Colin Kaepernick, Malala Yousafzai, Ai Weiwei and Nelson Mandela, among others. A prize to all the fearless young people who are fighting for their future, a future they should be able to take for granted. The award is described as the organization's finest and draws attention to individuals or initiatives that have shown "outstanding leadership and courage in the fight for human rights". "The fact that the climate crisis will create enormous conflicts and great suffering is far from a secret, but the link between climate and ecological crises, mass migration, famine, human rights violations and war is still not obvious to many," says Greta Thunberg.

 

Therefore, we adults now have a crucial responsibility to contribute to a more developed ecological, economic, technological and social sustainability. For despite the positive signals of change that will remain, the question remains whether we have really taken on how seriously threatened our planet actually is and how quickly and to what extent we are today prepared to think and act differently towards yesterday?

 

 

 

Should rich nations pay poor ones to protect tropical forests?

 

One of the facts of conservation is that the more prosperous a society is, the more likely it is to protect its natural environment. Conversely, less developed nations are prone to exploit and destroy theirs in their drive for more prosperity. The problem, of course, is that much, if not most, of the world’s most biodiverse forests are in developing nations which can often ill afford to protect them against deforestation by loggers, farmers and land developers. What to do?

One solution, proposed by a professor of environmental economics at the University of Oslo in Norway, is this: Let rich nations pay poorer ones for protecting their forests. By doing so, rich nations can ensure that poorer countries will develop sustainably, which is in the interest of everyone, rich or poor, around the planet because that will help reduce our collective carbon footprints. Deforestation continues apace in some of the world’s most biodiverse yet least economically developed countries like Myanmar. (photo: IUCN) The scheme introduces the concept of “conservation goods,” whereby rich nations effectively function as “buyers” who purchase forests from poorer nation “sellers.”

However, unlike in traditional buyer-seller arrangements, these buyers will not consume “the goods” (i.e. forests) but buy them so as to stop the sellers from consuming them themselves. It would be a win-win for rich and poor nations alike because we would all benefit far more from preserving those forests than from clearing them, the researcher, Bard Harstad, believes. Deforestation in countries like Brazil, Indonesia and Myanmar with their large swathes of tropical forests leads both to the loss of biodiversity with unique ecosystems and to climate change through diminishing natural “carbon sinks” (trees and other vegetation, that is).

The idea relies on the environmentalist concept of “global commons,” whereby rich and irreplaceable natural resources are treated as the collective property, as well as the collective responsibility, of people around the planet, not just of their host nations. Yet ironically rich nations currently often fail to help poor nations financially in the latter’s conservation efforts until their unique natural resources, like rainforests, come to be at visible risk. “We’ve reached stalemate,” Harstad said. “This fundamental contradiction means the market for conservation is not efficient and that a forest must be logged gradually to secure the funding needed to protect it.” Yet even if the scheme is implemented on a large enough scale, there could be some hurdles along the way.

Many of the developing nations that boast most of the world’s tropical forest cover also have some of the highest rates of corruption. Coupled with a culture of official impunity and weak law enforcement, endemic corruption could undermine money-for-forest-conservation efforts. To avoid that from happening, rigorous oversight will be needed. Rich nations must also follow through with payments in a timely manner to gain trust from poorer nations.

Governments in some countries might also view this type of quid pro quo as an interference into their countries’ internal affairs. In the wake of devastating forest fires, which were likely set deliberately, in the Amazon region of Brazil, the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has lashed out at foreign conservationists over their criticisms of his government’s handling of the crisis. He’s even accused foreign NGOs of starting the fires themselves so as to make him look bad. At the same time he’s downplayed the extent of the fires and refused any responsibility for them, although some opposition politicians in the country have laid the blame squarely on Bolsonaro.

 

 

As a result, in August Norway, which has already paid Brazil some $1.2 billion over the past decade for protecting the Amazon’s forests, suspended its expected payment of $33 million to Brazil’s Amazon Fund, arguing that Brazil’s government broke the terms of the deal. In tandem, Germany likewise refused to sign off on another $39 million in a similar payment. Bolsonaro, who sees the exploitation of the Amazon’s resources as a way to riches for Brazil, was unfazed. “Isn’t Norway that country that kills whales up there in the north pole?” the Brazilian president noted sarcastically. “Take that money and help Angela Merkel reforest Germany,” he added.

Despite squabbles like this the world’s remaining forests will clearly need to be protected from further degradation, especially in tropical countries where conservation efforts tend to be ad hoc and inefficient. More than 30% of the planet is still forested, yet an estimated 8.7 million acres of forests is lost each year to clearing, logging, fires and other forms of degradation, or the equivalent of 27 football fields every minute, according to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). “Deforestation is a particular concern in tropical rain forests because these forests are home to much of the world’s biodiversity. For example, in the Amazon around 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching,” WWF explains. “Deforestation in this region is particularly rampant near more populated areas, roads and rivers, but even remote areas have been encroached upon when valuable mahogany, gold, and oil are discovered.”

Almost a fourth of the planet’s human inhabitants, or around 1.6 billion people, rely on forests in one way or another. So do most land animals. “Eighty percent of the world’s land-based species, such as elephants and rhinos, live in forests,” WWF says. “Forests also play a critical role in mitigating climate change because they act as a carbon sink — soaking up carbon dioxide that would otherwise be free in the atmosphere and contribute to ongoing changes in climate patterns.” To save those forests, rich nations should indeed consider paying poorer nations in the so-called global South regularly in order to keep those forests intact. International mechanisms with binding treaties should be put in place to ensure that payments are duly made and forests are duly protected from clearing.

There will be setbacks, yes, as the case of Brazil indicates, but solutions can always be found. “For conservation to work, it is not important that the payment happens today, but the commitment to future compensation must be established already now,” Harstad stressed.

 

SOURCE:

https://www.sustainability-times.com/environmental-protection/rich-nations-should-pay-poor-ones-to-protect-forests/

 

 

POWER ONE AB WILL PROVIDE MARITIME TRANSPORTS WITH SMART FUEL

POWER ONE AB WILL PROVIDE MARITIME TRANSPORTS IN TANGANYIKA WITH SMART FUEL

With maritime transports emitting millions tons of CO2  annually, there is an increased pressure for the shipping industry to deploy means of reducing harmful pollutants. Marine shipping is also well-known for its significant high CO2 emission due the traditional low grade “bunker fuel” used in ships engines, which generate high emissions.

With so many different types of vessels on the water, the marine industry needs a true zero-emission solution that can be applied across different vessel types. Batteries are a zero-emission power solution for smaller vessels that operate with short duty cycles, for example, small passenger and service boats. However, lower power density and greater weight limit the usage of batteries for many applications.  

For marine vessels, fuel cells are a viable, true zero-emission option. Just like batteries, fuel cells produce electricity with high efficiency through an electro-chemical process. The difference is, with a fuel cell, energy is stored separately in the form of hydrogen fuel. As long as fuel is available, the fuel cell power systems will produce electricity as a generator. The only emissions from a fuel cell are water vapour and heat. Additionally, hydrogen fuel can be produced from renewable sources, including solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy. Fuelled by renewable hydrogen, a fuel cell power system is therefore a true zero-emission power source.

 

 

Hydrogen fuel cells have proven their performance in a variety of applications, including buses, trucks, cars, forklifts and even passenger trains. Thanks to their success in heavy-duty land vehicles, fuel cells are now being integrated into marine vessels and will play a key role in helping marine industries address greenhouse gas emissions on the water and in ports. New proton exchange membrane fuel cells are also modular in order to provide the power and redundancy needed by a vessel, from 100kW to 1MW or more. They can be deployed in parallel, dispatchable configurations to meet the variable power requirements of hybrid electric propulsion, and auxiliary power systems.

 

- ”Hydrogen is a practical, viable zero-emissions energy solution for marine vessels in Tanganyika and fuel cells are a deliverable propulsion solution for mid-sized vessels carrying more than 100 passengers or the equivalent freight volumes”, says Janvier Nsengiumva, Commercial chief Port of Bujumbura and board member of Power One AB.

 

In a fuel cell system, the power generation and fuel storage elements are separate, which offers the ship architect more flexibility than batteries. For additional efficiencies, surplus heat generated by the fuel cells could be used to heat water for HVAC, laundry and other purposes. The pure water that is produced by the fuel cell can also be recovered if needed.

Powered by renewable hydrogen, fuel cell systems are the most practical, viable zero-emission solution. Implementing this technology is a critical step in reducing emissions from marine vessels and cleaning up the air for a more liveable world.

 

- Lake Tanganyika is still clean and clear, it is a treasure of biodiversity and we want to keep it that way. For this reason, Power One is assessing the operational impact of the switch to hydrogen as a fuel for Lake Tanganyika”, says Peter Rinaldo, CEO Power One and Blockhomes Burundi.

 

WILL THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK GET IT NOW?


Is Lagarde on the challenge of leading the bank in a climat awakening Europe?

My personal view is that any institution has to actually have climate change risk and protection of the environment at the core of their understanding of their mission,” Ms. Lagarde said.


Lagarde is pledging to make the European Central Bank more conscious of the environment as she now is confirmed as its new president. Lagarde has urged the European Parliament to start a project to create a unified classification system on what may be considered environmentally sustainable investments.
The European Central Bank could be open to channeling more of its bond purchases toward economic sectors that meet such criteria, she said. The European Central Bank has increased it´s scrutiny. The bank recently warned that “more frequent and severe disasters” would hit the banking and insurance industries, including the erosion of the value of collateral and assets held by banks, and insurance liabilities related to weather-linked catastrophes. An unexpectedly rapid shift by investors away from fossil fuels could also weaken bank balance sheets and destabilize the financial system, the bank added.
But the bank itself has also faced criticism. Environmental organizations have accused the European Central Bank of buying so-called dirty bonds from companies in industries that are said to be polluting, including cement makers and auto manufacturers, as part of its program to increase liquidity in the eurozone economy.

My personal view is that any institution has to actually have climate change risk and protection of the environment at the core of their understanding of their mission,” Ms. Lagarde said.

She will take over one of the world’s most powerful monetary institutions in November.
Members of the European Parliament — where political parties with an environmental platform made significant gains in elections this summer — also peppered her repeatedly with queries about the need to more effectively integrate fighting climate change into the bank’s mandate.

“The primary mandate is price stability,” she said, answering to members of the economic and monetary affairs committee. “But it has to be embedded that climate change and environmental risk are mission critical.” Asked whether she would shift the European Central Bank’s strategy to focus on buying bonds of nonpolluting companies, Ms. Lagarde was noncommittal but promised to review the situation.
Lagarde added that the bank had already been buying so-called green bonds that are earmarked for climate and environmental projects, but that there weren’t many available because the market was still being developed. Still, she said, if the central bank signals an interest in those assets, it could encourage a more rapid expansion of the market.
A few years ago bankers barely mentioned a warming climate in their assessments of the economy or of the global financial system. Today over 30 central banks and regulators not including those in the United States and Brazil have joined forces in a group called the Network for Greening the Financial System to focus on the potential financial consequences of global warming.
Founded by the Bank of England governor Mark Carney who first warned of the economic damage of climate change in a stark 2015 speech. And many of the world’s biggest companies, including Silicon Valley tech firms and large European banks, are preparing for the possibility that climate change could substantially hit their profitability within the next five years, according to a recent analysis of corporate disclosures.
“Lagarde could make the E.C.B. greener,” Sven Giegold, a German and co-leader of the Green Party members in the European Parliament, said in a statement after the hearing. “Lagarde will put climate risks at the center of financial stability. Lagarde has understood, that economics and ecology must go together.”


SOURCE: NY TIMES 4 September 2019

Oil and gas industry feels the climate heat

The UK's oil and gas industry wants to create the first Net Zero Basin

Oil and Money conference renames itself the Energy Intelligence Forum after New York Times drops sponsorship, while the UK's Oil and Gas Technology Centre announces Net Zero Solution Centre

 

The oil and gas industry around the world is rapidly pivoting its focus - and communiciations strategies - as concern over climate change continues to mount.

Today the Oil & Money conference, a major gathering for the oil industry now in its fortieth year, announced a name change that will from next year see it branded the Energy Intelligence Forum.

The decision follows major protests by climate campaigners at the last summit in February in London, and a decision by the New York Times last week to drop its sponsorship of the event after protests by Extinction Rebellion outside its offices.

New York Times spokeswoman told the Guardian the paper had "decided to end its relationship with the Oil and Money conference" because its subject matter "gives us cause for concern".

Mark Lewis, head of research at Carbon Tracker, the think tank which pioneered the so-called "carbon bubble" hypothesis, said on Twitter the name change was a "fascinating development".

 

Meanwhile, the UK's Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) today announced a plan to create a £50m "Net Zero Solution Centre" in partnership with industry including BP, Total, Siemens, Equinor, and Shell.

The centre aims to "accelerate the development and deployment of technologies to decarbonise offshore operations" in a bid to turn the UK's continental shelf into the first "net zero oil and gas basin globally".

To do this, it will work with government and industry to cut the carbon footprint of UK oil and gas, as well as working on using oil and gas infrastructure to scale hydrogen production and carbon capture and storage (CCS) - both of which the government's climate watchdog,  the Committee on Climate Change, says are essential for reaching net zero emissions.

A spokesperson for the OGTC confirmed the Centre will primarily focus on decarbonising the exploration and production of oil and gas, not the emissions associated with the burning of fossil fuels, which account for the large majority of the industry's climate impact.

But if a commercial carbon capture and storage industry could be built in the UK, oil and gas experts argue it could pave the way for the oil and gas sector to fully decarbonise while "maximising" economic recovery of fuels.

"Our focus will be on developing technologies to reduce operational carbon emissions, working with other parts of the energy sector to create integrated solutions and repurposing infrastructure to accelerate carbon capture usage and storage, hydrogen production and gas-to-wire capacity," said OGTC CEO Colette Cohen.

"With the backing of industry and government, and strong track of delivery, the OGTC is committed to moving the dial on carbon reduction and enabling the UK Continental Shelf to become the first net zero hydrocarbon basin in the world."

 

Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK's Energy and Clean Growth Minister, welcomed the announcement, adding the UK's oil and gas sector has a "pivotal role" to play in the UK's journey to net zero. "The UK government warmly welcomes this initiative to find innovative technological solutions to decarbonising the offshore production of gas and oil from the North Sea and wider UK Continental Shelf."

 

 

SOURCE: Green Business 3 September 2019

 

 

 

Africa can rise – if our leaders end extreme inequality

Africa is ready to rise. This is what we will keep repeating as Africa’s government and business leaders meet in Cape Town this week at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa Meeting.

Rarely have we felt such fiery potential on Africa’s horizon. Consider how Africa’s best-educated generation ever is coming of age – by 2025, half of our continent’s population will be under 25. These young women and men are by far Africa’s best natural resource, more valuable than all the gold, copper, oil and gas that lies under African soil – though we have a lot of that too!

Consider how Africa is readily seizing renewable energy – the speed at which off-grid solar is expanding is exhilarating, for example. Consider how our people are pioneering technologies to solve problems. Or indeed the opportunity of the new Africa continental free trade are, set to be the world’s largest.

This is reason to hope. And yet we must sound caution. There is no avoiding one inescapable truth: that Africa is not really rising yet. Oxfam arrives in Cape Town with new data that tells a story of:

• A divided Africa – in which inequality is spiralling. That is now home to the world’s four most unequal countries.

• An Africa for the ultra-rich. Where three African billionaires – all men – now hold more wealth than the poorest half of Africa, or 650 million people on our continent.

• An Africa racing to the bottom. Despite having some of the fastest growing economies on the planet – the latest World Bank data shows us that extreme poverty is once again rising in Africa. Hundreds of millions more Africans are just a medical bill or a crop failure away from falling into extreme poverty.

Two Africas

Welcome to a Tale of Two Continents, an Africa that’s tailored for the super-rich, while hundreds of millions of people are stuck in poverty without a chance of a dignified future. Even the great new opportunities of digital technologies and continental trade risk being captured by the old entrenched wealthy interests.

We can do far better. It’s a broken and rigged economic system that must change.

We can start by investing in public services like health and education: the clearest path to reducing inequality and investing in Africa’s people, our most important asset. Ethiopia is a standout example here: Though a poor country, Ethiopia has committed to social spending and has raised its education spending to 23% of the budget – the sixth highest in the world. In a decade, it brought 15 million more children into school. That is leadership.

Mostly girls have benefited from this. The opposite is true when education, health and social protection system are underfunded and of poor quality. In Kenya, a boy from a rich family has a one in three chance of continuing his studies beyond secondary school. A girl from a poor family has a one in 250 chance of doing so. And when healthcare systems fail, women and girls are left with the task of caring for loved ones, diminishing their opportunities.

This will get worse unless governments rise to the challenge of a new continental debt crisis. African and world leaders must play their part in pushing for an early solution to restructure debt – one that prevents a cascade of countries falling into default and economic depression and carving down essential public services. We’re already seeing spiralling debt repayments putting social spending at risk in countries from Angola to Ghana.

Yet let us be in no doubt: Africa has the wealth to invest. We can fund Africa’s rise by taxing the rich so they pay their fair share – not squeezing the poor woman fruit-seller through indirect taxes like VAT. Challenging global tax rules would also help tackle the theft of wealth from the continent: Super-rich Africans are holding 75% of their wealth in offshore accounts, denying Africa $14 billion annually in tax revenues.

A recent Oxfam and Tax Justice Network Australia report exposed how one foreign mining power was costing the continent around $300m in lost tax revenue. That’s enough money to fund malaria control – an essential part of health programmes in the nine sub-Saharan countries in which Australian mines operate, almost seven times over.

With some imagination and courage, African leaders can fight this crisis. We can look to countries like Namibia, which has reduced inequality since 1993. Or Sierra Leone, now increasing the minimum wage and personal income tax. Or how South Africa ensures everyone over 60 years old receives a pension, except the very richest. All can do more – but they prove action is possible.

African political and business leaders must feel the heat about the choices they are making. They can stay on the path of ever-spiralling inequality and poverty. Or they can start building another path, to a more prosperous, equal Africa built for the many and not just for the few. Surely, there is no other way.

 

SOURCE: WEFORUM 3 September 2019

 

 

 

 

Sustainability and corporate responsibility

“Companies that appear to be working together to find solutions for the future of the planet consolidate their reputation and become less vulnerable.”
A conversation with Rossella Sobrero, the heart of the Milan Csr Show and new president of Ferpi, on the most innovative trends.

She’s the heart and creator of the CSR Social Innovation Show, the most important event in Italy dedicated to sustainability, held at The Bocconi University in Milan, and president of Koinètica, the first company in Italy, founded in 2002, devoted exclusively to corporate social responsibility. And recently, Rossella Sobrero has been called to the presidency of the Italian Public Relations Federation “The market is changing and, as a consequence, communication needs to be renewed in terms of language and tools. Thanks to platforms which are easier to use, it is possible not only to communicate with different audiences but also to engage them. Technological evolution must be at the heart of our efforts.

Rossella Sobrero Morning Future

Rossella Sobrero

What is the role of business communicators today? 
The Public Speaker’s job is to help organizations manage relationships with internal and external stakeholders in an increasingly effective way. A key role that touches on several, sometimes very complex aspects. In an increasingly fragmented world, being able to manage relationships with the public is fundamental to any organization: strengthening relational capital improves reputation, generates consensus, allows important alliances to be made. An activity that must always be transparent, correct, mutual.

Does sustainability also play an important role from a communication point of view? 
There's no doubt about it. All organizations today need to be aware that we are undergoing a major transformation which calls for a change of course. Organizations that have made sustainability a strategic driver have started a process to produce better and with fewer resources, to improve the well-being of employees, to help solve community issues. I’m convinced that companies today must not only act responsibly but also communicate transparently. The statement that organisations are glass houses exposed to the judgment of stakeholders is very true: transparency and accountability are fundamental. Sustainable policies are not enough: you need to share them with stakeholders if you want to strengthen relational capital.



"Being able to manage relationships with the relevant audience is essential for any organization"

Rossella Sobrero, President of Ferpi

 

 

Innovation and communication. What are, in your opinion, the most significant trends? 
The market is changing and, consequently, communication must also be renewed in terms of language and tools. For example, technology allows a dialogue and a comparison with stakeholders which was unfathomable until a few years ago: thanks to platforms that are increasingly easy to use, it is possible not only to communicate with different audiences but also to engage them. We should think about the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence: although it is not yet clear what the impact will be on our work, we must be careful and study the technological evolution taking place. If in some activities a computer can simulate mental processes typical of humans, I do not believe, for the moment, that a robot can manage relationships.

At the end of June, you were chosen to be president of FERPI: what are the most qualifying aspects of your program? 
The most important challenges that lie ahead in the coming months are the enhancement of the profession of the Public Speaker and the renewal of Ferpi. Society is experiencing a moment of “metamorphosis” and our job must therefore also change; it has become increasingly urgent to rethink both the role of the communicator and that of Ferpi as a representative organization. The goal is to recognise the strategic role of our profession in the decision-making processes of organisations. It is an association with an important history: we want to start again from this in the process of renewal. The goal is to make Ferpi more dynamic, lively and flexible, to meet the new needs of members but also to face a rapidly changing market. Together with the new National Board of Directors, we are organising a steering commitee that will be tasked with rethinking membership rules and some work groups that will have to put forward concrete initiatives on different topics.

 

"Businesses must not only act responsibly but also communicate transparently."

Rossella Sobrero

SOURCE: Morning Future 23 Augusti 2019

Power One AB consider hydrogen in Burundi

 

Power One´s concept combines wind, water and sun as sources of energy production. This reduces the need for expensive storage. Power One plans to use electrolyte storage, but will also set aside part of the solar park to operate a hydrogen gas production plant, which can be used, among other things, to operate boats. Since Tanganyika Lake is still clean and crystal clear, the electric propulsion of boats is an obvious complement for preserving it undisturbed. At present, there are a number of vessels operating on oil, which are used but have not so far done too much damage. Hydrogen has the advantage of being considerably cheaper as a fuel then fossil fuel, and is therefore an irresistible substitute from all points of view.

 

Hydrogen can be used for electrically driven transport on both land and water. During manufacture, water is divided into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen gas is collected in tubes and then transformed into electricity via a so-called power cell. With a hydrogen tube, a power cell and an electric motor, many electric vehicles are operated today, ranging from mopeds, cars and trucks to boats. It is a durable and well-proven technology whose only residual product is oxygen and water. Oxygen is used in everything from healthcare to welding and is an import commodity in Burundi. Both oxygen and hydrogen can therefore be sold with good profits for Power One.

 

 

Hydrogen is a well-known and reliable energy storage system that has been used in industry for almost a century. The technique is simple: DC voltage produced during the day from solar panels is used in an electrolyser to separate water (H2O) into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O). The non-polluting oxygen is released and the hydrogen is stored under pressure into simple and durable containers. At night, when the sun is on the other side, hydrogen is led into a power cell that melts hydrogen with oxygen from the air back into water. Through this process, energy from daylight is restored back to electricity and used for night consumption.

 

If the solar park produces more energy under daylight than is consumed during the day and at night, the excess can be used to produce hydrogen for other applications, e.g. transport on the lake. In this case, hydrogen is transferred to gas tubes in the boats and then converted back to electricity via a fuel cell. This then provides electricity to the electric motor in the boat.

 

This is a very simple, well tested and durable system. With a simple pressure tank, a fuel cell and an electric motor, hydrogen can be used to operate all transport, including air, and today most of the major car manufacturers have developed hydrogen cars. The conversion of the region's boats to hydrogen operation is quite simple and plans are underway to start a rebuilding yard in Kabonga fishing port for this.

 

- By introducing an environmentally smart and emission-free boat traffic on Lake Tanganyika, Burundi will also market itself in quality tourism and offer an ecological alternative to other countries, says Janvier Nsengiumva, Commercial chief Port of Bujumbura.

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