Tuesday, October 06, 2009

An Opportunity for the United Nations

There is a silver lining behind every starvation and poverty inducing worldwide economic meltdown cloud.

The global recession provides a window of opportunity to curb climate change and build a low-carbon future, says the International Energy Agency (IEA).

It calculates that global greenhouse gas emissions will fall by 3% this year - an increase on previous estimates.

If governments take this opportunity to invest in clean technology, the global temperature rise can be kept below the G8 goal of 2C (3.6F), the agency says.

The findings were released at UN climate talks in Bangkok.

"The message is simple and stark: if the world continues on the basis of today's energy and climate policies, the consequences of climate change will be severe," said IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka.

"Energy is at the heart of the problem - and so must form the core of the solution."

The recession is likely to mean emissions being 3% lower this year than last - and it will have a longer term impact, the IEA says, with emissions in 2020 projected to be 5% less than they would have been without an economic dip.
Of course this is great news for the UN, particularly if that august body is able to completely disregard the millions of people that the global recession has made unemployed, dumped into poverty, or starved outright.

UNITED NATIONS - The global economic crisis is pushing millions of the world’s most vulnerable people into poverty, hunger and early death, a new UN report warns, stressing that “green shoots” of recovery are not being felt by the poor in the developing world.

Estimates suggest that the worldwide recession has pushed 100 million more people below the poverty line and 61 million people have been added to the number of jobless over the last two years, according to the report.


In addition, the report - part of a new UN initiative to monitor and draw attention to emerging crises - notes that an increase of 100 million people suffer from hunger and infant mortality rates are set to rise by an additional 200,000 to 400,000 deaths each year from now to 2015, if the crisis persists.
Maybe UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro can remember to keep his mouth buttoned the next time he and Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN climate convention, happen to be slurping down caviar side by side at the next UN party.

People have been starving for centuries. But dammit, this is an opportunity!

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