The week in climate change: Five things we learnt

By John Parnell

It was an eventful week of climate change news, with India at the heart of several developments and the world of climate politics losing and gaining a few familiar faces. RTCC runs through some of the highlights.

Politicians are only appreciated once they resign

The UK lost its Energy and Climate Change Secretary to an allegation of criminality in his personal life.

Chris Huhne is accused of arranging for his now ex-wife to accept speeding penalty points on his behalf and resigned when the Crown Prosecution Service announced it would pursue a prosecution.

Much-maligned in recent months over the long-running solar subsidy, there was a sincere outpouring of support for Huhne from Environmental journalists and major NGOs. He was credited with having a major positive influence on the UK’s role in UN climate talks. Domestically, he was a powerful green counterweight to a government with precious few environmental proponents.

Perhaps his successor, Ed Davey, will enjoy the same level of support while he is doing the job.

President Barack Obama

Obama might have to ponder the challenge from a new presidential rival over super bowl weekend (Source: jdebner)

The Super bowl is actually super-green

The annual American Football showpiece event set for this Sunday, is viewed by some as the crowning glory of consumerism and consumption.

However, if you pick away at the stereotypes you discover that the NFL has in fact been ahead of the curve on environmental practice for some time now.

RTCC’s Ed King spoke to the director of the NFL’s environmental programme. Between certified carbon offsets, massive solar installs and a far-reaching waste reduction scheme, the sport is streets ahead of most others.

He says the aim is to make the event carbon neutral. Given the scale of the event, not just in the host city of Indianapolis but across the country, this is no small task.

The US Green Party has a new presidential candidate

Rosanne Barr probably wasn’t the first name people thought of but on Thursday night, the comedienne announced her intention to contend the nomination of the Green Party.

Here’s what she had to say: “The Democrats and Republicans have proven that they are servants — bought and paid for by the 1% — who are not doing what’s in the best interest of the American people. As a long time supporter of the Green Party, I look forward to working with people who share my values. Behold the greening of America!”

One tweeter commented that the story would have seemed far more ridiculous if the Republican candidates weren’t so crazy.

Market in Dubai

Food shortages in the Middle East heightened dissatisfaction and unrest (Source: flickr/mckaysavage)

Climate change contributed to the Arab Spring

One year ago the Middle East was in the first few months of what became known as the Arab Spring.

In a guest article for RTCC, Jeffrey Mazo from the International Institute for Strategic Studies argued that climate change played its part.

Extreme weather events created a stack of crop failures globally. As a major importer of wheat, the Middle East was hit hard by the price hikes.

While not enough to overthrow a regime by itself, Mazo argues that it played the part of “threat multiplier”, as predicted by the US Department of Defence in 2010.

Time to acknowledge, India is going green

When India said at the UN climate change talks in Durban that it was doing more to mitigate climate change than most developed countries, they weren’t lying.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance released statistics this week showing that it India was the top investor in renewable energy in 2011.

The country has been criticised for not publicising its efforts, it has perhaps turned a corner on that front.

It’s won’t commit to international ties lightly though. At the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit the country’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reiterated his commitment to the UNFCCC process, but only if the deal on the table is “fair and equitable”.

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