China’s Path to Becoming a Green Economy Means a Change of Strategy – Either Profit or Environment – Which will come First?

#AceEnvironmentNews says China is facing significant environmental and social challenges that must be addressed if it is to achieve its sustainable development goals, according to a <““>joint report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Government.

Green House Gases Armageddon“China’s Green Long March: A Study of Renewable Energy, Environmental Industry and Cement Sectors” notes that the country has a strong policy framework in place to support a national transition to a green economy.

For example, incentives, such as feed-in-tariffs, subsidies and tax advantages, already exist and are helping stimulate green investment, as are strict regulations to help phase out inefficient plants, halt water pollution and improve waste management.

The country is also a global leader in renewable energy technology investment, UNEP <““>says in a news release. In 2012 alone, China’s renewable energy investment totalled $67.7 billion – the highest in the world and double the amount it invested in 2009.

At the same time, the joint report released this week by UNEP and China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection points out that the country is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for 27 per cent of the total emissions in 2012.

Also, while its gross domestic product (GDP) accounts for 10 per cent of the global output, it consumes 60 per cent of the world’s cement, 49 per cent of the iron and steel, and 20 per cent of the energy.

Green House Gas EmissionsIn addition, local pollution, particularly to air and water, is putting a strain on China’s economic growth.  It is estimated that 90 per cent of the country’s urban water bodies are polluted, and outdoor pollution is estimated to contribute to 1.2 million premature deaths per year.

As China continues its urbanization, the report finds that the country “should not only develop more energy-efficient buildings, but also create greener supply chains that reduce waste generation, water and material consumption, and energy use,” states UNEP.

Currently, buildings account for as much as one-third of global greenhouse gases, thus greening the building sector supply chain could be a key opportunity for the country, the agency says.

Among other findings, the report says there is a major technology gap between Chinese firms and their international competitors.

New York, Nov 27 2013 10:00AM


#china, #environmental-industry, #green-building, #green-economy, #greenhouse-gas, #gross-domestic-product, #new-york, #renewable-energy, #unep, #united-nations-environment-programme

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Today Called for Innovative Thinking to Measure and Cut Global Food Loss and Waste Which They Said is Essential to Advance the Fight to Eliminate Hunger

English: Logo of the Food and Agriculture Orga...

English: Logo of the Food and Agriculture Organization (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceFoodNews says the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently called for innovative thinking to measure and cut global food loss and waste which he said is essential to advance the fight to eliminate hunger.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva <““>told participants at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) in Copenhagen that an estimated one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted – around 1.3 billion tons. This costs around $750 billion annually.

“If we reduce food loss and waste to zero it would give us additional food to feed 2 billion people,” said Mr. Graziano da Silva, who joined leaders of partner agencies to discuss plans for a new global standard for measuring food loss and waste announced at 3GF by the World Resources Institute (WRI).

“One of my priorities in FAO is opening our doors to potential allies. Fighting food loss and waste is clearly one area in which partnership is needed. Developing a global protocol can help provide clear measurements and indicators on which we can base guidance on how to reduce food loss and waste,” he stated.

English: The logo of the Food and Agriculture ...

English: The logo of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, white and red (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FAO noted that most food loss takes place in post-production, harvesting, transportation and storage. In developing countries, food waste is mainly related to inadequate infrastructure, while in more developed countries it is largely a problem in the marketing and consumption stages.

“We already know a lot about how to cut food losses,” said the Director-General. “But we need to invest more in a number of areas, especially in infrastructure such as roads and cold chains, but also improving market information. We also need to close the gap between the knowledge we have and what farmers and other actors in the food chain are actually doing.”

He called for more “innovative thinking” to keep retailers and each household from throwing food away. Per capita consumer waste is around 100 kilograms in Europe and North America per year. In Africa, it is less than 10 kilograms a year per person.

FAO works on numerous initiatives to reduce the loss of food in the agricultural process and throughout the food system ‘from field to fork.’

It launched the SAVE FOOD initiative together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Messe Dusseldorf to reduce food loss and waste along the entire chain of food production and consumption.

This image shows all countries classified as &...

This image shows all countries classified as “Food Insecure” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, between 2003 and 2005. more than 5% of the people have insufficient food more than 15% of the people have insufficient food more than 25% of the people have insufficient food more than 35% of the people have insufficient food more than 50% of the people have insufficient food (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It also collaborates with UNEP, WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) and other partners in the Think.Eat.Save. campaign designed to target and change wasteful practices, especially at the retail and consumer end of the food-supply chain.

#copenhagen, #fao, #food, #food-and-agriculture-organization, #food-loss, #food-waste, #jose-graziano-da-silva, #the-united-nations, #united-nations-environment-programme, #united-nations-food-and-agriculture-organization, #waste-resources-action-programme, #world-resources-institute

UN Agencies Urge End to Use of Lead Paint

United Nations Pregnant mothers and young children in the developing world are exposed to high levels of lead through unsafe paints, particularly in colours yellow and red where lead is added as a pigment, United Nations environment agency today <““>reported amid International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action.

“In this day and age, it is quite frankly breathtaking that parents painting their child’s nursery a cheerful red, or handing their child a colourful toy may, through no fault of their own, be exposing that child to a pernicious and damaging toxin: lead,” said Nick Nuttall, Spokesperson and Director of Communications at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The study finds that the majority of the paints tested would not meet regulatory standards established in most highly industrialized countries – for example, 90 parts per million (ppm) in the United States and Canada – and that some contain astonishingly high and dangerous levels of lead.

The study analyzed enamel decorative paints from nine countries: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Chile, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia and Uruguay.

“This report seeks to catalyze action by raising awareness among Governments, manufacturers and consumers not just that the problem exists, but that there are cheap and safe alternatives to lead already in use that can lift this health burden in a very short time,” Mr. Nuttall said.

The report also found that few countries have established regulatory frameworks for lead paint, but those that do, generally exhibit lower lead paint levels.

Worldwide, 30 countries have already phased out the use of lead paint. The Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint, co-led by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and UNEP, has set a target of 70 countries by 2015.

International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action, which the Global Alliance is running through 26 October, focuses this year on the important of avoiding lead paint and using safe alternatives in order to prevent children from being harmed by lead poisoning.

English: Dense metaphyseal lines from lead poi...

English: Dense metaphyseal lines from lead poisoning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exposure to lead paint can be particularly grave among children, especially those living in low and middle-income countries which account for 99 per cent of children affected by high exposure to lead, WHO reported.

An estimated 143,000 deaths per year result from lead poisoning, often linked to lead paint, while some 600,000 new cases of intellectual disabilities are linked to childhood lead exposure.

“Lead poisoning remains the number one environmental health concern for children globally and led paint is a major flash point for children’s potential lead poisoning,” said WHO’s Director of Public Health and Environment, Dr. Maria Neira.

Meanwhile, UN chemical experts have recommended the phase out of two industrial chemicals, with uses ranging from wood preservation to pest control, due to human health risks.

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee, a subsidiary body of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), recommended the inclusion of polychlorinated napththalenes (PCN) and hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD) to the UN-backed major treaty banning hazardous chemicals.

Every human in the world carries in his or her body traces of POPs, which circulate globally through a process known as the “grasshopper effect” and include chemicals which are agents that can kill people, damage the nervous and immune systems, cause cancer and reproductive disorders and interfere with normal infant and child development.

POPs released in one part of the world can, through a repeated process of evaporation and deposit, be transported through the atmosphere to regions far away from the original source. They are readily absorbed in fatty tissue of fish, predatory birds and mammals through the food chains.

Both chemicals have been recommended for listing in Annexes A and C to the Convention, thus targeting their intentional production, as well as unintentional releases of the chemicals.

#acehealthnews, #acenewsservices, #aceworldnews, #lead-paint, #lead-poisoning, #nick-nuttall, #public-health, #united-nations, #united-nations-environment-programme, #united-states, #world-health-organization