Th!nk4 Post: Will COP16 Succeed Where COP15 Failed?

This time last year the buzz was beginning to build around COP15 that took place in Copenhagen last year. This was going to be when Europe stood up to the rest of the world and set out its plan and hoped to get everyone else on board.

Did it work? Nope. Will COP 16 be any different is the big question.

We have witnessed 15 Conference’s of the Parties since the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since 1992. The only things that have come out of these meetings is the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the Montreal Action Plan in 2005.

Kyoto is soon to run out. COP 16 will be another talking shop. But do we as a planet and a people have the time to wait? Can we leave things as they are till COP 17 in South Africa in 2011? or COP 18 in Qatar or South Korea? Can we as a race take that risk or will we have reached tipping point?

COP 16 attendees will have to prove themselves. I know prepatory meetings are currently under way in China, but can world leaders agree in Cancun between November 29 to December 10 to actually do something. To change how we act towards our environment. Can we protect our planet before its too late.

In a year where it is only now we have found a planet that could possible support life, Gliese 581g, it shows how few and far between this planet and the life we have is. We have been lucky as a race to make it this far. Are we going to be our own worst enemy and destroy our planet. Here is hoping COP 16 will be different and something will come from it.

Originally post on the Th!nk4  website

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Th!nk 4: Back to Climate Change

The European Journalism Centre is back with the next Th!nk About It Competition. This time it will be focusing again on the Climate Change issue in the run up to COP16 in Cancun, Mexico. Here are the details,

The EJC’s long-running TH!NK ABOUT IT blogging competition series gears up for its next evolution. As TH!NK3: Developing World’s final reporting trip prepares to take place in Kenya, a new phase of TH!NK is about to unfold.

TH!NK team invites YOU to participate in our new short-form competition which is now open. We’ll think of Climate Change and will focus on the COP16 climate negotiations in Cancun (Mexico). The TH!NK4: Climate Change competition closes 15 December, at 12 noon (GMT +1).

The new, improved, and even more transparent than before TH!NK4: Climate Change, does not require you to write a specific number of articles – but of course activity on the site improves your chances of being selected. The competition is open for everyone who signs up and provides a decent-quality text as his/her first post.

The Prizes include:
1x Macbook
2x FLIP HD camera
15x Special reporting trips to COP16 in Cancun (with support of EU)

Note: You need to blog in the first half of contest period in order to be eligible for reporting trips to Cancun.

You can sign up HERE to participate in this competition.

I have applied so hopefully I will be blogging alot about COP16.

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Explaining the European Union to Students

Conseil de l'Europe
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Today I had the joy of joining members of the European Movement Ireland in part of their schools roadshow on the European Union. Today we visited Colaiste Mhuire in Crosshaven. Leading the show was Andrea Pappin, the Executive Director, and she was joined with by Billie Sparks, the Education and Advocacy Director. I stood quiet in the coner!

We were dealing with transition year students. Andrea started off the workshop by explaining about the history of the EU and the rights we have as EU citizens. She did all this in ordinary English!

Then the main part got under way. The class were split into four groups:

  • The European Commission
  • The European Parliament
  • Council of Ministers
  • Lobby Groups

The Council of Ministers were split between the French, Irish and Polish Delegations. The Lobby Groups were split into The Nuclear Energy Association, The Irish Gas Company, The Farmers Association of Ireland.

They were then, after watching a short video on Climate Change, tasked with drafting the EU’s Energy Policy. The Commission had to choose between which should compose the majority of the sources of Energy (Fossil, Renewable, Nuclear). Once they decided, it was sent to the Parliament who, after hearing from the Lobby Groups,  decided on the percentages for each type of energy. After that it was sent to the Council of Ministers who worked out any caveats and add ons to the law.

It was interesting to see how EU law was worked out in a simplified way. That is comparison to Conor’s experience at MEU!

The students seemed to have enjoyed it and I hope they learned from it. I know I did!

Well done to the European Movement for organising this. I hope more schools take them on this.

For more information of the European Movement, do check out their website. For more information on the Roadshows check out My Vision For Europe

Many thanks to the European Movement Ireland Team for allowing me to come along and experience this.

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Challenge Europe 2010

ireland-northsouth-challenge_europe-imageI received information today about a programme being run by the British Council. It is called “Challenge Europe 2010“.

Challenge Europe aspires to make a definite and lasting impact on the climate change debate and is ambitious in its aim to accelerate change to a low carbon future. The philosophy of the campaign is simple: to create momentum through collaboration, innovations, energy, drive passion, understanding and knowledge-sharing

They are looking for 15 young people from both sides of the border between the ages of 18-35 to work on this project. They are working with Arena Network of Business in the Community Northern Ireland, Comhar – the Sustainable Development Council for Ireland, Cultivate Living and Learning Centre in Dublin and the Northern Ireland Sustainable Development Commission on this project.

So whats the plan for the project?

In Northern Ireland and Ireland, we will select 15 young people from all walks of life to become ‘Climate Advocates’. In exchange for the chance to participate in the project, Climate Advocates are asked to commit approximately 12 hours of time each month over the next year. The costs of all project activities will be covered by the British Council and their corporate partners.

 During 2010-2011, each NI/Ireland team will work collaboratively to identify the key areas where they think they can make a real difference and to develop 3 concrete ideas to reduce carbon use through changes in policy, business or human behaviour. A few possible themes suggested by our local partner organisations include biodiversity, sustainable consumption (homes, transport, food), local resilience and promoting business engagement on climate change with employees and customers.

For more information or to apply check out the British Council Website. This project is also taking place in France, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey. All costs in relation to the project will be borne by the British Council and its partners. Applications must be in by the Friday 30th of April!

Good luck if you apply!

Register for TH!NK3!

From upper left: Manhattan south of Rockefelle...
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I got this via Email from the European Journalism Centre. I took part in Th!nk1 and Th!nk2 (though didn’t finish it). Do check it out.

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) invites you to apply for the third round of our acclaimed blogging competition, TH!NK3: Developing World.

TH!NK3 will bring together some 100 bloggers, journalists, issue experts and students from the 27 EU member states, as well as neighbourhood countries and beyond, to exchange ideas and debate sustainable development and global cooperation topics. The blogging competition will run from 24 March to 31 August and begins with a launch event in Brussels, 22-23 March. The awards include opportunities to travel and report from Asia and Africa. The big prize is a trip to the UN headquarters in New York in September 2010, at the time of the Millenium Development Goals summit. All trips are sponsored by the EJC or our partners.

The previous two editions of our competition, TH!NK2: Climate Change and  TH!NK1: European Elections 2009, received hundreds of thousands of visitors and got the attention of major mainstream media. TH!NK2: Climate Change won the European Public Affairs Award for the “Best Web 2.0 Campaign of the Year” in 2009.

To participate in the competition, please go to www.thinkaboutit.eu, where you can read more about TH!NK3 and fill out the application form.

The EJC is an independent, international, non-profit institute dedicated to the highest standards in journalism. For the TH!NK3 launch event, we have received additional support from the European Commission.

Best of luck if you enter! I can guarentee it is worth it! I won’t be entering due to the fact I am too busy with college and Anna Lindh Foundation stuff.

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Euroblog round-up #2

Sweden 2009
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Heres another round up of issues making the rounds in the eurobloggerosphere at the moment, with thanks to BloggingPortal.eu

Swedish Presidency

The Swedish Presidency of the European Council is coming an end, and Spain gets ready to share the reins. A number of blogs look back at the 6 months of the Swedish Presidency.

Mats Engström calls the Presidency “Effective” but it wasn’t exciting. (then again name one that was!)

The Swedish Europe Minister (and Commissioner Designate), Cecilia Malmström, updates us on the last few weeks of work that are still ahead.

Grahnlaw thinks it was an effective and professional presidency.

EU Institutions

Grahnlaw highlights the issue of the 18 “ghost MEPs”

Brussels Sunshine highlights the issue of the preception of corruption in the EU.

Climate Change

Lots and lots of climate change blog posts appearing as the Copenhagen conference continues.

Graham Watson MEP (ALDE) is updating us on the goings on in Copenhagen.

Dr. Sean tells us of the (confusing) stance taken by the Czech ODS.

The German Marshall Fund Blog highlights why some countires like Kyoto and are clinging to it.

The Open Europe tells us a bit more about who is gaining from the EU’s ETS scheme.

The German Marshall Fund Blog tells us about the confusion at the talks.

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Euroblog Round up #1

So as an editor over on bloggingportal.eu I have great access to a huge number of blogs and can help choose what goes on the front page. Unfortunately not everything I would like can go on the front page (there are others there also) I will do a regularish posting like this one to publicise some of the other things going on in the euroblogosophere, whether on the front page or not! Dont expect this daily or weekly mind you! Its only when I have time!

New Commission

The Common Agriculture Blog thinks the new Agricultural Commissioner could get a hard ride through the Parliament

Public Affairs 2.0 have a great PDF of all the biographical details of the new Commission

Climate Change

Eberhard Rhein calls on the EU to cut emmissions by 30%

The CTA blog also tells us that the EU and ACP countries are working together at the Copenhagen Summit

3e Intelligence look at the pros and cons of a  EU Border Carbon Tax

European Council

Ralf Grahn highlights the not so transparent European Council, even though it is now an institution of the EU.

EU-Africa

The CTA blog informs us that imports from the EAC countries will now be taxed due to a delay in signing an Economic Partnership Agreement

Human Rights

Jaanika Erne on Ideas on Europe tells us a bit about Human Rights day which was yesterday.

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VoteWatch.eu Summary of European Parliament Votes 24-27 November 2009

European Parliament Brussels
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Votewatch.eu sent this out to all its users today. Its a good idea and may be a reason in itself to sign up to the website!

Important votes were taken during the recent EP’s plenary session, such as the resolutions on the upcoming Summit on Climate Change, the Stockholm programme in the area of justice and home affairs, “origin labelling“, the smoke-free environments, the European Police Office (Europol) and European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN).

The progress towards accession of candidate countries was scrutinized and a resolution was voted on this subject. The European Parliament also approved in the third reading the EU telecoms rules, aimed to strengthen the rights of phone users and internet surfers and boost competition among telecoms firms.

Lots of information on how your MEP is voting!

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Taoiseach to Attend COP15

Edited version of Brian Cowen.jpg, an image in...
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During the week I got confirmation that the Brian Cowen will be attending the Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change in December.

Does this mean that Ireland is placing a large amount of importance on the conference or is Brian just playing along and supporting his Danish colleagues?

I wonder could it be down to Green Party pressure that is attending or does not want John Gormley to get all the media attention, well Irish Media attention.

I know Simon Coveney  of Fine Gael is planning on attending also, but I must reconfirm this. I must also see if Labour’s Dominic Hannigan or Liz McManus will be attending. Watch this space!

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Cabinet Meetings: Under Water and on top of Mountains

A post from the Thinkaboutit.eu Blog!

Last month the Maldives Government held a Cabinet meeting under waterto highlight the threat of global warming to the island nation. This month Nepal’s Government will hold a Cabinet meeting at the Mount Everest base-camp to highlight the threat to glaciers. While both of these events are being reported around the world, will they do anything in the lead up to the talks in Copenhagen?

While both events can be used to place moral pressure on other states to do something at the COP15 summit, I don’t very much if it will be a clincher to a deal. These events have great media potential and both Governments have created a brilliant media event around these meetings and have gotten headlines. But whats the point if they don’t produce a deal in December?

The Maldives will still be at risk of flooding and Nepal’s glaciers will still be in danger of melting even faster.

There is a lot of razzmatazz and drama being built up around the COP15 conference, for the benefit of the World’s media. Some of it is by poor countries, and more of it is by NGO’s in various countries. While in some cases this media around the conference us good as it raises the awareness around the conference and things we can do to lessen our impact on the environment. Will it have any effect on the Governments that represent us?

Will Merkel, Obama, Brown and Cowen become converted to the cause of what is actually needed due to the actions of the Maldives and Nepal Governments? I frankly don’t think so.

Something more needs to be done to convince them of the right path. But I fear it will take an environmental catastrophe for them to be convinced. I fear it will be too late then.