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11 Dec, 2007

Watch This New Trend: EcoMobility

More than 30 global companies, business and user associations, expert organizations, local governments and United Nations agencies have joined together in a partnership for the integrated promotion of walking, cycling, wheeling and ‘passenging’ (the use of public transport) in cities.

A series of daily dispatches from the UN Framework on Climate Change Conference in Bali.

In this dispatch:








The UN Climate Change Conference saw the launch of a global alliance for ecomobility. More than 30 global companies, business and user associations, expert organizations, local governments and United Nations agencies have joined together in a partnership for the integrated promotion of walking, cycling, wheeling and ‘passenging’ (the use of public transport) in cities.

“Climate change must be addressed in every community worldwide. We cannot just wait for governments to come to an agreement. As far as urban transport is concerned, we have got a solution to offer: EcoMobility”, says Konrad Otto-Zimmermann who heads ICLEI, an association of over 700 cities in 67 countries that are dedicated to sustainable development.

Building a zero-carbon mobility system for cities, this is the ultimate goal of the Alliance. “Whilst billions are being spent on having engineers make the car less environmentally harmful, let’s be aware: the ‘zero carbon vehicle’ was invented more than 200 years ago and is called the bicycle”, says Otto-Zimmermann. Push and pull carts even have a history of thousands of years. Walking was invented when humans began to walk upright – and thus saved 75% energy. With the bicycle, humans even surpassed evolution – moving by bicycle requires less energy input per kilometre than walking.

The potential for reducing carbon dioxide emissions in urban transport is significant. In the European Union, a majority of car journeys are short distance drives: ten percent of trips by car are shorter than one kilometre, 50 percent shorter than five kilometres. If only 30 percent of car journeys below six kilometres were replaced by bicycle trips, this would lead to a tour percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from road traffic. A necessary way to go since carbon dioxide emissions from road transport in the EU have increased by 26 percent from 1990-2004.

In the Netherlands, cycling can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from transport by six percent. If trips up to 7.5 kilometres distance were done by bicycle instead of the motor car. 2.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions could be saved, by which measure the Netherlands would have achieved one eighth of its Kyoto commitment.

The conditions for ecomobility differ from city to city, however. In wealthy German cities, over 80% of trips under three kilometres are made by non-motorized means, while in Surabaya, Indonesia, with less than one twentieth of the per capita income than German citizens enjoy, only 40% of trips in this range are made in a non motorized fashion. This is caused by the dangerous road and traffic conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and users of mobility aids such as wheelchairs. Improving road safety by, for example, dedicating space and lanes for non-motorized transport, is therefore key to the promotion of ecomobility.

“Urban transport is the world’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions by a factor of two. Given that there remains a 20 to 25 year-long window of opportunity to slow the trajectory of emissions growth, a dollar spent on mitigation in urban transport immediately is worth two dollars spent elsewhere”, says Brian Williams, Chief of the Energy and Transport Section of United Nations Habitat.

The Alliance’s key activity areas will be:

<> Advocacy: Positioning ecomobility as a solution in the climate change debate, by advocating ecomobility at international policy fora and negotiations.

<> Promotion: Raising awareness of the benefits of ecomobility through an ecomobility label as a distinction for city districts, public and private facilities, and the Cities Enjoy Bicycles Awards.

<> Investment: Encouraging investment in ecomobility infrastructure, vehicles and mobility aids.

<> Innovation: Building ecomobility systems in cities through product innovation and creative cooperation in cross-sector partnerships.

The word “ecomobility” has been coined to promote walking, cycling, wheeling and `passenging’ as one idea, one word and one system.


“We promote the use of non-motorized transport, not only as a tool jia poverty alleviation but also as a hedge against the over-use of the private automobile. The EcoMobility Alliance will be an invaluable tool for the realization of both, and we are pleased to be a part of it. — Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director, United Nations Habitat

“We are determined to assist and encourage the transition to more intelligent and environment-friendly transportation choices that reflect the challenges of our age.” — Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi, Kenya

“As a corporate enterprise, we believe that industry has a fundamental responsibility to reassess its role in regard to protecting our natural environment.” — Yoshi Shimano, Chairman, Shimano Inc., Sakai City, Japan the world’s leading manufacturer of bicycle parts

“As a father of four children & an avid bike commuter, I fully support EcoMobility in promoting alternative, earth friendly forms of transportation.” — Dan Britton, President & CEO, Chariot Carriers Inc., Calgary, Canada leading manufacturer of child carriers and baby joggers

“We have got ideas to change the way of shopping in the inner cities. Our concepts help to reduce the carbon emission. The EcoMobility Alliance allows Wanzl to introduce these concepts to the broad public.” Dr. Rainer Eckert, Director of Research & Development, Wanzl GmbH, Leipheim, Germany, world market leader in shopping trolleys

“There is a huge potential to shift trips to public transport, walking and cycling. This is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce CO2 emissions and it is vital that the developing world keeps a high share of trips using these sustainable modes.” — Hans Rat, Secretary General, International Association of Public Transport, Brussels, Belgium



Excerpts from the speeches made at the presentation of the Nobel Peace prizes in Oslo, 10 December 2007


The traditional concept of peace and security emphasises war between states. In order to protect all the individuals of which states consist, it is of course important to prevent any attack from outside. But wars between states have become increasingly rare. Wars within states, on the other hand, have grown more frequent. Many more people are killed today in civil wars than in wars between states.

Those who attach importance to “human security” argue that the main thing is to protect individuals. The chief threats may be direct violence, but deaths may also have less direct sources in starvation, disease, or natural disasters. A goal in our modern world must be to maintain “human security” in the broadest sense.



Coming as I do from India, a land which gave birth to civilization in ancient times and where much of the earlier tradition and wisdom guides actions even in modern times, the philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, which means the whole universe is one family, must dominate global efforts to protect the global commons. This principle is crucial to the maintenance of peace and order today as it would be increasingly in the years ahead……



Today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.

As a result, the earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong.




Bali, 10 December 2007 — Combating climate change will be a central peace policy of the 21st century. Unchecked it is likely to aggravate old and trigger new tensions in parts of the world that may spill over into violence, conflict and war a new report concludes.

Areas at increased risk of insecurity include northern and southern Africa alongside countries in the Sahel region and the Mediterranean Other potential hot spots are central Asia; India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; China; parts of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and Andean and Amazonian regions of Latin America.

The report, prepared by German and Swiss academics, urges governments meeting at the UN climate convention conference in Bali to adopt deep and decisive emission reductions alongside support for adaptation or ‘climate proofing’.

Otherwise climate change, including more extreme weather events; impacts like the melting of glaciers; the drying out of big forest systems and rising numbers of climate refugees is likely to overwhelm the ability of many countries to govern and to cope.

Professor Hans Schellnhuber, a lead author of the report, Director of he Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Visiting Professor at Oxford University, said:” Without resolute counteraction, climate change will overstretch many societies’ adaptive capacities within coming decades. This could result in destabilization and violence jeopardizing national and international security to a new degree”.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said: “There are multiple environmental challenges facing the world and the security of communities and countries. Climate change is perhaps the most high profile”.

“However, if we can counter climate change and climate proof economies to buffer them against the climatic changes already underway, perhaps the world can unite around these other pressing challenges from reversing the decline of biodiversity and loss of marine resources up to designing a more intelligent, fairer and ultimately sustainable global trade regime”.

The new report comes in the wake of rising concern over climate change and conflict. Earlier in the year the UN Security Council debated the issue and there have been warnings from retired and serving senior military in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Later today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), jointly founded by UNEP and the World Meteorological Organisation, was co-awarded the Nobel Peace Prize—again reaffirming growing understanding between combating climate change and peace.

The new report, entitled Climate Change as a Security Risk, has been prepared by the German Advisory Council on Global Change drawing on the work of international experts and organizations including UNEP. The report suggests four ‘climate-induced conflict constellations’. These are degradation of freshwaters; decline in food production; increase in storm and flood disasters and environmentally-induced migration.

It also tries to define and explain what may constitute vulnerable states and societies. These are likely to be ones that are in political transition and have a low level of economic activity with often large population or high population densities.

Countries bordering a neighbour in which violent conflict is being waged or ones that have themselves experienced violent conflicts in the very recent past within their own borders will also be vulnerable to renewed conflict in a climatically constrained world.


In light of current knowledge about the social impacts of climate change, WBGU identifies the following six key threats to international security and stability which will arise if climate change mitigation fails:

A). POSSIBLE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF WEAK AND FRAGILE STATES AS A RESULT OF CLIMATE CHANGE: Weak and fragile states have inadequate capacities to guarantee the core functions of the state, notably the state’s monopoly on the use of force, and therefore already pose a major challenge for the international community. So far, however, the international community has failed to summon the political will or provide the necessary financial resources to support the long-term stabilization of these countries. Moreover, the impacts of unabated climate change would hit these countries especially hard, further limiting and eventually overstretching their problem-solving capacities.

Conflict constellations may also be mutually reinforcing, e.g. if they extend beyond the directly affected region through environmental migration and thus destabilize other neighbouring states. This could ultimately lead to the emergence of “failing subregions” consisting of several simultaneously overstretched states, creating “black holes” in world politics that are characterized by the collapse of law and public order, i.e. the pillars of security and stability. It is uncertain at present whether, against the backdrop of more intensive climate impacts, the international community would be able to curb this erosion process effectively.

B). RISKS FOR GLOBAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Climate change will alter the conditions for regional production processes and supply infrastructures.

Regional water scarcity will impede the development of irrigated agriculture and other waterintensive sectors. Drought and soil degradation will result in a drop in agricultural yields. More frequent extreme events such as storms and flooding put industrial sites and the transport, supply and production infrastructures in coastal regions at risk, forcing companies to relocate or close production sites. Depending on the type and intensity of the climate impacts, this could have a significant and adverse effect on the global economy.

Unabated climate change is likely to result in substantially reduced rates of growth. This will increasingly limit the economic scope, at national and international level, to address the urgent challenges associated with the Millennium Development Goals.

C). RISKS OF GROWING INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTIONAL CONFLICTS BETWEEN THE MAIN DRIVERS OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND THOSE MOST AFFECTED: Climate change is mainly caused by the industrialized and newly industrializing countries. The major differences in the per capita emissions of industrialized and developing/ newly industrializing countries are increasingly regarded as an “equity gap”, especially as the rising costs of climate change are mainly being borne by the developing countries. The greater the damage and the burden of adaptation in the South, the more intensive the distributional conflicts between the main drivers of climate change and those most affected will become.

The worst affected countries are likely to invoke the “polluter pays” principle, so international controversy over a global compensation regime for climate change will probably intensify. Beside today’s industrialized countries, the major ascendant economies whose emissions are increasing substantially, notably China but also India and Brazil, for example, will also be called to account by the developing countries in future. A key line of conflict in global politics in the 21st century would therefore divide not only the industrialized and the developing countries, but also the rapidly growing newly industrializing countries and the poorer developing countries.

The international community is ill-prepared at present for this type of distributional conflict.

D). THE RISK TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES’ LEGITIMACY AS GLOBAL GOVERNANCE ACTORS: Unabated climate change could threaten livelihoods, erode human security and thus contribute to the violation of human rights. Against the backdrop of rising temperatures, growing awareness of social climate impacts and inadequate climate change mitigation efforts, the CO2-emitting industrialized countries and, in future, buoyant economies such as China could increasingly be accused of knowingly causing human rights violations, or at least doing so in de facto terms. The international human rights discourse in the United Nations is therefore also likely to focus in future on the threat that climate impacts pose to human rights.

Unabated climate change could thus plunge the industrialized countries in particular into crises of legitimacy and limit their international scope for action.

E). TRIGGERING AND INTENSIFICATION OF MIGRATION: Migration is already a major and largely unresolved international policy challenge. Climate change and its social impacts will affect growing numbers of people, so the number of migration hotspots around the world will increase. The associated conflict potential is considerable, especially as “environmental migrants” are currently not provided for in international law. Disputes over compensation payments and the financing of systemsto manage refugee crises will increase. In line with the “polluter pays” principle, the industrialized countries will have to face up to their responsibilities.

If global temperatures continue to rise unabated, migration could become one of the major fields of conflict in international politics in future.

F). OVERSTRETCHING OF CLASSIC SECURITY POLICY: The future social impacts of unabated climate change are unlikely to trigger “classic” interstate wars; instead, they will probably lead to an increase in destabilization processes and state failure with diffuse conflict structures and security threats in politically and economically overstretched states and societies. The specific conflict constellations, the failure of disaster management systems after extreme weather events and increasing environmental migration will be almost impossible to manage without support from police and military capacities, and therefore pose a challenge to classic security policy. In this context, a well-functioning cooperation between development and security policy will be crucial, as civilian conflict management and reconstruction assistance are reliant on a minimum level of security.

At the same time, the largely unsuccessful operations by highly equipped military contingents which have aimed to stabilize and bring peace to weak and fragile states since the 1990s show that “classic” security policy’s capacities to act are limited. A climate induced increase in the number of weak and fragile states or even the destabilization of entire subregions would therefore overstretch conventional security policy.


The greater the scale of climate change, the greater the probability that in the coming decades, climate induced conflict constellations will impact not only on individual countries or subregions but also on the global governance system as a whole. These new global risk potentials can only be countered by policies that aim to manage global change. Every one of the six threats to international stability and security, outlined above, is itself hard to manage. The inter action between these threats intensifies the challenges for international politics. It is almost inconceivable that in the coming years, a global governance system could emerge with the capacity to respond effectively to the conflict constellations identified by WBGU.

Against the backdrop of globalization, unabated climate change is likely to overstretch the capacities of a still insufficient global governance system.

As the climate-induced security risks of the 21st century have their own specific characteristics, they will be difficult to mitigate through classic military interventions. Instead, an intelligent and well-crafted global governance strategy to mitigate these new security risks would initially consist of an effective climate policy, which would then evolve into a core element of preventive security policy in the coming decades. The more climate change advances, the more important adaptation strategies in the affected countries will become, and these must be supported by international development policy.

At international level, the focus will be on global diplomacy to contain climate-induced conflicts, as well as on the development of compensation mechanisms for those affected by climate change, global migration policy, and measures to stabilize the world economy. The opportunities to establish a well-functioning global governance architecture will narrow as global temperatures rise, revealing a vicious circle: climate change can only be combated effectively through international cooperation, but with advancing climate change, the basis for constructive multilateralism will diminish. Climate change thus poses a challenge to international security, but classic, military-based security policy will be unable to make any major contributions to resolving the impending climate crises.



Bali, Indonesia (Dec. 10, 2007) – Climate change will affect national parks, forest reserves and other protected areas around the world, in some cases altering conditions so severely that the resulting environments will be new to the planet, according to a study presented Monday at the U.N. climate change talks in Bali, Indonesia.

Scientists from Conservation International (CI), the University of Wisconsin and the University of Maryland analyzed the World Protected Areas Database with ten Global Climate Models and three different scenarios examined by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

They found that under the most likely scenario, more than half the world’s protected territory is vulnerable to impacts of climate change, with some regions facing the disappearance of current climatic conditions by 2100 or a transition to conditions not found on Earth in the previous century.

“We previously assumed that if the land is protected, then the plants and animals living there will persist,” said Sandy Andelman, lead author of the study and CI’s vice president who heads the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) network. “That may be wishful thinking.”

Countries where 90 percent or more of the total protected territory has climate conditions that will disappear globally or be transformed to novel climates are Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Niger, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda and Venezuela.

With millions of people living in the most seriously affected countries, maintaining the health of protected areas and the biological diversity they contain is crucial to the availability of fresh water, food, medicines and other life-sustaining benefits of nature.

However, the study indicates that climate change will cause increased extinctions of species unable to adapt to altered climatic conditions, and substantial changes to the natural ecosystems. “We urgently need to better understand how climate change will affect life on Earth so we can develop solutions, and to do that we need consistent data about long-term trends at a very large scale,” Andelman said.

Her TEAM network, established through CI funding, monitors such long-term trends in the biological diversity of tropical forests. A network of tropical field stations using standardized methods of data collection allows scientists anywhere on Earth to quantify how tropical nature is responding to climate change and human impacts. The first five TEAM sites operate in tropical forests across Latin America, with the program expanding to Africa and Asia by the end of 2008 and plans for 20 sites on three continents by the end of 2009.

The study also identified “refuge” countries where protected areas face minimal risk from climate change, including Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone and Somalia. Ensuring the adequate protection of nature reserves in these countries will provide baseline information to help understand the dynamics of biological diversity relatively unaffected by climate change.

Along with Andelman, the paper’s authors are Jan Dempewolf of the University of Maryland, Jack Williams of the University of Wisconsin, and two members of CI’s Center for Applied Biodiversity Science – Jenny Hewson, a remote sensing specialist, and Erica Ashkenazi, a GIS specialist.

Conservation International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth’s richest regions of plant and animal diversity in the biodiversity hotspots, high-biodiversity wilderness areas and key marine ecosystems. With headquarters in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents. For more information about CI, visit www.conservation.org.



Bali, Indonesia – The first week of talks at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali showed satisfactory progress, says WWF.

Despite the heat and humidity in Bali, the overall atmosphere at the negotiations is constructive and agreeable. All substantial issues on the agenda are on the table, from mitigation to adaptation and deforestation to technology, and are being approached with a relatively open mind, especially by a range of developing countries.

Most of the developing countries, united in the G77 plus China, have come to Baliwith considerable ambition and are showing flexibility, says Hans Verolme, Director of WWF’s Global Climate Change Programme. “A group of major emerging economies including China, South Africa, and Brazil showed clarity of vision this week and made concrete proposals to tackle technology transfer by proposing a platform for public-private partnerships for technology cooperation.”

The preparedness to engage has, however, not been matched by all G77 countries; Saudi Arabia and Malaysia especially disappointed with old-fashioned unconstructive contributions.

Rich countries generally added to the positive atmosphere. The EU as expected offered to do its fair share and cut emissions by up to 30 percent by 2020. US interventions were restrained but added little to the debate.

The Canadian government notably refused to recognize the obligations of industrialized countries, inexplicably implying that developing countries hold equal responsibility. Japan was forced to clarify its position about its commitment to further cuts in carbon pollution under the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

Industrialized countries now need to engage with the positive developing countries to enhance the trust that has been built up in the past days. They need to confirm the target range of reducing emissions from industrialised countries by 25 to 40 percent by 2020. They need to recognize the need of developing countries for technology transfer and financing of new, cleaner technologies – and they need to put up the cash to support their good intentions

Also, the Adaptation Fund needs to be settled to the benefit of the Least Developed Countries, those who already now suffer most from the damaging impacts of climate change. The Indonesia Presidency of the conference faces a challenge, to transform the positive atmosphere into real ambition. This ambition must be strong enough to drive negotiations in the second week.

“We may be getting closer to a decision to Bali Mandate, but we are still far removed from a political deal towards deep cuts in carbon emissions,” adds Verolme. “We still need to agree the goal for this negotiation that is coherent with what the IPCC tells us needs to be done to avoid dangerous climate change.”

Notes: Briefing – WWF’s Beginners Guide to the UN Climate Talks. Download from http://www.panda.org/climate.

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