EcoWatch is featuring live broadcasting via Democracy Now! from Dec. 8 - Dec. 12, 8 to 9 a.m., from the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. Diplomats from around the world are gathered in Lima to reach a draft agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, which will be finalized in 2015.
Here are the segments from Tuesday, Dec. 9:
"They Have Destroyed Our Livelihood": Activists Protest Shell and Chevron at U.N. Climate Talks
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, protesters gathered inside Monday to protest the invitation of oil giants Shell and Chevron to speak on summit panels. Democracy Now! producer Mike Burke was there when scores of summit delegates attempted to walk into an event featuring Shell climate change adviser David Hone.
"Corporate Conquistadors": New Report Exposes How Multinationals Drive, Profit From Climate Change
As we broadcast from the United Nations Climate Summit in Lima, Peru, we speak with Pascoe Sabido of the Corporate Europe Observatory, which just released a new report titled "Corporate Conquistadors: The Many Ways Multinationals Both Drive and Profit From Climate Destruction." "This is COP 20. For 20 years we’ve been going without progressing to a fair and progressive climate deal that we need,” Sabido says. "One of the big reasons is the aggressive lobbying of the fossil fuel industry both at the national level and here at the talks." The new report is a joint project with Democracy Center and the Transnational Institute.
Peru Climate Summit is the 1st in an Amazon Nation Amidst Growing Threat to "Heart of the Planet"
This year's U.N. Climate Change Conference in Peru marks the first time the talks have been held in an Amazon country. More than 70 percent of Peru's national territory is within the Amazon Basin. The founder and executive director of Amazon Watch, Atossa Soltani, joins us to talk about the significance of the U.N. climate summit taking place in Peru amidst long-term threats to the Amazon. Soltani also addresses the challenges facing developing countries with lucrative, but carbon-intensive energy resources, and whether the United States is being a responsible environmental steward for future generations. "When we lose the Amazon, we not only create emissions, but we lose the climate stabilizing function of the forest," Soltani says. "We're reaching a tipping point."
Indigenous Women on the Front Lines of Defending the Earth Share Their Solutions to Climate Change
Today is “Gender Day” at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, a day that acknowledges the disproportionate impact of climate change on women, who make up 70 percent of the world's poor. We hear from a panel of indigenous women from around the world who met off-site Monday to share their solutions to climate change. The event, hosted by the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network, featured indigenous women leaders on the front lines of defending the Earth from exploitation by fossil fuel companies. Speakers included Patricia Gualinga, a Kichwa leader from Sarayaku, Ecuador, and her niece, Nina Gualinga. In 2012, the Sarayaku won a case against the Ecuadorean government after a foreign oil company was permitted to encroach on their land.
Democracy Now! Interviews Pablo Solon of Focus on the Global South
As we broadcast from the U.N. Climate Conference in Lima, Peru, where delegates from around the world are meeting on a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, the first text of this year's draft has been released. We are joined by Pablo Solón, Bolivia's former ambassador to the United Nations and former chief negotiator on climate change. Now the executive director of Focus on the Global South, Solón was a presenter of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal, which also took place in Peru.
Climate Justice Activists From Around the World Show Solidarity with Philippines
Among the many protests at the United Nations Climate Change Conference was a solidarity action with the Philippines, which was hit by Typhoon Hagupit over the weekend. Some 900,000 people were forced to evacuate. We speak with participants from Chile, Africa and New Zealand, who all say the negotiators at COP 20 are taking positions that fail to reflect the urgency that is needed to address climate change for countries that are already being impacted.
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A stretch of coastline in the Philippine capital, Manila has received backlash from environmentalists. The heavily polluted Manila Bay area, which had been slated for cleanup, has become the site of a controversial 500-meter (1,600-foot) stretch of white sand beach.
Sand Makeup Crucial for Ecosystems<p>While UNEP/GRID-Geneva generally supports finding <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/not-enough-sand-for-construction-industry-despite-abundance/a-49342942" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">alternative sources of sand</a> so as not to disrupt ecosystems in rivers and oceans when extracting them, Vander Velpen stressed it was vital to use sand which closely matches the makeup of the native sand to protect beach fauna.</p><p>"If you change the core characteristics of the native sand, the original sand, you need to do an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to find out how it's going to impact the ecosystem and nearby ecosystems," he told DW.</p><p>But according to Torres, such an assessment was not done in Manila.</p>
Beautification Stunt Instead of Proper Cleanup?<p>Manila Bay's waters are heavily polluted by oil and trash from nearby residential areas and ports. A huge "No swimming" sign warns visitors to stay away from the ocean.</p><p>Philippines' <a href="https://denr.gov.ph/index.php/priority-programs/manila-bay-clean-up/25-priority-programs/1825-frequently-ask-questions-faqs-on-the-dolomite-and-the-beach-nourishment-project" target="_blank">Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)</a> has denied dolomite sand poses any risk to human health and the ecosystem.</p><p>However, scientists of the University of the Philippines have come forward disputing the DENR's claims. A <a href="https://biology.science.upd.edu.ph/index.php/ib-statement-regarding-dolomite-in-manila-bay/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">statement by the Institute of Biology</a> said that using crushed dolomite did not address any of the rehabilitation phases and instead was "even more detrimental to the existing biodiversity as well as the communities in the area," pointing to the case of water birds. "The dumping of dolomite in Manila Bay has effectively covered part of the intertidal area used by the birds thereby reducing their habitat."</p><p>At peak migration season, Manila Bay is home to 90 aquatic bird species, including species of international conservation concern that are facing a very high extinction risk in the wild. </p><p>Authorities should focus on protecting and conserving biodiversity, the Institute of Biology added. "Rehabilitating mangroves is an example of a nature-based solution that is cheaper and more cost-effective than the dolomite dumping project," the scientists said.</p><p>Moreover, <a href="http://www.msi.upd.edu.ph/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the Marine Science Institute</a> has warned that prolonged inhalation of finer dust particles of dolomite could "cause chronic health effects," leading to discomfort in the chest, shortness of breath and coughing.</p><p>They also warned dolomite sand grains would erode during storms and be carried out to sea, essentially being washed away.</p>
Rehabilitation vs. Reclamation<p>Environmentalists say covering up the beach doesn't address the real issues of the bay. Torres and others believe the best way to clean up Manila Bay is not to add anything, but rather remove trash and pollution.</p><p>"There have been studies saying much of the waste comes from already collected waste — so these are open dump sites along the coast that get washed up because of the rain," Torres said.</p><p>She criticized the authorities for continuing to push reclamation projects she says are at odds with each other. These projects will affect large areas of mangrove forests, she said, and experts warn that this, in turn, exacerbates coastal erosion.</p><p>"If you've removed the areas that helped trap the sand, like mangrove forests, then the likelihood increases that you will have to nourish a beach. Same as building right up to the waterfront," said Vander Velpen of UNEP/GRID-Geneva.</p>
Plenty of Sand in the Sea?<p>The question of Manila's contentious white beach echoes larger questions about sand mining worldwide. <a href="https://unepgrid.ch/storage/app/media/documents/Sand_and_sustainability_UNEP_2019.pdf" target="_blank">Global sand consumption has tripled</a> over the past two decades, UNEP/GRID-Geneva has found. A huge chunk of it is now taken up by construction.</p><p>"Many operate on the assumption that natural sand is endless in its supply," said Vander Velpen.</p><p>Sand scarcity is a concern shared by Stefan Schimmels of <a href="https://www.fzk.uni-hannover.de/fzk_start.html?&L=1" target="_blank">Forschungszentrum Küste</a> who's done extensive research on shore nourishment to stop coastal erosion. And as climate change and rising sea levels are threatening coasts, demand for sand will grow even more.</p><p>A large study, the <a href="http://www.stencil-project.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/STENCIL_SWOT_Analyse_191026.pdf" target="_blank">Strategies and Tools for Environment-Friendly Shore Nourishments as Climate Change Impact Low-Regret Measures (STENCIL project)</a>, focused on the German island of Sylt, a popular vacation spot.</p><p>About 1 million cubic meter of sand per year is used to maintain the coastal area of Sylt, STENCIL project head Schimmels said. That's about 100 million 10-liter buckets of sand.</p><p>When sand was extracted off the coast of Sylt, underwater craters were formed. "You can still detect these craters even decades later," Schimmels told DW.</p><p>"Also when you add a couple of meters sand onto the beach — you essentially bury all things that do creep and fly," he said. "How quickly will they recover?" Schimmels said more research was needed as there was still too little known about long-term effects on the environment. </p>
Criticism Piling Up<p>As for Manila's artificial white sand, it looks like some might have already been blown away by a recent storm. DENR claims it wasn't washed away, but said that grayish sand, stones and other material had simply piled up over the dolomite sand. People in Manila have tweeted photos showing how the storm has ravaged the beach. </p>
<div id="adc0b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="98f9390db6bb81cb421aaf0bb9d9a6fb"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1318816633280851969" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Exactly one month after giving excited netizen a glimpse of Manila Bay white sands, look what happened now after ju… https://t.co/X0Z9i0bPB0</div> — M*A*S*H (@M*A*S*H)<a href="https://twitter.com/Magtira_Matibay/statuses/1318816633280851969">1603265362.0</a></blockquote></div><p>Authorities have been called tone-deaf for spending around 389 million pesos ($8 million) on a beach nourishment project in the middle of a raging pandemic.</p><p>An image of cake iced with the words "It really hurts - that's [worth] 389 million pesos?" has since gone viral.</p>
<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4387aad52ea316e4db7330052318ca2f"><div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/theweekendpatisserie/posts/144564207350008"></div></div><p>"It's just a waste of precious resources," Torres said. </p><p>The environmental activist now also worries that she might be labeled a terrorist for speaking out under the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/philippine-anti-terrorism-law-triggers-fear-of-massive-rights-abuses/a-53732140" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Philippines' controversial new anti-terrorism law</a>. She says she could be arrested for inciting fear when talking about environmental dangers.</p>
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