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Whaling commission shifts toward conservation agenda

News from WWF - 18. September 2014 - 2:00
Portoroz, Slovenia - The 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) ended today with a landmark decision to impose better controls over any future whale hunts conducted for the purposes of so-called scientific research.

WWF is disappointed that Japan, the primary target of the resolution, opposed the measure and said that it will forge ahead with development of a new "scientific whaling" programme regardless of the resolution.

"As a treaty member, Japan should act in good faith and follow the procedures now requested by the commission. Anything less undermines the effectiveness and integrity of this body," said Aimee Leslie, WWF's global marine turtle and cetacean manager.

Commercial whaling has been prohibited since 1986, yet Japan has continued its hunts by issuing to its fleet scientific permits, which are allowed under a convention loophole. In March 2014, the International Court of Justice determined that Japan's hunts were not for purposes of science, and established criteria that the IWC is now seeking to incorporate.

By March 2015, Japan plans to present its new whaling proposal to the IWC's Scientific Committee. The committee then will have the opportunity to review the merits of what Japan puts forward, to test its compliance with the ICJ criteria, and to make recommendations to the commission.

Continued commercial whaling

Iceland, another treaty member, maintains a reservation against the commercial moratorium and hunts whales to sell meat to Japan. Iceland's annual hunt of over a hundred endangered fin whales has led to a chill in relations between the island state and other IWC members. Earlier this week the EU, the US and other nations reprimanded Iceland for its hunt and the associated international trade of meat.

"Iceland continues to stand in defiance of the IWC Scientific Committee's conservation recommendations and the will of its peers in the international community," said Leigh Henry, senior policy officer for wildlife conservation at WWF-US. "We call on Iceland to immediately stop its endangered fin whale hunt and to withdraw its reservation to the commercial whaling moratorium."

Last chance for action

In a positive development, the commission expanded the mandate of the Scientific Committee to deal with the many other serious threats facing whales, dolphins and porpoises. An estimated 300,000 of these animals die each year after being caught accidentally in fishing gear. Other risks to cetaceans include ship strikes, underwater noise, climate change and pollution.

WWF is particularly concerned about the fate of some cetaceans that are teetering on the brink of extinction. There are only about 150 western pacific grey whales remaining in the Russian Far East, fewer than 100 vaquita porpoises in Mexico's Gulf of California, and 55 adult Maui's dolphins in the waters of New Zealand's North Island.

"There is still hope that together it is possible to save these critically endangered animals. Cooperation between nations is essential to prevent their extinction," said Sarah Goddard, species policy offer for WWF-UK.

To speak with a WWF expert at the IWC meeting in English or Spanish please contact:
Alona Rivord, arivord@wwfint.org, +41 79 959 1963

Countries impose tighter regulation of scientific whaling

News from WWF - 18. September 2014 - 2:00
Portoroz, Slovenia - The killing of whales as part of scientific research programmes will now be under stricter oversight after a divisive vote by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) today. The decision comes after a judgement by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in March that ruled previous "scientific" hunts by Japan to be illegal.

"Illegal commercial whaling went on for way too long under the guise of scientific research. Today the IWC made the right decision to close the loophole that allowed Japan's hunts to continue freely for so many years," said Aimee Leslie, head of WWF's delegation at the IWC meeting in Slovenia. "This is a landmark decision that is great news for whale conservation. If respected, it should stop the illegitimate killing of whales in the name of science."

The resolution, put forward by New Zealand, passed by a simple majority of 35 for and 20 against. Japan and other whaling nations voted against the proposal, which leaves the measures unbinding on them under treaty rules.

Disturbingly, Japan says it will restart its "scientific" whale hunt next year in defiance of the IWC resolution.

"We urge Japan to abide by the decision of the IWC and to refrain from launching more hunts outside of the process set up today," Leslie said. "If Japan truly wants to advance whale conservation as it says it does, then it should not circumvent these new IWC rules."

A moratorium prohibiting commercial whaling has been in effect since 1986, but Japan has continued to hunt thousands of whales by claiming that it was conducting scientific research. Today's resolution gives a larger role to the commission in evaluating the legitimacy of scientific whaling proposals, as requested in the ICJ judgement.

UN Summit to put climate change apathy in rearview

News from WWF - 18. September 2014 - 2:00
Gland, Switzerland: Against the backdrop of the largest ever public demonstration on climate change, WWF is calling on governments and business leaders at next week's high-profile UN Climate Summit in New York City to deliver clear commitments toward a future powered entirely by renewable energy.

"It's time for us to put the failed Copenhagen climate negotiations in the rearview mirror," said Samantha Smith, WWF's global climate and energy initiative leader. "People from all walks of life are taking to the streets and a rallying cry is building from business leaders and civil society to address runaway climate change. All the pieces are in place and it's time for heads of state to join this movement."

"This is a high profile meeting and we need clear political signals that governments are committed to immediate actions that spur the development of renewable energy sources, expand energy efficiency programs, and prioritize funding for emission reduction and climate adaptation efforts," added Smith. "Heads of state must pair these immediate actions with commitments to deliver strong, national emissions reduction targets by March 2015."

With international leaders convening in December in Peru for the next round of UN climate talks, the Summit is also a critical launchpad for eventually securing a strong global climate deal in 2015 in Paris. Commitments from Latin American nations – whose significance in the UN process is growing – and large emitters such as the United States will help set the stage for more ambitious international discussions.

Government, business and civil society leaders are expected to unveil several commitments at the summit that will reduce global deforestation and degradation, cut emissions from industry, and fund international efforts to help those nations most at risk to the devastating effects of climate change.

"While many progressive leaders attending the Summit are committing to acting themselves, they are also coming together to tell governments that they must act as well. We cannot achieve the speed and scale of action we need without it," added Smith.

"When international leaders arrive in New York, they will be greeted by the largest, broadest, and most diverse climate march in history," said Keya Chatterjee, WWF's point person for the People's Climate March and US director of renewable energy outreach. "Leaders must seize on this rallying cry and find a way to give the people what they want: climate action now."

Unhelpful order

News from India - 17. September 2014 - 21:21
The purpose of the Whistle Blowers Protection Act was to embolden informants and not deter them

Leonardo DiCaprio appointed UN climate change representative

New from UNFCCC - 17. September 2014 - 15:59
Source: BBC News - The Hollywood actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, has been appointed as a United Nations representative on climate change. The UN secretary general Ban ki Moon said the actor's global stardom was the perfect match for the global challenge posed by climate change.

Texas proposes rewriting school text books to deny manmade climate change

New from UNFCCC - 17. September 2014 - 15:59
Source: The Guardian - Texas has proposed re-writing school text books to incorporate passages denying the existence of climate change and promoting the discredited views of an ultra-conservative think tank.

Obama delays key power plant rule of signature climate change plan

New from UNFCCC - 17. September 2014 - 15:59
Source: The Guardian - Barack Obama applied the brakes to the most critical component of his climate change plan on Tuesday, slowing the process of setting new rules cutting carbon pollution from power plants, and casting a shadow over a landmark United Nations’ summit on global warming

White House partners with industry to tackle greenhouse gas

New from UNFCCC - 17. September 2014 - 15:59
Source: Reuters - The White House on Tuesday announced steps to tackle a potent greenhouse gas used in refrigeration and air conditioning, of which the United States is the world's largest producer, a week ahead of a major UN summit focused on addressing climate change.

Really wanted PM Narendra Modi to attend UN climate change summit: Ban Ki-Moon

New from UNFCCC - 17. September 2014 - 15:59
Source: The Economic Times - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon today said he "really wanted" Prime Minister Narendra Modi to participate in a crucial climate change summit in New York next week to mobilize political will for a universal and meaningful climate agreement.

Wildfire Cost May Soar With Climate Change, Report Warns

New from UNFCCC - 17. September 2014 - 15:59
Source: The Huffington Post - Wildfires may cost the U.S. as much as $62.5 billion a year by 2050 as the effects of climate change worsen, argues an economic analysis released Tuesday.

Seven things we learned from Lord Stern's New Climate Economy report

New from UNFCCC - 17. September 2014 - 15:59
Source: The Guardian - A major new report says the world can tackle climate change without harming economic growth. Here’s the digested read.

Cities can lead on climate change to build a resilient future (opinion)

New from UNFCCC - 17. September 2014 - 15:59
Source: The Guardian - Around the world, cities are taking the lead on addressing the challenge of climate change. While senior governments stall, urban leaders are responding to the urgent need to make our cities more resilient as climate change impacts intensify.

Duke Energy Commits $500 Million To Solar Power Expansion In North Carolina

New from UNFCCC - 17. September 2014 - 15:59
Source: CleanTechnica - The largest US utility owner by market value, Duke Energy, announced Monday a commitment to invest $500 million into expanding the solar market in North Carolina. Duke Energy is set to acquire and construct three solar facilities to go hand-in-hand with five new power-purchase agreements (PPA).

Lawmakers to test EU's five billion euro carbon permit giveaway

New from UNFCCC - 17. September 2014 - 15:59
Source: Reuters - European lawmakers will vote next week on whether to force Brussels officials to rethink giving billions of euros worth of carbon allowances away for free to heavy industries, after a senior Green member lodged an objection.

The Hindu rate of inflation

News from India - 17. September 2014 - 13:14
Cooling persistent inflation requires a coherent fiscal and monetary policy mix. India needs that mix now

Why Amazon and Uber puzzle Indian lawmakers

News from India - 17. September 2014 - 13:14
Innovation always finds itself slammed by legal and bureaucratic action

Tales of heroism from Gulbarga

News from India - 17. September 2014 - 13:13
Any school has to overcome multiple internal and external social challenges in order to function

Basel Convention OEWG 9 | IISD RS | Highlights for Wednesday, 17 September 2014 | Geneva, Switzerland

News from IISD - 17. September 2014 - 11:38
IISD Reporting Services (IISD RS) is covering the ninth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention (OEWG 9), from 16 to 19 September 2014, from Geneva, Switzerland. Highlights for Wednesday, 17 September 2014.

India is firmly among the Big Brothers of the world

News from India - 17. September 2014 - 7:45
Transparency reports from various websites show how Orwellian online life in India can be

India lags in access to credit

News from India - 17. September 2014 - 5:08
While bank credit as a proportion of GDP has increased, number of loan accounts is down

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