Ms. Mj Balaguer of DZMJ Online interviews the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines recently at an activity at the Manila Hotel.
Pacific’s largest virtual conference on nature conservation commences
Tuesday 24 November 2020, Apia, Samoa – “Nature Conservation Action for a Resilient Pacific” is the theme under which the 10th Pacific Island Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas is convened.
The conference is organised every five to six years by the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation (PIRT) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The 10th Conference is hosted by the Government of New Caledonia.
The conference was originally scheduled to be held as a face-to-face event in Noumea, New Caledonia, from 19 – 24 April 2020. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the closure of borders for most countries in the Pacific, it has had to be postponed and changed to a virtual meeting.
The President of New Caledonia, His Excellency Thierry Santa, delivered the opening remarks and welcomed the estimated 1500 participants, and declared the 10th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas opened.
“I am proud that New Caledonia has been selected as the host of this 10th edition of the Conference, which is original both in its form and its content. The COVID-19 pandemic raging at our doorstep has forced this conference to go virtual, which has not prevented a new record number of more than 1000 participants to register.”
“To deal with a world that is rapidly and sometimes too rapidly evolving, I invite you to reflect upon the theme of this Conference, ‘Nature Conservation Action for a Resilient Pacific.’ Let’s discuss, share, exchange, to remember where we come from and what we would like to pass on to our children.”
“For the first time, the region’s Environment Ministers will participate in a high-level segment and this meeting will lead to the approval of the Vemööre Declaration. This Declaration will ensure that our voice, the united voice of the Pacific, will be heard during international negotiations, most notably during the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in China in 2021.”
“Today, more than anything, I wish that Pacific people continue to work hand in hand to make sure that Men and Nature remain at the heart of every debate and every fight,” he concluded.
SPREP Director General, Mr Kosi Latu, delivered his remarks on behalf of the Secretariat, and officially acknowledged the partnerships that have brought about the 10th Pacific Island Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas.
“This conference would not have been possible without the great partnerships from Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation members that has been established for more than 20 years. I would also like to acknowledge all our sponsors and donors who have also been critical in making this conference a success – we thank you for continuing to be engaged and supportive after the conference,” Mr Latu said.
“The conference unites everyone involved in protecting and sustainably managing our Pacific biodiversity to review our work and plan ahead for the next five years to strengthen nature conservation in the Pacific island region.
Mr Latu stated that at the last conference held in Fiji in 2013, approximately 800 people were involved, and a large number of events were held. This year, the virtual conference has brought together more than 1,500 people and more than 150 speakers, not only from the Pacific but across the globe, in what is probably the largest virtual event in the Pacific region this year.
“The outcomes of this Conference will take the voices of the Pacific to international forums as part of the Blue Pacific contribution to urgent actions for nature conservation and building back a better planet for future generations,” Mr Latu concluded.
The State of Environment and Conservation in the Pacific Islands: 2020 Regional Report was also launched during the opening, by Mr Stuart Chape, Director of SPREP’s Island and Ocean Ecosystems Programme.
The report provides regional indicators that lay the groundwork for sustained monitoring of our actions and measure our success and shortfalls in achieving sustainable development in the Pacific island region. It is also the first combined regional assessment of the state of environment and conservation, which will look to guide the actions of countries, regional organisations, and developments.
Mr Mason Smith, IUCN Regional Director and Chair of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation, reiterated the words of President Santa on the importance of the conference’s theme, emphasising the operative word, “action.”
“Post-conference, we must hold ourselves accountable and take action where necessary. Let us help ourselves first before we ask others to help us. Let us be resilient,” Mr Smith said.
The conference will be held from 24 – 27 November, with more than 150 speakers expected to present on various topics pertaining to the themes of “Our Ocean”, “Our Island”, and “Our Connection with Nature.”
For more information or to register for the conference, please visit the conference website at www.pacificnatureconference.com.
CCS Capacity Sees 33% Increase in 2020, According to International Think Tank
In findings released by international think tank the Global CCS Institute, the total capacity of carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities operating and under development has grown by 33% world-wide over the last year alone. The 2020 Global Status on CCS report also finds that there are a total of 65 commercial CCS facilities in various stages of development globally.
“Climate ambition, including efforts to decarbonise industry, has not been curtailed despite the adversities faced in 2020”, said CEO of the Global CCS Institute, Brad Page. “We’re continuing to see an upward trajectory in the amount of CO2 capture and storage infrastructure that is being developed. One of the largest factors driving this growth is recognition that achieving net-zero emissions is urgent yet unattainable without CO2 reductions from energy intensive sectors”, added Page.
Commitments to reach net-zero emissions saw significant support over the last year from governments and businesses alike, particularly in Europe and in Asia Pacific, spearheading CCS investment. The Global CCS Status Report shows:
- The CCS facility pipeline continued to grow three years in a row, with global capture and storage capacity nearly doubling within three years and increasing by 33% since 2019.
- Almost 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are being captured annually from 26 commercial CCS facilities currently in operation.
- The United States, which is already home to the highest number of operational CCS facilities, continues its lead in the global CCS league and hosts 12 of the 17 new commercial facilities added to the project pipeline in 2020. The US has some of the most advanced supportive policies for CCS of any country in the world, including the enhanced 45Q tax credit and the California Low-Carbon Fuel Standard.
- 2020 saw increased ambition and support for CCS in Europe as well. The Norwegian Government announced its green light for the Langskip project. Funding for CCS infrastructure was earmarked in the UK’s Spring Budget, with the goal of developing several hub and clusters during the decade. Elsewhere in Europe, the first call of EU’s €10 billion Innovation Fund, expected be a major source of funding for CCS projects, was launched in July, whilst the Porthos Project in Netherlands is scheduled to take a final investment decision in 2021.
- In Asia Pacific, regional collaboration between countries and businesses continued to gather pace in 2020 in order to advance technical understanding and develop regulatory frameworks, with notably Australia and Japan making progress in terms of domestic policies and CCS investments.
- In a move that will reduce both cost and risks to government and industry, CCS hubs and clusters – the shared use of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure among companies – is predicted to support a boom in the adoption of CCS in the coming years. CCS investments in the United Kingdom are largely geared towards hubs and cluster development, and nearly all new facilities in the United States will have access to shared storage sites
“Even as the year comes to a close, commitments to reach net zero climate targets and scale up climate mitigating technologies continues to build momentum”, says Guloren Turan, General Manager at the Institute and one of the authors of the 2020 Global CCS Status Report.
“Last month we saw the UK government earmark £1 billion with the goal of developing four hub and clusters by the end of the decade. In Asia Pacific, we saw national governments in China, Japan and South Korea commit to net-zero climate targets. Industrial decarbonisation is central to reaching carbon neutral goals and CCS has been, and will continue to be, a key component in making that happen”, Turan added.
While the acceleration of CCS adoption is promising, deployment of the technology is not happening quick enough to reach 2050 climate goals. CCS facilities will need to increase by more than a hundredfold by mid-century, as but one part of how the world will reach carbon neutrality.
The report echoes findings by the IPCC, which shows that CCS is vital to meet net-zero Paris climate targets.
The Global Status of CCS Report is released annually by the Global CCS Institute, an international think tank working to accelerate the deployment of CCS, a vital technology to tackle climate change.
The full 2020 report can be found here.