Monday, March 31, 2008
Still, few presidents have taken that goal seriously, and those who did missed historic opportunities to move closer toward a nuclear weapons-free world. Beginning with the next U.S. president, that can and must change, or else the global effort to reduce the risk of nuclear war, curb proliferation, and prevent catastrophic terrorism will falter. More >>>
Friday, March 28, 2008
Their perspectives range between expecting an attack on Iran, accusing the West of arrogance, and blaming the "hostile" tone of the Iranian government for fuelling the tension towards the West.
"It is a right for every member of NPT [Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty] to have access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes," said political science professor Herimidas Bovand.
"But as I said, they [the West] usually focus on Iranian intentions, and unfortunately enough, [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and some other individuals in higher positions make statements hostile to Western powers and Israel. The West uses these kind of statements to substantiate claims and accusations against Iran," he added in reference to the belligerent statements made by the Iranian president against the West and Israel, including questioning the reality of the Holocaust. More >>>
Thursday, March 27, 2008
New Delhi: Senior officials and academics from Russia, India and China will meet here this week in the first-ever ‘Track One and a Half’ interaction between the three countries since the trilateral dialogue process started in 2002.
Hosted by the Indian Council of World Affairs and the Institute of Chinese Studies in Delhi, the three-day seminar on the “evolution of geo-political strategic
trends” will discuss climate change, the current international situation and prospects for trilateral economic cooperation.
Inaugurating the seminar on Thursday, N. Ravi, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, said the meeting was the outcome of the decision taken by the Foreign Ministers of Russia, India and China in 2007 to convene a joint meeting of officials and scholars to examine ways of taking the trilateral process forward in different areas.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
"More than 120 million people from India and Bangladesh alone will become homeless by the end of this century," the report says.
It estimates that 75 million people from Bangladesh will lose their homes. It predicts that about 45 million people in India will also become "climate migrants".
The report says that the number of people who could be affected by climate change is almost 10 times greater than the number of people who migrated during and after the partition of India in 1947.
Around 130 million people now live in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in what are called low elevation coastal zones, which comprise coastal regions that are less than 10m above average sea level. "There is already plenty of evidence to suggest that the average global temperature rise we have already experienced is associated with substantial changes in weather patterns over recent decades," the Greenpeace report says. More >>>
Sunday, March 23, 2008
This has the potential of bringing nations together for peace and development. It also has the potential for disputes and conflict. At this point, we have an opportunity to make a choice.
We are all stakeholders in what happens in the Arctic - environmentally, politically, militarily and in every other way - as the ice cover melts.
Before the modern "gold rush" for oil, gas, diamonds and minerals begins to cause tensions among the eight circumpolar countries - Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States - a global regime should be established over the Arctic to mitigate the effects of climate change and for the equitable use of its resources.
In terms of military security, a choice can be made between returning to the rivalries of the Cold War or a cooperative arrangement like the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, which has preserved the area around that opposite pole "exclusively for peaceful purposes." More >>>
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Responding to an issue raised by nominated member and noted scientist M S Swaminathan in the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the impact of climate change has engaged attention of the government.
He said the government was in the process of preparing a National Action Plan "to deal with the issues of climate change". He said the plan would suggest remedial measures to mitigate the impact of changing environment.
The Prime Minister said only two days ago, he had convened a meeting of the concerned ministers in this regard.
Swaminathan asked whether the government was drawing contingency plans for dealing with impact of environment change on specific crops like potato and wheat. He said there was a need for such plans to deal with a situation arising out of wheat being used for feeding the birds and maize being diverted to make ethanol. More >>>
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Speaking at the fourth ministerial meeting on climate change in Chiba, Japan, vice-president Ursula Schaefer-Preuss said there should be more partnerships that can pool technical and financial resources to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and to enable those adversely affected to adapt to the challenges.
"Particularly on the adaptation side, there is a need to build up a pool of funds to reduce the financial burden of countries that may be called to accommodate large populations displaced by climate change," she said. "No single country should have to bear the burden of climate-driven refugees on its own." Schaefer-Preuss also called for enhanced investment mechanisms to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, such as ADB’s Carbon Market Initiative and its proposed Future Carbon Fund. She also stressed the need for additional market incentives other than greenhouse gas reductions, such as trading schemes for other noxious gas emissions.
The Asia and Pacific is particularly vulnerable to the growing threat of climate change. Some 1.2 billion people in the region could experience a shortage of freshwater by 2020, while crop yields in Central and South Asia could drop by half between now and 2050, she warned.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
In an opinion column published today in "The Hindu" newspaper of Chennai, India, ahead of observances this week to mark World Water Day, Ban called for partnerships between governments, civil society groups, businesses and individuals to better use and conserve water.
"We are at the early stages of this awakening," he wrote. "But there are some encouraging signs, especially in the private sector. Corporations have long been viewed as culprits. The smokestacks from power plants pollute our air; the effluents from industry spoil our rivers. But this is changing - more and more today, businesses are working to become part of the solution, rather than the problem." More >>>
Monday, March 17, 2008
13 March 2008 - The Russian government approved the scheme on 22 February, and made it public today. Implementing and monitoring the plan will be the responsibility of the ministry of industry and energy, the ministry of economic development, and the Rosatom corporation under the control of Sergei Kiriyenko. These bodies are to submit an annual progress report on the execution of the scheme to government.
Within three months, the same groups are to draft an action plan to attract investment in the Russian power industry.
The nuclear portion of the scheme sees one VVER-1000 pressurized water reactor and one RBMK-1000 reactor (Kursk 5) entering operation before 2010. In addition, the world's first floating nuclear power plant - the Akademik Lomonosov - with two 35 MW KLT-40C reactors would be launched. More >>>
Sunday, March 16, 2008
JUST days after the United Progressive Alliance launched what looked like a determined last-ditch effort to ram through the United States-India nuclear deal, the agreement seems ready to go into cold storage, if not oblivion.
It’s almost certain to miss the US political timetable, which requires that the deal be sent to the Senate by May for ratification. After that, it would be near-impossible to pass it before the presidential election. This is a major victory for India’s Left parties and the peace movement. It’s a morale-booster for all those who questioned any special collaborative arrangement with the US. More >>>
Thursday, March 13, 2008
On a more local level, the appointment also shows that MEA has won the turf war within the Indian system about which should be the nodal ministry to deal with climate change issues with the rest of the world. In fact, within MEA, climate change, which is now regarded as a significant foreign policy issue, is handled directly by foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon. More >>>
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
March 11 2008
Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is in Tehran this week, enhancing Iran-Indonesia bilateral relations, particularly in the economic and energy fields. Yet in light of Indonesia's historic vote of abstention on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1803, which imposed a third round of sanctions on Iran, his trip has a symbolic importance that transcends Tehran-Jakarta ties: it touches directly on the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
As the head of the largest Muslim nation in the world which traditionally has played an important role in the formation and evolution of the NAM, Yudhoyono has already jolted Western nations opposed to Iran's nuclear program by ending the consensus on Iran at the Security Council and thus putting South Africa, Vietnam and Libya, who voted for the sanctions resolutions irrespective of this initial objection, on the defensive.
Since the adoption of Resolution 1803, South African leaders and their press have agonized over how to justify the country's vote at the Security Council, given the fact that South Africa's representative at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Abdul Minty, has criticized the resolution for failing to take into account progress made in resolving questions about Iran's nuclear program. Minty is worth quoting at length:
“South Africa furthermore regrets that the adoption of the new resolution could apparently not be postponed until the [IAEA] board had the opportunity to consider the matter ... This creates the impression that the verification work of the agency and the important progress that has been made is virtually irrelevant to the co-sponsors of the resolution“.More >>>
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Tehran, Iran - Interest is growing in a possible US-Iran nuclear compromise that could enable sensitive atomic work on Iranian soil, lower the risks of proliferation, and ease Iran's isolation.
Despite a series of UN sanctions designed to halt Iran's ability to enrich uranium, Iran has continued to make progress. And a growing number of Western and Iranian officials and analysts, arguing that turning back the clock is impossible, are pushing for a new framework to ensure that Iran's nuclear work is aimed at peaceful, not military, applications.
On the agenda is a proposal to turn Iran's uranium-enrichment program into a multilateral consortium on Iranian soil, bringing Western eyes and expertise directly into the project in a bid to minimize potential weapons danger. In exchange, the West would end Iran's pariah status.
"Now we are in the point of realizing our right to enrich uranium in our land in Iran, by our own people," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the Monitor during a conference on nuclear issues in Tehran. "If any proposal is there for joining to this activity, we can consider that." More>>>
Thursday, March 6, 2008
“We are waiting for the talks between Pakistan and India to conclude and then the implementation of the project will be finalised,” Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told Business Standard yesterday.
“The implementation of the project will not be affected by current developments in Afghanistan and we are in regular contact with our friends in India,” he said.
The Bush administration had reportedly resorted to arm-twisting the governments in South Asia to abandon the project with Iran once and for all. More >>>
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
ROME March 5 2008 - A virulent wheat fungus, previously found in East Africa and Yemen, has spread to Iran, and a UN food agency warned Wednesday that it could be heading across Central and the Indian subcontinent.
The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said that about 80 percent of all wheat varieties planted in Asia and Africa are susceptible to wheat stem rust - a fungus capable of destroying entire fields. Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of the fungus in western Iran, a development which raises the alert for crops of major wheat producers like Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the FAO said in a statement.
"The detection of the wheat rust fungus in Iran is very worrisome," said Shivaji Pandey, director of the FAO's Plant Production and Protection Division. "The fungus is spreading rapidly and could seriously lower wheat production in countries at direct risk." More >>>
The US on Wednesday reminded India of a "very tight deadline" for putting together "missing pieces" to conclude the nuclear deal and clarified that the 123 agreement, and not the Hyde Act, will determine civil nuclear commerce between the two countries.
"As far as the Hyde Act is concerned, it is a domestic legislation that determines what we do in our government. It's an enabling legislation whose main purpose is to allow us to conclude the nuclear agreement with India," US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Richard Boucher told reporters.
"As for the 123 agreement, that's what binds India and the US in the framework. I frankly see no contradiction between the two," Boucher said in a bid to allay anxieties in India about the impact of the Hyde Act on the nuclear deal. More >>>
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Guwahati (PTI): The earth is clearly facing a catastrophe of substantial dimension and lack of climate stability can have an impact on agriculture and food security, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dr R K Pachauri, said on Tuesday.
"Climate change is not smooth and linear. The factors of a fairly balanced climate have been disturbed quite systematically leading to increase in precipitation -- rain and snow -- in the upper latitudes and decline in the lower latitudes", Noble Peace awardee said.
Climate changes included large quantities of rain and snow in a short period of time --as were the rains in Mumbai two years ago-- meltdown of glaciers eventually reducing flow of water through rivers, which in turn would reduce ground water and its subsequent recharge, he pointed out.
"Meltdown of glaciers effect agriculture as well and food security is compromised. By 2020 there will be a 50 per cent reduction of agriculture in Africa effecting their people's survival", Pachauri said. More >>>
Monday, March 3, 2008
3 March 2008
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — Climate change is likely to reduce agricultural production and exacerbate water shortages in the Middle East, threatening the region's poor, the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization warned Monday.
Many countries in the Middle East already suffer from a shortage of arable land and limited access to water necessary to irrigate crops. But climate change could bring higher temperatures, droughts, floods and soil degradation, according to a new report released by the agency.
"Changes in temperature, rainfall and climatic extremes will only add to the stress on agricultural resources in a region where land availability and degradation, food price shocks and population growth are already a major concern," said the report, which is being discussed at a regional conference in Cairo.
Among the problems climate change could cause is an increased risk of conflict over the scarce resources, the report said. More >>>