Violence Grows Against Women and Children in Economic Deprivation of Yemen’s War

A recent study has revealed an increase in violence against women and children resulting from the conflict in Yemen.   Research by the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies shows women and girls in Yemen have been affected by rape, kidnapping and domestic violence, while boys face sexual violence and are forced to work. 
 
Yemen’s nearly five-year conflict is having disastrous consequences on its civilian population, according to the recent study, “A Gendered Crisis: Understanding Experiences of Yemen’s War.”
 
The qualitative research involving some 90 focus group discussions across Yemen’s political and socioeconomic classes found that unemployment has undermined men’s traditional role as breadwinner, driving many to seek a salary by fighting on the front lines. Rising poverty has left parents unable to educate their children.  The middle class has slipped into poverty and the poor into destitution.
 One of the authors, Shams Shamsan of the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, says that the financial strain caused by the war has plunged the already impoverish nation at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula into a dire economic crisis making women, youth and children more vulnerable to exploitation and multiple forms of gender-based violence.
 
“Youth and kids are lured into sexual activity in exchange for money and sometimes materialistic things. Women report a lot of kidnapping and groping in the streets and they say there is a growing impunity towards predators who do that,” Shamsan said. “In the past, if a woman is harassed in the street, everybody would jump in to try to protect her, but now there is no such thing. People are usually scared.”
 UN: Yemen’s Children Suffer ‘Devastating Toll’ in 5-Year Conflict

        The United Nations said Monday that the five-year-old conflict in Yemen has taken a "devastating toll" on the country's children, with thousands killed, maimed and recruited to fight since the war began. "The impact of this conflict on children is horrific," Virginia Gamba, U.N. special representative for children and armed conflict, told a meeting of the Security Council. 

Shamsan says that Yemeni families forbid doctors to report cases of rape due to the social stigma attached to it in their culture.
Rights group Amnesty International also said recently that Yemen’s negative gender stereotypes and patriarchal attitudes, a discriminatory legal system, and economic inequality have compounded women’s vulnerability to violence.  Activists like Shamsan say that more needs to be done to protect children and women against the growing gender-based violence.
 
“We need to educate women and children on what is sexual violence. What does it mean when you get harassed,” Shamsan said. “Some kids get harassed and they don’t know they are being harassed. So, we need some sort of an awareness program to families and children and how to report. We have very little programs that work on psychosocial support. We need rehabilitation programs for those who experience sexual assault and sexual trauma.”
 
Shamsan says children and youth being sent to the frontlines also badly need psycho-social support and rehabilitation centers to help them integrate into society, otherwise they transfer their battlefield trauma into domestic violence.

your ad here

more

Measles Outbreaks Make 2019 a Record-Setting Year

The year 2019 saw a totally preventable disease claim the lives of more than 140,000 people, mostly children and babies. It happened as unvaccinated children created a pathway for measles outbreaks globally. Some of the outbreaks are still continuing.Samoan Emite Talaalevea lost her daughter. She says she never expected to see such grief.”I was shocked, it was very hard to me to accept what happened,” she said.Measles claimed the lives of some 81 people on the island, mostly children and infants. Robert Linkins, an expert on measles in the Global Immunization Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the deaths were completely preventable.”Two shots of a vaccine could have saved those children’s lives.”The vaccination rate in Samoa dropped to about 30% after two children died from a measles vaccine that was mistakenly mixed with a muscle relaxant. People wrongly attributed the deaths to the vaccine, stopped vaccinating their children, then measles exploded on the island.Samoa has a population of 200,000. Some 5,600 people caught the virus. Linkins said because measles is so highly infectious, the disease spread rapidly.”The hospitals and health clinics were overrun with very sick children, and there weren’t enough health care workers and hospital beds to adequately deliver the services that they needed,” Linkins said.Medical teams went door-to-door with the vaccine. The goal was to get 95% of the population vaccinated. The Samoan government, Linkins said, turned to the CDC for help in stemming the epidemic.”[The] CDC also was asked to do training of health care workers to ensure safe vaccine delivery, as well as to monitor the quality of the immunization campaign that took place,” Linkins said.FILE – Children, their faces covered with masks, wait to get vaccinated against measles at a health clinic in Apia, Samoa, Nov. 18, 2019.In 2019, more 400,000 cases of measles were reported globally, with an additional 250,000 cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone.In the first three months of 2019, the number of measles cases tripled over the same period of 2018. Dr. Kate O’Brien, an immunization expert with the World Health Organization, cites many reasons children are not getting vaccinated.”The main reason for failure to vaccinate against measles is families, communities are not having access to the vaccine,” O’Brien said.Conflict and poor health systems in low income countries prevent families from vaccinating their children. But in rich countries, some parents are opting out of immunizations. The United States tops the list with 2.5 million children missing their first dose of the measles vaccine. Two doses are essential for immunization.
The CDC reported more than 1,200 cases of measles in 31 U.S. states by late December, the highest number in 25 years. Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccinologist at Baylor College of Medicine, says the numbers are alarming.
“In the United States now, measles epidemics are becoming the new normal in this country, after we eliminated measles in 2000,” Hotez said.
 
In 2019, four European countries — Britain, Albania, the Czech Republic and Greece — lost their measles eradication status, meaning measles is now considered endemic in these countries.”In other words, we’re backsliding,” said Kate O’Brien with the WHO.Samoa ended its state of emergency over its measles outbreak just days before 2019 ended. But the resurgence of measles is still a global health problem. Some parents are complacent about the vaccine. Others have come to fear it more than the deadly virus itself. Unless this changes, experts say, there will be more deaths, and more outbreaks in 2020. 

your ad here

more

У «Нафтогазі» розповіли, скільки заплатить Росія за транзит газу

У Національній акціонерній компанії «Нафтогаз України» повідомили, які суми має заплатити Росія за транзит свого газу українською територією за новим контрактом.

Як повідомив на брифінгу в Києві голова «Нафтогазу України» Андрій Коболєв, ідеться про суму мінімально в 7,2 мільярда доларів. Цю суму, за його словами, російська сторона певною мірою прогарантувала відповідно до контракту, що передбачає мінімальні обсяги транзиту.

Відтак, сказав він, сума не може бути меншою, але може зрости в разі, якщо російський газовий монополіст «Газпром» вирішить транспортувати більші обсяги газу.

У такому разі додаткові обсяги, уточнив Коболєв, будуть транспортуватися за вищими ставками.

Яка саме буде узгоджена вартість транзиту, він не сказав.

30 грудня «Нафтогаз України» і «Газпром» підписали контракт на транзит російського газу до Європи з використанням української газотранспортної системи за правилами Європейського союзу на п’ятирічний термін із можливістю продовження. Термін нині чинного контракту збігає вранці 1 січня 2020 року.

Новий контракт передбачає, зокрема, транспортування мінімально 65 мільярдів кубометрів газу протягом 2020 року і мінімально по 40 мільярдів кубометрів наступними чотирма роками, за принципом «транспортуй або плати».

Міністр енергетики і захисту довкілля Олексій Оржель прогнозував, що Україна буде отримувати за транзит газу протягом наступних п’яти років орієнтовно по 2–3 мільярди доларів щорічно.

your ad here

more

Оператор ГТС України підписав останню угоду про транзит російського газу до Європи

ТОВ «Оператор ГТС України» підписало останню міжоператорську угоду, що була необхідна для забезпечення транзиту російського газу до Європи газотранспортною системою України за новим контрактом, що почне діяти 1 січня.

Як повідомила компанія, цю угоду підписали у Брюсселі зі словацьким оператором ГТС Eustream. Цей технічний договір про взаємодію (interconnection agreement) укладений за європейськими правилами, мовиться в повідомленні.

Попереднього дня, 30 грудня, таку угоду ОГТСУ підписав і з російським газовим монополістом «Газпром», який є водночас і оператором російської ГТС.

«Таким чином, новий український оператор ГТС підписав угоди зі всіма суміжними операторами, а саме – Польщі, Угорщини, Румунії, Молдови, Словаччини і Росії. Наразі створено всі необхідні технічні і правові підстави для успішного старту роботи незалежного Оператора ГТС України і для безперервного продовження транзиту газу через українську ГТС із Росії до європейських країн із 1 січня 2020 року», – повідомила компанія.

30 грудня Національна акціонерна компанія «Нафтогаз України» і російський газовий монополіст «Газпром» підписали контракт на транзит російського газу до Європи з використанням української газотранспортної системи за правилами Європейського союзу на п’ятирічний термін із можливістю продовження. Термін нині чинного контракту збігає вранці 1 січня 2020 року.

Як повідомив на брифінгу в Києві 31 грудня голова «Нафтогазу України» Андрій Коболєв, транзит російського природного газу територією України в 2020 році може сягнути 75 мільярдів кубометрів.

your ad here

more

China Investigates Respiratory Illness Outbreak Sickening 27

Chinese experts are investigating an outbreak of respiratory illness in the central city of Wuhan that some have likened to the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic.The city’s health commission said in a statement Tuesday that 27 people had fallen ill with a strain of viral pneumonia, seven of whom were in serious condition.It said most had visited a seafood market in the sprawling city, apparently pointing to a common origin of the outbreak.Unverified information online said the illnesses were caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which emerged from southern China and killed more than 700 people in several countries and regions. SARS was brought under control through quarantines and other extreme measures, but not before causing a virtual shutdown to travel in China and the region and taking a severe toll on the economy.However, the health commission said the cause of the outbreak was still unclear and called on citizens not to panic.

your ad here

more

Uber, Postmates Sue to Challenge California’s New Labor Law

Ride-share company Uber and on-demand meal delivery service Postmates sued Monday to block a broad new California law aimed at giving wage and benefit protections to people who work as independent contractors.The lawsuit filed in U.S. court in Los Angeles argues that the law set to take effect Wednesday violates federal and state constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.Uber said it will try to link the lawsuit to another legal challenge filed in mid-December by associations representing freelance writers and photographers.The California Trucking Association filed the first challenge to the law in November on behalf of independent truckers.The law creates the nation’s strictest test by which workers must be considered employees and it could set a precedent for other states.The latest challenge includes two independent workers who wrote about their concerns with the new law.”This has thrown my life and the lives of more than a hundred(equals)thousand drivers into uncertainty,” ride-share driver Lydia Olson’s wrote in a Facebook post cited by Uber.Postmates driver Miguel Perez called on-demand work “a blessing” in a letter distributed by Uber. He said he used to drive a truck for 14 hours at a time, often overnight.”Sometimes, when I was behind the wheel, with an endless shift stretching out ahead of me like the open road, I daydreamed about a different kind of job — a job where I could choose when, where and how much I worked and still make enough money to feed my family,” he wrote.The lawsuit contends that the law exempts some industries but includes ride-share and delivery companies without a rational basis for distinguishing between them. It alleges that the law also infringes on workers’ rights to choose how they make a living and could void their existing contracts.Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego countered that she wrote the law to extend employee rights to more than a million California workers who lack benefits, including a minimum wage, mileage reimbursements, paid sick leave, medical coverage and disability pay for on-the-job injuries.She noted that Uber had previously sought an exemption when lawmakers were crafting the law, then said it would defend its existing labor model from legal challenges. It joined Lyft and DoorDash in a vow to each spend $30 million to overturn the law at the ballot box in 2020 if they don’t win concessions from lawmakers next year.”The one clear thing we know about Uber is they will do anything to try to exempt themselves from state regulations that make us all safer and their driver employees self-sufficient,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “In the meantime, Uber chief executives will continue to become billionaires while too many of their drivers are forced to sleep in their cars.’’The new law was a response to a legal ruling last year by the California Supreme Court regarding workers at the delivery company Dynamex.

your ad here

more

Huawei Sales Up 18% but US Pressure Means Tough Times Ahead

China’s Huawei Technologies said Tuesday that its sales rose a lower-than-projected 18% in 2019 and predicted tough times ahead as the U.S. moves to restrict its business.The flash sales estimate came in an annual New Year’s message to employees. Chairman Eric Xu warned that mediocre managers would face demotion as the telecom giant and leader in 5G mobile technology focuses on survival.”It’s going to be a difficult year for us,” he wrote, calling on the company’s more than 190,000 employees “to work hard and go the extra mile to bring their capabilities to a new level.”No one is predicting Huawei’s demise. The unlisted company, a major maker of both mobile transmission equipment and handsets, estimated 2019 sales would rise to more than 850 billion yuan ($120 billion).”These figures are lower than our initial projections, yet business remains solid and we stand strong in the face of adversity,” Xu said in the letter, which was released to the AP and other media.Huawei, based in the tech hub of Shenzhen in southern China, typically releases its official and audited annual financial results in March.The U.S. government says Huawei technology poses a security risk and has urged other countries not to buy its 5G mobile network equipment. It has also put Huawei on its entity list, blocking U.S. technology sales to the company. Huawei denies the allegation.Calling difficulty the prelude to greater success, Xu said America’s “strategic and long-term” campaign against Huawei is an opportunity to build up some muscle and build capabilities to navigate future challenges.”Despite concerted efforts by the U.S. government to keep us down, we’ve made it out the other side and continue to create value for our customers,” he wrote.The five-page letter exhorts employees to hone their skills and rid themselves of complacency. Saying that survival is the company’s top priority, Xu warns that mediocre managers “who have lost their enterprising spirit” will be removed faster than before.

your ad here

more

Germany’s Merkel Urges Climate Action in New Year Message

Chancellor Angela Merkel is telling Germans in her New Year message that “everything humanly possible” must be done to tackle climate change.Merkel said that there is good reason to be confident about the 2020s in her annual televised message, the text of which was released ahead of its broadcast Tuesday. But she pointed to challenges such as the effect of digitization on people’s jobs and, above all, climate change.”The warming of our Earth is real. It is threatening. It and the crises arising from global warming were caused by humans,” she said. “So we must do everything humanly possible to deal with this challenge for humanity. That is still possible.”Merkel said that was the principle behind a recently agreed German package of measures aimed at addressing climate change, which include a carbon dioxide pricing system for the transport and heating sectors and lowering value-added tax on long-distance rail tickets.She acknowledged criticism both from people who are worried about being overburdened by the measures and from those who think they don’t go far enough, but said they provide the “necessary framework.””It’s true that, at 65, I am at an age where I personally won’t experience all the consequences of climate change that would arise if politicians didn’t act,” she said.”It is our children and grandchildren who will have to live with the consequences of what we do or don’t do today,” Merkel added. “So I am putting all my energy into Germany making its contribution — ecologically, economically, socially — to getting a grip on climate change.”That is also a priority of the European Union’s new executive Commission, headed by Ursula von der Leyen — a former German defense minister. Germany will hold the EU’s rotating presidency in the second half of 2020.”Europe must raise its voice more strongly in the world,” Merkel said, pledging to work for that during the EU presidency. She pointed to planned meetings with Chinese and African leaders.Merkel, Germany’s leader since 2005, has said that her current fourth term as chancellor will be her last.Protection against hatredUnlike last year’s, this New Year message contained no reference to infighting in the often-tense coalition government of her center-right Christian Democratic  Union and the center-left Social Democrats. It remains uncertain whether the coalition will last until the end of the parliamentary term in 2021.Merkel did, however, stress the need for authorities to protect local government officials and “all people in our country against hatred, hostility and violence, against racism and anti-Semitism.”This year saw the killing of a regional government official from Merkel’s party, Walter Luebcke, who had vocally supported Merkel’s welcoming stance toward refugees in 2015. The suspect is a far-right extremist.And in October, a man tried to force his way into a synagogue in Halle on Judaism’s holiest day, later killing two passers-by before being arrested. The suspect posted an anti-Semitic screed before the attack.
 

your ad here

more

«Нафтогаз» анонсує пресконференцію Гончарука за підсумками газових переговорів

Національна акціонерна компанія «Нафтогаз України» анонсує пресконференцію прем’єр-міністра України Олексія Гончарука за підсумками переговорів про транзит російського газу територією України. Про це йдеться у трансляції Газового інформаційного центру, яка триває на сторінці «Нафтогазу» у фейсбуці.

 

Раніше керівник «Оператора газотранспортної системи» Сергій Макогон повідомив у фейсбуці, що Україна вранці 30 грудня завершила чотириденний переговорний марафон із російським «Газпромом» у Відні.

Водночас у «Нафтогазі України» повідомили, що угода ще не укладена. «Ми ще в процесі укладання. Сподіваємось, що ця угода скоро буде фіналізована», – йдеться у твітері «Нафтогазу» ввечері 30 грудня.

 

«Нафтогаз» нагадує, що 10-річний транзитний контракт між Нафтогазом та Газпромом закінчується 1 січня о 9:00. «В цих умовах надзвичайно важливо уникнути розповсюдження неперевіреної та суперечливої інформації», – вказує українська компанія.

20 грудня представники України, Росії, Євросоюзу, а також компанії «Оператор газотранспортної системи України», «Нафтогазу» та російського «Газпрому» попередньо домовилися зберегти транзит, натомість українська енергетична компанія відмовилася від інших позовів проти російського монополіста.

 

Серед найважливіших домовленостей сторін:

«Газпром» погодився до 29 грудня виплатити «Нафтогазу» 2,9 мільярда доларів, як це передбачає рішення Стокгольмського арбітражу від лютого 2018 року;
сторони відкликають всі позови, за якими наразі немає ухвалених рішень, в тому числі – позов «Нафтогазу» до російської енергетичної корпорації на 12,2 мільярда доларів та на 1,33 мільярда кубічних метрів газу;
з активів та майна «Газпрому» знімають арешти, сторони відмовляються від претензій в майбутньому щодо претензій у зв’язку з контрактами на постачання та транзит газу від 19 січня 2009 року;
після виконання цих умов – «Газпром» та «Нафтогаз» укладають договір про транзит газу через Україну​.

27 грудня уряд схвалив підписання мирової угоди з «Газпромом».

your ad here

more

Children in Conflict Pay a Deadly Price

The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says verified attacks on children in conflict have risen threefold since 2010, making the past decade particularly deadly for children.
As the decade draws to a close, UNICEF reports children continue to pay a deadly price as conflicts rage around the world. In a video message, UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore expresses her dismay at the bloody cost of war that claims so many young lives forces them to flee their homes and shatters their dreams for the future.”As people prepare to celebrate the coming of the New Year, I hope we also remember those who are not so lucky,” she said. “Today, hundreds of millions of children and young people are living in countries and areas torn apart by conflict, from Syria and Yemen, to South Sudan, Central African Republic and Nigeria.”UNICEF has verified more than 170,000 grave violations against children in conflict since the start of the decade. That comes to more than 45 violations every single day for the last 10 years.It says it fears the killing and maiming of children will increase as conflicts become more frequent, are more violent and last longer. Fore describes the lives of the children caught in this mayhem as a waking nightmare.”They are used as human shields,” she said. “They are vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and child marriage. Many are recruited to the fighting and millions miss out on the nutrition, health care, protection, and education that their bodies and brains need to develop.”UNICEF reports airstrikes and explosive weapons such as landmines, mortars, and cluster munitions have killed or maimed more than 12,000 children in 2018. In addition, it has verified more than 24,000 grave violations against children, including sexual violence, abductions, child recruitment and attacks on schools and hospitals.The agency says attacks and violence against children have not let up throughout 2019. The final tally for the year is not yet in. But it has verified more than 10,000 grave violations against children during the first half of the year, noting the actual number is likely to be much higher.As the year and the decade draw to a close, UNICEF is urging all warring parties to abide by their obligations under international law and to end violations against children. It also is calling on states with influence over the parties to do more to protect children against the ravages of war.   

your ad here

more

Brazil Fines Facebook $1.6M for Improper Sharing of User Data

Brazil’s Ministry of Justice said on Monday it has fined U.S. tech giant Facebook Inc 6.6 million reais ($1.6 million) for improperly sharing user data.The ministry’s department of consumer protection said it had found that data from 443,000 Facebook users was made improperly available to developers of an app called ‘thisisyourdigitallife.’ The data was being shared for “questionable” purposes, the ministry said in a statement.Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The ministry said the world’s largest social network failed to provide users with adequate information regarding default privacy settings, particularly related to data of “friends” and “friends of friends.”The ministry said it launched the investigation following media reports of the misuse of data by political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica in 2018.Facebook has 10 days to appeal the decision. The fine should be paid within 30 days. 

your ad here

more

2019 Was Hottest Year on Record for Russia

This year was the hottest ever registered in Russia, the country’s weather chief said on Monday, as climate change pushes global temperatures to record highs.”This year in Russia was the hottest for the entire period of instrumental observations,” the head of the Gidromedtsentr weather service, Roman Vilfand, told Russian news agencies.He said Moscow’s average temperature for 2019 had hit 7.6-7.7 degrees Celsius (45.7-45.9 degrees Fahrenheit), beating the previous record by 0.3 degrees.Weather records have been kept since 1879 in Moscow and since 1891 in Russia as a whole.Global warming has sent temperatures rising around the world, with the United Nations saying earlier this month that 2019 was on course to be one of the three hottest years on record.Known for its notoriously harsh winters, Moscow has seen its warmest December in a century this year.While some flurries fell on Monday, the Russian capital — normally covered with a blanket of snow by mid-December — saw a largely snowless and cloudy last month of the year.The city’s ski resorts were closed and spring buds were beginning to show on trees — three or more months too early.Russian President Vladimir Putin has always been reluctant to acknowledge the link between human activity and global warming.At his traditional year-end annual news conference earlier this month, Putin insisted that “nobody knows” the causes of climate change.But he acknowledged the consequences of global warming could be catastrophic for a country that is one of the world’s biggest producers of carbon fuel and with a fifth of its land within the Arctic circle.Putin said that the rate of warming for Russia was 2.5 percent higher than elsewhere on the planet.And “for our country, this process is very serious,” he said.   

your ad here

more

Monitoring Agency: DRC Ebola Death Toll 2,231 to Date

A total of 2,231 people have died out of 3,373 declared cases of Ebola in the current epidemic in the DR Congo, according to the agency overseeing the response, health officials said Sunday.Deadly unrest in the fragile state has hampered the fight against the disease during the latest epidemic, which broke out on August 1, 2018, with the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri particularly badly hit.Both areas, beset by violence for two decades, have seen repeated attacks on Ebola health workers by dozens of armed groups as well as on health sites set up to treat victims.More than 200 civilians have been killed in the troubled east since November in clashes blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia group of Ugandan origin which officials blame for a string of massacres in recent weeks.Health authorities meanwhile said Sunday that 341 suspected Ebola cases were being investigated, a day after the Multisectoral Committee for Epidemic Response (CMRE) monitoring the disease unveiled its latest batch of data Saturday.The current epidemic is the tenth overall and the second deadliest on record since a 2014-16 outbreak struck west Africa, killing more than 11,300.  

your ad here

more

Politics of Climate Change Got More Complicated in 2019

2019 was the year of Greta Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion and an uptick in climate action pledges by governments across the globe. 
 
From Britain to Germany, Europe’s mainstream party leaders scrambled to respond to a surge in electoral support for Green parties — and to growing public anxiety about the possible impact of climate change. 
 
During European Parliament elections in June, 48 percent of voters identified climate change as their top worry. Opinion polls in Germany for some weeks of 2019 put the Greens ahead of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s storied Christian Democratic Party, which, along with its junior partner in the country’s governing coalition, has been racing to sharpen climate policies. 
 British moveIn Britain, the ruling Conservatives announced a hugely ambitious carbon reduction plan, enshrining into law a pledge to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, making Britain the first major economy to do so. Some smaller countries, including Finland and Norway, are earmarking dates earlier than 2050 to become net-zero greenhouse gas producers, but so far have not made their goals legally binding. 
 
In America, an alliance of 24 states and Puerto Rico promised to uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate action, despite the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the international pact. 
 
Shouldn’t all these plans and pledges be music to ears of climate action activists and scientists? FILE – Activist Greta Thunberg holds a placard reading “School strike for the climate” during a demonstration against climate change outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm, Nov. 30, 2018.Apparently not. On the eve of Christmas, Thunberg tweeted: “I hear many say 2019 was the year when the public woke up to the climate crisis. This is a misconception. A small but rapidly growing number of people have started to wake up to the climate crisis. This has only just begun. We’re still only scratching the surface.” 
 
For Thunberg, her guardians and loyalists, change can’t come fast enough, however wrenching and dislocating it might be. Governments aren’t doing enough and are failing to count their emissions accurately, they complain, and corporations are dragging their feet.  For activists, December’s Madrid climate change conference epitomized the foot-dragging and a failure to be truly aspirational in cutting emissions. For Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion activists in Britain and Australia, the key task for the Madrid gathering was to unveil ambitious new goals — and fossil-fuel-dependent countries, notably Brazil and Australia, flunked it, they say. Rich vs. poor
 
The rift between wealthy, developed nations and poorer, developing nations over who is going to pay for reducing greenhouse gas emissions also remained as wide as ever. And governments in Madrid stalled on agreeing on new regulations for carbon markets and the trading of carbon permits between countries for the offsetting of emissions, one of the most critical and contentious issues at the climate change conference. 
 
“In Madrid, the key polluting countries responsible for 80 percent of the world’s climate-wrecking emissions stood mute, while smaller countries announced they’ll work to drive down harmful emissions in the coming year,” said Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S.-based climate action advocacy group. “World leaders dithered instead of taking stronger, critical action soon to reduce the global climate threat. They ignored dire scientific reports, worsening evidence of climate destruction and demands from millions of young people to protect their future.” FILE – The COP 25 conference center is seen in Madrid. (Lisa Bryant/VOA)For others, though, the Madrid conference symbolized how politically complicated it will be to deliver climate action — a complexity activists ignore and glide over, some analysts warn. The venue for the conference itself spoke to that. The meeting was scheduled to be held in Chile, but it had to be switched to Spain because of riots in the Latin American country over a “Green” hike in transit fares. 
 
And it wasn’t only in Chile that protesters were taking to the streets to complain about expensive Green policies that could make living standards plunge. In France, the Yellow Vests, drawn mainly from small towns, persisted with their demonstrations against the government of French President Emmanuel Macron, an agitation triggered initially by the imposition of higher eco-taxes on fuel. 
 
The year 2019 also saw strong resistance in Germany from motorists, as a well as automakers, to planned higher fuel prices and an abrupt shift to electric cars — yet another front in a political backlash to climate action. Tricky politics
 
For governments, even environmentally friendly ones, climate change poses a massive political dilemma, and 2019 brought that home. Impose the tax hikes and costly regulations scientists say are needed to lower emissions and move economies away from dependency on fossil fuels, and governments risk prompting a backlash, largely from lower-income workers and pensioners, who can ill afford to bear the expense. 
 
The alternative is to move slowly and risk blowback from climate action activists and their supporters among largely middle class and higher-income groups able to adapt with less hardship. Squaring the circle between those who demand fast-track climate-friendly measures and those who want to slow down and mitigate the impact of moving toward a low-carbon future isn’t going to be easy, say analysts. 
 
In Europe, Central European governments sense the acute political danger to them and have been resisting a European Union plan to join Britain in earmarking 2050 as the year the bloc has to be “net zero.”  FILE – Smoke rises from chimneys of the Turow power plant located by the Turow lignite coal mine near Bogatynia, Poland, Nov. 19, 2019.Poland has been especially vociferous in opposition. The country is heavily dependent on coal for its energy needs and more than a quarter-million Polish jobs are tied to the fossil fuel industry. Without coal, many towns in Poland will have no economic raison d’être. “You can’t expect Poland to leap to zero carbon in 30 years,” according to Marchin Nowak, a coal industry executive. 
 
While smaller developing countries fret that they will bear too much of the burden of climate action compared with richer nations, so, too, do those who already feel left behind in developed countries, fearing the costs and benefits of climate action will be unfairly placed on their shoulders. 2019 saw the opening salvos in this new political war over environmentalism. 

your ad here

more

У Відні продовжились переговори з «Газпромом» про транзит – Макогон

Українсько-російські переговори про газовий транзит з 1 січня наступного року продовжились у Відні, повідомив у фейсбуці керівник «Оператора газотранспортної системи» Сергій Макогон.

«Починаємо наступний день перемовин. Мета – фіналізувати всі договори», – написав він.

Очільник Міненерго Росії Олександр Новак в коментарі російським ЗМІ 25 грудня також висловив сподівання, що угода про транзит газу буде підписана в ці вихідні.

20 грудня представники України, Росії, Євросоюзу, а також компанії «Оператор газотранспортної системи України», «Нафтогазу» та російського «Газпрому» попередньо домовилися зберегти транзит, натомість українська енергетична компанія відмовилася від інших позовів проти російського монополіста.

Серед найважливіших домовленостей сторін:

«Газпром» погодився до 29 грудня виплатити «Нафтогазу» 2,9 мільярда доларів, як це передбачає рішення Стокгольмського арбітражу від лютого 2018 року;
сторони відкликають всі позови, за якими наразі немає ухвалених рішень, в тому числі – позов «Нафтогазу» до російської енергетичної корпорації на 12,2 мільярда доларів та на 1,33 мільярда кубічних метрів газу;
з активів та майна «Газпрому» знімають арешти, сторони відмовляються від претензій в майбутньому щодо претензій у зв’язку з контрактами на постачання та транзит газу від 19 січня 2009 року;
після виконання цих умов – «Газпром» та «Нафтогаз» укладають договір про транзит газу через Україну​.

27 грудня уряд схвалив підписання мирової угоди з «Газпромом».

your ad here

more