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Nature, Inc.?

As old methods have lost credibility, some governments, economists and international institutions like the UN Environment Programme have adopted a new approach, based on the view that nature is an “ecosystem service” provider. In doing so, they have shifted the onus of addressing environmental risk onto the private sector and market-based mechanisms.

By Barbara Unmüßig

The Russion coal industry - an environmental and social disaster

Expansion of the Russian coal industry will increase greenhouse gas emissions, leading to a faster climate change. One reason behind this expansion is the growing demand for Russian coal from Europe’s energy giants, such as E.On and RWE. This is revealed in a new report on the Russian coal industry released today in Bonn, Germany. By Vladimir Slivyak

Green Lecture: Michael Klare on the global race for resources

The industrial nations and enterprises are facing a huge challange: The natural resources that are essential for modern industry are finite and obtaining them has serious consequences. In his talk Michael T. Klare, author of the book "The Race for What's Left", analyzes the serious consequences caused by the run for the last frontiers of the planet in a global context. 

The Global Land Grab: The New Enclosures

Clearly possession is no more sufficient today than it was for the English villagers of the 17th and 18th centuries of enclosure. Only legal recognition of commons as the communal property of communities, author Liz Alden Wily finds, is sufficient to afford real protection. By Liz Alden Wily

Unconventional and Unwanted: The Case Against Shale Gas

Shale gas is promoted as a safe and clean energy source that can help Europe increase its energy security and provide an affordable transition to a low carbon economy. The US experience, however, has shown what serious environmental and human health concerns are related to fracking. This report examines the uncertainties of shale gas and calls for an EU-wide moratorium.

Farewell to the growth society

During economic downturns, the debate about the limits of growth becomes increasingly important. The "décroissance" movement, which originated in France, proposes a departure from the model of a society based on a perpetually growing economy. Advocates of "decroissance" argue against growth in favour of “having less to live better” and propose an economic degrowth.  By Karin de Miguel Wessendorf

The African COP: COP 17 Analysis and Outlook

What were the expectations for COP 17 in Durban in 2011 and what does it mean for COP 18? The climate summit was hosted 2011 by South Africa which is located in a region that stands to be tremendously affected by climate change. This year participants of the summit in Doha must find a solution for financing adaptation as well as making the Green Climate Fund operational.  By Kulthoum Omari

How Not to Get Lost in the Desert

In the middle of an economic crisis and with the need to fight poverty globally, it is pivotal for the participating states to take COP 18 in Doha to its limits. Despite low expectations of Qatar in hosting this climate summit and the inherited problems and challenges from previous summits, it is even more important to get participating states back into the game to agree on binding regulations to decrease CO2 emissions. By Hans Verolme

Will Qatar Push for a Climate Spring?

Qatar, that faces many problems of climate change that many small island states do, has a golden opportunity to continue demonstrating leadership in the region beyond supporting the different revolutions. As the host of COP 18, Qatar should not only play the host but should also put climate change as the top political priority – now and in the future.

By Wael Hmaidan

Climate Change Policy in Israel Must Become a National Priority

The “startup nation” Israel that exports solar technology abroad and is famous for the early implementation of solar water heaters is failing to implement renewable energy sources at home. Public awareness is low and the government lacks a coherent strategy even though impacts already affect the country: African climate refugees seeking water, food and shelter. By Maya Milrad-Givon

The Power of Youth for Environmental Justice

The Arab world has witnessed uprisings from its youth, who are demanding more democratic governance systems, and particularly social justice, which implies both economic and environmental justice. But those regimes remain unaware of the power of the youth, who can deliver solutions for climate change. By Waleed Mahmoud Mansour

After spring comes? Recent development investments into the MENA region

In the wake of the Arab Spring, G8 countries and other nations have pledged major sums to stabilize the region. These financial and economic support packages could also fail to stabilize the region. Successfully managing the wide range of risks involved in the region requires addressing vulnerabilities directly in order to turn what will be a low-carbon and resource-constrained future from a risk into an opportunity.  By Sabrina Schulz

The Middle East and North Africa’s Water Resources in a Changing Climate

The Middle East and North Africa region is particularly vulnerable to climate change because of its already scarce water resources, the high levels of aridity, and the long coastal stretch. Adaptation to the impacts of climate change must start from now to build up the resilience of the affected countries and communities within. By Nadim Farajallah

The Orinoco Belt

Venezuela already overtook Saudia Arabia as the country with the largest oil reserves in the world and 2012 is likely to be a crucial year for the climate, as the country aims to ramp up production of huge reserves of tar sands-like crude in the eastern Orinoco River Belt. But economical exploitation comes with huge environmental concerns.

By Sarah Wykes

A target for exploration and extraction

Madagascar is increasingly a target for extractives exploration and extraction.  Despite its unique eco-systems – the island is a biodiversity hotspot – extractive industries are regarded as one of the strategic pillars of the country’s future development.  By Christopher Walker

ENI and the exploration of oil

The huge 1,790 km square tar sands concession includes savannah, tropical rainforest and wetlands that are home to endangered bird species.The history of oil production in the Republic of Congo does not provide an encouraging scenario for future tar sands extraction. Testimonies by communities impacted by oil report intimidation by both the government and the oil companies.
By Christopher Walker

The Parrylands-Guapo Fields

In 2009 Trinidad and Tobago awarded a license to Petroleum Co. of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd. to explore tar sands at Parrylands-Guapo fields, which are thought to contain 2 billion barrels of oil. An Institute of Energy and Mining has recently been established that will "cater for the specific needs of what, in effect, will be an entirely new part of the local oil industry". By Christopher Walker