SustainableIT.org Announces New Leadership Amid Official Launch

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., June 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SustainableIT.org, the new nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing global sustainability through technology leadership, today announced its new executive director and additional board members, following its successful inaugural board meeting May 24 in New York.

SustainableIT.org is proud to name Kath Marston as its Executive Director and General Manager. Marston brings leadership development experience gained from serving as Group Vice President, Client Experience/Operations for IDC's CIO Executive Council, having overseen a community of leading Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and top technologists across global organizations.

"I am extremely excited to lead this powerful agenda. Technology leaders can have a critical impact on global sustainability efforts, and our commitment to galvanizing these leaders to act is vital for the prosperity of businesses, humanity, and the entire planet," Marston said.

Additionally, SustainableIT.org voted in seven members to its board of directors. Composed of influential CIOs, CTOs, and other CXOs from around the world.

SustainableIT.org's newest board members are:

They join existing board members:

On June 8th, SustainableIT.org will host its European launch in Paris to raise awareness and drive critical mandates forward at a global scale. Its next board meeting and executive summit will be held at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, on August 15th where multiple SustainableIT.org board members will accept CIO 100 Awards shortly thereafter.

Companies are increasingly committing to maximizing sustainability within their operations, and most companies will have developed a roadmap and formally pledged to make sustainability a corporate–wide goal by 2025*, according to research from IDC. They will fulfill these pledges by using the latest tools and software to monitor and reduce power consumption, which makes a set of sustainability standards for the IT field all the more urgent to establish.

By uniting IT leaders and experts from around the world to define best practices and standard metrics for the United Nations' three pillars of sustainability, SustainableIT.org is committed to driving transparency and progress toward a sustainable future.

"Our objective is to expand global awareness through a dedicated community of worldwide thought leaders, create education and positive awareness actions, measurable improvement in terms of sustainability management and improvement across technology executives," Marston said. "Our passion is to inspire and make a better world for the next generation and generations to come."

About SustainableIT.org

SustainableIT.org is a nonprofit organization focused on advancing global sustainability through technology leadership. Our mission is to define sustainable transformation programs by industry, author best practices and frameworks, set standards and certifications, provide education and training, and raise awareness for environmental and societal programs that make our organizations and the world sustainable for generations to come. Follow us on LinkedIn.

Delphix formed SustainableIT.org as a nonstock and nonprofit organization alongside CIOs from leading organizations around the world. SustainableIT.org is initially funded by Delphix (as founder and technical advisor) and by revenue generated from underwriters, alliances partnerships, event sponsorships and other program sponsors, such as research partners. Delphix support will be governed by a Business Management Agreement between Delphix and SustainableIT.org.

Source: *IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Sustainability 2022 Predictions "" Oct. 2021

Contact:
Kathryn Alissa Marston
Executive Director and General Manager, SustainableIT.org
Phone: 1 (508) 808–3080
Email: Kathryn.Marston@sustainableIT.org

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/6a306512–5160–4a3f–bfdc–7fb0a7df32a4


TrueCommerce Recognized in 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks

FLORHAM PARK, N.J., June 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — TrueCommerce, a global provider of trading partner connectivity, integration, and unified commerce solutions, has announced today that it has been recognized by Gartner Inc. as a Challenger in the May 2022 Magic Quadrant for Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks (MESCBNs).1 The evaluation was based on specific criteria that analyzed the company's overall Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute.

Gartner defines "multienterprise supply chain business networks" (MESCBNs) as holistic and cohesive platforms that support a shipper–centric community of trading partners that need to coordinate and execute on business processes that extend across multiple enterprises. Gartner considers MESCBNs to be foundational technology for higher–maturity organizations, implemented to coordinate, orchestrate, automate and transform an organization's extended supply chain within the overall business ecosystem they operate in for driving collaboration and enhancing competitiveness.
Core capabilities of the MESCBN market include:

  • Extensive network connectivity with support of multitier and multitype partner ecosystems and technology platforms
  • Centralized information/data hub and visualization
  • Universal cross–domain apps
  • Core supply chain execution apps (enterprise– and multienterprise–centric)
  • Supplemental supply chain apps (planning or finance)
  • Embedded intelligence

"To us it's exciting to secure the Challenger position in this foundational research "" four years in a row," said Mike Gross, SVP of Product, TrueCommerce. "Over the last year, we have made significant investments in our technology and people, expanding our customer base by 40% as a result. We also have exciting new product innovations underway including the utilization of APIs and leveraging our universal adapter to broaden both internal and external integrations as well as the greater utilization of data through artificial intelligence/machine learning."

TrueCommerce offers a broad set of unified commerce solutions and apps that connect customers, suppliers, channels, and systems. These solutions revolutionize supply chain visibility and collaboration by helping organizations make the most of their omnichannel initiatives through business P2P connectivity, order management, collaborative replenishment, intelligent fulfillment, cross–functional analytics, and product information management.

The solutions leverage TrueCommerce's Global Commerce Network, which includes more than 160,000 connected businesses. Beyond the platform itself, the supply–chain–as–a–service model offered by TrueCommerce includes personalized support, trading partner mapping and ongoing compliance monitoring.

TrueCommerce's technology innovations and business strategy have won it numerous industry accolades. In addition to being named as a Challenger again by Gartner, the company was recognized in the following prominent analyst reports:

  • Leader in IDC MarketScape for Worldwide Multi–Enterprise Supply Chain Commerce Network, 2021
  • Contender in IDC MarketScape for Worldwide Product Information Management Applications, 2021
  • Contender in IDC MarketScape for Worldwide B2B Digital Commerce Platforms Vendor Assessment, 2020
  • Contender in IDC MarketScape for Worldwide B2C Digital Commerce Platforms Vendor Assessment, 2020

Download a complimentary copy of the Gartner Magic Quadrant report here.

Disclaimer
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in our research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

GARTNER and Magic Quadrant are registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used here in with permission. All rights reserved.

Additional resources:

" Explore TrueCommerce on this blog
" Follow TrueCommerce on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter

About TrueCommerce

TrueCommerce is the most complete way to connect your business across the supply chain, integrating everything from EDI, to inventory management, to fulfillment, to digital storefronts and marketplaces. We've revolutionized supply chain visibility and collaboration by helping organizations make the most of their omnichannel initiatives via business P2P connectivity, order management, collaborative replenishment, intelligent fulfillment, cross–functional analytics, and product information management.

The TrueCommerce Global Commerce Network can connect businesses to over 160,000 retailers, distributors, and logistics service providers. As a fully managed services provider, we also manage new trading partner onboarding, as well as the ongoing management of partner–specific mapping, labeling changes, and communications monitoring. That's why thousands of companies""ranging from startups to the global Fortune 100, across various industries""rely on us.

TrueCommerce: Do business in every direction
For more information, visit https://truecommerce.com/

TrueCommerce is a registered trademark of True Commerce, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Media Contact
Yegor Kuznetsov
Director, Marketing Communications
1–703–209–0167
yegor.kuznetsov@truecommerce.com


1 Source: Gartner, "Magic Quadrant for Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks", Christian Titze, Brock Johns, 23 May 2022


Zoom Hires Matthew Saxon as Chief People Officer

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) today announced that Matthew Saxon will join the company as its Chief People Officer, effective immediately. Saxon brings more than 20 years of experience in human resources and people operations. He was most recently the Vice President of People Operations at Meta, and previously was Senior Vice President of Compensation, HR Operations, and Shared Services at Humana. Saxon will lead Zoom's people experience team and report to Aparna Bawa, Zoom's Chief Operating Officer.

Zoom has experienced rapid growth in its workforce to meet the demands of its customers and business worldwide. Saxon will help Zoom's continued growth and help scale all elements of the organization including culture, organizational design, talent acquisition, engagement, training and development, employee experience, and infrastructure.

"Our Zoomies are at the core of everything we do, and we know that having the right leader in place to help shape the future of Zoom's workforce will allow us to better serve our customers' evolving needs. We are excited to welcome Matthew, who has a deep understanding of the complexities today's workforce is facing, and we are confident that his skill set will help elevate and strengthen Zoom as we navigate the next phase of work together," said Bawa.

"I was drawn to Zoom's clarity in its core value of care. It is obvious in everything the company does, but most importantly, it's clear the leadership team genuinely cares about employees. Zoom has completely transformed the way people and businesses connect, and I'm excited to help drive the company forward by elevating and advocating for our employees. Together, Zoom will continue to lead and demonstrate how companies can thrive to drive successful business outcomes," said Saxon.

About Matthew Saxon
Matthew Saxon leads the People Experience team at Zoom, ensuring that the core value of Care is reflected in the company's approach to benefits; compensation; diversity, equity, and inclusion; recruitment; culture; and employee experiences. He brings with him over two decades of experience in the HR field, serving most recently as Vice President of People Operations at Meta, where he helped develop the strategic people roadmap and led the delivery of programs and services supporting significant increases in headcount and company growth. He was also Senior Vice President of Compensation, HR Operations, and Shared Services for Humana Inc., and held several leadership positions at Motorola, Inc., including Vice President of Total Rewards and Vice President of Human Resources for Asia Pacific and Middle East.

About Zoom
Zoom is for you. Zoom is a space where you can connect to others, share ideas, make plans, and build toward a future limited only by your imagination. Our frictionless communications platform is the only one that started with video as its foundation, and we have set the standard for innovation ever since. That is why we are an intuitive, scalable, and secure choice for large enterprises, small businesses, and individuals alike. Founded in 2011, Zoom is publicly traded (NASDAQ:ZM) and headquartered in San Jose, California. Visit zoom.com and follow @zoom.

Zoom Public Relations
Candace Dean
Corporate PR Lead
press@zoom.us


World Environment Day: Burden of Environmental Decline Falls Heavily on Poor and Vulnerable

The global burden of disease stems from environment-related risks including animal-borne diseases such as COVID-19, climate change and exposure to pollution and toxic chemicals. Credit: Joyce Chimbi/IPS

The global burden of disease stems from environment-related risks including animal-borne diseases such as COVID-19, climate change and exposure to pollution and toxic chemicals. Credit: Joyce Chimbi/IPS

By Joyce Chimbi
NAIROBI, Jun 2 2022 – Barnabas Kamau’s home sits on a wetland in Rumuruti Laikipia County in the Rift Valley region – considered Kenya’s breadbasket. He settled in the area 15 years ago, attracted by the wetlands’ fertile grounds as they provide favourable farming and livestock activities conditions.

But Kamau says the wetlands are fast disappearing and the amount of water in the area has decreased significantly leading to reduced land productivity.

“We are struggling to grow food for our families and for sale. Those that can afford to buy water for irrigation because the ground is too dry and rainfall unpredictable,” he tells IPS.

As Kenya’s rural population increases, increasing pressure on land amidst rising poverty levels and weak enforcement of environmentally friendly policies, the country is losing its wetlands, says Agnes Wanjiru, an environmentalist at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

“Wetlands are a most important environmental asset. They store excess floodwater during heavy rains. During the dry season, it is the wetlands that feed water streams preventing them from drying up. Wetlands are home to many plants and animal species and significantly support agricultural, livestock and fishing activities,” Wanjiru tells IPS.

“Today, we are losing our wetlands at a very alarming rate because of human activity including the conversion of these areas into settlements and for businesses such as car washes. In Murang’a County, for example, the most recent data show the wetland area has declined by about 48 percent from 2001 to 2018.”

Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under the theme ‘Only One Earth’, communities around the globe are marking World Environment Day on June 5, by putting environmental concerns in the spotlight.

World Environment Day is the UN’s primary platform to promote action for the protection of the environment by raising awareness on issues such as human overpopulation, marine pollution, global warming, wildlife crime and sustainable consumption.

Celebrated annually by more than 150 countries worldwide, the day is a global platform for environmental outreach, to also showcase initiatives at the country and global level in the promotion of environmental health.

In this East African nation for instance, besides Kenya’s disappearing wetlands, Wanjiru says other environmental concerns include flooding, soil erosion, deforestation, desertification, water shortage, wildlife crimes, poor waste disposal as well as domestic and industrial pollution.

Against this backdrop, Jasper Kimemia warns, it is the poor and vulnerable that will bear the brunt of ongoing environmental decline.

An environmentalist and independent researcher in industrialization and pollution, he tells IPS that wealthy nations continue to export negative impacts of their consumption and production through trade and waste disposal.

“At the current pace, developing countries will not reduce poverty and inequalities because when we measure development through GDP, we do not factor in environmental issues,” he observes.

“We are utilizing our environment in ways that will continue to significantly undermine progress towards ending our most pressing problems such as poverty and hunger.”

UNEP research raises alarm over the deteriorating state of planet earth and how this scenario threatens the achievement of health and well-being for all, sustainable economic growth, job opportunities and the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies.

Further estimating that a quarter of the “global burden of disease stems from environment-related risks including animal-borne diseases such as COVID-19, climate change and exposure to pollution and toxic chemicals. Indoor and outdoor air pollution cause up to seven million premature deaths per year.”

Kimemia says there are tools to reverse the trajectory of environmental decline and promote harmony between people and nature by fully implementing international conventions and strengthening policies and regulations using scientific evidence.

Such evidence is contained in UNEP’s 2021 report ‘Making Peace with Nature: A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies’. The report is presented as a guide for decision-makers to take urgent desired action to save planet earth.

The report lays bare the gravity of earth’s triple environmental emergencies, climate, biodiversity and pollution through a unique synthesis of findings from major global assessments, and highlights interlinkages between the environment and development challenges.

According to the report coordinated action by governments, businesses and communities worldwide can prevent and reverse the ongoing environmental decline and its devastating effects on human and animal health, the economy and the capacity to build peaceful and inclusive societies.

In the absence of such coordinated efforts, not only are ongoing environmental protection efforts falling short, Wanjiru says the status quo is a threat to the future and survival of humanity and puts SDGs out of reach.

According to UNEP, none of the global goals for the protection of life on earth and for halting the degradation of land and oceans has been fully met.

Further extolling the many benefits of living sustainably in harmony with nature. UNEP estimates show “half of the world’s GDP is dependent on nature and every dollar invested in restoration creates up to 30 dollars in economic benefits.”

In the absence of far-reaching and sustainable restoration efforts, if ongoing deforestation and overfishing around the world continue, an estimated one million species of plants and animals could become extinct.

Research further shows while the world is on course to restore the earth’s protective stratospheric ozone layer, it is off course towards reducing air and water pollution and safely managing chemicals and waste.

“A lack of focus on environmental degradation has steered economic policy and investment in harmful directions,” UN finds, “this includes a reliance on fossil fuels and growing inequality, away from the fair and sustainable use of the planet’s finite resources.”

IPS UN Bureau Report


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The Richest 1% Pollutes More than the Poorest 50%

World Environment Day - The world population is already using the equivalent of 1.6 Earths to maintain the current way of life. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

The world population is already using the equivalent of 1.6 Earths to maintain the current way of life. Credit: Mario Osava/IPS

By Baher Kamal
MADRID, Jun 2 2022 – As an introduction to this year’s World Environment Day on 5 June, this report deals with how the excesses of the world’s population, mostly in the wealthiest countries, are causing so much harm to Planet Earth.

For this purpose, the following account of some of the major facts and figures that the world’s largest multinational body–the United Nations Organisation– has been successively providing, should be enough to complete the picture.

It takes about 7,500 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans — from the production of the cotton to the delivery of the final product to the store. And 85% of textiles end up in landfills or are incinerated; much so that every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of textiles is landfilled or burned

For this purpose, the following account of some of the major facts and figures that the world’s largest multinational body–the United Nations Organisation– has been successively providing, should be enough to complete the picture.

To start with, the fact that the richest 1% of the global population account for more greenhouse gas emissions than the poorest 50%.

In contrast, in the specific case of Africa –54 countries home to 1.4 billion humans– causes a negligible 2% to 3% of all global greenhouse emissions, however it falls victim to more than 80% of the world’s climate catastrophes.

Meanwhile, in high-income countries, the material footprint per capita – the amount of primary materials needed to meet the world’s needs — is more than 10 times larger than in low-income countries.

And the Group of 20 major economies (G20) accounts for 78% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Now see some major examples:

 

Fashion

Fashion is one of the most demanded and consumed in the world’s high-income countries.

The fashion industry (clothing and footwear) produces more than 8% of the greenhouse gases and 20% of global wastewater annually.

Example: it takes about 7,500 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans — from the production of the cotton to the delivery of the final product to the store.

And 85% of textiles end up in landfills or are incinerated; much so that every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of textiles is landfilled or burned.

Moreover, some 93 billion cubic metres of water — enough to meet the consumption needs of five million people — is used by the fashion industry annually.

 

Gobbling up the Earth’s resources

The current demand for natural resources is at an all-time high and continues to grow — for food, clothing, water, housing, infrastructure and other aspects of life, the UN reports.

Specifically, the extraction and processing of materials, fuels and food contribute half of total global greenhouse gas emissions and over 90% of biodiversity loss and water stress.

In short, resource extraction has more than tripled since 1970, including a 45% increase in fossil fuel use.

 

Fossil fuels

Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector alone have more than doubled since 1970, with around 80% of this increase coming from road vehicles.

Currently, the transport sector is almost completely dependent on fossil fuels. It contributes approximately one quarter of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

In spite of that, politicians continue to subsidise fossil fuels with 6 to 7 trillion dollars a year.

 

Food

Every year around the globe 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost or wasted, that is 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption.

Food losses represent a waste of resources used in production such as land, water, energy and inputs, increasing the greenhouse gas emissions in vain, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reports further

 

Water

Less than 3% of the world’s water is fresh (drinkable), of which 2.5% is frozen in Antarctica, the Arctic and glaciers. And humans are misusing and polluting water faster than nature can recycle and purify water in rivers and lakes.

With one shower of about 10 minutes a day, an average person consumes the equivalent of over 100,000 glasses of drinking water every year.

Severe water scarcity affects about 4 billion people, or nearly two thirds of the world population, at least one month each year.

 

Waste

Every year, an estimated 11.2 billion tonnes of solid waste is collected worldwide, and decay of the organic proportion of solid waste is contributing about 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Where waste cannot be avoided, recycling leads to substantial resource savings. For every tonne of paper recycled, 17 trees and 50% of water can be saved.

Recycling also creates jobs: the recycling sector employs 12 million people in Brazil, China and the United States alone. However, only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. About 12% has been incinerated, while the rest — 79% — has accumulated in landfills, dumps or the natural environment.

Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. In total, half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once — and then thrown away.

From 2010 to 2019, e-waste generated globally grew from 5.3 to 7.3 kilograms per capita annually. Meanwhile, the environmentally sound recycling of e-waste increased at a much slower pace – from 0.8 to 1.3 kilograms per capita annually.

 

Conclusion

In short, the world population is already using the equivalent of 1.6 Earths to maintain the current way of life.

But the fact is that ecosystems cannot keep up with such demand. Consequently, should the world continue to consume the resources at the rate it now does, at least five Earths would be needed.

Excerpt:

This article is part of a series to mark World Environment Day June 5

Climate Change in South East Asia: Where are we and What are we Bound for?

Dead trees form an eerie tableau on the shores of Maubara Lake in Timor-Leste. Credit: UN Photo/Martine Perret

By Kwan Soo-Chen and David McCoy
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Jun 2 2022 – It is increasingly clear that human health and wellbeing are being threatened everywhere because of global warming and environmental damage. Extreme weather events, sea level rise, increasing scarcity of freshwater, drought and high temperatures, combined with loss of biodiversity and other aspects of ecological degradation such as soil erosion and coral bleaching are all features of anthropogenic self-harm and an increasingly inhospitable planet for human society.

The 2015 Paris Agreement established a target of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5 °C above pre-industrial temperatures. We are now at 1.1°C of warming. A special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paints a grim picture of what we would face should we reach 1.5°C of warming.

Crucially, failing to limit global warming to 1.5°C could result in the planet being pushed over a number of tipping points that would see accelerated and irreversible warming, with a variety of cascading effects (e. g. loss of the polar ice caps and massive dieback of the Amazonian rainforest) that would see billions of people facing an existential crisis.

Such concerns are not alarmist or exaggerated. The most recent set of Assessment Reports by the IPCC, released over the past few months, presents clear evidence that we are in trouble. Among other things, it projects that average global surface temperatures will most likely reach 1.5°C above pre-industrial averages before 2040.

The theme of World Environment Day this year – “Only One Earth” – correctly points out that all of humanity shares a common dependency upon a single planet. Perhaps nothing is more emblematic of the need for global solidarity and international cooperation than the planetary crisis we face. However, there are also regional differences in terms of both the impacts that will be experienced and the contributions that can be made to averting the crisis.

So, what can be said about South East Asia?

For one, in line with global warming trends and the continued rise in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the region has seen its annual mean temperature increase at a rate of 0.14°C to 0.20°C per decade since the 1960s. It is hotter than it used to be and the region can expect further increases in temperature. South East Asia is also expected to see an increased frequency of heatwaves.

The high humidity of the region will compound the high temperatures and increase the incidence of heat stroke and heat-related deaths. According to one study, heat-related mortality has already gone up by 61% in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines since the 1990s.

Higher temperatures and heat stress at 3°C warming are expected to reduce agriculture labour capacity by up to 50% and reduce agricultural productivity and food production. According to one study, this will lead to a 5% increase in crop prices from increased labour cost and production loss.

Rates of malnutrition will likely rise in the region, especially as crop production in other parts of the world come under stress. An example is the drought caused by 2015-2016 El-Niño in South East Asia, Eastern and Southern Africa which resulted in 20.5 million people facing acute food insecurity in 2016 and 5.9 million children became underweight. Rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will also reduce the nutritional quality of certain crops and increase the likelihood of greater micronutrient deficiency.

The higher levels of energy and moisture in the atmosphere, produced by global warming, will translate into changing rainfall patterns. Increased annual average rainfall has already been observed in parts of Malaysia, Vietnam and southern Philippines.

Paradoxically, some parts of the region would observe a reduction in the number of wet days. According to the IPCC, the Philippines had observed fewer tropical cyclones, but they were more intense and destructive.

Changes to the hydrologic cycle will also impact on the availability of freshwater and undermine water security in the region. This will in turn lead to associated health problems due to lower levels of sanitation and hygiene.

In the Mekong River basin, due to both climate change and unsustainable levels of water consumption, it is projected that groundwater storage will reduce by up to 160 million cubic meters and that this will be accompanied by delta erosion and sea level rise, affecting coastal cities such as Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City.

Three quarters of the cities in the South East Asia will experience more frequent floodings, potentially affecting tens of millions of people every year by 2030. In 2019, South East and East Asia had already recorded the internal displacement of 9.6 million people from cyclones, floods, and typhoons, representing almost 30% of all global displacements in that year.

Climate change and extreme weather events will also increase mental illness. Children, youth, women and elderly are particularly at risk of developing anxiety and depression, as well as post-traumatic disorder associated with extreme weather events and the loss of homes and other assets.

A recent nationwide survey by UNICEF Malaysia in 2020 found that 92% of young persons are already worried about the climate crisis (ecoanxiety).

These forecasts highlight the importance of GHG reductions and the preservation of vital ecosystems services. Unfortunately, progress on this front remains inadequate across the region. Between 2010 and 2019, the region saw an annual average increase of 1.8% in carbon intensity, and of 5.1% in CO2 emissions from 2015 to 2019 in the energy sector.

South East Asia also recorded the fastest per capita growth in transport emissions (4.6% per year) in the world, and saw its forest cover decrease by a whopping 13% between 1990 and 2015, with mangrove forest loss growing by 0.39% per annum between 2000 and 2012.

One ray of hope, according to the IPCC, is that South East Asia has the potential to rapidly reduce as much as 43% of GHG emissions by 2050 from reduced energy demand and increased energy efficiency in the building sector, and that further GHG reductions would be possible with more investment and research on decarbonization.

This is critical. If the world is to have a decent chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, we need to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 at the very least. Presently however, policy makers and politicians are either not taking the problem seriously enough or feel unable to break out of our dependency on fossil fuels as indicated by an ASEAN report that shows a gap between current country commitments and the necessary GHG reductions.

Similarly, the radical change required to the way we treat and use the land currently appears to be beyond the capabilities of society.

The last United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow last year that brought together 120 world leaders saw some welcome commitments from governments. For example, Indonesia, as one of the world largest carbon emitters through deforestation and land use change, made a commitment to the Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests and Land Use.

A number of countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam) signed the Global Methane Pledge to cut 30% methane by 2030, and a portion of ASEAN countries (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam) fully or partially signed the Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement. These pledges and commitments must still be translated into action. But even if they are, more rapid and radical change is needed.

Kwan Soo-Chen is a Postdoctoral Fellow and David McCoy is a Research Lead at the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH).

IPS UN Bureau

 


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Transforming Africa: Just & Equitable Energy Transition

Independent power projects (IPPs) are essential to electrify Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank. Credit: World Bank

By Emily Karanja
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 2 2022 – A global transition to lower-carbon energy sources is crucial for our species’ survival given the worsening effects of climate change. With many people increasingly advocating for a rapid shift from an energy system dependent on fossil fuels, questions on how to make this transition arise – one that is just and equitable, especially in the developing world.

There are many questions that need to be answered. How do we make realistic and enforceable policies that support energy transition in an equitable way? What changes do we need to make to existing infrastructure and in storage technologies?

How can we increase funding and investments to develop clean and effective energy sources inclusive of clean cooking technologies? How do we ensure employment, prosperity and other opportunities are maintained and increased during this transition?

According to CDP Africa report (2020), Africa accounts for the smallest share of greenhouse gas emissions at 3.8% of the total global emissions but experiences harsh climate change effects. Even with continued growth in industrialization and development activities in Africa, emissions remain low.

The energy sector is a major contributor to growth and development of a country but also accounts for high emissions with burning of fossil fuels needed for building roads, cold storage facilities and transport in and out of the cities.

There is need to focus on where we can reduce emissions and start on climate mitigation while providing reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy.

Transport Sector

Two-thirds of the global greenhouse gases emitted today are linked to the use of fossil fuels in the generation of energy for lighting, transport, and in industry. The transport system in Africa is highly dependent on fossil fuels, recent price increases of which have had a knock-on effect on food prices and more generally, impacted negatively on living standards for many in poverty-stricken areas.

Furthermore, the transport system contributes largely to outdoor pollution, especially in the East Africa which has seen in recent years, an increase in the road infrastructure and the acquisition of motor vehicles (most of which are imported ‘reconditioned’ from Europe and the Far East, and whose tail-pipe emissions would not be considered acceptable in those countries).

African countries are consolidating mitigation approaches to reduce the effects of fossil fuels from the transport sector. This includes a shift from fossil fuel-powered transport, an example of that being Kenya launching electric shuttle buses in the public transport system this year (CitiHoppa and East Shuttle) and motorcycles (Ecobodaa).

While these shifts are appreciable, they still have a long way to go in terms of replacing traditional vehicles, as the costs remain prohibitive for most, and the support infrastructure needed for electric vehicles is still largely absent.

Clean cooking

In Africa more than half the population has no access to clean and reliable energy sources which results in the use of biomass (charcoal and firewood) for their heating and cooking needs, in turn contributing to environmental and health complications.

Clean cooking is an integral aspect not to be left behind in this transition. According to latest SDG7 (IEA) tracking report, 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean cooking facilities and rely on kerosene, coal and solid biomass for cooking.

This number has increased with population growth and challenges levied by the COVID-19 pandemic which led to governments shifting priorities, and increase in poverty with loss of employment opportunities making basic energy services unaffordable.

The use of biomass not only increases pollution, and affects the total forest cover globally, but also poses serious health risks to users, particularly women and children who are the most vulnerable segments of the population.

Encouraging clean cooking innovations seeks to provide alternative technologies that are sustainable, efficient, reliable, and affordable to these communities. Incentives towards adoption and use of liquified petroleum gas can greatly reduce illness, deaths, and indoor air pollution.

Awareness creation and training initiatives by both governments and civil society groups have yielded some results with more households adopting clean cooking technologies. This has been further made possible through government incentives and policies that create a conducive environment for the production and/or importation of these technologies as well as facilitating access to them.

Government Policies

Government policy is a key component in addressing energy-related issues and ensuring that a just transition can be achieved. In particular, governments have a crucial responsibility in ensuring that innovations and technologies are developed and delivered. Well thought out strategies and policies are required for this transition to work.

The policy development process should be participatory and inclusive of all stakeholders to ensure equal and adequate representation of interests, ideas, and issues in the transition plans. This means governments working together with local communities, businesses, the labor market, and development partners to identify areas for improving and developing clean effective sources of energy and clean cooking technologies and develop policies to encourage innovation, investments, and new markets.

Strategies to support incentives for technology transfer and development and reduced taxation are also a requirement to accelerate this shift.

During this year’s SE4All forum held in Kigali, Rwanda, conversations around a just and equitable transition were held with ministries and high-level delegates of several African countries agreeing on seven transformative action points of implementation.

Governments committing and actioning these seven transformative actions would ensure that Africa is on a path towards economic prosperity and achieving a net zero future. These action points look to making modern sustainable energy available, pursue a modern energy of up to 6000kWh per capita in Africa which prioritizes clean cooking, scale up private and public sector investment in new energy technologies, infrastructures, and distribution systems.

They also point out support to Africa in deployment of gas as a transition fuel and green hydrogen for industrial development with the sustainability aspect checked, prioritizing local job creation in the energy sector for local economies, lifting development finance restrictions limiting project in Africa to ramp up domestic resource mobilization and make changes towards technology transfer mechanisms to ensure Africa has access to latest energy innovations.

These transformative actions offer opportunities to engage local communities and better meet the needs of the disadvantaged and those that lack modern energy services.

Renewable energy

Energy generation from renewable sources is one of the ways we can achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Replacing conventional forms of energy generation with new energy sources has boosted the sector and energy decarbonization, thus, ensuring reduced carbon emissions and costs while providing reliable, affordable, and sustainable power.

Technology innovation and investments in new technologies must be put to work to respond effectively to arising challenges in consumption and power generation. Adopting new technologies will ensure that power generation is more efficient and that the power grid is more secure and resilient to support and supply consumer needs.

With a huge population in Africa living in rural areas coupled with poor infrastructure development, there is need to accelerate the green mini grids and off grid plans in the sector for enhanced and reliable energy access.

Green mini grids are flexible, and their designs can be altered to fit specific sites and are deployed in closer proximity to the user hence more reliable and accessible.

Renewable energy technologies and green mini grid systems must be included in energy policies and plans to address the barriers that hinder the adoption of these new, more reliable, efficient, and sustainable technologies worked out.

Governments should put in place and support policies that promote technological advancement in renewable energy generation and distribution while facilitating financing and investment opportunities in the sector.

Energy planning should leverage existing data to develop demand-based plans to ensure energy needs are met. Decision-making in the energy sector must be data-driven to ensure useful information is captured and analyzed to reflect and support the advancement of and forecast predictive maintenance.

Today 759 million people live without electricity, with many millions living with unreliable and insufficient access. Though significant progress has been made, gaps in this sector are daunting, and more needs to be done.

To accelerate progress, Africa requires support through stronger government commitments in terms of adequate policy and incentives and long-term energy demand planning. This will spur fast uptake of sustainable energy solutions while supporting innovations and investments in technology development.

IPS UN Bureau

 


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Excerpt:

The following article is part of a series to commemorate World Environment Day June 5

 
The writer is Program Associate, Sustainable Energy Futures Program, Society for International Development (SID)