News Digest | 1-15 September

Hong Kong paralyzed by flash flooding after heaviest rainfall since 1884

On 8 September, Friday, Hong Kong experienced record-breaking rains that rendered most of the city paralyzed. Metro stations were submerged by flash flooding, and motorists were trapped on the highways. Schools were closed, and the government encouraged the public to seek safe shelter. The 7.5-million-person city was being inundated by flooding as heavy rain continued to fall. Authorities were compelled to rescue drivers trapped in their cars because streets in some low-lying regions were transformed into raging torrents.Online meteorological information provider OGimet reports that some areas of the city received around 500 mm (19.7 inches) of rain in a 24-hour period. The severe weather came days after Hong Kong was battered by its strongest typhoon in five years, shocking many locals. Typhoon Saola, a super typhoon at first, fell to a Category 2 hurricane as it approached Hong Kong last weekend, but it was still strong enough to shut down the city and cancel hundreds of flights. Numerous highways were also closed owing to the possibility of landslides in the mountainous region, and authorities issued the highest “black” downpour warning in two years. According to Chinese state media, the downpours in Shenzhen also shattered a number of city rain records, including the highest rainfall totals for periods of two hours, three hours, six hours, and twelve hours, which had stood since 1952.

For 10th straight year, Philippines remains Asia’s deadliest place to defend the environment

According to new research, the Philippines is the deadliest nation in Asia for people protecting their land and the environment for the tenth year in a row. This raises concerns among activists who worry that the threats to their lives will grow as a result of the current administration’s support for mining and infrastructure projects. Since 2012, when the organization Global Witness began documenting the murders of environmental and land activists, the Philippines has been deemed the deadliest country in Asia. The country was the scene of eleven of the 16 deadly incidents that occurred in Asia last year. Since 2012, the Philippines has lost about 281 environmental and land activists to violence. Global Witness claims that defenders who opposed mining operations were involved in a third of the killings. Copper and nickel, two minerals used in renewable energy technology, are produced in the Philippines, which ranks sixth among countries in terms of mineral wealth. According to the study, people of Sibuyan Island, sometimes known as the “Galapagos of Asia,” have been fighting nickel extraction for decades out of concern that it will ruin their home’s intact environment and cause it to collapse. People and towns in the Philippines who defend the environment and oppose destructive projects are maligned and wrongly accused of being part of or supporting the communist insurgency.  Environmentalists are frequently harassed, and some have even been kidnapped.

‘Without renewables, there can be no future’: 5 ways to power the energy transition

Although the world has to give priority to the conversion of energy systems to renewable energy, renewable technologies like wind and solar power are typically less expensive than the fossil fuels that are causing climate change.

The five ways to accelerate the transformation are

1.    Shift energy subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy

Fossil fuel subsidies are one of the largest financial challenges hindering the world’s switch to renewable energy. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the fossil fuel industry received $5.9 trillion in subsidies in just 2020. Subsidies, tax benefits, and damages to human health and the environment that weren’t factored into the initial cost of fossil fuels are all included in this sum.

2. Triple investments in renewables

To achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, it is anticipated that renewable energy investments must total $4 trillion annually by 2030. Achieving net zero means striking a balance between the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere and the amount that is removed from it. Investing in renewable energy will be much less expensive than subsidizing fossil fuels. By 2030, just reducing pollution and its effects on the climate could generate annual savings of up to $4.2 trillion. The money is there, but accountability and commitment are required—especially from the world’s banking systems. This includes multilateral development banks and other financial organizations, whose lending portfolios must be coordinated to hasten the transition to renewable energy.

3. Make renewable energy technology a global public good

In order for renewable energy technology to be a worldwide public good—one that is accessible to everyone, not just the wealthy—efforts must be made to remove impediments to knowledge-sharing and the transfer of technology, particularly restrictions based on intellectual property rights. It is possible to store and release energy from renewable sources when people, communities, and companies need it thanks to crucial technology like battery storage systems.

4. Improve global access to components and raw materials

A consistent supply of raw materials and components for renewable energy is crucial. More people need to have access to all the essential parts and resources, from the minerals needed to construct wind turbines and electrical networks to the raw materials used to make electric automobiles.

5. Level the playing field for renewable energy technologies

In order to streamline and expedite renewable energy projects and spur private sector investments, local policy frameworks urgently need to be revised. Global cooperation and coordination are essential in this regard. Existing laws and procedures must be put in place to lower market risks in order to facilitate and incentivize investment while also minimizing bottlenecks and red tape. Although technology, capacity, and funding for the shift to renewable energy sources exist, they must be put in place first.

Philippines: Indigenous knowledge takes on climate crisis

Jemuel Perino, a tribal leader in the area, spoke about how the Adaption Fund Climate Change Innovation Accelerator (AFCIA) of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) had helped his community learn effective prevention and mitigation strategies for dealing with the growing effects of climate change. On Filipino lives, homes, and livelihoods, climate change is having a devastating impact. It might prevent the nation from reaching its 2040 goal of being an upper-middle-income nation if it is not addressed. In comparison to what was previously thought to be normal, many farmers have observed longer and more severe droughts and rainy spells. In 2012 and 2013, floods along the Pulangi River destroyed over a dozen homes belonging to community members. The nation is rated as one of those most impacted by extreme weather occurrences by numerous indexes. Almost annually over the past ten years, extremely devastating typhoons have struck, causing losses that are estimated to be 1.2% of the GDP. At least 39 people were killed and 12,000 more were ejected from their homes in the Philippines as a result of Typhoon Doksuri, which hit the country in July. Mr. Perino oversees a project that is locally run by the Bukidnon Umayamnon Tribe Kapu-unan To mga Datu (BUKDA) organization to mitigate the growing effects of climate change in the area. By encouraging local farmers in Mindanao to plant bamboo and cocoa, the project—which is funded by the UN through an AFICIA grant—also aims to combat deforestation and pollution while providing indigenous peoples with a sustainable source of income. That includes teaching people how to cultivate, harvest, and market their products.


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