Newsletter 217


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Newsletter 217

  1. 1. SOUTH AMERICA ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND HEALTH NEWSLETTER217 t h issue, January 22, 2013 The New Climate Negotiations: Ambition, Differentiation and Flexibility In this issue: Todd Stern, Special Envoy for Climate Change World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Climate Change: The New January 15, 2013 Climate Negotiations. “We face now a fundamental challenge and a genuine opportunity in the multilateral climate negotiations. The recent Science: NASA to Test meeting in Doha – COP 18 – accomplished what it set out to do – concluding both negotiating tracks that were Bigelow Expandable Module established in Bali in 2007. Most important, the Parties pointed the way forward for development of a new on Space Station. agreement under the new Durban Platform negotiating track. Energy: Bicycle Road With Solar Lighting System. In Durban, we agreed to negotiate a new agreement having legal force and “applicable to all Parties” – in contrast to Health: Early HIV Tx the Kyoto Protocol, whose real obligations were applicable only to developed countries. So this was a landmark Improves Immune System. moment. Now we have to deliver. Today, I want to focus on the imperative of making this new agreement work, and Conservation: Disney I’m going to do that by discussing three broad propositions. Invests to Conserve Forests in the Peruvian Amazon. First proposition: Our central focus in negotiating a new agreement must be on what is known as “ambition” – doing Peru: Will Strengthen what it takes to start solving the problem. This, after all, is the point of our entire project: to avoid dangerous climate Relations With U.S. in the change and preserve a hospitable world for all of us, our children and those who follow. It is the stated Objective of Forestry Sector. the entire Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is the UNFCCC’s reason for being. Colombia: Declares New Regional National Park. So the question is: how do we construct an international regime with the best chance of accomplishing this? Anyone Colombia: National Park can say we should demand draconian commitments to slash our emissions and to have those commitments subject to May Expand to Include Land a rigorous compliance regime with tough penalties for non-compliance. But this is really just ambition on paper, of Isolated Tribes. because in the real world, countries will reject obligations they see as inimical to their core interests in development, Argentina: Calls for Higher growth and eradicating poverty. Investments in Renewable Energies at WFES What we need is real ambition – to achieve maximum action in a way that nations will embrace because they see it as consistent with their core interests. At the same time, we all must challenge ourselves to take a deeper look at what Next events: pursuing core interests really means. The fact that moving to clean energy may have a cost in the short run cannot be taken as an excuse not to act. February 1, 2013 Some actions can be taken at low or even no cost. Others will have some cost up front but will pay off over time, REO S&T School Contest Launching particularly when the full cost of fuel choices – in terms of pollution, health impacts, and energy security – is taken into account. And even when the benefit of action is farther down the road, it can be every bit as crucial to growth February 4, 2013 World Cancer Day and development. After all, the projected damage of climate change – damage already visible in the storms, floods, droughts, fires, dying coral reefs and rising sea levels we see all around us – will surely threaten the core interests of March 22, 2013 all countries. World Water Day March 23, 2013 So, yes, real ambition has to be consistent with the core interests of Earth Hour countries, but countries need to expand the boundaries of their own April17-19, 2013 thinking about what is and isn’t consistent. We all – whether the United IFT Energy, Santiago, Chile States or China, the EU or Brazil, Japan or Mexico or India – must April 22, 2013 challenge ourselves. We won’t get where we need to go if countries see Earth Day climate change as an afterthought.” June 5, 2013 World Environment Day Read full remark at: July 10-12, 2013 remarks/2013/202824.htm Eolica, Buenos Aires, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern. Source: Argentina Flickr/IISD). Under Creative Commons License. The information contained herein was gathered from news sources from across the region, and the views expressed below do not necessarily reflect those of the Regional Environmental HUB Office or of our constituent posts. Addressees interested in sharing any ESTH-related events of USG interest are welcome to do so. For questions or comments, please contact us at * Free translation prepared by REO staff.
  2. 2. S C I E N C E : NASA To Test Bigelow Expandable Module On Space Station By Trent J. PerrottoNASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver announced Wednesday a newly planned addition to the International Space Station that will usethe orbiting laboratory to test expandable space habitat technology. NASA has awarded a $17.8 million contract to Bigelow Aerospace toprovide a Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which is scheduled to arrive at the space station in 2015 for a two-year technologydemonstration."Today were demonstrating progress on a technology that will advance important long-duration human spaceflight goals," Garver said."NASAs partnership with Bigelow opens a new chapter in our continuing work to bring the innovation of industry to space, heralding cut-ting-edge technology that can allow humans to thrive in space safely and affordably."The BEAM is scheduled to launch aboard the eighth SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the station contracted by NASA, currently plannedfor 2015. Following the arrival of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carrying the BEAM to the station, astronauts will use the stations roboticarm to install the module on the aft port of the Tranquility node. After the module is berthed to the Tranquility node, the station crewwill activate a pressurization system to expand the structure to its full size using air stored within the packed module.During the two-year test period, station crew members and ground-based engineers will gather performance data on the module, includ-ing its structural integrity and leak rate. An assortment of instruments embedded within module also will provide important insights on itsresponse to the space environment. This includes radiation and temperature changes compared with traditional aluminum modules. "TheInternational Space Station is a uniquely suited test bed to demonstrate innovative exploration technologies like the BEAM," said WilliamGerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "As we venturedeeper into space on the path to Mars, habitats that allow for long-duration stays in space will be a critical capability. Using the stationsresources, well learn how humans can work effectively with this technology in space, as we continue to advance our understanding in allaspects for long-duration spaceflight aboard the orbiting laboratory."Astronauts periodically will enter the module to gather performance data and perform inspections. Following the test period, the module will be jettisoned from the station, burning up on re-entry. The BEAM project is sponsored by NASAs Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Program, which pioneers innovative approaches to rapidly and affordably develop prototype systems for future human exploration missions. The BEAM demonstration supports an AES objective to develop a deep space habitat for human missions beyond Earth orbit. For more information, read: For more about Bigelow Aerospace, visit: http://www.bigelowaerospace.comNASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver views the inside of afull scale mockup of Bigelow Aerospaces Space Station For more information about the International Space Station and animation of the BEAM, visit: http://Alpha during a tour of the Bigelow Aerospace facilities. by NASA hq (flickr user). Under Creative CommonsLicense.ENERGY: Bike Road with Solar Lighting System*Dutch scientists have designed a special bicycle road with signs that light in the dark, and with no need for electric power.Hans Goris, manager of Innovation –the company responsible for this research– pointed out thatbicycle road signs are made of sunlight-sensitive crystals, making possible that they light at night.“The government is progressively decreasing spending for power in public places in order to saveenergy, which is more expensive now” said Dann Roosegaarde, Innovation designer. For this expert,this innovation is safe and self-sustainable.Another peculiarity of Dutch bike roads is calefaction. The tough European winter makes riding bicy-cles impossible. However, underground water will provide roads with thermal energy to melt ice andsnow.Innovation spokesman affirms that although development of bicycle roads is quite expensive, theyrepresent important savings in energy, fuel and accidents over the long term. Bicycle Road in Santiago-Chile. Photo by JoseRead full article at: Vásquez Vallejos (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License.
  3. 3. HEALTH: Early HIV Tx Improves Immune System By Michael Smith Treating HIV in the first weeks and months of infection is associated with slower disease progression and better recovery of the immune system, according to two studies in the Jan. 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. In the so-called SPARTAC trial, researchers found that 48 weeks of antiretroviral therapy started within 6 months of infection significantly slowed HIV progression compared with no treatment. In a second study, investigators found that starting therapy during a transient immune system rebound, usually seen about 4 months after infection, was associated with a more robust recovery of the immuneImage by AJ Cann (flickr user).Under Creative Commons License. system than delayed treatment.Taken together, the studies add "more fuel to the fire" of increased interest in early treatment, commented Michael Saag, MD, thedirector of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The bottom line, he told MedPage Todayin a video interview, is that "these studies underscore that by starting (treatment) early, especially in the setting of acute or recentinfection, you can get a lot of clinical benefit."The question of when to start therapy has long vexed HIV clinicians and patients, especially in the early years of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART), when drug treatment was often associated with serious adverse events. But in recent years, drugs haveimproved and the tendency has been to recommend therapy earlier in the disease course, especially with mounting evidence ofboth better health for individuals and a beneficial effect on HIV transmission rates.The most recent recommendations of the International Antiviral Society–USA, issued last July, urge that anyone with HIV get treat-ment, regardless of the state of his or her immune system. In that context, the SPARTAC trial showed that early treatment of HIVhad a clear impact on two important markers of HIV, according to Jonathan Weber, FRCP, of Imperial College in London, and col-leagues. They were looking at the possible long-term effects of a short burst of anti-HIV therapy soon after infection – the trialsacronym stands for Short Pulse Antiretroviral Therapy at Seroconversion.The 366 participants, whose median count of CD4-positive T cells was 599 per cubic millimeter of blood, were randomly assignedto 12 or 48 weeks of triple-drug treatment or to no therapy, which was the standard of care. The primary endpoint of the trial wasa composite of reaching a CD4 count of 350 or having to begin anti-HIV therapy if it had been stopped or never started.Read more about this topic at: Disney Invests to Conserve Forests in the Peruvian AmazonThe Walt Disney Company, which for 60 years has portrayed the glories of nature in film, today announced a $7 million investment toprotect forests in the United States, in the Peruvian Amazon and in the Congo Basin.The company said the projects it will support "safeguard ecosystems that benefit climate and quality of life on the planet" by avoidingdeforestation, reforesting logged and burned-over areas and improving forest management. "Disney has always been a conservationleader," said Disney President and CEO Robert Iger. "Now, more than ever, its essential to take swift action to preserve our most vul-nerable natural environments for future generations and to be innovative in achieving that goal."The investment is being made in partnership with three nongovernmental organizations - Conservation International, The NatureConservancy and The Conservation Fund. In partnership with Conservation International, Disney is providing $4 million to the Taynaand Kisimba-Ikobo Community Reserves in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the Alto Mayo conservation project in the Peru-vian Amazon.The protection of these forests will reduce carbon emissions and secure vital water-sheds and habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals, many of them threat-ened or endangered, the company said in a statement today. Habitat for the gorillaand okapi in the Congo and the Andean spectacled bear and yellow-tailed woollymonkey in Peru will be conserved.The majority of Disneys funds will go towards financing community management ofthe forests within the project areas and expanding sustainable livelihood practicesamong local villages. The funds also will be used to complete project design, con-duct forest carbon analysis and finance verification of carbon emissions avoidedthrough successful implementation of the projects.Read more at: Photo by Adriana Quevedo.
  4. 4. PERU: Will Strengthen Relations With U.S. in the Forestry Sector* Peru and the United States of America agreed to undertake an action plan in order to support forestry reform in the country, and promote implementation of Peruvian commitments under the bi- lateral Free Trade Agreement with the United States. The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR in Spanish) declared that it will reinforce ongoing cooperation with the United States, regarding sustainable management of broad-leaf mahogany and Spanish cedar, species protected under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). The United States will support Peru in capacity-building programs. Demetrios Marantis, U.S. Trade Representative, pointed out that this action plan is an important step in bilateral relations. Marantis highlighted the joint commitment to start actions aimed at improv- ing forestry management and promoting the legal trade of harvest- able goods.Tambopata River, Madre de Dios. Photo by Adriana Quevedo.Recognition. The vice-minister of Foreign Trade, Carlos Posada, affirmed that within the framework of CITES, it is really rewarding,that in both bilateral and multilateral fora, the world is recognizing the progress achieved by Peru. “The action plan reached withthe United States will strengthen the ongoing efforts to achieve a sustainable management of broad-leaf and Spanish cedar. Also, itwill contribute to the legal trade of harvestable products under CITES” he said.Read more about this topic at: Declares New Regional National Park in Santurbán*More than 12,000 hectares of the department of Santander havebeen declared national park, preventing mining exploration, re-ported the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.The decision was made by the Corporation for Defense of the Bu-caramanga Plateau and the Ministry of Environment and SustainableDevelopment, following a study by the Alexander Von HumboldtInstitute. The measure benefits the moor of Santurbán, to the eastof Santander.A note from the Ministry of Environment adds that this initiativeguarantees the environmental sustainability of this moor, as well asthe rights of local communities and water access for more than 2million inhabitants of the region. “With this decision, the high Andeswoods of Suratá and the Cachirí river are protected”, said the Minis-ter of Environment, Juan Gabriel Uribe. He added that “there is a Santander. Photo by yonolatengo (flickr user). Under Creative Commonsprotected area where no mining exploration and exploitation will be License.allowed” and “this measure was taken after a wide consultationprocess all over the region and considering the various interests.”The Angostura mining project was to be developed in the localities of California and Vetas in Santander. The mining company ex-pected to obtain 511,000 Troy ounces of gold and 2.3 million ounces of silver per year during the 15 years that the mine would beoperative. However, environmentalists and other stakeholders from Santander were against the mining project, because the moorwas a “water factory” not only for this department, but for other towns in northern Santander, representing more than 2.2 millionpeople in total .Read more at:
  5. 5. C o l o m b i a : N a t i o n a l Park May Expand to Include Land of Isolated Tribes By Douglas MainThe Colombian government may double the size of an enormous, diverse reserve, according tonews reports. The new park would incorporate the lands of two tribes that have little or nocontact with the outside world.The Chiribiquete National Park is home to a dazzling array of plant and animal life, including300 bird species, seven monkey species and 300 butterfly species, according to, an environmental news website. The plan, formulated last year by the govern-ment, would more than double the parks area, to a total of 11,580 square miles (30,000square kilometers) of pristine rain forest, an area larger than the state of Massachusetts. Chiribiquete waterfall. Photo by Richard McColl (flickr user). Under Creative Commons License."The plan to expand Chiribiquete is great for Colombia," said Liliana Madrigal of the AmazonConservation Team, a nonprofit group that partners with indigenous groups in Colombia to preserve rain forests. "Chiribiquetealready protects an enormous wealth of flora and fauna, but its enlargement now also will facilitate the protection of voluntarilyisolated indigenous peoples that are believed to inhabit the park and help ensure their right to remain uncontacted," Madrigal said.The park is known for its unusual rock formations and stunning waterfalls. The new park would include at least 32 cave paintingsites with about 250,000 drawings , according to the website.The expansion announcement comes a year after passage of a decree that requires the government to set aside land for voluntarilyisolated indigenous groups, and the plan has been approved by seven tribal communities that live near Chiribiquete, mongabayreported. The Colombian Ministry of Environment is now negotiating with the Ministry of Mines to figure out what to do with landscheduled for oil exploration; a final decision is expected by March, according to the website.Read more at: R G E N T I N A : C a l l s fo r H i g h e r I n ve s t m e n t s i n R e n e w a b l e E n e r g i e s a t W F E S *The World Future Energy Summit (WFES), held in Abu Dabhi from January 15-17, attractedworld leaders, international policy makers, industry leaders and investors, experts, acade-mia, intellectuals and journalists to discuss practical and sustainable solutions to futureenergy challenges.Before 150 representatives of different countries, chiefs of state including the Argentine Cris-tina Fernández and the French François Hollande, presented their initiatives for the world toavoid “a global environmental catastrophe”, according to Hollande. Image by Argonne National Laboratory (flickr user) . UnderIn her key-note, Fernandez supported an equal distribution of environmental liabilities and Creative Commons License.defended universal access to energy to eradicate poverty. According to her, chiefs of stateshould give a “fair and equal” response to environmental challenges. Equity involves that access to energy has a fundamental roleto eradicate poverty. “There is no healthy environment, if there are many sectors in the global population immersed in extremepoverty”, she said.Fernandez recalled that a billion-dollar investment is necessary to achieve a universal access to energy by 2030. “Therefore, strongstates are necessary to assume their commitments to provide energy with fair and equal criteria”, she added. The Argentine presi-dent asked developed countries for more responsibility in response to pollution, demanding financial contributions to developtechnologies, investments and innovation in renewable energies. For this reason, she made a defense of nuclear energy, “one ofthe cleanest and healthiest, that can solve problems in terms of cost”. She mentioned also the highly efficient role of Argentina inthe use of energy.At the same time, Fernandez met entrepreneurs of the Arabian Emirates’ and invited them to increase their investments in Argen-tina, specially in the sectors of renewable energies, mines and agriculture.French president Hollande highlighted the need to invest 300,000 million dollars in clean and renewable energy, for this year only,in order to prepare the “post-oil era”. “We share the same concerns, and we should also share the same aspirations. This is not thetime for words, but actions. We have to act to join efforts and resources”, he pointed out.Read more at: