Green Festive Cheer from Doha

Last week, I lead a Green IT course. It’s always an inspiring event and the contribution from the attendees was high. There was considerable experience in the room and we all took something away from the course.

Day one of the course, as usual, looked at the reasons why an IT department needs to be more environmentally friendly; the dangers we face and the damage we’re doing to our planet. We also look at the progress world leaders have made from the Rio summit twenty years ago (1992) and “Rio+20” earlier this year. I mentioned that representatives from 195 countries were similarly engaged in Doha, Qatar. COP18 (Conference of the Parties) was actually taking place while the course was running.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been meeting annually to assess progress in dealing with climate change. The COP is the ‘supreme body’ of the Convention, its highest decision-making authority – so its deliberations and outcomes are important to us all.

One of the key learning points, on day one, is that climate change disproportionately affects poorer nations. Whilst we, in the UK, have suffered both drought and floods this year it has been nothing compared to the ravages of extreme weather elsewhere in the world.

“Rio+20” was considered, by many, to be a damp squib. So it was with some satisfaction that I read the Observer front page headline “Doha climate change deal clears way for “damage aid” to poor nations.

Poor countries have won recognition of their plight; richer countries have promised to fund aid to repair the loss and damage that those countries have suffered as a consequence of activities in the developed world. Even the US (which has not ratified the Kyoto protocol) accepted, albeit grudgingly, that the fund was a vital tool to help vulnerable countries.

The EU, Norway, Australia and others have agreed to new carbon-cutting targets beyond the Kyoto targets which expire at the end of this year. Unified discussions (i.e. that include the US) will now take place on a truly global climate treaty which, hopefully, will be signed in Paris in 2015.

It looks like, I’m going to be updating the course material while it’s quiet over Christmas and New Year. Please accept my very best wishes for peace and prosperity to you and yours for 2013.

To help Sysop in its support of the Rotary water projects in Kenya, please visit the My Donate website: With Gift Aid you can make a real difference.

Merry Christmas!

Stuart Sawle

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