Gender Day in COP21- Discovering Gender Responsiveness

Gender Day in COP21- Discovering Gender Responsiveness

Women could play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions by using their knowledges and stewards on natural and household resources. I attended a workshop during Gender Day about the solution on the policy making level organised by Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) , called the “Reality check – how tools, guidance, finance and cooperation under the UNFCCC support implementation of gender- responsive policy on the ground”.

The session explored on how the recommendations from the Expert Group Meeting in Bonn, November 2015 builds on a UN toolkit on gender-responsive National Communications. This session was pretty technical and new to me- so many “first time”.

It was my first time coming across the how to incorporate gender equity in policy making. Key issues for gender-responsive climate action for sustainable development includes:

  • The case for gender main streaming in climate policy and action;
  • Incorporation of gender considerations in technology-related processes and mechanisms; and
  • Incorporation of gender perspectives in climate finance. It never came across my mind that gender and technology or even climate finance can be related.

I met with Sunitha from National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO) Malaysia- someone that I could talk to on gender issues.

I learnt that technology is not gender-neutral. All these inequalities and stereotypes of technology being male-dominant, especially in cases of heavily mechanised sectors, will lead to the inadequate reflection of gender considerations in the development, transfer and diffusion of climate technologies as well as the implementation of Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) and other technology-related mechanisms and processes in the UNFCCC.

For instance, lack of participation of women in assessing climate technology needs in developing countries, e.g. in the development and promotion of solar cook stoves, can result in the slow adoption of the technology. In addition, gender equality considerations must become integral to technologies for climate change adaptation and mitigation in order to reverse the potentially harmful misperception of technology as gender-neutral, and overcome the false association of small-scale, household- based and traditional technologies as more relevant to women and the large-scale technology infrastructures as the domain of men.

As for climate finance; I learnt that women would have to stay at home to take care of their family members while man normally have more freedom to migrate due to work.

In agricultural areas, women are also the ones mainly responsible for crops production. Climate change which widely affect the food production will have to make women to do more work but for lesser food. This further leads to women’s less economic independent as compare to man, which also reduces their financial capacity to adapt to changes- such as to prepare more storage for food; or to repair house parts.

I have learnt that it is particularly unfortunate that women are less likely than men to receive funding for climate-related initiatives. Compounding the problem is that most funders do not have adequate programs or systems in place to support women and their solutions for climate change at the grassroots. That less than 1% of all worldwide grants go to projects at the intersection of women and climate is a clear reflection of this critical funding gap.

So, back to my personal reflection- Gender Day indeed is an emotional yet informative day for me. So many “first time” moment and I am glad that I learnt something out of it! All in all, it was a fruitful day especially on the great combination of the sessions that I have attended- from hearing the voices of direct victims to understanding what had been done from both community and the international side. I am looking forward at the outcome incorporating gender equality in combating climate change with this comprehensive approach of both bottom-up and top-down approach.

Benefits of gender-inclusive planning. (Source from UNDP GENDER RESPONSIVE NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS TOOLKIT http://unfccc.int/files/gender_and_climate_change/application/pdf/undp_gender_responsive_national_communications_toolkit.pdf)

Benefits of gender-inclusive planning. (Source from UNDP GENDER RESPONSIVE NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS TOOLKIT)

Written by: Emily Oi
Paris de L’avenir means The Future of Paris

Paris de L’avenir means The Future of Paris

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It is a bright shiny slightly warm day for me. Well, it is warmer than most of the winter days in Paris and MYD members are heading off to a parallel event of COP21. We walked down to the street of Jaurès.

Apparently, the parallel event I am heading to is known as Paris de L’avenir. It means “The Future of Paris” We are here. Landing at the space of future Paris where green technologies and innovations were introduced in response to climate change. Sometimes I wonder, who decides the future? We decide for ourselves but what about mother nature we are living in? She does and we just have to adapt to her change. As we learned climate change is real from the past decades of research and discoveries, we need to adapt to her change by using alternative measures to survive her catastrophic wrath.

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So, it was a long stretched of exhibitions along the river. I will share with you four interesting green technologies (supposedly in harmonious with our mother nature) that intrigued me.

  1. Electric, Autonomous and Connected Mobility – VEDECOM is an electric and autonomous vehicle focus company focuses on two main objectives of energetic transition: energy storage and mobility for everyone. The vehicle provide new services, development while respecting security issues. Powering household appliances by capturing energy during peak energy consumption.
  2. Dual Energy Solar Tracker – The dual energy solar tracker IDCmem is a mirror hub with heat exchange feature to produce hot water and photovoltaic panels for electricity production.
  3. Recycled Materials for Development – Marbre d’ici is a new concrete made with locally collected and recycled rubble. Crushed and mixed with cement demolition and building-site waste are transformed into a new raw material to be used in the construction of public space, interior and object design and architecture. Marbre d’ici is also a perfect vehicle for participatory projects in which professionals and local residents get to work together on the transformation of their city.
  4. Waterless Toilet in Town Centers – ECOSEC is a waterless toilet that helps to conserve “a third of domestic water consumption that are used for toilet flushing” and global phosphorus supplies that shrink rapidly via converting their waste into hygienic fertilizer! The waste water will be recycled and reused while the urine will be injected deep down 20 cm of the soil to accelerate breakdown of the waste into compost.

Written by: Jolene Journe T.

Do you believe in magical BECCS?

Do you believe in magical BECCS?

Equipped with the knowledge and resources, humans continue to advance themselves using the help of all kinds of technology. Similarly, in the fight against climate change, we have resorted to technology in hopes to rectify this critical situation. Nonetheless, we need to remember nothing is entirely good and viceless. In other words, there are pros and cons to everything.

In this article written by Roxanne Low, she prompts us to think about the seamless BECCS that might not be so flawless,

Considering our option using BECCS

By Roxanne Low (MYD15)
All these while, humans have been using science to their advantage to develop various technologies to improve lives. Activities that were carried out in the name of development and advancement have led humans to do onto mother earth what cannot be undone. As a result, the inhabitants of the earth, including ourselves, are left to face with the adverse impacts of global warming and climate change such as increasing Earth’s average temperature, rising sea level due to the melting of permafrost and changes in amounts and patterns of precipitation. Today, the current carbon dioxide gas concentration in the atmosphere is alarmingly at 50 parts per million (ppm) more than what is considered the safety amount (at 350ppm) “to preserve a livable planet” (350.org). Fortunately for us, in our battle against climate change, scientists and researchers have made a new technology called the Bio-energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) available to us.

What is BECCS and how does it work?
Some believe that BECCS is a brilliant technology for it would allow us to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. With this system, we can resolve the issue of having high CO2 ppm. According to an article published by the DailyMailUK, the logic behind BECCS is quite simple; the agricultural crops which absorb CO2 from the atmosphere will be burnt in a power station to generate energy. Then, the resulting emission from the burning of these crops will be captured by the BECCS plant and stored deep underground. Therefore, “the combination of bioenergy with carbon capture is a carbon reducing technology that can achieve net removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is a significant advantage over other [climate change] mitigation alternatives.” (As stated in an online publishing by International Energy Agency, 2014)

Bio-Energy_with_CCS(BECCS)carbon

Photo Credits by http://biorecro.com/?page=about_us_press

Go BECCS!
In the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report (AR4), BECCS received much special attention because of its potential to supply energy with negative emission which in simpler terms means that greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is permanently removed from the Earth’s atmosphere. Since then, many governments have been exploring the option for BECCS as a technology that could play a role in the energy and climate policy. This can be seen through the efforts of the International Energy Agency (IEA) that organized various workshops in corporations with other institutions and experts to seek opportunities and challenges for developing BECCS in countries like Indonesia and Brazil. Furthermore, seeing that this system require a plant to store carbon emission underground, countries with gas wells and coal mines such as Britain can easily convert these into storage facilities to test out BECCS.

Today, in the faith that this newly invented super technology is the way forward as a key climate mitigation option, the governments of USA and Canada has run it on a small scale in their countries. Nevertheless, for the Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) system to be effective, it needs to happen on a large scale.

Flipping the Coin
While there seem to be great potential in the BECCS and CCS in general, there have been critics who urge that we consider both sides of the coin carefully. The the goodness of this technology can easily mask the shortcomings, but if BECCS is brought to a larger scale, the possible adverse impact would surely take a toll on our environment.

In a recent article, published by the ETC Group, it was suggested that despite what BECCS seems to be, a supreme technology, it is unlikely to save us from climate change. Few important issues that were raised by critics to dispute the concept are as follows:-

  • Where would billions of tonnes of captured carbon be stored? The likely destination would be “enhanced oil recovery” techniques, increasing, not decreasing, the flow of fossil fuels that cause climate change.
  • To reduce overall CO2 by 1 billion tons using BECCS would require a landmass of 218-990 million hectares of land which is 14-65 times as much land as the US uses to grow corn for ethanol. This would require landgrabbing on an enormous scale.
  • BECCS proponents assume that 10 billion tonnes of wood can be harvested per year without any carbon from soil or ecosystems escaping into the atmosphere. And yet, land use change and emissions from soil are widely acknowledged as leading drivers of climate change.
  • Today, the only schemes that are labelled as BECCS extract CO2 from biofuels such as ethanol, tying this scheme to their many associated problems, starting with land grabs and food price hikes.
  • Would the hundreds of billions of tonnes of stored carbon leak into the atmosphere or pollute local ecosystems?

A country with geology, climate policies and skills and has also been a strong supporter of renewable energy, Germany does not fancy CCS. In fact, Jochen Flasbarth, the state secretary at Germany’s federal environmental ministry told New Scientist that buried CO2 is seen to be as bad as nuclear waste.

As a counter argument to the critical issues brought up by non-supporters of BECCS, it is that in this time of urgency, any possible solution should be given a chance to be tested. In order for us to keep the hope of keeping the increase of global temperature less than 2°C, active investigation of different technologies is greatly needed.

BECCS or No BECCS
The reason for considering various points of view is to have a more holistic judgment towards an issue. It may be justifiable that the advancement of our technology should be taken advantage of, but due underlying uncertainties that could be present in regards to “the life-cycle toxicity of some capture solvents, the operational safety and long-term integrity of CO2 storage sites, and the risks associated with CO2 transport via dedicated pipelines” (DailyMail UK, 2014), the discussion on “BECCS or no BECCS” still remains debatable.

Whether or not this ingenious technology thrives, perhaps the other approach to mitigate climate change on the grassroots level could be the awareness-raising of individual carbon footprint. The fight against climate change is not only the responsibility of large institutions and countries’ governments but every single individual’s effort to reduce carbon emission by simply a change in lifestyle. Always remember that small changes can go a long way to protect our planet Earth.

Other Resources:

  • https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/bioenergy_ccs.pdf
  • http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/sites/default/files/twp147.pdf
  • http://www.etcgroup.org/content/will-unicorns-save-us-climate-change-beccs-wont