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Conservation ‘needs more investment’ February 16, 2006

Posted by ekon in investasi, lingkungan hidup.
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The Jakarta Post – 2006-02-16 10:57:23

February 16, 2006

Last week, some 150 health and environment ministers from around the world gathered in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, to discuss the best way of halting the deterioration of the planet’s environment. The Jakarta Post’s Tubagus Arie Rukmantara attended the event. This is a report of the three-day meeting.

Rifai, an official at the Indonesian Consulate-General in Dubai, advised The Jakarta Post not to travel to the Middle East in the middle of the year because the temperature could reach more than 50 degrees Celsius.

However, his compatriot, Bambang, noted that Indonesia, along with the rest of Asia and Africa, were also feeling the heat.

“The bottom line is the world is getting warmer,” said Bambang, who works for an oil company in Dubai.

While there is still argument about how bad global warming will be, scientists have reached a consensus that climate change will not only bring shifts in temperature, but will also affect sea levels, rainfall, humidity and winds.

In a report recently published by The Lancet medical journal, which reviewed dozens of scientific papers during the past five years, scientists found that health risks would increase as climate changes affected water sources and migration patterns.

“Sea levels have risen in recent decades, and people had already started moving from some low-lying Pacific islands. Such population movements often increased nutritional and physical problems and diseases,” the Qatar-based newspaper Gulf Times said, quoting the scientists.

About 150 health and environment ministers attending the Ninth Special Session of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Governing Council in Dubai, agreed that the threat existed. They urged all governments to invest more in projects to save the future of the planet.

In its policy statement, UNEP executive director Klaus Toepfer said the world should focus on strengthening its ability to deal with the economic and environmental challenges climate change would bring.

“This special session meets at another important crossroads, where the environment meets economics. Where the urgency of balancing development with the Earth’s life support systems is being finally heard,” he said.

“Where developed, developing and rapidly developing economies know that environmental degradation is the bottleneck for economic development.”

The three-day session discussed environmentally friendly energy sources and discussed green tourism.

Toepfler stressed the need to invest in cleaner, renewable energy in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of 2020.

In his closing remarks, UNEP Governing Council President and Indonesian State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar said the state needed to find more creative ways to lure greater investment into clean energy.

Governments should set an example by focusing their purchasing power on buying energy-efficient goods, equipment and services, he said in his closing remarks.

This was because “the high transaction costs of initial investments in renewable sources of energy and efficiency remain an investment barrier.”

“The ministers recommended that governments should revise their energy tax and pricing frameworks to ensure that these reflect the full costs of energy production, consumption and use, and phase out environmentally harmful subsidies in favor of other energy sources,” he said.

In the Indonesian context, he told the Post that Cabinet needed to discuss how to increase budget allocations for the environment and how to provide incentives for regional administrations to create clean, green areas.

“In total, the state budget’s allocation to the environment is worth only Rp 5 trillion (US$541 million) to Rp 7 trillion and is spread throughout all the ministries. This is only 0.1 percent of the total state budget amounting to about Rp 647 trillion,” Rachmat said.

“We need to invest more in projects that are environmentally sound,” he said.

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