Croatia Negatively Affected By Climate Change

World leaders at Paris Climate Change Summit 30 November - 11 December 2015 Photo: AFP

World leaders at Paris Climate Change Summit
30 November – 11 December 2015
Photo: AFP

 

Chiefs of the World – government leaders of 195 countries – have converged into Paris, France, this week with one main goal in mind to achieve from this major UN Summit on Climate Change: to attempt to agree (secure) a new universal deal to tackle climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. In total up to 40,000 people will take part in this 2-week summit.
The UN wants to secure a truly universal global deal/agreement on tackling climate change for the first time, as part of efforts to prevent the temperature rising by more than 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels this century.
Scientists agree that above that level the world is likely to see the most severe effects of climate change, including heatwaves, droughts and flooding.
Although there were previous summits on climate change, the Copenhagen summit in 2009 was the last time that world leaders met with the intention of agreeing on a binding global deal, which they hoped would cover emissions cuts from 2012. However, that summit ended in acrimony.
Although Croatia’s footprint on the total global CO2 emissions is a minute 0.06% one, the negative effects of climate change are felt in Croatia in the same way as they are felt across the rest of the world,” says in the Press release dated 30 November, Ministry for the Protection Of Environment and Nature, Croatia.

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic at Paris UN summit on climate change Photo: HINA

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic
at Paris UN summit on
climate change
Photo: HINA

Indeed, Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, reiterated the words of the above Press release at the Paris summit where he led a Croatian delegation. Croatia, of course, will not be making any strides or new policy directions or statements that would make a difference to the goals set out for the summit, however Croatia is set to follow EU’s direction and directives in the climate change arena. Nevertheless Croatia’s Prime Minister did briefly address the summit in Paris on Monday 30 November.

“…the responsibilities and obligations should be allocated to parties not only on the basis of their greenhouse gas emissions but also considering their capacities of their GDP. Countries that largely contribute to emissions and have the economic strength to take measures must take on more responsibilities…,” said Milanovic.

 

In other words, according to the Croatian Prime Minister: those that have more should pay more!

 

Droughts, floods like the catastrophic recent ones of Eastern Slavonia or extreme temperatures have been seen as threats to the environment, to health and security of citizens and to the Croatian national economy. Croatian government’s plans to fall into the world efforts to battle climate change include strategies of low-carbon developments.
The Framework for the Low-emission Development Strategy of Croatia, prepared in cooperation with UNDP (UN Development Program), has been used as the basis for the development of the Low-Carbon Development Strategy (click here for PDF version), with defined sectoral aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Croatia had committed to develop the Low-emission Development Strategy as part of duty towards the European Union and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which fosters countries to prepare low-carbon development strategies and indicates that climate change requires developing long-term strategies in accordance with sustainable development. The development strategy aims at separating economic development from the exploitation of limited natural resources. While the emphasis is on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, the more far-reaching goal is to make development plans that take into consideration mutual dependency between humans and nature.

Extract from presentation by Energy Institute Hrvoje Pozar - Croatia Photo: Screenshot

Extract from presentation by
Energy Institute Hrvoje Pozar – Croatia
Photo: Screenshot

Low-carbon development was/is also a part of the solution for the most important economic problem in Croatia: unemployment. UNDP’s research pointed out that a balanced focus on the energy efficiency and renewable energy sources could lead to the creation of 80 000 new “green” jobs and help Croatia fulfill the obligations connected to climate change. A lack of funds is not an excuse as Croatia spends 5-6 per cent of its GDP on the import of fossil fuels at the moment. These funds could be relocated to foster the development of renewables – stated UNDP on its website.
Zoran Milanovic’s government has been very slack, slow and ineffective in truly making positive and significant inroads in the creation of enough new “green” jobs to make a visible positive difference in unemployment figures; any green job created seems to get eaten up by another job lost or another company gone bankrupt. Perhaps the 2015 Paris summit on climate change may provide stepping-stones for Croatia to advance in the low-carbon development process.

 

Extract from presentation by Energy Institute Hrvoje Pozar - Croatia Photo: Screenshot

Extract from presentation by
Energy Institute Hrvoje Pozar – Croatia
Photo: Screenshot

Generally, the message coming out loudly so far from the Paris summit on climate change is that the leading countries of the world recognise for the first time in history the opportunities that come with taking action and that if they don’t take action their prosperity will suffer! Furthermore, it would seem that the consensus in Paris is, so far, that actions to be taken to combat climate change are not once-off actions or single actions as the Kyoto protocol might have suggested and promoted but that effective actions are in effect a process, even a long-term one.

If a universal deal or agreement is reached in Paris it, alone, most likely will not be enough to stop dangerous climate change. The process of actions will need to be heavily studded with determination, creativity, funds to invest in renewable energy sources etc. According to the UN, various national pledges to cut emissions made ahead of the 2015 Paris summit are likely to leave the world on course for warming of at least 2.7C. That will make a significant “dent” in the warming that might otherwise be seen, but not enough to prevent dangerous warming.

The aim of the Paris Summit is to also agree on a framework that will make countries improve their formerly expressed pledges of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as setting a long-term goal that will help limit warming to 2C.

paris climate change conference 2015
All countries will need to curb their emissions if dangerous effects of climate change are to be stopped in their tracks. One senses, though, that the developing countries do not want to miss out on the economic growth that developed nations have enjoyed on the back of fossil fuels and will seek greater leeway over actions they are to take in battling climate change. They will also want financial help to do all this and if one reads between the lines of Croatian Prime Minister’s words money is central to the success whichever way one looks at it. Money indeed seems to present as a major stumbling block and barrier to “ideal” speed of progress in battling dangerous effects of climate change and Croatian like several other EU countries, will depend on the size of the EU purse unless it lifts its governance game and injects more local knowledge, effort and resources into the low-carbon development plan realisation in order to pursue a truly greener path. Perhaps in days that come Croatia will soon have a new government that may turn a greener leaf in Croatia’s renewable energy source development and industry growth.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi while acknowledging the reality that conventional energy sources such as coal would continue to be used at present said that funds were necessary to clean up coal-based generation. This could be done using the Green Climate Fund, which needs scaling up, he said.

Show me the money!” (if you want action) is likely THE mantra to come out of the Paris summit on climate change, sadly making the summit into a spectacular fizz.  But 11 December 2015 – when summit ends – is still a fair way away and chances of an easier deal, a not-so-slippery one as the one dependent on cold-hard-cash tends to be, may yet crop up. One reality remains though – all policies that limit the use of fossil or conventional fuels seem to make everyone poorer and the poor nations suffer the most unless money is guaranteed and in supply to prop-up clean energy sources.  Some poorer nations of the world, grossly and negatively affected by climate change, are lobbying and urging the Paris summit for a 1.5C target instead of the 2C warming above pre-industrial era levels. This latest target is indeed ambitious vis-à-vis the will and the might we have seen “the world” display so far and it could well prove to be an another lever raising the “Show me the money!” dependency any notable success of widespread curbing of greenhouse gas emissions has. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A.,M.A.Ps.(Syd)

Croatia: Normality Not Possible On Humanitarian Catastrophe Skid Row

Screenshot Euronews 23 October 2015 At the Border Between Croatia and Serbia

Screenshot Euronews 23 October 2015
At the Border Between
Croatia and Serbia

 

The flood of people shows no sign of slowing even though cold, wet and miserable weather conditions have set in. Over 250,000 refugees and migrants have passed through Croatia in past six weeks with the increasing likelihood and fear that transfer to other countries such a Slovenia to assist them in reaching their desired destination in Western Europe will not be possible. Hence, temporary accommodation places are being opened in Croatia, the latest being in Slavonski Brod (a disused building in past used for administration for INA company will be fixed quickly)  to house some 5,000, and more and more countries painfully nursing the fear that they will be left with thousands of needy people and scanty resources.

The Humanitarian catastrophe is suffocating the very breath of all and normal living is fast becoming something that was.

The refugee and migrant crisis has centered on Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia in recent days as that route to Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden …gives rise to all sorts of touching stories of human compassion but also of those of fear of the unknown and what that unknown may do to the standard of life Europeans have been used to and have not been asked if they wish to share or lower.

Crossing Into Croatia From Serbia 24 October 2015 Photo: Zeljko Lukunic/Pixsell

Crossing Into Croatia From Serbia
24 October 2015
Photo: Zeljko Lukunic/Pixsell

Last week German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that her government will quickly send back all those arriving at its borders who are not genuine refugees but found to be people looking for a better life – illegal migrants. Reportedly some 190,000 already in Germany for some time have been identified as those to be deported, said Croatian HRT TV news from Friday 23 October. This seems to have poured deeper panic among those fleeing Middle East through Croatia and surrounding countries as they show urgency and impatience to reach their desired destination in Western Europe (before doors close?). So we come across desperate night transfers, walking across rivers in the cold of the night to reach Slovenia, the next stop on route to Austria, toppling fences and barriers – pushing and trampling on each other … Desperation on the rise.

It is clear by now that not everyone who is crossing European (or any other for that matter) is a refugee; many are migrants coming for other reasons than fleeing from persecution. Refugees are people who have been forced out of their home country against their will. The word “migrant” can mean someone who moves to a foreign country voluntarily, or it can be used as a broader umbrella term that includes refugees as well as voluntary migrants. For example, a Syrian man fleeing war is a refugee, whereas a Cameroonian man seeking economic opportunity is a migrant. Whether someone is considered a refugee or a migrant effects what sorts of legal rights they have: Refugees can apply for asylum and are protected by international and domestic law, for example, while economic migrants cannot. There is no such thing as an “illegal asylum-seeker” — refugees can seek asylum in another country without obtaining a visa or resettlement authorization first. Economic migrants, by contrast, are usually required to have a visa or other form of work authorization in order to immigrate legally.

Walking to Brezice, Slovenia, From Croatia 23 October 2015 Photo: Reuters/Pixsell

Walking to Brezice, Slovenia,
From Croatia 23 October 2015
Photo: Reuters/Pixsell

Distinguishing between the two becomes political, especially in a crisis like the one battering the life and the peaceful spirit of Europe. Calling a group of people “refugees” also acknowledges that such people are legitimately deserving of shelter and care, whereas calling them “migrants” can more often than not result in accusing them of arriving for economic reasons, and perhaps even lying about their asylum claims in order to exploit the “Western” entitlement programs, which, by the way the “Western” citizens have earned through hard work, through paying taxes and generally having had good economic and other governance throughout the past decades. Such stands are often called anti-immigration even in the face of the fact that if a “Westerner” wanted to go, work and live in an another Western country as his own renders him/her unemployed and destitute, he/she must obtain a proper visa, which is more often than not impossible to obtain.
In recent months particularly, the UNHCR has been asking that the people crossing the Mediterranean or coming to Europe via other routes such as the one across Greece be labelled ‘refugees and migrants.’ This stance appears to be a reasonable compromise in the efforts to deal with madness that has hit an unprepared Europe (World), but is also unsettling because it insists that refugees and migrants are fundamentally (as in UN protection entitlements) different from each other.
UNHCR: “…protecting refugees was made the core mandate of the UN refugee agency, which was set up to look after refugees, specifically those waiting to return home at the end of World War II.
The 1951 Refugee Convention spells out that a refugee is someone who ‘owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.’
Since then, UNHCR has offered protection and assistance to tens of millions of refugees, finding durable solutions for many of them. Global migration patterns have become increasingly complex in modern times, involving not just refugees, but also millions of economic migrants. But refugees and migrants, even if they often travel in the same way, are fundamentally different, and for that reason are treated very differently under modern international law.
Migrants, especially economic migrants, choose to move in order to improve the future prospects of themselves and their families. Refugees have to move if they are to save their lives or preserve their freedom. They have no protection from their own state – indeed it is often their own government that is threatening to persecute them. If other countries do not let them in, and do not help them once they are in, then they may be condemning them to death – or to an intolerable life in the shadows, without sustenance and without rights.

Refugees rushing across green-belts from Croatia into Slovenia 23 October 2015

Refugees rushing across green-belts
from Croatia into Slovenia
23 October 2015

The UNHCR ‘two kinds of people’ policy is, some say, troubling on many levels. “First of all, it undermines the humanitarian principles that should guide our response to emergencies. When people drown at sea or suffocate in lorries, our first question should not be ‘so, which kind were they, refugees or migrants?’ Narratives about ‘two kinds of people,’ are, paradoxically, a central ingredient in many of the conflicts that thousands are forced to flee,” writes Jørgen Carling, Research Professor at Peace Research Institute Oslo.
The ‘two kinds of people’ argument is further undermined by the drawn-out trajectories of many current migrants. A Nigerian arriving in Italy might have left Nigeria for reasons other than a fear of persecution, but ended up fleeing extreme danger in Libya. Conversely, a Syrian might have crossed into Jordan and found safety from the war, but been prompted by the bleak prospects of indeterminate camp life to make the onward journey to Europe. Regardless of the legal status that each one obtains in Europe, they are both migrants who have made difficult decisions, who deserve our compassion, and whose rights need to be ensured”.

 

Justifiably, many will reply that rights of refugees and migrants cannot and should not be ensured at the expense or neglect of other people’s rights. Indeed, the domestic population of countries affected by this refugee and migration crisis finds itself pondering and agonising on this very truth.

 

Slovenian policemen escort a group of migrants from a train towards a camp in Sentilj, Slovenia, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. Thousands of people are trying to reach central and northern Europe via the Balkans but often have to wait for days in mud and rain at the Serbian, Croatian and Slovenian borders. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Slovenian policemen escort a group of migrants from a train arriving from Croatia towards a camp in Sentilj, Slovenia, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015.  (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

This crisis is about millions of people who have been forced from their countries, or have made decisions to flee abject poverty, and need a new country to call home even though many do exclaim they want to return to their country once the war in their homeland stops. Addressing the crisis will require resettling the people on the run. Countries that seem capable of absorbing them, wealth-wise, are experiencing increasing unrest from their own citizens as political anxieties about large-scale immigration that come with the prospect of having to absorb so many cultural and religious strangers keep rising.
For those of who live in those countries, addressing the crisis and solving it means, at this stage, accepting that their communities will look and feel different from how they have in the past. It requires enormous sacrifice for many as they attempt adjusting their vision of how their future communities will look like and what changes will need to be made for a peaceful and respectful coexistence. This is a major “ask” of every government where floods of refugees or migrants are capturing the attention of media and authorities and yet it seems not many governments are addressing that question as equally deserving as dealing with the refugees and migrants.
There is an emergency European Union summit organized for Sunday 25 October and if it fails to produce a solution to the crisis that is acceptable particularly to the European citizens the coming weeks and months will see another crisis looming: EU states affected will likely start acting on their own with the primary aim to protect their own citizens and without a plan for expansion of refugee intake program. It’s been weeks since EU had delivered a decision to distribute refugees according to set quotas among different member states but this plan, encountering opposition in several countries, has failed to launch.

Refugees and migrants Dobova, Slovenia, at Croatian border 22 October 2015 Phopto: Reuters

Refugees and migrants
Dobova, Slovenia, at Croatian border
22 October 2015
Phopto: Reuters

According to Xinhuanet news a draft for the EU emergency summit for Sunday 25 October the countries on the so-called Balkan migratory route (which includes Croatia) would no longer be allowed to transport refugees to neighboring borders without prior agreement with their neighbours. Such a motion is likely to be defeated but if it’s not it will cause enormous unrest in Europe and lead to life-threatening, highly-charged with anger and hatred instability for all: refugees, migrants as well as the domestic population. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

EU Parliament Delivers On Srebrenica Genocide

EU Parliament

EU Parliament delivered where United Nations Security Council failed due to Russian Veto, even though 10 member nations of the UNSC voted Wednesday 8 July “yes” for the resolution to call Srebrenica genocide a genocide and 4 abstained from voting.

European Parliament has a couple of hours ago released these statements that follow:

European Parliament condemned in the strongest possible terms the genocide in Srebrenica of 11 July 1995 and said that “such horrendous crimes must never happen again”, in a vote on Thursday, 11 July. MEPs regret that the UN Security Council failed to pass a resolution commemorating the genocide and call for acceleration of war crimes prosecution at international and domestic level.
MEPs commemorated and honoured all the victims of the massacre and “all the atrocities during the wars in the former Yugoslavia” and expressed their solidarity with their families, many of which are still left without final confirmation of the fate of their relatives. Out of more than 8 000 Muslim men and boys executed by Bosnian Serb forces and paramilitary units, the bodies of nearly 1 200 have not yet been located and identified.

Overcome hatred and divisions

MEPs reject “any denial, relativisation or misinterpretation of the genocide” and say its 20th anniversary should be “a fresh reminder of the dangers of extreme forms of nationalism and intolerance in society, further exacerbated in the framework of war.” They also stress that regional cooperation and the European integration process “are the best way to promote conciliation and to overcome hatred and divisions.”

Failure of UNSC to pass resolution on Srebrenica genocide

The text also regrets that the UN Security Council, which has the primary responsibility for maintenance of international peace and security, failed to pass a resolution commemorating the Srebrenica genocide. This is especially regrettable, as the International Court of Justice, the UN’s primary judicial body, has determined that the crimes committed in Srebrenica were genocide, MEPs say.

End trials, promote understanding

MEPs invite the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to accelerate and bring to an end the trials and appeals without undue delay. More needs to be done do prosecute war crimes at domestic level, too, they stress. They also urge the development of education and cultural programmes promoting understanding the causes of atrocities and raise awareness about the need to nurture peace and to promote human rights and inter-religious tolerance.
MEPs urge the political representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina to “acknowledge the past” and to “work successfully together towards a better future” and welcome the decision of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, taken unanimously, to proclaim the 11th of July as Day of Mourning in the country.
Note:
The massacre of Srebrenica was recognized as genocide both by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice. The act of genocide and ethnic cleansing was the biggest war crime in Europe since the end of the Second World War.

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