by Ifham Nizam
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says despite efforts in place, initiatives to cut greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors must be stepped up to meet the world’s target of limiting warming to around 1.5 degrees Celsius.The IPCC released its ‘Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change’ report, assessing the measures put in place to reduce carbon emissions globally as well as their long-term impact on emissions goals.In a statement, the panel said global gas emissions should peak before 2025 at the latest and be reduced by 43% by 2030, while methane should be reduced by about a third to limit global warming to around 1.5 degrees Celsius.However, it said that it is almost unavoidable that the limit will “temporarily exceed” the temperature threshold but it could return to below the target by the end of the century.The third part of the IPCC’s sixth assessment report was published on April 4. This report provide ample evidence of how climate change affects all living beings on earth.
It emphasizes that there is no fundamental challenge other than climate change which create many problems in all aspects of human well being such as food, water, health, shelter, education, employment etc. Not only humans but also other living beings are also under threat due to climate change.Hundreds of species of flora and fauna are already extinct due to issues accelerated by climate change and thousands of others are on the verge of extinction. There are three reviews under the sixth assessment report of IPCC, the world’s foremost body of climate researchers.The first published last August highlighted the scale of what human activity does to the climate system. The second titled ‘Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability’ published on February 28 looks at the causes, impacts and solutions to climate change. It gives the clearest indication to date of how a warmer world is affecting all living beings on Earth. This is the Working Group III contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report published this week.Supun Lahiru Prakash, an environmental activist and one of ten 2020 – United Nations Climate Change Learn champions in the world, speaking to Sunday Island says as a tropical island nation in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is highly vulnerable to climate change and we are experiencing many adverse effects of climate change.Between 2010 and 2020, fifteen times more people died from floods, droughts and storms in very vulnerable regions including parts of Africa, South Asia and Central and South America, than in other parts of the world.More than 40% of the world’s population are “highly vulnerable” to climate catastrophes. Many of the impacts of global warming are now simply “irreversible” according to the assessment.
“We are at the last minute of the hour to act against the climate change by cutting down greenhouse gas emissions significantly while investing more on adaptations as we, humans and nature are being pushed beyond abilities to adapt.”However, this report did not get enough attention internationally or nationally. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has to some extent overshadowed it in the international media.Prakash stressed that in Sri Lanka people are suffering from lack of basic needs and they know little about climate change related factors affecting mankind. Climate literacy is most wanting here. “If Lankans are aware of these things, they will demand essential policy changes and decisions to tackle the adverse impacts of climate change,” he said.Language too was a bottleneck in climate education in the non-English speaking world. Opportunities for communicating climate related information in native languages are limited as such information is mostly available in English.
Therefore, non-English speakers lack the knowledge to relate much of what the environmental change around them to climate change.
All this drives home the need for climate literacy in this country and imparting this is a task for today, not tomorrow
Weerawansa’s wife sentenced to RI
Lawyers appearing for Shashi Weerawansa, MP Wimal Weerawansa’s wife, yesterday (27) appealed against a Colombo Magistrate’s Court decision to sentence their client to two years rigorous imprisonment.Colombo Chief Magistrate, Buddhika Sri Ragala found her guilty of submitting forged documents to obtain a diplomatic passport circa 2010. The Colombo Magistrate’s Court also imposed a fine of Rs. 100,000 on Mrs. Weerawansa. If the fine is not paid she will have to serve an extra six months.
Additional Magistrate Harshana Kekunawala announced that the appeal would be called for consideration on 30 May.The case against Mrs. Weerawansa was filed by the CID after a complaint was lodged on 23 January 2015 by Chaminda Perera, a resident of Battaramulla.
Unions predict end of energy sovereignty
By Rathindra Kuruwita
A government decision to allow all privately-owned bunker fuel operators to import and distribute diesel and fuel oil to various industries was a rollback of the nationalisation of the country’s petroleum industry and another severe blow to energy sovereignty of the country, trade union activist of the SJB Ananda Palitha said yesterday.Earlier, Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera Tweeted that ‘approval was given to all the Private Bunker Fuel Operators to Import and provide Diesel and Fuel Oil requirements of Industries to function their Generators and Machinery. This will ease the burden on CPC and Fuel Stations provided in bulk’.Commenting on the decision, Palitha said that according to the existing law those companies only had the power to import, store and distribute fuel for ships. Those companies did not have the authority to distribute fuel inside the country, Palitha said.
“Only the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) can distribute fuel inside the country. There is a controversy about the licence given to the LIOC as well. If the government wants other companies to import fuel, it needs to change the laws. The Minister does not have the power to make these decisions. A few months ago the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration used to rush Bills that adversely affected the country through Parliament. Now, since they don’t have a majority in parliament, they are using the Cabinet to make decisions that are detrimental to the country’s interests.”
Palitha said that the controversial government move would further weaken the CPC, and that the ultimate aim of the Rajapaksa-Wickremesinghe government was to make the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) purchase fuel from private distributors. With a weakened CPC and a CEB under the mercy of private companies, the Sri Lankan state would have little control over the country’s energy sector, he warned.
“The CEB already can’t pay the CPC, and therefore how can it pay private companies? It will have to sell its assets. This is another step in the road to fully privatise the energy sector. When this happens no government will be able to control inflation or strategically drive production through fuel and energy tariffs. The people will be at the mercy of businessmen and the government will only be a bystander,” he said.
Modi government moves to ‘solve’ Katchatheevu issue
The Narendra Modi government is mulling restoring the traditional rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen in Katchatheevu, an uninhabited island of 285 acres, sandwiched between India and Sri Lanka in the Palk Bay, with the BJP hoping the move could lift its political fortunes in the southern state.The government will push Sri Lanka to implement “in letter and spirit” the 1974 agreement reached between Indira Gandhi and Sirimavo Bandaranaike, then prime ministers of India and Sri Lanka, on the island.This will have to be done by withdrawing the “Executive Instructions” issued in 1976 without questioning Sri Lanka’s “sovereignty” over Katchatheevu, sources aware of the internal discussions in the BJP told the Indian newspaper, Deccan Herald.
Sources added that the discussions were “ongoing” at “various levels” including reaching out to Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka. The recent visit of TN BJP chief K Annamalai to Sri Lanka is also part of the outreach. Many feel the instructions issued in 1976 “superseded the provisions of the legally valid” pact between India and Sri Lanka, thus making Katchatheevu a subject of dispute in the Palk Bay.While the 1974 agreement gave away Katchatheevu, which was part of the territory ruled by the Rajah of Ramanathapuram, to Sri Lanka, the 1976 pact drew the maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka in the Gulf of Mannar and Bay of Bengal.
“We cannot disturb the agreement signed in 1974. We are now finding ways and means to implement the agreement in letter and spirit. All we plan is to ask Sri Lanka to invoke Article 6 of the Katchatheevu pact. If Sri Lanka agrees, the issue can be sorted through Exchange of Letters between foreign secretaries of both countries,” a source in the know said.Another source said the time is “ripe” to push forward on the issue. “With fast-changing geopolitical situation in the region, we believe Sri Lanka will slowly come around and accept the rights of our fishermen,” the source said.
“The opinion within the party is that time is ripe to push this cause, with Sri Lanka beginning to realise that India can always be relied upon, given PM Ranil (Wickremesinghe) is pro-India.”
Articles 5 and 6 of the 1974 agreement categorically assert the right to access of the Indian fishermen and pilgrims to Katchatheevu and state that the “vessels of Sri Lanka and India will enjoy in each other’s waters such rights as they have traditionally enjoyed therein”.
However, fishermen from India were prohibited from fishing in the Sri Lankan territorial waters around Katchatheevu in 1976 following the signing of an agreement on the maritime boundary. The battle for fish in the Palk Bay has often ended in Indian fishermen being attacked by Sri Lankan Navy for “transgressing” into their waters.The BJP, which is yet to make major inroads in Tamil Nadu, feels a “solution” to the long-standing issue will give the party the much-needed momentum ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and provide a chance to get into the Tamil psyche. Political analysts feel that it might also allow the BJP to needle the DMK and the Congress by pointing out that it has restored the rights “surrendered by them,” to Tamil fishermen
Senior journalist and Lanka expert R Bhagwan Singh said: “If BJP succeeds in its efforts, it will certainly help the saffron party in the coming elections.”
But a source said the move will “take time”. “We don’t want to rush and create an impression we are forcing Sri Lanka. We will take it slow. We will take every stakeholder into confidence and reach an amicable settlement with Sri Lanka. All we want to do is restore traditional rights of our fishermen,” the source said.CM Stalin also raised the issue at an event on Thursday, telling Modi that this is the “right time” to retrieve Katchatheevu.
Weerawansa’s wife sentenced to RI
Unions predict end of energy sovereignty
US Ambassador calls on Speaker
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
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