As a contribution to ongoing work on climate change, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany has introduced a new ‘International Climate Protection Fellowship Programme’.
A global group to research climate change
‘Global warming’ as the name itself suggests is no more a problem of the developing nations alone. It’s a problem which poses global challenges and can only be met by cross-border international cooperation. For climate change, with its new facet of increasing floods, droughts, hurricanes and other major environmental problems, is a threat to the entire global community.
Global warming is a problem being attacked on many fronts, among them the new International Climate Protection Fellowship programme of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany.
What is the main focus of the programme? Lisa Plitt, an employee of the Foundation explains: "Germany has always been in the forefront of climate research. So, we think on the one hand fellows can learn from Germans here, and on the other the fellows can also bring their perspective, their needs and their concerns from respective countries."
From Copenhagen to Cancun
The path from Copenhagen to Cancun has witnessed immense
Having fun while protecting the earth: the research fellows
discussions on how to tackle global warming - like reducing emissions, reducing deforestation and the degradations of forests, the feasibility of using bio-hydrogen or bio-gas as a source in wastewater treatment plants and developing climate-friendly technologies. Various talks were held regarding adaptation funds and their equal distribution. But at the end of the day, there lies a huge discrepancy among the haves and the have-nots, among the developed and the developing world.
Therefore the fellowship program targets prospective leaders in the fields of climate protection and resource conservation from non-European emerging economies and developing countries. The fellowships are funded under the International Climate Protection Initiative by the German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Prabhat Upadhyaya, one of the fellows of this programme who just flew in from India says: "Emission Trading Schemes (ETS) are now also being discussed in developing countries as a means to mitigate climate change. If delegated properly, such cooperation between developed and developing countries will not only increase mutual goodwill, it will align domestic interests and thus will also support the UN negotiations on emission reduction."
Increasing public awareness
Yong Li from China has practical experience in the field of climate protection. He thinks that without an increase in public awareness, environment protection cannot be improved. He says there is a need for constitutional change but also for a huge change in public perceptions of the problem.facing the environment. Li argues: "Now-a-days a lot of people have no sense of responsibility for society. I think our constitutional duty is to rebuild this responsibility. If every country realise its responsibility to protect the environment, the world could have been a better place. Reviewing the constitution is very difficult in China. But we are trying to do it."
So like Prabhat and Yong Li, the dream of the other 13 fellows from China, Mexico, Egypt, Peru, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Philippines is to work for a more balanced, sustainable, pollution free world. In the spirit of Alexander von Humboldt, the sharing of knowledge, methods and techniques through the fellowship program should help lay the foundation for an international network, which in the long run would create more international collaborations to meet the challenges of climate change and its global consequences.
Author: Debarati Guha
Editor: Grahame Lucas