Mike Gaworecki, a long-time Mongabay correspondent with a similar focus as me on forests and climate change policy, is leading a new web site initiative: The Mongabay Newscast. On Tuesday, November 15, Mike interviewed me via Skype, where I stood just outside the press center to get a good connection. I come in at around 7 minutes. Naturally, we spent a good bit of time talking about the impact on the president-elect on COP22. Special thanks to Mongabay podcast producer Erik Hoffner for making this happen.
The stunning and disastrous election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president has sent shock waves through the 22nd United Nations Climate Summit in Marrakesh. Mongabay thought my story here was important enough that they had it translated into seven languages — a first. That happens when a purposely ignorant climate denier follows the first president, Barack Obama, to ever make climate change policy a major part of his legacy.
I arrive on Nov. 11, 2016 to cover my third consecutive UN Climate Summit, COP22, this one in Marrakesh, Morocco. Today, Nov. 8, 2016 — Election Day in the U.S. — I was interviewed on WUNC’s The State of Things of the significance of this summit and what’s at stake. The recording of my conversation with host Frank Stasio is here. Thanks to Anita Rao for her excellent preparation and production.
An open-air market in Marrakesh, Morocco. The city is hosting November’s COP22 Climate Conference and decisions made there could shape its future. If the rising heat brought by global warming isn’t abated, then parts of North Africa could become inhabitable by mid-century, according to a 2016 study. Feliciano Guimarães licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
In preparing to cover my third consecutive United Nation’s Climate Summit — COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco — I was able to call on a variety of new sources I made when in Bonn, Germany, at the mid-year summit last May. Among some officials, there is a tendency to let Marrakesh be something of a breather after the historic achievement at COP21 in Paris. The Paris Agreement, ratified with unprecedented haste, was the first time after 20 years of failure that 195 nations agreed to each do something about reducing their carbon footprint.
But Paris is simply a blue print. So much hard work remains. And we’ve already lost two decades to political inertia and denial. Thus, we have no time to waste. COP22 must exceeds expectations and begin delivering on the promise established in Paris. My story here explains why.
The reality of illegal gold mining: total environmental devastation in the Peruvian Amazon. Photo by Rhett Butler of Mongabay.com
In the waning days of President Ollanta Humala’s administration in July 2016, Peru’s National Congress approved a set of innovative climate change-related policies designed to reduce deforestation, protect watersheds and biodiversity, and provide the tools needed to leverage international investment through UN programs such as REDD+ and the Green Climate Fund.
But a new administration has taken over and lawlessness is often the rule in the Amazon basin. My story for Mongabay.com looks at the new policies and the challenges for implementation. First time with with Mongabay editor Morgan Erickson-Davis, who did a great job with my story.
Good friend and former NPR anchor Paul Brown is back in Winston-Salem producing
Emmlyou Harris and me in Rome, Italy, June 2016
Acrossthe Blue Ridge, a weekly music program of traditional mountain music. Paul and I worked together years ago when he was the news director at WFDD. When I told him last spring about my opportunity to meet Emmylou Harris and report on her desire to raise money for the Jesuit Refugee Service through a U.S. acoustic concert tour, he advised: “Get some sound. Let’s do a story for Across the Blue Ridge.” I did. Paul produced a beautiful 20-minute segment of three Emmylou classics with an interview with me about her after the first song, Orphan Girl.
Emmylou Harris listens as JRS official Jill Drzewiecki explains the plight of EU refugees. Photo by Justin Catanoso
My dear friend and editor Lisa Chase, a senior editor and writer at Elle, the glossy women’s fashion magazine out of New York City, opened the door for me for one last Emmylou Harris story. This one is very different, mostly a Q&A of a more personal nature for Elle.com. The link is here.
Excerpt: As we walk the Roman streets that tourists avoid, Emmylou shares with me her motivation to get involved, the wellspring of her humanitarianism, and her everlasting belief in the power of music to change the world.
Emmylou Harris, humanitarian. Photo by Jacquelyn Pavilon, courtesy JRS.
Glenn Scherer, my superlative editor at Mongabay.com, never wavered when I told him I could get him a story from my interview in Rome with Emmylou Harris that would work on the site. After all, the Americana music icon was in Rome to learn about the European refugee crisis and what she could do to help. Because it’s becoming increasingly clear that mass migration in Africa and the Middle East is being driven to some degree by drought, severe weather, and sea-level rise — all under the umbrella of climate change — Emmylou just needed to say a bit about the connection and I’d have my story. She did. Here’s the link.
Emmylou Harris, wringing her fingers as she learns more and more abou thte EU refugee ciris. Photo by Justin Catnoso
This is a little outside my specialty of climate change, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend time with and interview Emmylou Harris, one of the greatest voices in American music. She’s also a great humanitarian, as my story tries to explain. Here’s the link.
I met her in Rome, Italy, on June 3 thanks for the herculean efforts of my good friend Jill Drzewiecki with the Jesuit Refugee Service. She organized the three-day visit, which included a private concert for about 60 invited guests at the residence of David Lane, US ambassador to UN Agencies.
Emmylou trying to take in all the information being tossed her way by members of the Jesuit Refugee Service. Photo by Justin Catanoso
My good friend with JRS, Jill Drzewiecki, telling Emmylou about the discrimination encountered daily by refugees in Italy. Photo by Justin Catanoso
Emmylou Harris performing at at private concert on June 3 at the residence of David Lane, US ambassador to UN Agencies. Photo by Justin Catanoso
The opening session of the UN midyear climate conference in Bonn, Germany. Photo by Justin Catanoso
My second and final story from my four days covering the UN Midyear Climate Conference in Bonn, Germany, in mi-May 2016 focused on a policy recommendation on human rights and Third World development proposed by my Wake Forest colleague John Knox, the UN Special Rappatour on Human Right and Climate Change. The link to the story is here.
John’s proposal sounds so sensible, I write, “That is until you realize that CDM projects were established by the Kyoto Protocol as a way for wealthy industrialized countries to earn carbon-emission credits against their pollution caps by investing in clean energy or efficient energy projects in developing countries. Millions if not billions of dollars are at stake in CDM projects financed by the World Bank. It’s not hard to imagine how these complex international business transactions might be slowed or even undermined by adding local human rights requirements into the future project mix.”