World Oceans Day

Today is World Oceans Day.  It is taking place in conjunction with a major international gathering at the UN headquarters in New York:  The Ocean Conference.  This timely conference is meant to highlight the critical importance of our oceans and the crises they are undergoing.  Sustainable Development Goal 14 zeroes in on the marine environment: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Continue reading


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Can Trump Destroy the Paris Agreement and Thus the Earth’s Climate System?

I have a Spanish friend who likes to use the expression:  “Is complicate.”  When it comes to the climate crisis, the transition to clean energy, and international politics one can safely say:  “Is complicate.”  I tried to convey a real sense of optimism in my book, A Newer World, and some of the hopeful trends I identified then have proven even more robust than I could have imagined at the time I was researching and writing it.  We are spending a great deal of money, globally, on clean tech, and that’s only going to continue. Continue reading


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“L’Accord de Paris pour le climat est acceptée.”

cop21 leaders

(left to right, with arms raised in victory) Laurence Tubiana, France’s climate ambassador; Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC; Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN; Laurent Fabius, President of COP21; and François Hollande, President of France.

“The Paris Accord for the climate is accepted.”  Thus pronounced Laurent Fabius, the Foreign Minister of France, and the President of the historic 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Continue reading


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India Gets On Board

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This is a chart of the total GHGs in the world, by country, as of 2011.  This, including greenhouse gases from land-use change, amounts to about 46 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.  (The brilliant folks at the World Resources Institute have made this very valuable “climate data explorer,” CAIT 2.0 available to everyone.)   As you no doubt know – and can see clearly from the chart – China and the US account for 36% of the world’s annual output of GHGs.  India, although much less of a contributor, is still responsible for more than 5% of the problem. Continue reading


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“The Lima Call for Climate Action”

Lima COP 20There’s a deal, finally, out of the latest, exhaustive negotiating sessions from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change:  “The Lima Call for Climate Action.”  What does it say?  It, for one thing, requires all parties to the convention to submit their plans for reducing emissions.  These climate action plans, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), are due in the first quarter of 2015.  They will form the basis for the final agreement to come from Paris a year from now. Continue reading


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Breakthrough! US – China Climate Targets

11_12_14_BK_TopEmittersin2013_1050_822_s_c1_c_cHere are the world’s four largest emitters of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion and cement production.  In 2013, China accounted for twice of America’s carbon dioxide output.  Collectively, the world blasted 36 billion tons of CO2 into the climate system – nearly ¾ of the total global burden of greenhouse gases. Continue reading


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The Europeans Take the Lead

The Europeans have, once again, proven that they are willing to lead the world on sustainability.  I wrote in February how the European Union was embarking on a bold new initiative to advance their already ambitious “20/20/20” program.  Well the Europeans have, after months of hearings, further study, negotiations, and the inevitable political give and take necessitated by the fact that they are 28 sovereign nations working together in a complex union, unprecedented in its scope, come up with a living, breathing, working plan.  The goal?  Nothing less than a 40% reduction of their greenhouse gases from 1990 levels by 2030. Continue reading


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Inequality

blogactionday 2014It’s Blog Action Day all over the world today and the theme this year is Inequality.  From my perspective, the main example of inequality in our world today is energy poverty.  This is defined by the International Energy Agency as “…a lack of access to modern energy services. These services are defined as household access to electricity and clean cooking facilities (e.g. fuels and stoves that do not cause air pollution in houses).”  18% of the seven billion of us today don’t have electricity and a whopping 38% don’t have a clean way to cook. Continue reading


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Decarbonizing Assets

take_climate_action_button-248x300Action This Day.  That’s what Winston Churchill wrote on many of his memos.  It has always worked for me as a call to arms.  Action was the persistent theme of the recent UN Climate Summit.  I had the good fortune to be there last week and I was, after a fair number of years of observing the environmental scene, somewhat in awe of the tone and timbre of the speeches in support of climate action.  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been building support for nearly a year for a successful summit, with leaders of governments, business and civil society in abundance coming to speak and to make commitments. Continue reading


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New Resource from the UNFCCC

unfccc newsroomThere’s a useful and interesting new site from the good folks at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change:  their Newsroom.  What they’ve done is create a clearing house for news from all over the world in five general categories:  Financial Flows, Green Urban, Clean Energy, Nature’s Role, and Action to Adapt.  There are, of course, also updates on important meetings including the upcoming Climate Summit in New York in September. Continue reading


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