The EU Takes the Next Step

2030_320x266The Europeans are on the move.  Building on the successes of their existing “20/20/20” plan, they are moving onward and upward.  The old plan called for a 20% reduction of greenhouse gases economy-wide in the EU from 1990 levels by the year 2020.  They are far advanced on this track.  According to the EU here:  “While EU GDP grew by 45% between 1990 and 2011, total greenhouse gas emissions from today’s 28 Member States – including emissions from international aviation, which are covered by the EU’s unilateral commitment – were 16.9% below the 1990 level in 2011 and an estimated 18% below 1990 in 2012. Member states’ latest projections show that total emissions in 2020, including international aviation, will be 21% below the 1990 level.” Continue reading


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The Road to Paris

cop19“UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw keeps governments on a track towards 2015 climate agreement” is the headline from the official final press release from the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

It has been a long, agonizingly slow process from Rio in 1992 when the Framework Convention was created to Japan in 1997 when the famous Kyoto Protocol was introduced to Bali in 2007 from whence we were supposed to have a final new agreement in Copenhagen in 2009. Continue reading


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Climate Risk, Building Resilience

World Bank adaptation report2Haiyan, Sandy, Katrina.  By now, we should have gotten the message.  Some have, but not enough of us.  Yet.

The IPCC got it.  Years ago.  And one of their many important contributions has been to focus our attention on the need for adaptation to the worsening impacts of climate change.  I wrote about their comprehensive Special Report for Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) here two years ago. Continue reading


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New Climate Initiative Launched

gcec_logo_0Getting a jump on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s release this week of the first installment of the Fifth Assessment Report, the new Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, had its kickoff yesterday morning.  This blue ribbon group is being led by Felipe Calderón, until last year the President of Mexico.  He is well versed in the issue, as he also, among other things, led the climate negotiations in Cancún in 2010.  The director of the project is Jeremy Oppenheim, on leave from McKinsey where for the past five years he has run their Sustainability and Resource Productivity Practice.  These are two highly seasoned and smart guys.  The focus of the commission’s work in the first year will be researching and production of a report giving “comprehensive evidence on whether and how climate policy can be made compatible with strong economic performance.”

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China and US Boost Cooperation

china us emissionsI wrote in December about the Carbon Budget 2012 report from the Global Carbon Project.  As you can see, China and the US are well ahead of the pack in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion – from power, transportation, buildings and industry. Continue reading


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Doha Climate Gateway

cop18cmp8_533What is being called the “Doha Climate Gateway,” more formerly the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), wrapped up this past weekend in Doha.  It was the first conference of the parties to take place in the Middle East and, according to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin of the venerable IISD, the conference drew around nine thousand folks, including 4,356 government officials, 3,956 representatives of UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations, and 683 members of the media. Continue reading


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Doha – The Climate Talks

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established 20 years ago at the Earth Summit in Rio.  The Earth Summit was an extraordinary and genuinely groundbreaking event.  It, arguably, ushered in the present age of international initiatives on sustainability.  Philip Shabecoff, in his excellent history of the environmental movement, A Fierce Green Fire, wrote “….the human community was ready to alter the collision course it was on with the physical world that sustains it and might at last meet the challenge of creating an ecologically rational, prosperous, and just global economy…” Continue reading


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