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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March for Science

Put April 22 in your book!  If you took part in the Women’s March on Washington there or in any of the 673 sister marches around the planet, then you know the excitement, the camaraderie, the common purpose.  If you’ve been to the airports to support those caught in the web of xenophobia incarnate now in the Trump Administration, you understand the importance of being there, of making a statement with your presence, your voice.  If you’ve been involved with constituent meetings to tell your elected representatives that you won’t stand for democracy and the social compact being torn apart by the bestiality of the morally bankrupt in power, then you are well and truly in tune with hundreds of millions of your sisters and brothers around the world.  And, if you haven’t yet experienced the empowering, life-affirming coming together of people to express their common humanity and innate sanity, then here’s a great opportunity. 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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“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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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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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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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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Carbon Emissions Going Up

As reported yesterday by the Global Carbon Project in its Carbon Budget 2012 report, the top four emitters of carbon from fossil fuel combustion and cement production in 2011 covered 62% of global emissions:  China (28%), United States (16%), EU27 (11%), and India (7%).  These four entities emitted about 5.62 billion tons of carbon.  (Multiply by 3.67 to get the carbon dioxide output which then equals about 20.6 billion tons.)  You can see that the US and the EU have stabilized and even lowered their emissions in recent years. 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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