As goes California, so goes the Nation?

California solar

Just a month after the U.S. submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UNFCCC Secretariat, California Governor Jerry Brown has announced new, ambitious GHG emission mitigation goals for the state. While the U.S. is being chided internationally for its INDCs’ lack of mitigation and adaptation “ambition,” California is getting the limelight for stepping…
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Renewable energy “disruption”

wind energy

Climate Nexus Energy Desk news services asks us to think about how fast and furious renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, are scaling up.  It reports: “New developments in Japan and Rhode Island, and at electric carmaker Tesla, are advancing the clean energy revolution. Following the Fukushima disaster, Japan is replacing much of its nuclear…
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Flat lining of GHG emissions in 2014: trend or one off?

smokestacks

The International Energy IEA recently released data showing that the global CO2 emissions associated with the energy sector remained stable in 2014, not increasing from the 2013 output even though the world economy grew.  E&E reported that “researchers said the early numbers showing that CO2 emissions remained steady at 32.3 billion metric tons in 2014 mark[s]…
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2 steps forward, 1 step backward

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It would be easy to characterize the last 1.5 days of ADP negotiations as a setback.  The tune,“What a  difference a day makes”, ran through my mind while sitting in Room XIX.  The bounce felt by all from the productive sessions on Sunday and Monday and the first half of Tuesday dissipated quickly as Parties…
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Posted in ADP

ADP2-8: Avoiding BAU?

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“No one will say that this text is not your text.” With that comment, new ADP Co-Chair Ahmed Djoghlaf of Algeria closed this morning’s session of the ADP.  On time.  Having completed the planned review of the entire draft text of the 2015 agreement one day ahead of schedule. Djoghlaf and his Co-Chair, Daniel Reifsnyder…
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Cities tackle climate change adaptation

st kjeld before

Including subnational governments like cities in the UNFCCC discussions has been on the front burner since COP19 in Warsaw.  While only sovereign countries may enter treaties, State Parties recognize that achieving Article 2’s goal of climate stabilization will take effort from other governmental jurisdictions, as well as civil society and private businesses. And so this article about…
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New poll results indicate U.S. political will on climate change

CC voter

The New York Times, Stanford University, and the non-governmental organization Resources for the Future released poll results today that show “an overwhelming majority of the American public” (2/3) supports government action to curb global warming. This includes 48% of Republican voters, who replied that they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting…
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Climate diplomacy

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Scott Moore, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, published a thoughtful op-ed on current U.S. climate diplomacy in yesterday’s Diplomat.  On the heels of the recent mission to India, and last November’s US-China bilateral announcement on GHG emission reductions, he asserts that “[b]y reclaiming the leadership role that it effectively surrendered by refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol…
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A new climate change narrative

Naomi Klein

To provide perspective on the quotidien of the climate change debate regularly chronicled in this blog, watch this Ted Talk by Naomi Klein, read her latest book, This Changes Everything, and consider these recent quotes: “There are no non-radical options left …  If we stay on the road we are on, then our leading scientists as well…
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“Well, I’m not a scientist either, but . . .”

inhofe

In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama picked up climate change deniers’ well-used “I’m not a scientist, but” phrase, and turned it on its head. “I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist,…
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Inside out: U.S. domestic political will and bilateral negotiation with India

Yale Republican poll

Bill Clinton was famous for saying during his 1992 presidential campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid.”  In the realm of international climate change negotiations from Lima to Paris, it’s fair to say “it’s the nationally determined contributions, mon ami.”  Deliberately intended to connect the UNFCCC goal (of keeping global warming below 2 or 1.5 Celsius) more concretely with national political and economic…
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For the climate change record book

2014 hottest year graph

According to a variety of news sources, several important records were broken in 2014. Hottest year on record.  The Japan Meteorological Association (JMA) reports that 2014 was 0.27°C warmer than the average from 1981 to 2010, and 0.63°C warmer than the 20th century average. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US, and the UK Met Office, also…
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Behind the scenes of the US-China negotiations

john podesta in green

Rolling Stone recently published this intriguing backstory of the US-China climate change announcement made just two weeks before COP20 kicked off in Lima, Peru.  The bilateral conversation started last February with a phone call from U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern to his Chinese counterpart, followed up by a private letter to President Xi…
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California’s role in the US INDCs

jerry brown

Lima’s “Call for Climate Action,” as the COP20/CMP10 decisions have been termed, is one for the 196 UNFCCC state parties to heed when preparing their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) before next December’s COP21. Given that only sovereign countries may be parties to treaties like the UNFCCC, and that most of them rely on a centralized government model of governance, COP discussions on…
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Pope Francis adds his voice to religious leaders calling for climate change action

pope francis

When Pope Francis gave a speech last month about the importance of collective action on climate change, it was heralded as an important step in moving the 196 UNFCCC parties from COP20’s “call to action” in Lima to inking COP21’s new agreement in Paris. Stressing that climate change’s disproportional impacts on the world’s poor present “a…
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