A Woman Saving the Planet

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This week’s New Yorker leads off with a “Reporter at Large” article by science writer Elizabeth Kolbert (The Sixth Extinction), The Weight of the World: Can one woman get the U.N. to save the planet?  While ostensibly about UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres – answering the subtitled question, “can [she] persuade humanity to save itself?”…
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Developing countries rank climate change as “the biggest global threat”

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The Economist tweeted over the weekend that “climate change is seen as the biggest global threat.”  It cited a recent Pew Research Centre poll of over 45,000 people, where respondents in Brazil, India, Nigeria, Mexico, and China ranked climate change as their greatest fear.  They represent about half of the countries polled. People in developed countries like Japan, France, the United…
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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”

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“… it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we…
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Clean Energy to Go Around

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Countries, states, and the private sector took center stage last week with an array of energy announcements from around the world. When visiting the US at the end of June, Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, announced with President Obama that both countries pledged to source 20% of their energy from nonhydro renewables by 2030.  China,…
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Climate change is still “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century”

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Two recent reports add to the growing call for linking climate change laws with public health. From the U.K., the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change followed up on its 2009 announcement that global warming “is the 21st century’s greatest threat to human health” by issuing a new report last week that also labels…
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Why New England Fishermen Should Care About COP21

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Below is an extract from a post on TalkingFish.org, a blog of the Conservation Law Foundation.  Annie Warner, a third-year law student at VLS and a member of the law school’s COP21 observer delegation, wrote it. The original post may be found here. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) highlights the connections between climate change and fisheries….
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As goes California, so goes the Nation?

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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”

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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?

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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

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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

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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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