Renewables can lead to 80% CO2 reduction in US electricity production

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Last week’s edition of Nature Climate Change includes a new study done by NOAA and University of Colorado Boulder that helps us understand how the United States can meet its INDC pledge. From the abstract:  Carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation are a major cause of anthropogenic climate change. The deployment of wind and solar power reduces these…
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Paris Agreement and the Clean Air Act – New Tools for the EPA?

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Does the Paris Agreement open up new avenues for EPA regulation of greenhouse gases? A new paper – co-authored by law professors from the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School, the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UCLA School of Law, and the Institute for Policy Integrity, NYU School of…
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First US SOTU address post COP21

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In last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama’s remarks on climate change underscore the importance of national next steps après COP21. While he didn’t overtly make new, specific pledges for climate action, Obama did place those in play in context under the second of his speech’s four main points, on innovation.  Building on his premise that “many of our…
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Getting the COP21 Word(s) Out

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Media coverage of climate change jumped in 2015. EHN reports that since 2000, the University of Colorado, Boulder, has tracked climate coverage in news reports published by five national newspapers—The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and USA Today. Their line graph tells a clear story without words: news stories reached numbers not…
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More on the Paris Agreement’s MO

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Yesterday I recommended several COP21 summaries, all of which describe the form and function of the new climate change agreement slated for a 2020 entry into force.  I noted Professor Doelle’s use of the political science framing of a “managerial approach” to international relations. Today I offer another, similar way (I think) of putting the form…
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Après COP

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Much has been written about the COP21 outcome during the last two weeks.  Most of the popular press has focused on whether the Paris Agreement accomplished the UNFCCC Parties’ intended goals.  If these goals turn exclusively on agreeing to explicit targets for staying within a 2C warming limit (akin to the Kyoto Protocol), then COP21 doesn’t measure up. (E.g. James…
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Linking SDGs and COP21

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Taylor Smith ’14, member of the VLS COP19 delegation, now works for the U.N. and contributed this post connecting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the COP21 negotiations. “Any true sustainable development must address the scourge of climate change,” UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Mr. Wu Hongbo said just weeks before the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21)…
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Nations in ‘Glass Houses’: The Rules of Transparency

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While not as publicly flashy as the issue of ambition, transparency received a good deal of attention during the negotiations that brought us to the Final Agreement in Paris on Saturday. Parties had to come to a consensus about how exposed their internal policies and actions would be to scrutiny. This is a key point,…
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No Red Lines, But a Green Light for Adaptation and Loss and Damage

Source: Takepart

At this morning’s Comité de Paris meeting, COP President Laurent Fabius channeled Nelson Mandela, saying: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” At tonight’s COP meeting, Parties adopted the Paris Agreement in a historical and long-awaited moment. While past Agreement drafts have been full of brackets, options, and red line changes, these notations are notably absent from…
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The Power of One Word

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In international legal commitments all the power is in the verbs. And in the most recent (and perhaps final) version of the Paris Agreement, the verbs used in Art. 4 on Mitigation strengthen the actions required by developed country Parties. Article 4.4 is on the differentiated mitigation efforts required by all Parties to the Agreement….
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And now we wait…

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Delegates and negotiators have worked around the clock for days (weeks, months, and years for some) to put together an agreement with prospects of being adopted. If everything goes according to plan, today, their efforts will come to fruition. COP21 President, Laurent Fabius, made an impassioned appeal this morning in support of the final text,…
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The new “High Ambition” Force Awakens in Paris

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A new group has been announced during the Paris Climate Talks – the High Ambition Coalition. It is not a formal negotiation group like the G77+ China or the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Rather it represents a block of countries with a common position – recognition of the need for a target of less than…
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COP21: The Gathering – What are we willing to trade?

From: http://images.google.fr/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&source=imgres&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjX9dGQ-tTJAhXJXRoKHUt7AtIQ5RMIBDAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fgeekspodcast.com%2F2010%2F04%2F29%2Fhow-i-organize-my-magic-the-gathering-cards%2F&usg=AFQjCNHGMS49fmEdu2avr5ZpqFpTLEfn6g

There are many analogies used to describe the climate negotiations, some of which – including fractals, webs, and dances ­– have been referenced right here on this blog. At this stage of the negotiations though, another metaphor comes to mind: that of trading card games. With the initial deadline for an agreement hours behind us,…
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