Paris Agreement and the Clean Air Act – New Tools for the EPA?

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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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UNFCCC Negotiations – Coordinating the Dance

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Negotiations are an elaborate dance. Negotiators must coordinate the actions of many partners. Make a misstep and the coordination is lost. What could be an elaborate dance degrades into a chaotic scramble.   On Friday afternoon, the COP21 negotiations demonstrated how difficult they can be to coordinate. After a week of work in spin-off groups…
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Building Transparency and Accountability in a New Climate Agreement

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When we seek accountability, we must start with transparency.   The goal of COP 21 is to produce a robust post-2020 climate agreement that establishes clear goals and a pathway for achieving them. The goals sit at the end of the path. Lighting the pathway are transparency measures built in the agreement. Climate Strategies recently…
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Understanding the Complex Organized Chaos of UNFCCC Negotiations

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A fractal is a never-ending mathematical pattern that is self-similar across different scales. Every time you look closer, you see another layer.   The UNFCCC negotiations have a similar pattern. Every time you look closer, you see another layer. The news reports coming out of Paris are using a confusing array of terms: ADP contact…
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Carbon Capture and Sequestration – A Cautionary Tale

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“That is not what the IPCC says.”   At an event promoting carbon capture and sequestration technology (CCS), an audience member who co-authored a section of the IPCC Synthesis challenged the assertion that carbon capture and sequestration is a necessary technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In doing so, he highlighted the tension between competing…
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The Ying and the Yang of the Low Carbon Economy

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  The call for a new low carbon economy is echoing through the halls of COP 21. In the opening ceremony, French President Francois Hollande, Prince Charles, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon all urged the world to transition to a new low carbon economy.   Making that transition requires action on multiple fronts….
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Carbon Tax – More of the Same or Energy Miracle?

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As we get closer to Paris, powerful voices are lining up to support a carbon tax. When you look closer, you see that the voices have different motives and divergent goals. In June 2015, six of the world’s largest oil companies sent a letter to the UNFCCC asking for a global carbon tax to be…
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Past as Prologue? Joint Implementation and the Future for Flexibility Mechanisms

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A recent report by the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) raises some serious questions about the integrity of the Joint Implementation (JI) program, one of the Kyoto Protocol’s main flexibility mechanisms. Since flexibility mechanisms are a core part of Geneva Negotiating Text, this report raises the question of how the UNFCCC will learn from its past mistakes as…
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