Subnationals around the world stepping up to combat climate change

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While only sovereign countries can be parties to the Paris Agreement, that fact has not prevented cities, states, and regions from stepping up to take their own climate actions. Several subnational entities have joined groups like the C40 and Under 2 MOU, which create voluntary agreements to reduce emissions and develop more sustainable municipalities. Under the…
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The New Urban Agenda and the Important Role of Cities in Achieving Climate Goals

Dhaka, Bangladesh Source: UN Phto/Kibae Park

On October 20th, 167 countries adopted the New Urban Agenda, a document setting global standards for achieving sustainable urban development. The document was adopted at the close of the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development, or Habitat III. The New Urban Agenda calls for equal opportunities, cleaner cities, carbon emission reductions, respect…
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Subnationals to the rescue – again

Sea Level Rise 6 meters

“It would be unconscionable for these issues of grave concern for the people of Florida to not be addressed in the upcoming debate.” So wrote more than 20 Republican and Democratic mayors in Florida in a letter to moderators of this week’s presidential debates about the need to address climate change.  This group of mayors represents coastal cities…
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Adaptation Economics Reveal Insufficient Adaptation Activities

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When national and local economies are faced with calculating potential climate-impacted losses, decision-makers face difficult financial-planning decisions. Nature Climate Change published a study comparing adaptation responses between global megacities based on spending measures. The study found that cities varied their adaptation spendings between £15 million and £1600 million. Developed cities allocate most of their adaptation funds to energy and water, developing countries…
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California Leads Subnationals in Setting a High Bar for COP21 Negotiators

Governor Brown speaks for subnationals (From: the Office of Governor Brown)

The VLS delegation had the privilege yesterday to attend an intimate presentation given by Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board, and Ken Alex, the Director of the Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Planning and Research. Mary and Ken candidly addressed a group of professional students and professors from UCLA and Vermont Law…
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Will You Under 2 MOU?

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The subnationals are firmly in the game.  At COP19 in Warsaw, they had their orange pinnies on while stretching and sprinting on the sidelines, showing the ADP coaches that they were ready.  “Bring in the subs” was my favorite 2014 blog headline. Yesterday New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo decided that California’s Jerry Brown shouldn’t get all the…
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China’s cities surpass 2030 carbon peak promise

CHina air quality

In the run up to COP21’s opening plenary on Monday, November 30, 2015, countries have been pledging their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). These public announcements submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat describe how each Party will mitigate its GHG emissions, as well as implement adaptation strategies, help developing country Parties finance these kinds of actions, and…
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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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Spotlight on India at COP20

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“We have forgotten to live with nature,”  India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, told a group of school kids in September.  Urging them to conserve electricity by switching off fans and lights when not in use and turning off tap water when brushing teeth, he connected energy use with climate change impacts.  Modi wrote a 2011…
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Preview of IPCC Working Group 2 Report

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The Guardian reports that IPCC Working Group 2’s report — entitled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, which is due to be debated by WG2 next week in Yokohama, Japan and released to the public on March 31 — underscores that developed countries will avoid the worst impacts of climate change caused by rising carbon dioxide levels in the…
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Back story on PlaNYC

mta flooding

In my earlier post on the increasing role of subnationals at future COPs (and hence in the negotiations for a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol), I spotlighted Mayor Bloomberg’s climate change planning push via PlaNYC. Here’s some more of the back story. A report by a research group led by Klaus Jacob of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty…
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Bring in the subs

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As Lindsay chronicled here and here, COP19 officially acknowledged the importance of climate change mitigation and adaptation activity at the subnational level.  Even though the UNFCCC is premised on negotiation between nations (state parties), all involved recognize the groundswell of climate change laws and projects at the city and regional levels, where the rubber literally…
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Extra, extra! Read our COP19 wrap-up in the Huffington Post!

VLS COP19/CMP9 Observer Delegation Week 2

Congrats to our Week 2 Observer Delegation on its recent publication in the Huffington Post courtesy of climate and energy reporter Ben Jervey.  In it, we recap COP19/CMP9’s last week of activity, analyzing what this “nuts and bolts” COP did and didn’t achieve. Specifically, we take a close look at adaptation, loss and damage, subnational initiatives, new REDD+ rules, and technology,…
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Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

“The only people with the power to actually change anything are the local elected officials.” – the Environmental Minister of Ghent, Belgium No matter what happens in the international climate change negotiations, there is one thing everyone can agree on: the impacts of climate change, and the actions taken to address it, will ultimately happen…
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