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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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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Climate Justice may be Blind, but it isn’t Mute.  

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Several concepts and phrases have been bantered around for inclusion in the Paris Outcome document. Most of it centers on the differences between the wealthy nations and those who are not.  “It’s [the issues are] about differentiation, equity, and climate justice.” – India’s Environmental Minister – Prakash Javadekar. While much of the talk has centered…
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Who Should Pick Up the Tab for Capacity-Building?

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It’s appreciated (or even expected) when the firm’s partner picks up the bill for a new associate, or when a professor treats his student to lunch. Those who are more established and financially secure tend to lend a helping hand to those still making their way in the world. Apparently, this concept does not hold…
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The Sustainable Development Mechanism AKA The New Carbon Market Mechanism

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  The Sustainable Development Mechanism is a new mitigation mechanism established in Art. 3 ter of the draft Paris Agreement. The purpose of this mechanism is to “promote the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions [in developing country Parties] while fostering sustainable development….” In order to achieve its goals, the mechanism provides incentives for successfully mitigating…
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Where to Next? Climate-Induced Migration

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Today is human rights day at COP21. “Human Mobility and Climate Change” was a timely event that shined a light on climate-induced migration. Climate change drives human mobility, and is projected to further increase the displacement of populations. While migration is generally a voluntary movement, human mobility displacement occurs in situations where people are forced…
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The weaving of the Paris Outcome

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The unfolding Paris Outcome is a web of complexities, in both the package and the process. In the package itself, there are cross cutting issues; there are a myriad of details; and there are interlocking linkages among Articles and Decision sections that make multiple circles back to each other. It can be a dizzying endeavor…
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Losing Loss and Damage? Or Will the Paris Agreement Adapt?

Source: GCCA

Last night marked the 4th meeting of the Comité de Paris, a group of ministerial leaders that carries out informal consultations “to make progress and facilitate compromise on the draft Paris Outcome and package of decisions transmitted to the COP by ADP.” At a meeting earlier in the day, COP President Laurent Fabius reported on…
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“Legally binding enforcement system … will reassure investors”

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in Paris this week for the COP21 negotiations, is making the Obama Administration’s case for the new Paris Agreement (or Paris Outcome, as it was renamed last week at China’s suggestion). “A legally binding enforcement system will reassure investors, who have to carry the low-carbon economy beyond…
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