Bonn Challenge Takes First Steps

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The Bonn Challenge is a global initiative to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020, and 350 million by 2030. So far, 38 countries have pledged to restore 124.32 million hectares in order to achieve this goal. The challenge now is holding these nations to their commitments and ensuring…
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Ecological Migration and Migrating Towards Ambitious Climate Change Commitments at COP22

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In 2011, the UN projected that the world will have 50 million environmental refugees by 2020. These are people who need to resettle due to climate change impacts such as drought, food shortage, disease, flooding, desertification, soil erosion, deforestation, and other environmental problems. This past week the New York Times released two stories about the…
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Marathon Oral Arguments Whisper Victory for the Clean Power Plan

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On September 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard nearly seven hours of oral arguments that, on their face, bode well for the Clean Power Plan (Plan) and for the United States’ contribution to the Paris Agreement. EPA published its ambitious emissions guidelines for the Plan on October 23, 2015—and on…
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U.S. INDC Pledge Just Wishful Thinking Without CPP?

US INDC Emissions Targets

Last year, when the U.S. made its INDC pledge to reduce net GHG emissions 26-28% below 2005 by 2025, it was built on Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan with the proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) among its key elements. At the time, a range of climate policy observers, including Climate Action Tracker, U.S. Chamber of…
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Subnational leaders leading the way

“Under 2 MoU”  – no it’s not Prince’s latest song, it is the initiative of subnational leaders (Mayors and Governors)  committing to limit emissions below 2 metric tons per capita by 2050 which is the amount of reductions needed to limit global warming to less than 2°C. This initiative, supercharged by the leadership of Governor…
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Caught on the Front Lines of Climate Change

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In an event hosted today by WOCAN (Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management), six inspiring women shared their stories of community, loss, and leadership. The panel was comprised of women from diverse and remote regions of the world, including a Native American of the Ponca Nation, a representative from the Democratic…
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Civil Society keeps the heat on for climate ambition

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As countries seek to arrive at a mutually acceptable text for the Paris Outcome this week, there is a lot of focus on ambition to reduce emissions, and on financial support to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change. In fact, these are among the key high-level political issues that must be resolved….
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Is Climate Change a Threat to National Security?

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COP21 began Monday with a moment of silence for victims of the November 13 terror attacks in Paris, and the tragedy served as a touchstone for world leaders urging unity and action. Nearly every speaker at the daylong Leaders Event expressed condolences for the Paris attacks, and some, including the Prince of Wales who opened…
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Will the Dark Cloud Over EPA’s Clean Power Plan Rain on Paris?

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Last month, EPA published the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the most ambitious and controversial rulemaking in the history of the Clean Air Act, and set off a flurry of litigation as many Republican lawmakers urged states to challenge the rule. The Clean Power Plan is EPA’s first attempt to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing…
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The Role of Gender in Climate Politics

Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and other Senate republicans

Climate change is proven – the vast majority of the scientific community, along with many major businesses and nearly every major insurance provider, all agree that climate change is having real impacts on the world today. Most also believe that those impacts are the result of anthropogenic activity. However, the facts about climate change are…
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Inside out: U.S. domestic political will and bilateral negotiation with India

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Bill Clinton was famous for saying during his 1992 presidential campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid.”  In the realm of international climate change negotiations from Lima to Paris, it’s fair to say “it’s the nationally determined contributions, mon ami.”  Deliberately intended to connect the UNFCCC goal (of keeping global warming below 2 or 1.5 Celsius) more concretely with national political and economic…
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China’s New Climate Economy

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Today I had the pleasure of attending a side-event on “Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change in China” organized jointly by Tsinghua University’s Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy, the China Green Carbon Foundation, the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the Peoples’ Republic of China, and the China Certification and Accreditation Institute.  All of…
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Mind the [Ambition] Gap

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  When stepping onto the Underground in London, a voice rings out, “Mind the gap.” Perhaps this should also be echoing through the halls of the COP20 venue in Lima, Peru, this week. The pre-2020 ambition gap is often stated in terms of what must be done differently from business as usual to keep GHGs…
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Nations Commit $9.3 Billion Towards Climate Action: Is it enough?

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Yesterday international leaders pledged $9.3 billion towards the United Nations (UN) Green Climate Fund (Fund) at the first Pledging Conference in Berlin, Germany. Formally established in Cancun in 2010, the Fund aims to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change. In this way, the capital would help those countries least to blame for, but…
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Conservative Backlash to the U.S.– China Climate Agreement

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The United States–China climate change agreement announced this Wednesday already faces strong resistance in the U.S.  As detailed here, the U.S. and China, which combine to produce nearly half of the world’s emissions, struck a deal to strengthen their reduction commitments. The U.S., which has already pledged to reduce emissions by 17 percent below 2005…
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