We can do more!

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After two weeks of negotiations in which we observed UNFCCC Parties, stakeholders, and all the people that make possible the Conference of the Parties (COP), I leave Bonn with several reflections. Parties do have the ability to achieve consensus and adopt the necessary decisions towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement. People all around the world are working…
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Fake it ‘til you make it: faux meat and climate change

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If it tastes like a burger, and bleeds like a burger, it must be . . . plant-based protein? At least that’s the outcome fake-meat innovators like Impossible Burger are striving for: a meatless burger that captures the textures and flavors of meat to whet the appetite of even the staunchest carnivores. In fact, the fake meat industry’s approach…
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Continuing to Decouple

Photograph by Volker Hartmann - Getty Images

For the third year in a row, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the energy sector remained level while the global economy grew. This continues to buck the economic thinking that economic growth, typically measured with gross domestic product (GDP), cannot be decoupled from environmental degradation. The current trend of…
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Trusting Corporations by Weakening Antitrust?

Corporate Influence and Climate Change

This September, many socially conscious corporations have donated to climate change mitigation and sustainability. Ikea has devoted $44.6 million to the We Mean Business coalition, which began at a UNFCCC Business and Industry Day to provide a platform to “amplify the business voice and catalyze bold climate action.” Mars just pledged $1 billion in investments towards climate…
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Farming for the Future: Climate Change and Food Security.

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The United Nations weather agency recently announced that the past five years have been the hottest on record, with increasing evidence showing that this is man-made climate change. Thus, the urgency for solutions increases here at COP22 where the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is meeting to discuss and improve climate change…
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If you build it, they will come

Clean Line

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz just announced the approval of a large-scale transmission project that will bring wind power from Texas and Oklahoma to the southeastern states. Called the Plains & Eastern Clean Line, the $2.5 billion transmission line is the largest of several clean energy infrastructure projects being developed under DOE partnerships. Moniz says that “moving remote and…
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Eating for personal and planetary health

CC diet PNAS

A study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reaffirms that reducing meat consumption can improve your health and lower your carbon footprint. It starts with the premise that the food system accounts for more than 25% of GHG emissions (80% associated with livestock production) and that poor eating habits contribute to more than a…
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Decoupling GHGs from GDP: Year 2

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The International Energy Agency (IEA) released new data today showing that global GHG missions related to energy held steady again for the second year in a row while the global economy grew. Renewable energy was key to stabilizing emissions levels, with more than 90% of new energy generation coming from renewables – the highest level in more than 40 years….
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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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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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Fracking: COP21 as “the scoreboard, not the game”

Panel for Side Event on Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground: the International Movement to Ban Fracking

“If you’re looking for good way to heat up the earth fast, poke holes in the earth and let methane pour out.” This is how Bill McKibben of 350.org described hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at today’s side event on the international movement to ban fracking. Sandra Steingraber of EcoWatch pointed out how both methane and CO2…
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Civil Society keeps the heat on for climate ambition

CSO FairSharesRPT Fig9

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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Financial services promote a greener world

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According to Michel Sapin, the French Minster of Finance, the financial sector is in the midst of a transition. Investors, insurers, and banks are at the center of the climate change activity. In a recent presentation at COP21 Sapin noted, “Climate change has immense opportunities. The future is low emissions.” Principles for Responsible Investment, an…
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GHGs in the Gulf

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Newsflash:  Saudi Arabia has filed its intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) for mitigating GHG emissions under the UNFCCC.  Yup, a country that depends on oil for 80% of its national budget publicly filed a document on November 10 laying out its efforts to combat climate change. Andrew Freedman of Mashable points to a comment that Christiana…
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Looming deadlines – for INDCs and the Earth

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With the October 1 deadline for all State Parties’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) looming, the UNFCCC submission portal for them has been heating up.  As of this writing, 82 State Parties have filed. Switzerland, the EU, Norway, Mexico, and the United States were the first five in the door, submitting before the first quarter 2015 deadline for…
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