Seas the Day

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Living along the bottom of the seabed are the hydrothermal vents. These vents exist in environments under immense pressure, with volatile temperatures, toxic minerals, and devoid of sunlight. As the tectonics plates spread and magma rises, hydrothermal vents form. They are created when seawater circulates through fissures in the ocean’s crust and becomes super-heated by magma….
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Getting serious about 1.5°C

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As we reported earlier, the historic Paris Agreement of December 2015 established a long-term temperature goal to keep global temperature increase “well below 2°C” and to undertake efforts to limit that increase to 1.5°C, “recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.” The COP21 decision adopting the Agreement included an…
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COP21 Begins in 24 Hours: Will a Paris Agreement [Decrease] [Solve] [Do Nothing On] Climate Change?

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If all politics are local, but greenhouse gases find their way into the atmosphere’s international space, how can the global community act collectively on climate change? In 1992, the solution was to adopt an international treaty. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) declared climate change a “common concern of mankind,” and committed…
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The Secret Weapon Against Climate Change? Family Planning

Photo by Pippa Ranger/ UK Department for International Development

Family Planning may be the most cost-effective weapon against climate change. At least according to a new report from the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. According to the report, family planning could provide between 16 and 29 percent of the needed greenhouse gas emission reductions. Additionally, last year the Intergovernmental…
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The significance of defined consensus

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Given the defined divide in country specific stakeholders concerns, along with the lens of personal circumstances and beliefs, that promotes a heterogeneity of perspective among COP21 participants, the ultimate success in Paris may rely on the establishment of an agreeable definition of consensus. In the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) the word “consensus” is…
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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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No Need to Re-Invent the Wheel

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At today’s side event forum, hosted by the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), panel members called for governments to stand behind the CDM. Comprised of Executive Board members of the CDM, renowned representatives from the Parties and the private sector, World Bank and Green Climate Fund (GCF) the message was clear, there…
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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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“The choice is in our hands”

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After spoilers and seven years of waiting since the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the full Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) was accepted and its final piece (the Synthesis Report) was approved on November 1, 2014. The Synthesis Report integrates the findings of the three 2013-2014 IPCC working group reports: physical basis for…
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The road from Bonn to Lima (by way of Copenhagen this week)

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Looking back on last week’s ADP2-6 special session, it would be easy to echo the notes of pessimism that pervaded Saturday’s press reports.  RTCC (Responding to Climate Change) commented after last Thursday’s stocktaking session that “much work remains” in the session’s last two days and noted the frustrated ADP Co-Chairs “offering government negotiators a stern reality check.”…
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2C or not 2C

Overheated Thermometer

A recent article in Nature has questioned whether 2°C of global warming (beyond pre-industrial levels) is the right limit for achieving the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) objective of “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” With its…
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Drip by drip

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According to Mother Jones, there’s a leaky member of the IPCC group that is working to finalize the synthesis report (SYR) of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) before this year’s COP20 to be held in Lima, Peru from December 1 – 12.  The SYR is due to be approved by October 31, 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Interestingly,…
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WG2 report out today!

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Read here at my Environmental Health Law blog for a terrific analysis of today’s IPCC Working Group 2 report approved and released in Japan earlier today.  Chapeaux to Caitlin Stanton, 3L student and RA extraordinaire!


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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“A foundation COP” of nuts and bolts

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“Stocktaking” is a now a new word in my vocabulary.  While I regularly do it, I don’t normally make the time to name it as such.  In the polyglot system of the United Nations, awkwardly-formal-but-descriptive terms like this one (and “functions and modalities,” “institutional mechanisms,”  “work programmes”) are essential to the process of moving a…
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