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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A stumbling block at COP 23 – Finance

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The cost of mitigating climate change is estimated at 200-350 billion Euros (236-413 Billion USD) per year by 2030. It is a manageable sum in terms of a global burden, only 1% of global GDP. In terms of who pays and how much to pay, however, it becomes a disputed figure. For example, developed countries agreed…
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Handmade Solar Cookers: Mitigation Starts at Home

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A solar cooker is “a device which uses the energy of sunlight to heat food or drink to cook it or sterilize it.”  Solar Cookers International (SCK) was founded in 1987 in the Central Valley of California. SCK started by pooling its knowledge to produce “solar cooking manuals to help others build and use simple…
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It takes more than government

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Hundreds of people, from all over the world, gather in Bonn, Germany for the twenty-third Conference of the Parties (COP23). At first glance, COP23 appears to be policy driven, science based, and a negotiations filled conference. It is that and more. It has become the place for green industry where 850 different organizations applied to…
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Adaptation Communication Website: Broken Links

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A key focal point of the Paris Agreement (PA) that came out of COP21 was the issue of transparency. While the Kyoto Protocol (KP) created the mechanisms for mitigation and eventually adaptation, it wasn’t until the Paris Agreement that accountability was implemented so that Parties would reach their proposed contributions. For the first few years of…
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Blue Carbon: A Solution

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Coastal ecosystems such as tidal salt marshes, seagrass meadows, and mangrove forests, are “blue carbon ecosystems” because they act as carbon sinks. Blue ecosystems have the ability to sequester copious amounts of carbon. However, if they are destroyed, they increase GHG emissions. Scientists estimate approximately 1.02 billion tons of carbon dioxide is emitted per year…
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Wheels of climate change policy roll on in Bonn

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While angst about the pending Trump decision on the Paris Agreement (PA) remained a subtext of the annual intersessional climate meetings that wrapped up last week in Bonn, Germany, the technical work trundled on. More than 3,300 (negotiators, observers [including a VLS delegation], plus secretariat and other agency staff) participated in: the 46th sessions of…
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Are Human Rights Lost and Damaged?

Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

Loss and Damage (L&D) includes the permanent loss of land, culture, and human life and will escalate existing tensions over increasingly scarce resources. This tension will ultimately incite conflict in many parts of the world. In some places, the loss of habitable land is forcing individuals and families to leave their country, threatening their sovereignty,…
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LDCs – Concern, yet hope, entering Week 2 of COP22

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At the end of the first week, many were expressing concern that Marrakech’s purported COP of Action wasn’t measuring up for the world’s most vulnerable countries. Yesterday morning, Least Developed Countries (LDC) Chair, Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, identified troubles on key issues of ambition, adaptation / loss & damage, and climate finance. In particular, he noted…
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The Need to Close the Gap Between Smallholder Farmers and Climate-Smart Agriculture

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Panelists today from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Fertilizer Canada, and the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA), among others, explored the role of farmers in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. As was expected based on the affiliations of a majority of panel members, the discussion focused mainly on the role fertilizers play…
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Land Use and Methane

As the COP negotiations increasingly look to agriculture, forestry, and other land uses as tools to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate, methanogenesis – the biological production of methane by single-celled organisms – must be taken into account. This methane production is very similar to fermentation, the process used to produce alcohol. In fermentation,…
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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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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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