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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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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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

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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Incorporating Oceans into the Paris Agreement

Source: Ocean for Climate

“We are at a tipping point,” warned Angus Friday, Grenada’s Ambassador to the United States, in today’s side event on “The Importance of Addressing Oceans and Coasts in an Ambitious Agreement at the UNFCCC COP 21.” Speakers at the event reported on mobilization efforts around ocean and climate issues taking place at COP21, with emphasis…
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Decarbonization or Climate Neutrality? Which is the Better Path to 2°C? Is There Even a Difference?

http://buildingindustry.org/one-million-tonnes-of-co2

In order to keep global temperatures under 2°C, the threshold generally accepted as the best way to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, there must be a limit on cumulative CO2 emissions. For those of you not tracking mitigation negotiations closely at COP21, there is some hot debating surrounding long-term signals maintaining this threshold….
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CAN International flashes climate movement’s teeth on Day 1

KeyChatterjee-USCAN at CAN Webcast Nov30

  CAN (Climate Action Network) International’s COP21 opening press conference this morning delivered strong words for the leaders and negotiators. (CAN International is a recognized “network of NGOs working on climate change from around the world.” Member groups well known in the U.S. include 350.org, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife…
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Food Waste on the Chopping Block

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Last Wednesday, one week before the Untied Nations General Assembly meeting in New York concerning sustainable development goals, the USDA and EPA divulged a bold new goal. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the nation’s first food waste reduction goal: to cut U.S. food waste in half by 2030. The federal…
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Intertwining National and International CC Policymaking at the CEQ

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Yesterday we had the good fortune to have a small-group meeting with Mike Boots, Acting Head of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Initiated by our friends on the Duke Observer Delegation  to COP20/CMP10, this gathering gave the CEQ an opportunity to hear observations from us, a range of U.S. university and law…
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Will Cities Join the Climate Club?

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Yesterday I attended a side event at COP20 called Taking climate cooperation to a new level: Incentives and alliances for transformative action. The premise of the panel discussion was to showcase opportunities to achieve transformative change in the climate sphere by identifying institutions and incentives that can catalyze action through low-carbon climate clubs. I had…
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