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

chopping-block

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?

Global protocol

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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Climate smart agriculture sprouting at the UNFCCC?

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Globally, agriculture is a significant source of GHGs. At the same time, climate change is threatening the food security of millions. However, no official means to link and address these issues has yet been established within the UNFCCC (though there is an agriculture contact group in the Subsidiary Body For Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA))….
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ADP Workstream 2: The most pressing and immediate of needs shuffled to end of queue

Exhibit in Lima, Peru

Under the ADP, two ‘workstreams’ were created to meet climate change goals. Workstream 1 was created to identify Individual Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) that will be signed at the Paris 2015 COP; Workstream 2 was created to fill the ‘gap’ between present and the 2020 date of implementation of the Paris 2015 agreement. Since the…
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A Debate Brewing with Regard to Accounting and Transparency of Mitigation Commitments

accounting

Today the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Advancement of the Durban Platform (ADP) had a meeting to discuss the proposals for mitigation commitments contained in the ADP Co-Chairs’ November 11, 2014 Non-Paper on Elements for a Draft Negotiating Text.  In somewhat typical fashion, the meeting finally got off to a start about an hour behind…
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Mind the [Ambition] Gap

mind the gap

  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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Sausage-making on a Global Level

sausage making

 As the first Chancellor of Germany and acknowledged master of complex politics, Otto von Bismark, is known to have said, “To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.” Yet when thinking about arriving at the UNFCCC COP20 negotiations in Lima – commencing in less than a week from…
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Why do the LDCs seek mitigation-focused INDCs?

Mitigation

During the ADP 2-6 meetings in Bonn last week, the Party negotiating groups seemed to be fragmenting, or perhaps undergoing realignment. (See our October 27 reflections on the overall meeting.) An interesting example is what appears to be a difference between the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group and the rest of the developing country groups…
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Are deserts carbon sinks?

desert

Can arid regions – specifically deserts – act as carbon sinks?  This study, led by Professor David Evans of Washington State University and published in the current edition of Nature Climate Change, offers this conclusion:  “Results provide direct evidence that CO2 fertilization substantially increases ecosystem C storage and that arid ecosystems are significant, previously unrecognized,…
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Another ‘tion pushing national climate change action: the corporation

BICEP Climate Declaration_9_18

Greenwire reports that activist investors will propose 142 shareholder resolutions asking corporations to strengthen their climate change commitments.  This list of resolutions covers greenhouse gas reductions, energy efficiency, deforestation, and water use.  The resolution campaign is led by 35 institutional investors, including public pension funds in New York, California, and Connecticut; labor groups like the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, and the International…
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Bring in the subs

subs coming in

As Lindsay chronicled here and here, COP19 officially acknowledged the importance of climate change mitigation and adaptation activity at the subnational level.  Even though the UNFCCC is premised on negotiation between nations (state parties), all involved recognize the groundswell of climate change laws and projects at the city and regional levels, where the rubber literally…
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Education: Planting the Seeds of Change

If you don’t change attitudes and behaviors and teach people what climate change is all about, we will keep having CoPs, but nothing will ever change. Education and training is the critical element to move action on climate change forward. -Veerle Vandeweerd, Director, UNDP Environment and Energy Group Education is key. It is a critical…
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