A New Dawn

King Mohammed VI of Morocco, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, COP 22 President Salaheddine Mezouar, and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa wait to greet arriving dignitaries to the first meeting of the UNFCCC under the Paris Agreement.

One year ago, parties to the UNFCCC signed the Paris Agreement, expecting it to come into force over the next four years as individual nations went through the slow process of ratification. To everyone’s surprise, the requisite number of nations ratified it, and as of November 4, the Paris Agreement officially came into force. Today,…
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US millennial voters and COP21 pledges

millennial vote

As the United States works through the nomination process for its next president, opinion polls are tracking how voters prioritize climate change when casting their ballots.  Right now national US climate change law and policy rests primarily on federal executive action (as chronicled in President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan and this 2015 progress report on it).  With the…
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Will the Dark Cloud Over EPA’s Clean Power Plan Rain on Paris?

Powerplant.iStock

Last month, EPA published the Clean Power Plan (CPP), the most ambitious and controversial rulemaking in the history of the Clean Air Act, and set off a flurry of litigation as many Republican lawmakers urged states to challenge the rule. The Clean Power Plan is EPA’s first attempt to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing…
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Behind the scenes of the US-China negotiations

john podesta in green

Rolling Stone recently published this intriguing backstory of the US-China climate change announcement made just two weeks before COP20 kicked off in Lima, Peru.  The bilateral conversation started last February with a phone call from U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern to his Chinese counterpart, followed up by a private letter to President Xi…
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California’s role in the US INDCs

jerry brown

Lima’s “Call for Climate Action,” as the COP20/CMP10 decisions have been termed, is one for the 196 UNFCCC state parties to heed when preparing their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) before next December’s COP21. Given that only sovereign countries may be parties to treaties like the UNFCCC, and that most of them rely on a centralized government model of governance, COP discussions on…
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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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Legal enough?

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In the run up to next week’s special meeting of the ADP, the United States is publicly setting out its negotiation agenda. In a speech on Monday at Yale University, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern indicated the country’s position on the meaning of “legal” in the ADP’s mandate to produce “a protocol, another legal instrument…
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New appointment to Obama’s CC team

john podesta

Will John Podesta’s transition from a White House “outside advisor” to an official “inside advisor” have an impact on the next round of ADP discussions coming up in March, 2014? As this Grist article notes, Podesta is a veteran political insider, having served both the Clinton and Obama administrations before taking up his position at…
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