Farming for the Future: Climate Change and Food Security.

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The United Nations weather agency recently announced that the past five years have been the hottest on record, with increasing evidence showing that this is man-made climate change. Thus, the urgency for solutions increases here at COP22 where the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is meeting to discuss and improve climate change…
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Using the Paris Agreement to Incorporate Indigenous Peoples Knowledge into Climate Change Policies

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Panelists presenting today on indigenous peoples knowledge outlined land use and resource management practices adopted by indigenous peoples that are viable and sustainable approaches to climate change adaptation. To date, climate change approaches have focused largely on utilizing modern technologies and developing new technologies to the detriment of indigenous peoples. Panelists began by describing specific…
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The Role of On-Farm Rainwater Harvesting in Agriculture as an Adaptation to Climate Change

The countries most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change require creative, affordable, and sustainable solutions to adaptation. Especially in the agriculture sector, these countries rely on local knowledge to develop and implement adaptation solutions. Today, a representative from World Vision Kenya (WVK) presented four technologies that drought-prone Kenya utilizes to harvest rainwater for…
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The Paris Agreement’s Debut: Priorities at CMA1

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On October 5, 2016, the Paris Agreement passed the threshold required to go into force on November 4, 2016. Over 55 Parties to the Convention have submitted their instruments of ratification, accounting for over 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the…
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Marathon Oral Arguments Whisper Victory for the Clean Power Plan

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On September 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard nearly seven hours of oral arguments that, on their face, bode well for the Clean Power Plan (Plan) and for the United States’ contribution to the Paris Agreement. EPA published its ambitious emissions guidelines for the Plan on October 23, 2015—and on…
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Women Dominate Leadership Positions for UN Climate Change Negotiations

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For the first time ever, women dominate the most influential positions for the UN Climate Change negotiations. This significant change in leadership comports with the Preamble of the Paris Agreement, which states, “[p]arties should when taking action to address climate change, promote and consider their respective obligations…gender equality [and] empowerment of women.” Significantly, Christiana Figueres, affectionately nicknamed the…
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UK, Japan act on their Paris climate pledges

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The United Kingdom and Japan have taken steps this week to bring their international climate change commitments into national law. Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom announced this week that the UK would take the domestic action needed to reach the net-zero emissions by 2050 goal pledged in Paris at COP21 just three months ago.  The first step is a bill to amend the…
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Après COP

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Much has been written about the COP21 outcome during the last two weeks.  Most of the popular press has focused on whether the Paris Agreement accomplished the UNFCCC Parties’ intended goals.  If these goals turn exclusively on agreeing to explicit targets for staying within a 2C warming limit (akin to the Kyoto Protocol), then COP21 doesn’t measure up. (E.g. James…
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Nations in ‘Glass Houses’: The Rules of Transparency

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While not as publicly flashy as the issue of ambition, transparency received a good deal of attention during the negotiations that brought us to the Final Agreement in Paris on Saturday. Parties had to come to a consensus about how exposed their internal policies and actions would be to scrutiny. This is a key point,…
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No Red Lines, But a Green Light for Adaptation and Loss and Damage

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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 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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Climate Justice may be Blind, but it isn’t Mute.  

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Several concepts and phrases have been bantered around for inclusion in the Paris Outcome document. Most of it centers on the differences between the wealthy nations and those who are not.  “It’s [the issues are] about differentiation, equity, and climate justice.” – India’s Environmental Minister – Prakash Javadekar. While much of the talk has centered…
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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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Fracking: COP21 as “the scoreboard, not the game”

Panel for Side Event on Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground: the International Movement to Ban Fracking

“If you’re looking for good way to heat up the earth fast, poke holes in the earth and let methane pour out.” This is how Bill McKibben of 350.org described hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at today’s side event on the international movement to ban fracking. Sandra Steingraber of EcoWatch pointed out how both methane and CO2…
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