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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Who Should Pick Up the Tab for Capacity-Building?

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It’s appreciated (or even expected) when the firm’s partner picks up the bill for a new associate, or when a professor treats his student to lunch. Those who are more established and financially secure tend to lend a helping hand to those still making their way in the world. Apparently, this concept does not hold…
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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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Where to Next? Climate-Induced Migration

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Today is human rights day at COP21. “Human Mobility and Climate Change” was a timely event that shined a light on climate-induced migration. Climate change drives human mobility, and is projected to further increase the displacement of populations. While migration is generally a voluntary movement, human mobility displacement occurs in situations where people are forced…
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Losing Loss and Damage? Or Will the Paris Agreement Adapt?

Source: GCCA

Last night marked the 4th meeting of the Comité de Paris, a group of ministerial leaders that carries out informal consultations “to make progress and facilitate compromise on the draft Paris Outcome and package of decisions transmitted to the COP by ADP.” At a meeting earlier in the day, COP President Laurent Fabius reported on…
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An Iceberg in Paris

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After a morning meeting with the Chair of the California Air Resources Board, VLS delegates happened upon a circle of icebergs in the shadows of the Panthéon. The “Ice Watch” installation has had its home in the center of Paris since the start of COP21. In October, artist Olafur Eliasson set out from the Nuuk,…
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Civil Society keeps the heat on for climate ambition

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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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We Didn’t Start the Fire

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Powerful images line the walls of the COP21 venue. They are meant to inspire delegates to reach an agreement on climate control. One such message reads: “Climate change is the single biggest thing that humans have ever done on this planet. The one thing that needs to be bigger is our movement to stop it.” There…
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Are State INDC Mitigation Pledges Strong Enough?

Image from http://www.unep.org/annualreport/2014/en/climate-change.html

  Today at COP21, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) hosted a joint presentation on the 2015 UNEP Emissions Gap Report. This sixth Emissions Gap Report was published in November 2015. The report assesses country mitigation commitments based off their submitted INDCs. Then it compares…
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Electric Vehicles: “It’s Almost an Intelligence Test”

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As delegates begin week two of negotiations, a panel of scientists and businesspeople opened a dialogue on electric vehicles (EV). These impressive individuals appeared at Le Bourget to discuss needed developments in automotive technology, consumer behavior, available infrastructure, and existing energy systems in the field of electro-mobility. Moderator Nigel Topping opened with an image of…
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“What would we tell our grandchildren if we fail?”

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron delivers a speech during the opening session of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015.   REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Today’s children and their future heirs have been getting a lot of airtime at COP21 as Parties and world leaders regularly invoke “our children, grandchildren, and future generations” in a call for immediate action on climate change. At the Leaders Event Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Prince of Wales, French President Francois Hollande,…
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The Secret Weapon Against Climate Change? Family Planning

Photo by Pippa Ranger/ UK Department for International Development

Family Planning may be the most cost-effective weapon against climate change. At least according to a new report from the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. According to the report, family planning could provide between 16 and 29 percent of the needed greenhouse gas emission reductions. Additionally, last year the Intergovernmental…
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Religion & Climate Change: How the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change Affects COP Negotiations

Photograph Credit: Islamic Relief

“Our species, though selected to be a caretaker or steward (khalifah) on the earth, has been the cause of such corruption and devastation on it that we are in danger [of] ending life as we know it on our planet.” Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change On August, 18th, 2015, a group of Muslim scholars,…
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Economic growth and climate change

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Each generation inherits a world that was created out of beliefs contemporary and relevant to a certain time. These beliefs affect prevailing values, values, which become embedded within the framework of decision-making. Often times, these values are based on beliefs that may no longer be understood, known or even correct. Nonetheless, they are transferred from…
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COP21: Threat to Public Policy?

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The European Union recently celebrated 30 years of the border-free Schengen Area, a crucial pillar of the European Single Market. Schengen cooperation guards the fundamental right of 400 million E.U. citizens to cross internal borders without being subjected to cumbersome border checks. This guarantee also applies to many non-EU nationals, cross-border commuters, and tourists. With…
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