Friday, October 2nd, 2009
Article by Mridul Chadha appearing courtesy of Celsias.
In yet more positive news for international climate negotiations, India has announced that it is open to international review and reporting of its domestic mitigation measures.
The step is a colossal change in India’s policy and is seen as a major boost to the chances of successful negotiation of new climate deal at Copenhagen this December.
India has long maintained that it is bound to report results of only internationally funded clean energy projects. The issue of reporting and accounting of carbon emission reduced has been a contentious issue for a long time.
Thursday, October 1st, 2009
Article appearing courtesy of Yale Environment 360.
The Obama administration has announced it will use its regulatory powers to limit CO2 emissions from 14,000 major sources, a move that puts pressure on Congress to pass a climate bill and signals to other nations the U.S.’s willingness to slow global warming.
Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (at left), said her agency would begin regulating CO2 as a pollutant at coal-burning power plants, refineries, and big industrial complexes, which account for 70 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The EPA will initially use its authority to force these emitters to employ “best available technology” to implement energy-efficiency measures and reduce emissions, but eventually the agency could place emissions caps on these facilities.
“We are not going to continue with business as usual,” Jackson said. “We have the tools and the technology to move forward today, and we are using them.”
Thursday, October 1st, 2009
A couple of years after former Sierra Club President Adam Werbach founded ActNow, a sustainable business consultancy, he signed up Walmart as a client. This brought Werbach considerable notoriety in eco-activist circles. Walmart’s record of environmental responsibility had previously been spotty, to put it mildly. Werbach retorted to his critics that Walmart, with almost two million employees and 127 million customer visits per week, had the potential to do far more to save the world than the Sierra Club ever had.
I had the opportunity to visit Werbach’s company (now named Saatchi S) in San Francisco and attend a staff meeting. The participants sat on the floor and passed around a plate of organic banana bread. Yet despite the trappings of informality, the conversation had a focus, drive and ingenuity about it that I had rarely experienced in the non-profit world. The Saatchi staff certainly looked like the young, idealistic types whom I knew from environmental NGOs. But dropping a profit incentive into the motivational mix seemed to release a different level of creative zing.
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
Two U.S. senators will release on Wednesday a draft climate bill that calls for slightly higher greenhouse gas cuts by 2020 than an earlier version approved by the House of Representatives, but that also includes provisions designed to ease the financial burden of cap-and-trade legislation on business and industry.
The bill unveiled by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) calls for a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2020, as opposed to a 17 percent cut in the House version.
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
Rapid population growth in the developing world does not significantly contribute to rising greenhouse gas emissions and focusing on the population explosion in poor countries diverts attention from the far more serious issue of over-consumption in rich countries, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by the International Institute for Environment and Development, analyzed population growth and CO2 emissions from 1980 to 2005 and concluded that rising populations in sub-Saharan Africa and other poor regions have had a negligible impact on global warming.
Friday, September 25th, 2009
In spite of the fact that President Obama is facing an uphill battle – in his own party – on domestic climate change legislation; and, with China taking every opportunity to hide behind their “developing” status, both the US and China used the UN General Assembly to ramp up rhetoric on climate change. To misquote the Bard, “methinks they doth protest too much.”
With every new splashy promise made, the December climate change conference in Copenhagen is threatening to become little more than a public relations event with little real concerted action. More climate talks are on the agenda for the G20 in Pittsburgh, but Obama and his team should avoid making the push for global leadership on climate change into a new breed of arms race because its a battle that the US cannot win.
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
Warning that the global climate threat could produce “an irreversible catastrophe,” President Obama told world leaders gathered at the United Nations that developed nations should take the lead in finding solutions, but that emerging countries must also be ready to act.
And while conceding that the economic recession has added to the challenge, he vowed that the U.S. “will meet our responsibility to future generations.”
Obama urged leaders to find a compromise as the world approaches global climate talks in Copenhagen in December.
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
The climate talks in Copenhagen will not be the final chance for the world to confront climate change, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said. And while the historic negotiations should produce meaningful results on greenhouse gas reductions, he said, negotiators should avoid unrealistic goals.
“You have to bring more people along,” he told reporters during a briefing in Vienna, “So don’t tee it up as now or never.”
World leaders will gather in December in hopes of crafting the successor to the Kyoto Protocol. While some developing nations want richer countries to cut CO2 emissions by 25 to 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, Chu said targets that are too aggressive would not likely be approved by U.S. lawmakers.
Friday, September 4th, 2009
The British Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in July unveiled a plan to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
In par with the 2007 IPCC recommendations and far beyond the United States’ and Europe’s goals on climate change mitigation, the United Kingdom is willing to act as leader in the fight on global warming ahead of the Copenhagen discussions in December.
This occurs as China is urging developed nations to cut their emissions by 40 percent by 2020 and as the 49 least developed countries (and many others) are demanding even more drastic cuts.
Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
The Indian government says the country’s carbon dioxide emissions will grow three to five times by 2031 as its economy expands and its population continues to soar from 1 billion to 1.5 billion people.
Government projections say CO2 emissions will increase from 1.4 billion tons last year to between 4 billion and 7.3 billion tons annually by 2031. India now produces about 5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Indian officials have rejected assertions by developed countries that India needs to rein its CO2 emissions, saying the country has the right to improve its standard of living and that per-capita emissions — expected to double by 2031 — will still remain comparatively low.