Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
Delegates from developing nations at the Copenhagen conference were incensed after reading a leaked document purporting to show that a group of wealthy nations intends to sideline the UN in future climate change negotiations and place CO2 emissions restrictions on poorer nations.
The Guardian reported that the so-called “Danish text” — reputedly drafted by wealthy nations including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Denmark — would abandon the principles of the Kyoto Protocol requiring industrialized nations to commit to binding greenhouse gas emissions while poorer nations were not compelled to act. The draft text would hand control over financing climate change projects in the developing world to the World Bank and would make funds given to poorer nations for climate change adaptation contingent on those nations taking actions to reduce emissions.
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward in regulating greenhouse gas emission in the US from both mobile sources (principally autos and trucks) and stationary sources (industrial and power generation sources). The actions taken today support EPA in regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
[Yesterday], the US EPA Administrator signed two distinct findings regarding greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act:
Monday, December 7th, 2009
The UN Climate Change Conference opened in Copenhagen this morning, with conference President Connie Hedegaard of Denmark telling delegates from 192 nations that they must take action now or risk putting off for years a crucial agreement to curb global greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is our chance,” said Hedegaard, Denmark’s former minister for climate end energy. “If we miss it, it could take years before we get a new and better one — if we ever do.” After weeks of pessimistic forecasts about what the 12-day conference might accomplish, the mood among participants was more upbeat following news that U.S. President Obama will appear at the end of the conference and that China would agree to reduce by nearly half the so-called carbon intensity of its economy — the amount of energy used per unit of gross domestic product. Today’s opening session featured video clips from children around the world urging delegates to act to stave off catastrophic global warming. A 24-year-old from Fiji wept as she presented a petition from 10 million people asking the conference to forge a deal to save low-lying islands like hers from rising sea levels.
Monday, December 7th, 2009
This week, the international community launched another attempt at world governance around climate change. But in the lead-up to what has been called our last chance to mitigate the most severe consequences of human-induced climate change, a sputtering world economy, political anxiety, and legislative lethargy may have derailed the entire process before it even began. The goal now: hammer out the foundation for a later agreement. With the clock ticking, can we afford to wait?
What space junk teaches us is that we get down to the business of debating solutions only after the cause of the problem has had sufficient time to germinate and evolve into something far more insidious. Before climate change events reach a tipping point, however, we owe it to ourselves to revisit the enabling circumstances that precipitated it in the first place so that we can begin to enact smarter policies aimed at systemic change. Copenhagen must be that opportunity.
Saturday, December 5th, 2009
The average American produces three times the amount of CO2 emissions as a person in France. A U.S. journalist now living in Europe explains how she learned to love her clothesline and sweating in summer.
It was late and raining this summer when I approached the information desk at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport to inquire about how best to get into the city center. “The fastest is the train, but there are also busses,” the guide said.
“Are there taxis?” I inquired, trying hard to forget the reminders on the Arlanda website that trains are “the most environmentally friendly” form of transport, referring to taxis as “alternative transportation” for those “unable to take public transport.”
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
Only days after assuring the parliament that the government stands firm on the issue of opposing carbon emission targets, the Indian Environment and Forest Minister Mr. Jairam Ramesh announced in Beijing that his government could propose a target of reducing carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2030.
India’s move came after almost all advanced developing countries announced emission reduction targets, subject to foreign aid. China, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa have already announced plans to reduce their carbon outputs by using monetary help from developed countries. India has only announced a highly ambitious solar energy plan which aims to install a solar power capacity of 20,000 MW by 2030, up from current 6 MW.
Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europeans could help cut climate warming emissions to much safer levels for just 2 euros ($3) each per day, but they would also have to cut back on driving and meat eating, a report said Tuesday.
Other long-term changes would include using the train instead of flying for journeys of under 1,000 km, said the report by the Stockholm Environment Institute, commissioned by Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE).
The study targets a European cut in climate-warming emissions such as carbon dioxide to 40 percent below 1990 levels over the next decade.
“It’s not just about investment, it’s also about lifestyle changes,” said FOEE campaigner Sonja Meister. “This report shows one pathway that would see air travel in the EU cut by 10 percent by 2020 and travel in private cars by 4 percent.”
Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
Twelve years ago in Kyoto, the world was poised to act on a climate treaty but looked for a clear signal from the United States. Now, with the Copenhagen talks set to begin, the outcome once again hinges on what the U.S. is prepared to do.
President Obama took much of the drama out of the Copenhagen talks earlier this month when he and other world leaders announced that there’d be no treaty at the end — in essence, they said, we’ll wait for the U.S. Senate. Still, you can’t call off the party entirely, and so the planet’s climate scientists, bureaucrats, activists, skeptics and journalists will still descend on the Danish capital in a few days for a fortnight of meeting, marching, propounding, denying, and most of all spinning.
Monday, November 30th, 2009
Denmark, host of the upcoming climate summit, is proposing that global greenhouse gas emissions be cut by 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, with emissions peaking by 2020, according to Reuters.
A draft of the Danish proposal, now being circulated, said that to meet the 2050 target industrialized nations will have to slash emissions by 80 percent in the next 40 years.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said he hopes that the 192 nations at the climate summit will approve a five- to eight-page “politically binding” agreement that spells out emissions reduction commitments for each nation.
Saturday, November 28th, 2009
The upcoming climate negotiations in Copenhagen have highlighted an interesting dilemma. Nations worldwide are trying to shirk their responsibilities around emissions and their economies.
So called “developed” nations like the U.S., U.K., and Australia are having a difficult political time getting industries to swallow the fact that big changes need to happen. Industry needs to clean up its act. Of course, then the political dance begins:
- “But what about xyz country? Are they going to do it too?” Yes, yes, always point the finger somewhere else. Someone else should be the leader, start things off, too risky for us.
- “Developing countries should do their bit!” Undoubtedly the case, but perhaps those who have been polluting in droves since the start of the industrial revolution should take the first step.
- “But it will RUIN industry! It will be a calamity! Jobs destroyed! Lives ruined! We simply cannot afford to change!” Unfortunately, the same logic was used at one point to justify slavery, and many other sad practices. It is a classic technique used to frighten and scare people away from the real issue at hand. In this case, the cost of climate change will pale all other costs by comparison. Can we really take that risk?