Is this the EU’s time?

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In what was viewed as a surprise candidacy, Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s former defense minister, was elected president of the European Commission last week.  In a speech she gave just before the vote, von der Leyen laid out an unequivocal plan for EU leadership on climate change that includes: increasing the ambition of the…
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The Katowice Rulebook – and then some

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When the dust finally settled in Katowice in the wee hours of Sunday morning, December 16 – two days after COP24 was slated to conclude – a fair chunk of the needed Paris Agreement implementation guidelines were agreed on in COP decision. Much was written about the outcomes right after. All point to the progress…
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COP24: Getting to not no

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Multilateralism aims to forge agreement among countries to solve problems that span sovereign borders. Achieving success requires careful balancing of the number of participants with the strength of their commitments and their willingness to  enforce them. In tackling climate change, we see this triad playing out differently between the UNFCCC (197 Parties, qualitative and not…
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Day 1 (?) at COP24

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Today began with the typical pomp and circumstance of a climate change Conference of Party (COP). Cultural symbolism, music, and speeches dominated COP24’s official opening ceremony and “high level segment,” where heads of government and state gave national statements about their achievements and aspirations. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres challenged the Paris Agreement parties to find…
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Local climate data at your finger tips

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The scientists at Climate Analytics – the ones that gave us the invaluable Climate Action Tracker (CAT) – have done it again. They have taken the global research and stats featured in the IPCC’s reports and scaled them down to more locally understandable and useful info. Thus far they have developed four online tools that allow…
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IPCC 1.5C Report: Not drastic enough?

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Drastic.  Dire.  Painful.  Worse than expected.  That’s how the media greeted last week’s release of the IPCC’s analysis of the impact of a 1.5C vs. 2C degree increase in global atmospheric temperature. As our blog has analyzed already, the IPCC’s report offers pathways for avoiding some of the climate change consequences likely at a 2C degree rise…
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US sinks to new low in climate change ambition

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In 2015, the United States submitted an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) that committed the country to doing its fair share to keep the global temperature from increasing beyond “well below 2C.” In it, the US specifically promised that it “intends to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 per cent…
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Disappearing wetlands and climate change

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Deforestation has long been noted as a driver of global warming.  Burning acres of tree cover to produce grazing land emits CO2 into the atmosphere. Simultaneously, those missing forests can no longer act as a reservoir to soak up CO2 emitted by energy production, transportation, and manufacturing. Now, a new report of the Ramsar Convention —…
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The public health crisis that is climate change

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The Lancet, the leading global health journal, just came out with a searing report on how climate change affects public health. “Climate change is happening, and it’s a health issue today for millions worldwide,” said Anthony Costello, a co-chairman of the commission that produced the report. Based on research done at 26 universities and intergovernmental organizations around the world, the Lancet report…
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Seeing is believing

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The poll numbers on the U.S. electorate’s perceptions of climate change have changed over the years. After the most recent spate of tropical storms out of the Atlantic, a new poll by Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 68% of Americans think weather disasters seem to be worsening.  Moreover, almost all of this…
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A solar high

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According to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar power was the fastest-growing source of new energy in 2016, beating out all other energy sources, including coal. New solar capacity increased by 50% globally in 2016, with China accounting for almost half of this expansion. Despite current uncertainty about renewable energy policy in the United States, the US is still…
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UK clean energy milestone

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The United Kingdom generated 100% of its power from sources other than coal last Friday.  This day made history, the first time since 1882 that the UK had not relied on coal for electricity production for a continuous 24 hours. National Grid spokesman Sean Kemp told the New York Times that this marks “a kind of end of an era.”  Coal consumption…
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