Welcome to Day 1 of COP20/CMP10

The VLS COP20/CMP10 observer delegation is on the ground in Lima, Peru. We arrived in time to spend Sunday settling into our Miraflores apartment and neighborhood; travel to the COP venue across town on the COP20 transit system; get our credentials and take a team photo; and meet with our service learning partner, the Myanmar…
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Fossil Fuel Subsidies – The (Overfed) Elephant in the Room?

Many have advocated for years to scale back or eliminate subsidies for oil, gas, and coal, including powerful international fora like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations. And, multiple subsidy reform efforts have been undertaken through various avenues of international cooperation. Yet these subsidies have actually grown around the world….
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Mapping resilience

As delegates begin arriving in Lima for the start of COP20/CMP10 on Monday, a new report from the Royal Society underscores the need for more urgency in climate change mitigation negotiations.  The Royal Society, which was founded in 1660 and serves as the United Kingdom’s independent scientific academy, released today Resilience to Extreme Weather, which…
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Sausage-making on a Global Level

 As the first Chancellor of Germany and acknowledged master of complex politics, Otto von Bismark, is known to have said, “To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.” Yet when thinking about arriving at the UNFCCC COP20 negotiations in Lima – commencing in less than a week from…
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Spotlight on India at COP20

“We have forgotten to live with nature,”  India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, told a group of school kids in September.  Urging them to conserve electricity by switching off fans and lights when not in use and turning off tap water when brushing teeth, he connected energy use with climate change impacts.  Modi wrote a 2011…
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Nations Commit $9.3 Billion Towards Climate Action: Is it enough?

Yesterday international leaders pledged $9.3 billion towards the United Nations (UN) Green Climate Fund (Fund) at the first Pledging Conference in Berlin, Germany. Formally established in Cancun in 2010, the Fund aims to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change. In this way, the capital would help those countries least to blame for, but…
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Conservative Backlash to the U.S.– China Climate Agreement

The United States–China climate change agreement announced this Wednesday already faces strong resistance in the U.S.  As detailed here, the U.S. and China, which combine to produce nearly half of the world’s emissions, struck a deal to strengthen their reduction commitments. The U.S., which has already pledged to reduce emissions by 17 percent below 2005…
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US-China Climate Change Deal

The New York Times reported tonight on a “landmark agreement” announced by President Obama and President Xi Jinping at the end of the Pacific Rim conference taking place in Beijing.  This bilateral climate change agreement includes new U.S. targets for carbon emissions reductions and a first-ever commitment by China to stop its emissions from growing by 2030.  The…
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“The choice is in our hands”

After spoilers and seven years of waiting since the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the full Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) was accepted and its final piece (the Synthesis Report) was approved on November 1, 2014. The Synthesis Report integrates the findings of the three 2013-2014 IPCC working group reports: physical basis for…
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Why do the LDCs seek mitigation-focused INDCs?

During the ADP 2-6 meetings in Bonn last week, the Party negotiating groups seemed to be fragmenting, or perhaps undergoing realignment. (See our October 27 reflections on the overall meeting.) An interesting example is what appears to be a difference between the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group and the rest of the developing country groups…
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Bridge building 101: ADP in Lima

IISD’s final wrap of ADP2-6 came out in yesterday’s ENB.  Summarizing the session’s progress on its three priorities — the content of INDCs, more development of the Paris agreement’s elements, and a decision on enhancing pre-2020 ambition — the reporting service also expressed concern about the slow pace of the meeting and its impact on December’s negotiations in Lima. …
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The road from Bonn to Lima (by way of Copenhagen this week)

Looking back on last week’s ADP2-6 special session, it would be easy to echo the notes of pessimism that pervaded Saturday’s press reports.  RTCC (Responding to Climate Change) commented after last Thursday’s stocktaking session that “much work remains” in the session’s last two days and noted the frustrated ADP Co-Chairs “offering government negotiators a stern reality check.”…
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Can social media offer a voice and a virtual seat at the climate change table?

It is estimated that one in four people worldwide use some form of social media. While this statistic may cause concern among some populations, should climate change advocates around the world rejoice in this? According to news about Instagram , the International Center of Photography  is working hard to bring climate change front and center…
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