Adaptation and Gender Issues

gender-overview-mainArticle 7 of the Paris Agreement sets the global goal of enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response to climate change.

Section 7.5 of the Paris Agreement further clarifies that adaptation action should follow a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems, and should be based, on local knowledge systems, among other things, with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant socioeconomic and environmental policies and actions.

Today at COP24, two side events—Advancing Gender Equality through National Adaptation Plan processes: A straightforward consideration or a complex challenge? and The Global Adaptation Goal and the Importance of Gender Transformative Resilience Finance—emphasized that National Adaptation Plan (“NAP”) processes need to be developed and implemented in a gender responsible manner, pursuant to the Paris Agreement.

In 2017-2018, the NAP Global Network prepared a report entitled Towards Gender-Responsive National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Processes: Progress and Recommendations for the Way Forward, in the general context of having a better understanding of how developing countries are integrating gender considerations in the NAP processes (the “NAP Global Network Report”). CCAFS-and-Platform-Webinar

In its report, the NAP Global Network reiterated the recent decisions under the UNFCCC that have emphasized the significant linkages between climate action and gender equality (e.g. the 2014 Lima Work Programme on Gender and Climate Change). In 2015-2016, the UNFCCC recognized that the NAP process is an opportunity to integra_group_of_women_plant_paddy_rice_seedlings_in_a_field_near_sekong_2_1ate gender consideration. More generally, it further highlighted that gender equality is recognized as a universal human right and is at the center of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

It is important that NAP processes integrate socio-cultural issues such as gender in order to be effective. As pointed out by the NAP Global Network Report, work has been done on that front in many countries, but there are still many challenges in order to be able to do so successfully.

More specifically, the Report indicates that many countries have made an effort to integrate gender considerations in their NAP documents. However, certain obstacles in integrating gender issues in adaptation measures exist, such as institutional barriers which can limit dialogue and collaboration between gender and climate adaptation actors; information gaps, including sex-disaggregated data related to climate impacts and adaptation needs; and gender analysis of adaptation options, barriers and opportunities.

The NAP Global Network made a series of recommendations to stakeholders who are called to develop and implement NAPs including:

  • Committing to a gender-responsive NAP process going forward gender_crosscutting
  • Using the NAP process to enhance institutional linkages between climate change adaptation and gender equality
  • Improving gender balance in NAP-related institutional arrangements
  • Undertaking gender-balanced and inclusive stakeholder engagement for NAP processes
  • Using gender analysis and stakeholders’ inputs efficiently

The NAP Global Network Report also underlines that investments in country capacity building on gender adaptation need to be more significant.


Adaptation and GCF at the Koronivia Workshop

Today was our delegation’s first day at COP24 in Katowice, Poland. The experience was a whirlwind. We all were figuring out where to go for meetings, identifying who was speaking for each Party, and how to best soak in all the activities of COP. We attended sessions in our area of expertise, and sometimes those sessions overlapped areas of expertise. The Koronivia Workshop was such a program with an overlap between adaptation and agriculture.

The Koronivia workshop was split into sessions: morning and afternoon. Both sessions included adaption and financing discussions. Presenters offered a PowerPoint about projects in their respective countries. The agenda can be found here.

At the end of the afternoon session, countries and NGOs were able to contribute to an open discussion. The Co-Facilitators opened the floor to discuss three questions about the constituted bodies (CBs), useful modalities to implement outcomes from the workshops, and future topics that may arise from the outcomes. Suggestions from the countries were helpful and constructive, but there was no decision made on how to proceed. Check the blog tomorrow for more specific answers given to the above questions from our ag expert, Liz.

One concerning question was raised about the role of the GCF. A GCF representative was present; however, GCF did not give a formal presentation because the workshop was focused on Parties and CBs. The GCF is not a CB, so its role in Koronivia is not mandatory. But the GCF representative stated that many projects currently funded by the GCF are agriculture focused and expressed that the GCF will continue to fund similar programs. GCF addressed concerns about their funding process. GCF guided all Parties to provide more information about their projects to develop tailor-made funding efforts. GCF can, and will, support climate resilient agriculture. Each country needs to request to funding in order for funds to be dispersed to their project.

The workshop concluded with the announcement that there will be an informal consultation on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, at noon to discuss some issues that were not addressed during this workshop. For information on the first session, and an overview of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, please see this blog post.


New Global Commission on Adaptation

On October 16th, 2018, a new Global Commission on Adaptation (the “Commission”)—led by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva—was launched in the Hague.

Tclimate_change_67he Commission’s main purpose is to enhance the visibility and political importance of climate change adaptation by focusing on solutions, catalyzing the global adaptation movement and accelerating actions in various areas—with special attention on ensuring that support reaches the most vulnerable—including:

  • Climate-resilient food and rural livelihood security;
  • Resilient cities;
  • Ecosystem-based solutions;
  • Adaptation finance;
  • Resilient global supply chains;
  • Climate-resilient infrastructure; and
  • Climate-resilient social protection.

It intends to demonstrate that climate change adaptation is not only essential, but can also improve human well-being and lead to better and more sustainable economic development. The Commission also seeks to emphasize that the costs of adapting to climate change are lower than those economies will face if they continue with a business-as-usual approach.

watch-livestream-adaptation-commisionCountries participating and supporting the Commission include Canada, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, China, India, South Africa, Indonesia and the UK. The Commission is supported by a Secretariat at the World Resources Institute (in Washington DC) and by the Global Centre for Adaptation (in the Hague) as well as by a group of scientific experts worldwide, who will prepare background documents on various aspects of climate change adaptation.

As reported in the media, members of the Commission will also visit different countries for consultations in order to produce a report to be presented to the current Secretary General of the UN António Guterres at the Global Climate Summit in New York in September 2019.

 


The Log-istics of Carbon Dioxide Removal

Trees are the coolest source of CO2 Removal on the planet.

http://www.climatechangenews.com/2012/10/26/conservation-or-carbon-sinks-can-the-un-see-the-forest-for-the-trees/

Trees and vegetation are known to help cool ambient air temperatures through evapotranspiration.  If left undisturbed, forests can also be a vital source of carbon storage.  Estimates from the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA 2015) show that the world’s forests and other wooded lands store more than 485 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon: 260 Gt in the biomass, 37 Gt in dead wood and litter, and 189 Gt in the soil.

In the most recent IPCC Special Report Summary for Policymakers (SPM), the world’s leading climate scientists assess the pathways the global community can pursue over the next few decades to prevent overshoot ofScreen Shot 2018-10-08 at 3.58.11 PM warming beyond 1.5°C.  The fact that all pathways to limit global warming to 1.5°C require mitigation via some form of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) is not to be overlooked. But these removal amounts vary across pathways, as do the relative contributions of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and removals in the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector.  BECCS sequestration is projected to range from 0-1, 0-8, and 0-16 GtCO2/yr, in 2030, 2050, and 2100 respectively; the AFOLU-related measures are projected to remove 0-5, 1-11, and 1-5 GtCO2/yr in these years.  These contributions appear meager, and they are… but every little bit counts in this climate.

A reasonable argument can be made for increased investment in and use of CCS to achieve emissions reductions.  The SPM makes it clear that forests alone won’t be able to make a significant numerical difference in reduction of CO2 from the atmosphere.  And as the New York Times aptly points out, “the world is currently much better at cutting down forests than planting new ones.”

On the surface, CCS seems like a logical outgrowth from the nature of GHG emissions production.  The IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Capture and Storage (SRCCS) describes CCS as a mitigation activity that Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 11.37.30 PMseparates CO2 from large industrial and energy-related point sources, which has the potential to capture 85-95% of the CO2 processed in a capture plant.  Direct Air Capture (DAC) technologies like ClimeWorks remove CO2 from the air. Proponents argue that DAC is a much less land-intensive process than afforestation: Removal of 8 Gt/CO2 would require 6.4 million km² of forested land and 730 km³ of water, while DAC would directly require only 15,800 km² and no water.

However, as our blog has cautioned readers in the past, CCS requires significant financial investments from industry and government and are only regionally accessible.  Only places that have sufficient infrastructure and political support can pursue this path of technological sequestration, leaving underdeveloped countries at a major disadvantage.  A recent report published in Nature Research further emphasizes that BECCS will have significant negative implications for the Earth’s planetary boundaries, or thresholds that humanity should avoid crossing with respect to Earth and her sensitive biophysical subsystems and processes.  Transgressing these boundaries will increase the risk of irreversible climate change, such as the loss of major ice sheets, accelerated sea level rise, and abrupt shifts in forest and agricultural systems.  Above all else, CCS ultimately supports the continual burning of fossil fuels. CCS technology may capture carbon, but it also has the potential to push us over the edge.

Money tree

Mitigation has historically been the focus of the FCCC and other collaborative climate change efforts.  Global climate change policy experts are familiar with the binding language associated with activities related to mitigation in the multilateral environmental agreements: Article 4(1)(b) of the Convention calls for commitments to formulate, implement, publish and update national programs containing measures to mitigate climate change; and Article 3 of the Kyoto Protocol (KP) calls for Annex I Parties to account for their emissions reductions in order to promote accountability and activity guided by mindful emissions production.  In the waning hours of the KP, the Paris Agreement has become the new collective rallying document, whose ambitious emissions reduction target has inspired the likes of the IPCC to offer us pathways to get there.

If we are not currently on track towards limiting GHG emissions well-below 2°C in the grand scheme of the FCCC, why not insure some success, however small, buy securing CO2 in forests, not CCS?  Forests are a well-established CDR technology that do not have the associated risks with CCS.  While the most recent UN Forum on Forests report kindly reminds us that forests are also crucial for food, water, wood, health, energy, and biodiversity, the SPM upholds that mitigation contributions from carbon sequestration technology are numerically minuscule in the face of the large-scale change necessary to avoid CO2 overload.  A much more engaged energy overhaul is needed.

The ideal SPM pathScreen Shot 2018-11-15 at 11.10.17 PMway states that afforestation can be the only CDR option when social, business, and technological innovations result in lower energy demand and a decarbonized energy system.  A more middle-of-the-road scenario achieves necessary emissions reductions mainly by changing the way in which energy and products are produced, and to a lesser degree by reductions in demand.  This speaks to the need for a broad focus on sustainable development rather than continuing business as usual.  Regardless of the pathway, forests need to be preserved, whether it be for carbon sequestration, their cooling effects, or merely beauty.

Sometimes there is no turning back.


Adaptation Communication Website: Broken Links

A key focal point of the Pabroken linkris Agreement (PA) that came out of COP21 was the issue of transparency. While the Kyoto Protocol (KP) created the mechanisms for mitigation and eventually adaptation, it wasn’t until the Paris Agreement that accountability was implemented so that Parties would reach their proposed contributions. For the first few years of the UNFCCC, adaptation was not a major focus. Instead, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions retained the majority of the negotiator’s time. But now that adaptation has received it’s due from the Marrakesh Accords, Parties found it worthwhile in the Paris Agreement to emphasize transparency of adaptation communication. Article 7 of the PA  focuses on adaptation and paragraph 10 and 12 of that article discuss the creation of a public registry to house adaptation communications. One might think the formation of a website would be of little concern to countries, but the implications of this website run through numerous items that countries find of value.

afr-modernizing-meteorological-services-to-build-climate-resilience-across-africa-780x439Article 4 of the Paris Agreement calls for the creation of a nationally determined commitments (NDCs) registry where countries can deposit iterations of their documents. This language closely follows the language in the Art. 7 public registry mandate and several countries have taken up the torch of proposing the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI)  combine the two registries. These countries claim that by combining the two registries they would be more economical and draw the distinction between mitigation. Within NDCs there is already a section labeled adaptation for most countries; this section states what countries intend to implement in to improve their resilience to climate change. These adaptation plans usually require some form of funding, which can be acquired through direct donations from countries and organizations or application through the Adaptation Fund or Green Climate Fund. Most developing countries want to draw that clear line between their adaptation and mitigation, especially because the focus in most developed countries is on mitigation.

The counterargument, though, is that adaptation communications deserve their own repository. NDCs compromise one complete document. There is currently an interim NDC registry to house the NDCs that have already been submitted by the 169 Parties that have ratified the Paris Agreement. This interim NDC registry is a placeholder for the permanent registry currently undergoing negotiations at COP23 under the SBI. This repository houses one document per country, and only one. Opponents to the one registry plan argue that adaptation communications involve numerous documents, would be updated frequently, and are of a more complex nature than an NDC. In sum, the website would lose transparency and undermine the mandate from the Paris Agreement. Concerns also arose from the unbalanced progression of the NDC registry in comparison as the facilitators of the discussion are already promulgating an informal note to sum the takeaways from negotiations. The Parties in the adaptation registry, on the other hand, refused to agree upon the promulgation of an informal note because of the complete lack of points of convergence. Developed countries and developing countries sticking to their sides with no intention of crossing the divide.
AOR_6There was, however, a light at the end of the tunnel. In a session today, Canada proposed a series of compiled ideas from both sides that would lead to further discussion. While this didn’t lead to an informal note, it created a more facilitative discussion that laid more points of divergence on the table that countries could address. The hope is that these ideas will lead to one idea that reflects the numerous ideas of the Parties, drawing a clear link between mitigation and adaptation and fixing the broken communications.


Adaptation and Climate Resilience – Help Wanted

climate_change_adaptationA recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) half-day seminar – Climate Change Adaptation Investments and Measuring Effectiveness – considered a pressing suite of interrelated issues. As Timmons Roberts of Brown University (one of the moderators) stated, “[t]his seminar is not an academic exercise.” Developing countries urgently need climate change adaptation help and they want and need to know if the commitments from developed countries are being met.

Their concerns go back to a key premise for the Paris Agreement (PA) – developing countries agreeing to compromise their own fossil fuel industrialization (a faster, less expensive path toward poverty reduction than leaping over it into renewables) in exchange for the promise of greater support for both mitigation and adaptation. This weighed heavily last month in Marrakech, especially with release of the controversial Climate Finance “Roadmap” by a subset of OECD countries just before the climate conference. In addition to objections to the Roadmap’s methodology (we touched on this here), the much greater support documented so far for mitigation over adaptation flew directly in the face of the balance between the two that had served as another “ground rule” for achieving PA consensus.Tracking-Climate-Finance-400x264

With that backdrop, this NAS seminar featured academic, investment, agency, and civil society perspectives from around the world that explored:

  • How adaptation action is counted, financed and evaluated, including in the context of climate resilient development;
  • The challenges of adaptation investment decision-making within competing and sometimes overlapping contexts (e.g., the relationships of strict criteria to vulnerability reduction to resilience building, and of adaptation finance to climate finance to development finance); and
  • How the effectiveness of adaptation activities and resilience building can and should be measured.ccrc_wordcloud

The discussion helped illuminate an evolution of terminology, concepts and experience at the intersection of adaptation science, practice and policy. The response to climate change is no longer just about mitigation and adaptation. The PA’s purpose (laid out in Article 2) clearly broadens that response to include climate resilience, while also omitting “adaptation” from the language on finance flows (i.e., making them “consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development”).

This evolution is confounding decision-making around support and evaluation, which is in turn impacting the accounting of adaptation finance and the capacity of on-the-ground communities to adequatefieldly deal with climate change.

These are a few of the key takeaways drawn from the robust presentations and discussion:

  • The ultimate goal is that of reducing vulnerability, and the strategy is to build dynamic climate resilience (not just resilience to a certain set of conditions). Thus, resilience, as a goal, should be embedded into adaptation interventions/projects of every kind, with regular reviews tied to the results of resilience building activities.
  • A shared system of resiliency principles is needed to guide financial support and implementation, as opposed to a unified definition of adaptation (as crafted by a cadre of multi-lateral development banks) or a host of different definitions (currently being utilized by a broad set of agencies).
  • There is no convergence across the wide-ranging landscape of indicators of success and their associated metrics; but tapping other fields (e.g., evaluation) and establishing linkages between developers and implementers can significantly address this issue.
  • Lessons to date point to adopting flexible adaptation pathways and success indicators that: a) account for all system resources (economic and non-), and b) rely on iterative, stakeholder-sensitive decisions over time (built-in learning, decision-making under uncertainty).

Let’s hope these and other lessons rapidly translate into credible, applicable guidance capable of assuring finance support accountability and long-term effectiveness of on-the-ground interventions. Developing countries need both.


Caught on the Front Lines of Climate Change

In an event hosted today by WOCAN (Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management), six inspiring women shared their stories of community, loss, and leadership. The panel was comprised of women from diverse and remote regions of the world, including a Native American of the Ponca Nation, a representative from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a Quechua-speaking native of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and several leaders of global non-profit organizations. All of these women came to COP21 with the same message: the voices of women and indigenous peoples are essential to effectively addressing climate change.

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Panelists at today’s event, Global Women & Indigenous Peoples on the Frontline of Climate Solutions: Forests & Renewable Energy

Each of the panelists shared shockingly similar stories of their lives and their communities, highlighting their plight against the effects of climate change. Most indigenous communities contribute very little to climate change, yet feel the effects far more profoundly than the rest of the world. Women also face disproportionate impacts from climate change, indicating that this group had tremendous insight to offer from both perspectives. They had faced the direct impacts of climate change and had established innovative methods of addressing the associated problems. In the case of the Ponca Nation and the Amazonian natives, both groups are actively opposing resource extraction in their sacred ancestral lands. Women in Colombia are reclaiming land for traditional agricultural practices after years of protests allowed them to begin saving seeds again. Women in the DRC are creating carbon negative local economies by planting trees. By organizing their communities and utilizing traditional and institutional knowledge, they are developing robust, local solutions to climate change.

Nevertheless, a Paris agreement may not address these groups’ needs or their suggestions. There are currently four binding sections of the agreement that reference gender equality or the rights of indigenous people, and two of those references are bracketed. This means that the rights of indigenous people and women may not be adequately addressed in two important parts of the agreement (purpose and finance). Hopefully, this panel discussion, along with the other events associated with Gender Day, will encourage the negotiators to avoid this absurd result.


Celebrating Gender Day at COP21

Today is Gender Day at COP21. In celebration, the Women and Gender Constituency of the UNFCCC recognized the winners of the Gender Just Climate Solutions competition. These winners were celebrated for their great work combating climate change in a “gender-just” manner.

Photo Source: Island Eco

Photo Source: Island Eco

Island Eco from the Marshall Islands won the Technical Climate Solution Award for its work in training young women how to install solar photovoltaic DC refrigeration. Under this project, young rural women learn the electrical and mechanical skills needed to assemble, deliver, and install solar powered lights, refrigerators, and freezers in the Marshall Islands.

Next, the Non-Technical Climate Solution Award was presented to Gender CC – Women for Climate Justice for its efforts to raise awareness on gender integration in climate change adaptation and resiliency building activities in Southern Africa. Gender CC’s project connects women leaders, government officials, and NGOs to local women farmers in order to provide awareness training and capacity building skills concerning the installation of biogas digesters, PVC solar units, and water harvesting tanks.

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Photo Source: GenderCC

The final award was presented to Tulele Peisa of Papua New Guinea for its local relocation efforts, that are being led by the Carteret Islanders who face imminent extinction due to climate change impacts and increased numbers of extreme weather events on their home island. This project prepares and provides support to three communities on Bougainville in order to ensure there is adequate land, infrastructure, and economic opportunities for the Carteret Islanders when they choose to voluntarily relocate. The purpose of this project is to ensure that the Carteret culture and society continues to exist even after their home island becomes unlivable.

Ursula 2

Ursula Rakova was called upon by the Carteret Elders to lead Tulle Peisa. She accepted the award on behalf of Tulle Peisa. Photo Source: THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/Thin Lei Win

Overall, the Gender Just Climate Solution awards highlighted amazing groups led by inspiring women who are all working to ensure that climate change decision making provides equal access for both women and men to effectively participate and address local concerns caused by the effects of a changing climate.


Cities tackle climate change adaptation

st kjeld beforeIncluding subnational governments like cities in the UNFCCC discussions has been on the front burner since COP19 in Warsaw.  While only sovereign countries may enter treaties, State Parties recognize that achieving Article 2’s goal of climate stabilization will take effort from other governmental jurisdictions, as well as civil society and private businesses.

And so this article about the first climate change-adapted neighorhood stood out.  Not only is the engineering and landscape design feat recently unveiled in St.Kjeld intriguing, it is striking that this neighborhood is in Copenhagen, Denmark, site of the 2009 COP15, which launched the idea of nationally determined contributions that now forms the backbone of negotiation for the new Paris Agreement at COP21.

“Climate change is a reality and we have to be prepared for floods, storms and rising sea levels,” says René Sommer Lindsay, the city official in charge of St. Kjeld’s transformation. “The [2011] cloudburst was really a wake-up call. We said, ‘Instead of doing pinpoint projects, let’s develop a rainwater master plan.’ Rainwater is only a problem if it goes where you don’t want it to go.”

City planners tore up neighborhood squares and replaced the asphalt with a hilly, grassy carpet interspersed with walking paths. When the next big storm hits, these mini-parks will become water basins, able to collect run-off water from surrounding buildings’ roofs as well. Streets with raised sidewalks will become “cloudburst boulevards,” serving as canals that channel rainwater away from the city to the harbor.  In the meantime, the new greenery cools the air as summer temperatures rise in northern Europe.  “Climate change is a huge opportunity to build greener cities,” Flemming Rafn Thomsen of Tredje Natur, the Danish architecture firm chosen for the project, explains. “We should stop pushing nature away and stop pretending that we can push the weather away. It’s a whole new paradigm.”

Noting that a city like Mumbai, which the World Bank ranks as the world’s fifth most exposed to floods, may not be able to afford Copenhagen’s climate-change adaptation strategies, this article points out how many cities actually can. Seven of the 10 most exposed cities, including New York and Tampa, Florida, are located in developed countries. New York, which has committed $20 billion to climate-change adaptation, is opting for floodwalls, while the Dutch delta city of Rotterdam has gone even further, designing a plan for floating neighborhoods. Several others are experimenting with mini-parks, which Morten Kabell, Copenhagen’s deputy mayor in charge of environment and technology, credits to people liking “blue and green, not gray. Countries talk,” he adds, “but cities know they have to act.”


Intertwining National and International CC Policymaking at the CEQ

Yesterday we had the good fortune to have a small-group meeting with Mike Boots, Acting Head of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Initiated by our friends on the Duke Observer Delegation  to COP20/CMP10, this gathering gave the CEQ an opportunity to hear observations from us, a range of U.S. university and law school students engaged in the international climate change negotiations.  Likewise we gained perspective on the CEQ’s domestic and international climate change policymaking agenda.

After setting the foundation on the CEQ’s role in environmental advising to our envirIMG_5374onmentalist-in-chief (vs. the EPA’s  role in enviro law making and enforcement), Mike focused his remarks on the Obama Administration’s three-pronged climate change strategy laid out in the President’s Climate Action Plan (PCAP).  As explained earlier on this blog,   the legs of this stool are mitigation (“Cut carbon pollution in America”), resilience/adaptation (“Preparing the U.S. for the impacts of climate change”), and international leadership (“Lead international efforts to combat climate change”).

One take home message was clear: the U.S. cannot lead internationally without first getting its climate change mitigation act together domestically. To that end, after a marked period of state climate leadership from 2000-2008, Mike pointed out the progressive and deliberate tilt toward national policymaking.  Clear examples are the revised CAFÉ standards to mitigate emissions from the transport sector (first with cars, then with trucks) and a focus on reducing GHGs from buildings.  Building on first term successes, the White House seeks to turn to the more thorny regulation of electricity from coal-fired plants. The centerpiece of this effort is the EPA’s Clean Power Plan Rule, which after its promulgation last summer, received more than a million comments.  Viewed as “dispersed and flexible,” the draft rule was proposed at a “ripe time” fueled by developments on both coasts, like Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the east and the Pacific Coast Action Plan in the west.  As the CEQ phrased it, all of this “advice” on what the draft rule got right and where it can improve will now be considered as the EPA finalizes the rule and prepares to defend it in litigation – all by summer 2015.

IMG_5378Another message was legacy.  By developing a comprehensive strategy in PCAP and then gradually implementing it, the CEQ seeks to embed best practices that will prove “durable” after the Obama Administration leaves office.  Looking at the resilience/adaptation leg of the stool, the CEQ’s recent guidance for federal agencies when responding after natural disasters provides a good example of working toward this goal.  Learning from critiques of federal responses to Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, this report seeks to shift individual agency thinking toward building and rebuilding in stronger and safer ways.  Likewise the CEQ’s Climate Resilience Toolkit.

Given that the two dozen students and professors were talking with Mike Boots in a meeting room in the COP20/CMP10 venue, the Obama Administration’s international climate change agenda was on everyone’s minds, notably the US-China bilateral announcement covered by our blog herehere, and here which catapulted two of the world’s largest GHG emitters into climate change mitigation leaders just moments before coming to Lima.  Given the shift to nationally determined contributions in the 2015 agreement, the linking of national climate change policymaking with international negotiation is reflected in the CEQ’s staffing model.