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Blog Posts: international climate policy

  • Transport at the Forefront of COP19 Climate Change Agenda

    Last month, SLoCaT and the Bridging the Gap Initiative (BtG) led a partnership of 15 additional co-organizers to host Transport Day 2013 at the nineteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 19) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). EMBARQ, the sustainable urban transport and planning program of the World Resources Institute, was one of the 15 co-organizers of the event.

    This year’s COP was held in Warsaw, Poland, from November 11 to November 22, 2013. Transport Day was November 17, marking the first time an entire day at COP has been dedicated to transport, and underscoring the importance of engaging the transport sector in addressing climate change.

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  • 2 Big Issues to Tackle as the Green Climate Fund Sets Up Shop

    The world will need to spend an estimated US$5.7 trillion annually in green infrastructure by 2020 in order to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees C. This week, it took a step toward creating an institution – the Green Climate Fund – that will be pivotal in achieving this goal.

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  • COP 19 Made Small Steps Forward, but We Need Bolder Leaps

    This year’s climate negotiations in Warsaw, Poland (COP 19) were a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the summit’s outcomes were dramatically out of step with the level of action needed to solve the climate change problem. A tempting metaphor for the talks was the national stadium in which they were held– one could go around in endless circles in search of the right location.

    On the other hand, the Warsaw COP did achieve the incremental outcomes needed to move the process forward. Negotiators put in place a work plan for securing an international climate agreement at COP 21 in Paris in 2015. The COP also made progress on scaling up climate finance and addressing the difficult issue of loss and damage, a process for addressing climate impacts that are difficult or impossible to adapt to. These are small but important steps toward bringing countries out of their repetitive, circular discussions and closer to agreeing collectively on how to address global climate change.

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  • Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Fossil Fuels and Cement Reach Highest Point in Human History

    We already know the world’s carbon budget is being exhausted at an alarming pace, but a new scientific assessment reveals just how sobering the picture of the global carbon cycle truly is.

    The Global Carbon Project’s (GCP) 2013 report finds that at the precise time emissions reductions are needed most, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from burning fossil fuels and producing cement have reached their highest level in human history.

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  • Business and Government Must Come Together for Strong Climate Action

    It’s time for businesses and governments to step up to the climate challenge and match words to actions.

    This week at the annual international climate talks in Warsaw, companies, policymakers, and civil society participated in an event to deepen business engagement on climate policy. Such interaction could not have come at a more critical time.

    Global emissions are on the rise. And last year, climate and extreme weather events alone cost $200 billion.

    The world clearly needs to accelerate its response to the climate challenge. Businesses and governments need to work together constructively to raise the level of action and ambition. That means policymakers step up to provide a strong market signal and support, while companies come to the table with clear, public, constructive input.

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  • 4 Issues to Watch as COP 19 Wraps Up

    As the UN climate meetings (COP 19) in Warsaw, Poland get down to serious business in their second week, the world beyond the negotiations looms large – both with challenges and with promise. It’s an important reminder of the stakes inside the negotiating venue.

    Inside the negotiating rooms, things kicked into a higher gear yesterday. The co-chairs put forward a negotiating text laying out the key issues for establishing a new climate action agreement in 2015 (under the Durban Platform). Over the next several days, negotiators will grapple with four key issues.

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  • Unabated Coal Use Will Break World’s “Carbon Budget”

    While many people are traveling to Warsaw this week to participate in the international climate negotiations (COP 19), the city is also hosting another global conference: the International Coal and Climate Summit. It’s a troubling juxtaposition—coal contributes to 43 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it a major driver of climate change. In fact, a new statement released by leading scientists suggests that nearly three-quarters of fossil fuel reserves—especially coal—must remain unused if the world is to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. In other words, limiting sea level rise, extreme weather events, heat waves, and other climate impacts requires staying within world’s “carbon budget”—which doesn’t include unabated coal use.

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  • Adapting to Climate Change: The Private Sector’s Role

    Adapting to the impacts of climate change—like heat waves, increased floods, and natural disasters—is an enormous challenge. It’s also one that comes with an enormous price tag. Although it’s difficult to calculate the extent of the costs, the World Bank estimates that developing countries need $70 to $100 billion USD per year through 2050 to meet their current and future climate adaptation needs.

    The Climate Policy Initiative, however, estimates that in 2011, only $4.4 billion USD in adaptation finance went to developing countries. This leaves a gap of anywhere from $65.6 to $95.6 billion USD per year between what developing countries need and what developed nations are giving.

    So who can help fill this gap?

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  • Greater Expectations: 3 Actions for Companies to Take on Climate Policy

    As the risks that climate change poses to business becoming ever clearer, corporate executives are increasingly recognizing that policy action is essential. The Guide to Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy—from the U.N. Global Compact, U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, U.N. Environment Programme, World Resources Institute, CDP, WWF, Ceres, and The Climate Group—for the first time establishes a shared, practical definition of responsible corporate engagement. The new guide details three essential steps businesses can take to effectively engage in climate policy.

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  • 3 Ways to Make Progress on Climate Finance at COP 19

    Strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change’s impacts will be costly, so success at COP 19 hinges on making progress on climate finance. It’s important that negotiators pursue three actions: scaling up adaptation finance; developing pathways to secure $100 billion in climate finance by 2020; and moving the Green Climate Fund forward.

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