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climate change

Making effective decisions in a changing climate

This piece originally appeared on the Bangkok Post website.

A third of Thailand is under water. Epic floods have taken people's lives, destroyed businesses and crops, and are now sweeping into Bangkok.

As the capital braces itself, some people are beginning to point fingers at various culprits: the unusually heavy rains possibly linked to climate change, ineffective communications within government, and poor infrastructure decisions.

Building the Climate Change Regime

Survey and Analysis of Approaches

This working paper seeks to identify concrete pathways for building an international "climate change regime." It surveys and
analyzes the academic literature as well as proposals by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and
governments....

A Vision for the UN Panel For Global Sustainability

On October 20, I spoke at an Interactive Dialogue of the UN General Assembly about the imminent report of the High Level Panel for Global Sustainability. The Panel, convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is charged with articulating a new vision for sustainable growth and prosperity. Its report, due at the end of 2011, will set the tone for intergovernmental action in the coming years, including at the 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit.

With a roster of current and former world leaders (including Mrs. Tarja Halonen, President of Finland and Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa) the Panel is uniquely positioned to set an agenda for green growth and prosperity. As I say in my remarks below, we already know what we need to do to promote sustainability. The real question lies in how to move forward and overcome both the political and behavioral hurdles that have hampered progress so far. Can the Panel craft a vision that is ambitious, politically realistic, and persuasive to the larger public?

Denmark committed to 40% emissions reduction in 2020

Denmark’s new coalition government, elected last month, has adopted a new, more ambitious climate policy committing the country to reduce its GHG emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2020 through domestic action. This target brings Denmark into line with the level of reduction proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as with the targets of several other Nordic and Northern European countries.

Study Testing Skeptics’ Critiques Reconfirms Basic Climate Science

Climate skeptics have denounced studies of temperature rise because of alleged biases in data sets. So in an effort to get to the bottom of these critiques, a group of scientists launched the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study, using different methods with skeptics’ arguments in mind. Its findings are in, and they confirm that not only is the Earth’s land temperature warming, but the results mimic the very results of previous assessments that the skeptics had tossed aside.

U.S. on Thin Ice in Arctic

This post originally appeared in the National Journal Energy & Environment Expert Blog. The question was, "The summer of 2011 marked the second-lowest ice coverage on record for the Arctic Ocean...Is the U.S. prepared to face this century of change in the Arctic?"

With the climate problem growing more urgent every year, the United States is not well prepared for a changing Arctic, and its continued dependence on fossil fuels only makes the situation more serious. The recent climate science, as explored in WRI’s Climate Science 2009-2010: Major New Discoveries, shows that the Arctic is indeed changing rapidly, with implications for a very different world.

World Resources Report: Decision Making in a Changing Climate

This post is based on the foreword to World Resources: Decision Making in a Changing Climate, co-signed by Helen Clark (UNDP), Achim Steiner (UNEP), Robert B. Zoellick (World Bank Group), and Jonathan Lash (WRI).

Conditions are changing in our world. Some are feeling the impact now, from the heat wave and wildfires in Russia of the last two years, the devastating floods in Pakistan and Australia, tornadoes in the United States, mudslides in Brazil, drought in China. Others are worrying about the impacts to come: the tea growers in Kenya’s highlands who are seeing cases of malaria they didn’t see only five years ago; the cocoa farmers in Ghana who think about how changes in rainfall will affect their sensitive crops; the rice farmers in Vietnam who are increasingly concerned about rising water levels.

World Resources Report 2010-2011

Decision Making in a Changing Climate

Based on input from more than 100 experts in 36 countries, this report offers specific, practical strategies and innovative case studies to inform how to integrate climate change risks into national policies and planning.

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