As countries negotiate a new international climate agreement for the post-2020 period—including at this week’s intersessional meeting in Bonn, Germany—the key choices for putting the world on a secure pathway to a low-carbon future should be front-of-mind. The new agreement will be essential for putting in place the policies beyond 2020 that ensure a shift from high-carbon to low-carbon and climate-resilient investments. To do this, the agreement will have to send the right signals to governments and businesses about the trajectory we need to be on.
Last week, President Obama directed his administration to set new fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including large pick-up trucks, school buses, and tractors. Improving fuel efficiency standards from these vehicles—which make up 20 percent of U.S. transport emissions—can not only rein in emissions, it can help consumers save money at the gas pump.
WASHINGTON— China’s pollution and emissions challenges have been making headlines, but China’s leaders are taking action to respond. While some U.S. policy makers are using China’s pollution as an excuse for U.S. inaction, there are also emerging signals that China can make progress on its pollution challenges.
What is the reality? Is China heading in a new direction?
The world spent $50 billion dollars per year on weather-related disasters in the 1980s, according to the World Bank. Today, we spend roughly $200 billion annually. Twenty-five extreme weather and climate events in 2011 and 2012 caused more than $188 billion of damages in the United States alone. And yet—despite these escalating costs and risks—the world continues to emit dangerous amounts of greenhouse gases.
It’s time for a climate change reality check.
Chinese emissions trading pilots emerge as environmental and climate issues reach the top of the Chinese agenda. The authors discuss emissions trading in China, from the field. Editor's note: This blog post was originally posted on ChinaFAQs.
Negotiators during the 2013 COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland made big advances on a program called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), which helps countries preserve forests and climate-altering carbon stored inside. As the world moves toward establishing a new international climate action agreement in 2015, the progress on REDD+ deserves a closer look.
At least 60 cities and communities from around the world have formally adopted the Global Protocol for Community-Scale GHG Emissions (GPC). This international greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting standard for cities was jointly developed by WRI, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI).
Cities account for more than 70 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Many recognize the importance of GHG inventories in city planning and have started measuring and reporting their GHG emissions. However, the absence of a universal accounting standard led to a number of issues in city GHG inventories, including:
- Inconsistency: Inventories varied in types of gases measured, emissions sources included, and categorization of emissions, reducing clarity and comparability of results.
- Incompleteness: Many of the methods out there focus only on carbon dioxide emissions, excluding other essential greenhouse gases covered under the Kyoto Protocol.
- Double-counting: Due to unclear categorization and division of direct and indirect emissions, double-counting within and between inventories occurred.
These differences confused and sometimes misled decision-makers, users, and practitioners.
The pilot version of the GPC was released in 35 cities in May 2012. In the first 6 months, the three core partners deliberated on how to develop the standard together and engage diverse cities. Early this year, the partners agreed that the GHG Protocol program at WRI would lead development of the GPC while C40 and ICLEI would lever their extensive city networks to participate as pilot testers. WRI has since established an advisory committee that consists of more than 30 international organizations, cities, national governments, and foundations.
Within a year of the GPC’s launch, we have influenced 60 cities to measure and report city-wide GHG emissions. Successful implementation by these pioneer cities has created momentum to scale up GPC’s global adoption in other cities. In particular, we continue to work with our partners to promote it in China, Brazil, and India. In these countries, we’ve begun developing country-specific, GHG calculation tools and provided training and technical assistance to help local practitioners. Once the GPC is finalized in early 2014, we aim to convince more than 500 cities to use the standard by 2018.
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.