On June 25 2013, President Obama announced the Climate Action Plan to address climate change and put the United States on a trajectory to meet its international commitment of reducing its emissions 17 percent by 2020. The findings of WRI’s flagship report, "Can the U.S. Get There from Here", played a valuable role in influencing the Administration’s decision.
Given prevailing political inertia, there was scant hope in 2012 for any new U.S. legislation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Another unwelcome dynamic was that many government officials and influential leaders argued without credible evidence that recent declines in U.S. emissions meant the country was already “on track” to meet its international commitment.
WRI responded with its groundbreaking report, which recommended a “Four-Point Plan” to achieve emissions reductions by taking action on existing power plants, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), methane, and energy efficiency. A strong outreach and communications effort followed, resulting in extensive media coverage of the report. We also held briefings for high-level Administration officials and enlisted allies in the environmental and business worlds to echo our message and carry our work into the White House.
When the President announced a Climate Action Plan, it included key elements of WRI’s “Four Point Plan” and other measures to reduce carbon dioxide pollution and prepare for the impacts of climate change. His speech announcing the Plan was the clearest statement by a U.S. President of his intent to use the Administration’s existing legal authority under the Clean Air Act and other enacted legislation to reduce GHG emissions.
Although implementation of the Plan in the coming months and years will determine its success, the Plan itself represents the most substantial and comprehensive approach to addressing domestic GHG emissions since the defeat of cap-and-trade legislation in 2010. It also sent a clear signal to the international community that the United States is prepared to take significant actions to reduce its GHG emissions – without Congress, if need be – and be a more constructive partner in international negotiations.
The 2015 agreement is meant to apply to all nations, raising obvious questions about which countries will take what actions and how equity factors into those determinations. Since ensuring all Parties consider the climate agreement fair is a necessary first step to meaningful participation, WRI’s new paper, Equity Lessons from Multilateral Regimes for the New Climate Agreement, examines how equity is treated in a number of multilateral environmental, trade, human rights and international aid agreements.
EMBARQ India received special recognition in the third edition of the Volvo Sustainable Mobility Awards, announced at last week’s Volvo Nobel Memorial Seminar in Bangalore, India. EMBARQ India’s submission, “Towards a Walkable and Sustainable Bengaluru: A Safe Access Project for Indiranagar Metro,” aims to improve safety and accessibility for bikers and pedestrians around Bangalore’s metro stations.
First-of-its-Kind Guide Calls on Companies to Align Corporate Sustainability Initiatives and Climate Policy
WASHINGTON– For the first time ever, companies have a guide to manage and report on their direct and indirect influences on climate policy. The UN Global Compact, in cooperation with seven leading international organizations, today released guidelines to help companies engage in climate policy in a transparent and accountable way that is consistent with their sustainability commitments.
Designing an international climate action agreement that can reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the coming decades will be a key focus of discussions at COP 19 this week. A critical component of this new agreement will be the design of national mitigation commitments for countries’ emissions reductions post-2020. This is a complex process, involving a significant number of options. The ease with which emissions and emissions reductions associated with mitigation commitments can be measured is a key consideration. It is critical for strengthening domestic GHG management and helping track national and global emissions reductions. New WRI analysis focuses on how to maximize “measurability” and aims to shed light on how countries can most effectively design their commitments accordingly.
by Taryn Fransen, Smita Nakhooda and Takeshi Kuramochi - November 11, 2013
In order to understand where the climate finance agenda is likely to go, it is first necessary to grasp where it stands today. To that end, Overseas Development Institute, WRI, and IGES – in partnership with the Open Climate Network – have conducted the first in-depth examination of Fast Start Finance (FSF), the period from 2010-2012 in which developed nations pledged to deliver US$ 30 billion in climate finance. As of September 2013, countries reported providing $35 billion in public FSF from 2010 through 2012, exceeding their pledge. Just five countries – Germany, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States— provided US$ 27 billion of this finance.
After winning Germany’s federal elections on September 22nd, Chancellor Angela Merkel is in the middle of difficult coalition talks to form a new government. Because Merkel’s party, the Christian Democrats, did not win an absolute majority in parliament, it must find a new coalition partner. The party has begun negotiations with Social Democrats to form a grand coalition.
The amount of adaptation finance has increased in recent years, at least in part as a result of agreements reached at the U.N. climate negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009. In the past year, Oxfam, WRI, Overseas Development Institute, and civil society networks in Nepal, the Philippines, Uganda and Zambia have been working together to figure out just how much adaptation finance has been flowing to these four countries and where it’s going. It’s a bit like trying to figure out the tangle of plumbing and pipes in an old house. There is money for climate change adaptation coming from different sources, flowing through different channels, and being used for different purposes.
The stakes are high at this year’s international climate negotiations in Warsaw, Poland (COP 19). It is vital that negotiators get down to business on designing the international climate action agreement, including actually constructing the pathway needed to reach this agreement by 2015.
Making progress across five key issues will be critical to achieving this goal.