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Climate, Energy & Transport

Homes and commercial buildings account for 74 percent of electricity demand in the United States, making them a critical part of any plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The good news is that policies put into place over the last three decades—including appliance efficiency standards, voluntary labeling programs like ENERGY STAR, and state energy-savings targets—have already helped offset rising demand for electricity and saved consumers billions of dollars. New research shows that with the right policies in place, consumers and the environment can capture even greater benefits.

A new WRI study finds that there are many “win-win” opportunities for the United States to reduce emissions and save money for consumers and businesses.

Over the coming weeks, our blog series, Lower Emissions, Brighter Economy, will evaluate these opportunities across five key areas—power generation, electricity consumption, passenger vehicles, natural gas systems, and hydrofluorocarbons—which together represent 55 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Call it bad timing: Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions intensity is rising while that of most of the G20 countries decreases, just as more infrastructure investment will be needed to support expected economic growth and social inclusion. Representatives of commercial banks in Brazil, the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Brazil’s Ministry of Finance and others joined WRI experts to explore how they can collectively help the country make the transition to a low-carbon economy.


Later this week, the European Council will decide on a target to further reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.

At issue is whether the Council will decide to reduce emissions by “at least 40 percent” from 1990 levels—leaving the door open to increase ambition in negotiation with other countries—or cap reductions at just 40 percent, locking in a lower goal and possibly influencing other countries to do the same.

A new report delivers a simple, but powerful message: economic growth and climate action can be achieved together. Drawing on new evidence and hundreds of real-world examples, it focuses on opportunities to shift three key economic systems: energy, land use, and cities.

Leaders at this week's UN Climate Summit unveiled “The New York Declaration” on forests, which many hope will inject life into efforts to reverse forest loss.

While the Declaration is not an “official” UN agreement—and has been carefully worded to avoid the appearance of commitments being binding—it is a positive development. If governments and business take it seriously going forward—and civil society watchdogs hound them sufficiently to do so—it would yield significant impacts.

Next week at the UN Climate Summit in New York City, leaders from business, national government, and cities will convene to discuss bold actions to address climate change in various sectors, including transport.

And while climate change is an international challenge, climate action in the transport sector is proven to create significant and immediate development benefits at the national and local levels.

On September 23, heads of state and leaders in finance, business and civil society will gather in New York City for the United Nations Climate Summit, aimed at jump-starting talks to reach a global climate agreement by December 2015. It's hardly the first time these actors have convened to counter climate change. Here's why this summit is worth watching.


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