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Andrew Light's Posts


As Durban deadline draws near, big carbon emitters should cut a deal

Cross-posted from Climate Progress. The expected endgame of the international climate talks in Durban is shaping up to be a fierce standoff. A showdown has emerged between the E.U. and other parties over their conditions for agreeing to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. The first commitment period will expire in 2012. If it is not renewed, the fate of the instruments that support the world's fragile carbon market is uncertain. Japan, Russia, and Canada have all signaled that they are unwilling to continue with a second commitment of binding emissions cuts for the treaty, leaving only the E.U. …


Cutting international investments would endanger U.S. leadership

We need to step up, not cut, our funding for green energy in India.Photo: Amaresh S KThis post was coauthored by Rebecca Lefton. Lawmakers continue to debate the fiscal year 2011 budget. As we approach the next showdown this week over another temporary extension of the continuing resolution, a final resolution of the 2011 budget, or a government shutdown, the top climate issue in this debate is whether the Environmental Protection Agency should have the authority to regulate greenhouse gases. A no less critical issue, however, is the potential cuts to international climate investments and assistance. The stakes are high …


The moderately sized bang

The Cancun compromise

The consensus reached at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday to forge the "Cancun Agreements" was a critical step forward in forging an effective global compact to fight global warming. It was the best possible outcome from a meeting that was often teetering on the edge of disaster. Nonetheless, these agreements will not solve the problem, and some of the hardest issues in forging a climate treaty are still waiting to be addressed. But in a relatively short time, especially for this process, the parties came together on a balanced package of decisions on adaptation, forestry, technology transfer, the structure of climate …


seeing redd

World Bank President Zoellick on the need for REDD: "We don’t want silent forests"

The watchword in the halls of this year's UN climate summit is "balanced package." It's the oblique phrase referring to what might be possible as a final agreement at this year's meeting, at least to those who don't have unreasonable expectations on what can be achieved. What many hope can be achieved is not a full-blown climate treaty but rather a package of discrete agreements -- what we've joined the United Nations Foundation and others in calling "building blocks" -- that can advance an ambitious agenda on mitigation and adaptation in the absence of a complete climate treaty. The most …


Blame game

Has Japan killed the Kyoto Protocol? Does it really matter?

CANCUN, Mexico -- The U.N. climate summit here has been consumed this past week over Japan's announcement at one of the opening plenary sessions that they would not renew their emission reduction pledges under the Kyoto Protocol once the first round of required carbon cuts expire in 2012. While no one should celebrate the potential demise of the world's only climate treaty with binding emission cuts, the reasoning of the Japanese leadership on this issue is practically unassailable. What's more, by taking this position, Japan may also help to settle an issue that has been haunting these talks for a …


So Close, Yet So Far

The path to the U.N. climate summit in Cancun and the chances of success

Representatives from 194 countries gather this week in Cancun, Mexico, for the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC. The meeting will run through Dec. 10 and, predictably, pull an emergency session all-nighter through to Dec. 11 -- though to what end no one knows for certain. This is the body that succeeded in Copenhagen last year in crafting a nonbinding political agreement, the Copenhagen Accord, that could serve as the foundation for creating a new binding climate treaty to either replace or complement the Kyoto Protocol. The …


progress report

Taking on the global energy investment challenge

Governments can use policy measures alongside relatively small sums of public money to catalyze the private sector to help developing countries finance their clean energy transition.Photo: Center for American ProgressInternational negotiations on a comprehensive climate change treaty made limited progress this year, yet global investments in clean energy in both developed and developing countries alike continue apace. Ironically, there is a positive connection between the two -- despite the slow pace of negotiations to produce a comprehensive climate treaty, the discussions have produced a continuing and evolving commitment in the international arena to help developing countries finance their transition to …


Real Reductions America Can Easily Afford

EPA modeling shows American Power Act brings economic and climate benefits

This post was co-authored by Richard W. Caperton. Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) released analysis today of their American Power Act, or APA, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA's analysis definitively demonstrates that we can reduce our carbon pollution and jumpstart the clean energy economy at a very small cost to American consumers. This analysis is also consistent with several other studies showing that the American Power Act would create jobs, reduce consumer energy prices, and help the United States lead the world toward stabilizing carbon emissions at safe levels by 2050. The EPA concluded …


Progress from the Copenhagen Accord: A good start to global progress on climate safety

This past December, 192 countries gathered for the 15th meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ambitions for the Copenhagen meeting were high. UNFCCC members had agreed at their 13th meeting in Bali, Indonesia in 2007 that December 2009 would be the deadline to determine a course of action forward on a plan for global reduction of carbon dioxide emissions following the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. Center for American ProgressThe UNFCCC’s midterm goal for climate safety is stabilizing temperature change increase caused by humans to no …


Lessons Learned from Copenhagen

What you need to know following the Copenhagen climate summit

Co-authored by Rebecca Lefton. The international negotiations on climate change wrapped up Dec. 19 in Copenhagen. The conference achieved an interim agreement, known as the Copenhagen Accord, which could put the major polluting nations on a pathway to reducing global warming pollution, and it continues to set the expectation for U.S. domestic action on climate change. Much work remains, but there were also numerous notable achievements and meaningful insights into how the United States can gain from leading the world toward a new international clean-energy agreement. A “meaningful” deal on climate mitigation President Barack Obama left Copenhagen Friday night after …