Jake Schmidt

Jake Schmidt is the international climate policy director at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). He blogs regularly on international climate change issues and the negotiations on NRDC's Switchboard and tweets at: http://twitter.com/jschmidtnrdc

Phasing Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies Must Be One of the Major Outcomes of Rio+20

What if I told you that governments around the world were spending almost $1 trillion dollars a year to subsidize activities that are driving global warming?  What if I told you that the leaders of the major countries had committed to phase-out these fossil fuel subsidies in 2009 but they hadn’t really done much to follow through on that commitment? What if I told you that countries had a chance to send a clear signal right now that it is time to finally phase-out these destructive subsidies?`  World leaders have a chance at Rio+20 to stop subsidizing fossil fuels to …

We Need New Action on Renewable Electricity at Rio+20

Where does each G20 country stand in terms of wind, solar, geothermal, tidal & wave electricity generation.

House Committee Votes to Allow Illegal Loggers to Pillage World’s Forests

Today, the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee voted to allow illegal loggers to undercut the Lacey Act by allowing them to pillage the world’s forests.  The vote was close as a bipartisan group of Representatives voted against the bill that would gut the Lacey Act.  Unfortunately, by a 25-19 vote too many House Members still took the side of illegal loggers that pillage forests around the world, utilize slave and child labor, decimate wildlife, drive deforestation that is causing global warming, and undercut American companies and workers. This bill by Representatives Blackburn (R-TN), Bono-Mack (R-CA), and Cooper (D-TN) – offered by …

Closing the Gap: International Global Warming Actions for 2012 (Part 3)

In Durban, South Africa countries agreed to: launch the negotiations on a new legal agreement to be adopted in 2015, move forward implementation of the agreements reached in Cancun, finalize the negotiations on the second round of the Kyoto Protocol, and address the gap between what the science demands and the current actions that countries have pledged.  This later issue – “closing the mitigation gap” – is a critical task that must begin in 2012.  Many of the actions to begin to close the gap are poised for even greater movement in 2012.  These steps could go a long way …

What lies ahead for international action on global warming for the rest of 2012? (Part 1)

With the haze of the Durban climate negotiations finally lifting, the climate negotiations in Germany at the midway point, and one month before Rio+20 it is time to reflect on the path that lies ahead for the rest of this year.  While global negotiations have slowed since the high-intensity period over the last three years (in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban), that doesn’t mean we can afford for action to slow down.  After all, as the International Energy Agency just pointed out the door for avoiding the greatest impacts is quickly closing. Four key themes are critical to watch the remainder …

Saving Ourselves from the Status Quo: Youth Stand Up for the Earth and their Future

This post was written by Michael Davidson. One block from my office in Washington, DC, young people frustrated by the lack of accountability and democracy in corporate America have gathered to demand and demonstrate change. I hear many voices of my generation as I walk through McPherson Square, but our concerns are unmistakable: unemployment, corruption, massive subsidies to established industries, corporate irresponsibility and—inherent in all these problems—environmental injustice on a global scale. Given the increasingly precarious world that we inhabit, there is much to do at next year’s Rio+20 Earth Summit on sustainable development. What is certain: The status quo …

Members of US House Introduce Bill to Stop Another Country from Controlling Aviation Pollution

Yesterday in the sweltering heat of Washington, DC Members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation which would seek to stop the European program to control aviation’s air pollution.  The bill is another backward attempt by the House to undermine efforts to control the carbon pollution that is causing global warming.  This bill should be rejected by the House, never even considered by the Senate, and rejected by the Obama Administration as unhelpful to its effort to be a leader in addressing global warming. Representatives Mica (R-FL), Rahall (D-WV), Petri (R-WI), Costello (D-IL), Hultgren (R-IL), Duncan (R-TN), Shuster (R-PA), …

Renewable Energy Keeps Growing: Earth Summit in Rio provides an opportunity for even more action

Several new reports released over the past few days show that renewable energy keeps growing, with more countries implementing policies or incentives to spur renewable energy deployment.  The studies found that renewable energy accounted for $211 billion in new investments in 2010 – an increase of 32% from the previous year.  Next year at the Earth Summit in Rio, countries and companies have a chance to build upon this momentum by committing to deeper actions to spur renewable energy deployment within their country and company.  This is an important opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. So what are the key findings …

Some in the US need to stop opposing the EU program to control carbon pollution from aviation

On Wednesday June 22, the US and European Union (EU) officials will meet in Oslo, Norway for a bilateral on aviation issues.  As a part of this meeting they will discuss the EU Aviation Directive – the only program in the world to regulate the carbon pollution from airplanes.  The Wall Street Journal is reporting that US will:  “deliver its first formal objections to the European Union’s impending emission-trading plan for airlines”.  This is the wrong position on legal, policy, and environmental grounds.  It sends the wrong signal about the US commitment to battling global warming. So today, Environmental Defense …

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