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Spirit of working together rules the day in Cancun climate talks: Let's hope it continues

The international climate agreement reached in Cancun, Mexico established a foundation from which to build greater international action on global warming.  But a key sub-story is also the spirit that countries brought to Cancun.  Countries came to Cancun, with a desire to work together and find common ground on the greatest challenge that faces humanity – addressing global warming.  We’ll need that spirit to continue as we have a lot of work ahead.  Countries pushed, nudged, and cajoled each other to move towards an agreement that matched their vision of success – in essence they negotiated.  But in the final …

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Let's get going

Cancun agreements: A foundation from which to build greater international action on global warming

Early Saturday morning, Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa gaveled home an agreement by over 190 countries that came together and demonstrated a renewed commitment to the fight against global warming. The Cancun Agreements are a detailed set of visionary yet pragmatic principles that make important strides to begin implementing the agreement reached in Copenhagen last year. The countries gathered in Cancun made progress on emissions reductions, greater transparency, forest preservation, and the creation of the green fund to help mobilize much needed investments throughout the world.  We aren’t done in our battle to address global warming, but these agreements provide …

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I'm transparent why can't you be

This is the second in a series of video blogs from the global warming negotiations in Mexico (see the first one on the mood at the beginning of the global warming negotiations).  It covers what happened in the second day of the two week negotiation session.  The real sub-story from yesterday was around transparency – both on finance and emissions reductions. The European Union detailed its progress towards its contribution of "fast start funding" that developed countries pledged in Copenhagen to aid developing countries in reducing deforestation emissions, deploying clean energy and adapting to the impacts of global warming.  This follows a …

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Improving accuracy and accountability in the International Global Warming agreement

Having a strong, credible, and transparent system for tracking greenhouse gas emissions and the actions of a country is an essential building block of an effective international system to address global warming. This was a key issue at the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009. Resolving important details about how these pieces would be implemented has been a central part of the ongoing global warming negotiations. Advancing progress toward robust measurement, reporting, and verification systems is an imperative for the Cancun Climate Summit.  Today NRDC is releasing a new set of recommendations on how to improve the current system of “tracking the …

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Countries aren't sitting on the sidelines waiting for a final international climate agreement

One of key outcomes of international global warming negotiations must be a focus on what actions key countries undertake to reduce their emissions.  On that front, there are promising signs.  Countries accounting for over 80% of the world’s emissions have now committed to specific actions that they will undertake at home to reduce their global warming pollution.  You might think that countries are sitting around and waiting for others to act, for the international agreement to be finalized, or for a new “binding” agreement before they take steps to reduce their emissions.  If you think this, you would be completely …

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It isn't all about the margaritas

Important actions can be accomplished at climate negotiations in Cancun

We are not going to get a binding treaty in Cancun, Mexico when 194 countries meet to continue negotiations on international efforts to address climate change. And we are not going to finalize all of the details of new international efforts. So if you think the world only addresses climate change through a binding agreement and when all the details of the global effort are finalized, you’ll be disappointed in Mexico. But if you believe, as I do, that real action can occur without a "binding" agreement or having all the details completed you’ll be surprised to learn that some …

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old is new again

Turning old industrial plants into clean energy economic zones in Shanghai, China

Part of the old iron and steel alloy plant remaining at the Shanghai International Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Park.Photo: Jake SchmidtA group of us from the NRDC teams in Beijing, San Francisco, and D.C. just visited Shanghai, China to discuss opportunities to collaborate on helping turn an old iron and steel alloy plant into a new "clean energy development zone." The site is one of 12 old industrial sites that China is planning to turn into clean energy development zones. NRDC's China Program will be working with this project to make it as energy-efficient as possible. This project is another powerful …

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China Clean Energy Development in Action: Seeing the Coda-Lishen Battery Plant in Person

While I was at the climate negotiations in Tianjin, China I had the chance to take a side trip to see clean energy development in action.  A group of us went to the Coda-Lishen battery plant.  After days of climate negotiations where countries talked about efforts to deploy clean energy and reduce global warming pollution, it was refreshing to see clean energy being developed in practice.  We had the pleasure of having a presentation by a senior member of the Coda team and then took a tour of the facility. This plant is a joint partnership between two companies -- …

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Quite a Party

The good and bad news from the Tianjin climate change negotiations

Countries meeting here in Tianjin, China are trying to make final progress before the world comes together in Cancun. As I outlined, there are some essential elements that need to be agreed in Cancun to prove to the world that this process can deliver real action, to begin to implement key elements of the international response to climate change, and to lay the foundation for further commitments beyond Cancun. The meeting in Tianjin needs to accomplish a couple of things in order for Cancun to be a success. So how are we doing a little over one week into the …

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Key steps on global warming need to be agreed in Mexico later this year

This December, 194 countries will be in Cancun, Mexico to continue negotiations on international efforts to address climate change.  My colleagues and I are in Mexico City this week for a series of discussions with key government officials, NGOs, businesses, and members of the media so we’ve been reflecting on Cancun. The Cancun climate negotiation session (COP 16) must serve three critical functions to ensure the continued progress on international climate change efforts and to rebuild some of the trust lost during and after Copenhagen.     First, at Cancun, the international community needs to prove to countries and the world …

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