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Energy ministers meet in U.S. to discuss clean energy

Who will lead the global race for the clean energy future?Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard via flickrThe race for the clean energy future comes to Washington, D.C. today -- only symbolically if the U.S. doesn't seize the moment. Energy ministers from 20 countries that account for over 80 percent of the world's global warming pollution are in the U.S. to discuss how to speed up the deployment of clean energy throughout the world, as a part of the Clean Energy Ministerial. The subplot of the meeting will be which of these countries will come out sprinting and which …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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G20 leaders to meet and discuss global warming … but only a little bit

G20 leaders meet at the 2009 London summit.Photo: Downing Street via Flickr On June 26-27, leaders from the 20 largest economies will meet in Toronto, Canada, as a part of the Group of 20 summit. These countries represent 85 percent of the world’s global warming pollution and 83 percent of the world’s economic output. So with the heads of government of these powerhouse countries meeting, will climate change be on the agenda and will they make any strides in dealing with this challenge? The answers are: just barely and maybe. Climate change is just barely on the agenda as Canada …

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Some international findings from EPA analysis of the American Power Act

The Obama administration has just released the U.S. EPA analysis of the American Power Act and it shows that U.S. action coupled with reasonable actions by other countries will put us on a path to preventing the worst impacts of global warming. It also shows that a lengthy delay in the deployment of international offsets will have a very minimal impact on the cost of the program. Both findings address issues that opponents to comprehensive climate and energy legislation use to argue that we shouldn’t take action or that it won’t really be as cheap as everyone says (my colleague …

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Domestic offsets in the American Power Act: preserving the integrity?

This post was co-written with Sasha Lyutse. NRDC staff have posted assessments of a number of key elements of the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act discussion draft. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the domestic offsets program. I’ll give a brief overview of the program, as outlined in Part D of the bill (Sec. 731-741), highlight key strengths, and discuss several areas where we believe further improvements are needed. The draft bill provides a solid foundation for an environmentally sound offset system, but there some important modifications are needed to ensure that the system meets key standards of environmental integrity. …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Deforestation reductions could save U.S. farmers, ranchers, and foresters $220 Billion

If losing one football sized area of forestland every second or the potential to stop global warming pollution equivalent to all the world’s transportation sector aren’t compelling enough reasons to support efforts to halt tropical deforestation, then here is one more reason….$$$$$.  A new report from the National Farmers Union and Avoided Deforestation Partners shows how much money could be saved in the U.S. farming and forestry sectors from efforts to halt tropical deforestation (a point I’ve discussed before).  It concludes that U.S. soybean, oilseed, beef and timber producers will see total revenue increases of $141 - $221 billion from …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Tools for supporting international action on global warming: American Power Act

The draft of the American Power Act is now out (see NRDC's first read summary of the entire bill). The core global warming pollution limits in the bill, covering all major pollution sources, are a solid foundation for Senate legislation to put a final bill on President Obama's desk this year. So how does this legislative proposal address the critical international investments that aid our international efforts to address global warming? The bill includes most of the key tools to aid the world in addressing global warming but doesn't provide the necessary funding to aid developing countries in deploying clean …

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Now is the time to shift World Bank resources to clean energy

The World Bank has just announced its intent to seek $86 billion for a general capital increase (the GCI) from its donor countries (see World Bank press release). It is time for the World Bank to become a full part of the solution to global warming, not part of the problem and part of the solution at the same time. The World Bank needs to seize this opportunity to shift its energy investments to clean energy. The U.S. should only approve a contribution towards the Bank's general capital increase if it secures a firm commitment to transition to clean energy. …

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Bonn to Cancun … negotiators agree to continue efforts on international global warming

The first global warming negotiations post Copenhagen have just wrapped up here in Bonn (as I discussed here). It was a 3 day session and was mostly focused on establishing the process and expectations for negotiations this year. While there was some complaining about the Copenhagen Accord from some quarters, the complaining was timid compared with my expectations. That was positive so countries could focus more on what could realistically be achieved in Cancun (the expectations for the year) and how to get there (the process). So where do things stand on the process and expectations for the year? Process …

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World Bank bombs with decision to fund South African coal plant

Today the World Bank approved a loan to build the fourth largest power plant in the world. The project is to be financed with a $3 billion loan to Eskom -- the South African electricity company -- and is the largest coal-plant loan in the Bank history. The 4,800-megawatt Medupi power plant would emit 25 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere -- an amount equivalent to about half the annual emissions of Norway. This was a challenging and complicated project and was less about South Africa than about the World Bank’s role in helping (or hindering) the world's …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Halting tropical deforestation is in the U.S. interest

Click to enlarge. "Want to Protect Farms and Ranches Here? Protect them there. Ending deforestation in the tropics isn't just some tree-hugger's cause." Those are the opening lines of a new advertisement campaign run by the Ohio Corn Growers Association and Avoided Deforestation Partners which stresses the need to protect tropical forests in order to protect the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture (see ad to right and click to make it bigger).  You may be asking, why is an American farm group supporting efforts to stop tropical deforestation --  many, many miles from their home base? The simple answer is (as …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food