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A wild ride

Copenhagen climate summit (part 1): the expectations

As we are quickly approaching the final stretch before the Copenhagen climate negotiations (just a week to go before it begins), I thought I would try to give a quick summary of where the past 2 years of international negotiations have taken us and where we are headed. As I've said before, there are 6 key elements to the international agreement: Strong leadership from developed countries with firm and aggressive emissions reductions targets in the near-term (e.g., 2020 and 2030) and strong signals that they will significantly reduce emissions in the medium-term (e.g., 2050). Willingness of developing countries to undertake …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Hu knew what progress they'd make!

Subtle but important shifts in global warming positions announced by U.S. & China

China and the U.S. announced on Tuesday a Joint Statement (available here) and a package of agreed actions on clean energy. This meeting between these two countries that account for around 40 percent of the world's CO2 emissions from fossil fuels couldn't come at a more critical time in efforts to secure a strong international agreement to address global warming pollution (as I discussed here). We didn't expect big announcements on the critical issues of specific emissions reduction commitments from the two countries (hopefully that will be outlined in the coming months), but the U.S. and China did agree to …

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It's the Little Things

Global warming negotiations with 21 (or so) negotiation days left

You know the saying: "it's the little things that matter."  Well you can't really take that saying too literally when discussing global warming pollution as it is the big things that ultimately matter, such as: pollution reduction cuts, assistance for developing countries in cutting emissions further, and support for the most vulnerable countries to adapt to the impacts of global warming. But the negotiations during these two weeks in Bangkok, Thailand really need to move forward the little things at this stage. We can grumble about how countries aren't making progress on the big issues (and that is true). But …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Wrapping up Climate Week, G20 Outcome & on to Bangkok

Well “climate week” has just wrapped up with the conclusion of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh.  This week was an important one to build international and US momentum for addressing global warming pollution (as I discussed here).   As I discussed here and my colleague discussed here, some positive steps emerged this week on the international and US front.  I won’t recap them here but every bit of momentum is essential if we are going to be able to seize the opportunity (the statement of NRDC’s President available here gives the broad overview of this week).  We need all machines …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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On to the steel city

Seizing the opportunity: reflections from the U.N. Climate Summit

Climate week began with world leaders participating in a full day of discussions on global warming. Over 100 world leaders were in attendance-the largest gathering of world leaders on global warming and the first in many respects. The leaders of a number of the key countries provided remarks. Yesterday's events were intended to give a much needed injection of energy to the final stretch of the international negotiations to secure a new agreement in Copenhagen this December. Remember, there are five key building blocks for the agreement that emerges from Copenhagen so we need to watch what details are filled …

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Some Rays of Hope for Global Efforts

Important week for global warming

Today begins a week dubbed because of all the high-level climate discussions that are occurring.  And they just all happen to be occurring in the U.S. at an important time for the domestic debate to pass a clean energy and climate bill in the Senate. The high-level events begin on Tuesday (Sept. 22) with the U.N. Secretary General hosting an all day session on global warming for Heads of Government from around the world, it continues with a session on deforestation for Heads of Government on Wednesday (Sept. 23), and ends with the G20 Summit in Pittsburg -- with a …

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Sterny Likes It!

Obama administration comes out in support of key international provisions in climate bill

Todd Stern the Special Envoy for Climate Change, just testified before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming on: The Road to Copenhagen and International Climate Agreement. His testimony (available here [pdf]) and response to several questions for the first time publicly stressed the importance of the three international investment provisions in the House clean energy and global warming bill passed this past June: Deforestation reduction program -- sets aside 5 percent of the allowance value to supporting reductions in deforestation emissions; Clean energy export provision -- sets aside 1 percent of allowance value (increasing over time) …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Beginning the Great Leap

Four ways the U.S. & China can start cooperating now to tackle climate change

This post is from my colleague Barbara Finamore (Director of our China Program).  It is a set of important first steps that China and the U.S. could undertake to help reduce global warming pollution.  Moving these two countries together will be critical to securing a strong global commitment in Copenhagen.  And there have been some important signs from China that they might be poised for a serious step to address global warming (as I discussed here). --------------------------------- The recent high-profile visits to China by leading members of Congress and the Obama administration have made it clear that China and the U.S. are taking …

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Does it add up?

South Korea outlines a range of global warming reduction targets that they’ll adopt

For over a year now, South Korea has been undertaking an extensive dialogue to establish a target to cut their global warming pollution (see my discussion here and this ClimateWire story --sub req.-- from last year). And now the South Korean government has outlined the possible targets that they will commit to later this year (as reported by Reuters.) The South Korean government has just announced that later this year they’ll commit to one of three absolute target levels for their emissions in 2020: 8% increase from 2005 levels; Hold at 2005 levels; and 4% below 2005 levels. South Korea’s …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Making heads or tails of it

Global warming commitments at the G8 and the major economies forum in Italy

If you haven't been in Italy you might not have realized it, but two events just occurred there in which leaders of the 17 largest-emitting countries tried to make progress in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate talks this December.  The first event was the annual Group of Eight (G8) meeting, which brings together the eight largest industrialized countries and now regularly has global warming on the agenda (as I discussed last year). The second was the "Leaders Summit" of the Major Economies Forum (which I also covered), which brings together the world's 17 largest emitting countries. The G8 declaration …