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

ACTION, ACTION, ACTION!

Turning the Copenhagen Accord into action on global warming

In December 2009, more than 120 Heads of Government attended the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, the largest meeting of world leaders in history (the previous largest one was the funeral of the Pope according to Wikipedia). Many of the leaders came to Copenhagen with new commitments to actions on global warming pollution (as I discussed here and here). Under the accord, all of the big emitters are expected to record their commitments officially by Jan. 31, 2010 (in Appendix I and Appendix II). Countries used to say: “We’ll act if you act.” Coming out of Copenhagen they are saying: “We’ll …

Not done yet...

Key countries agreed to Copenhagen Accord

In the late morning hours Saturday in Copenhagen, the overwhelming majority of countries adopted a new framework for addressing global warming.  This new agreement — called the Copenhagen Accord (available here) — was hammered out by 28 of the world’s key countries.  These countries represent over 80 percent of the world’s global warming pollution (both energy emissions and deforestation) and the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  This agreement was hammered out Friday evening by heads of government on Friday from key countries, including the U.S., China, India, Brazil, South Africa, U.K., France, Australia, Germany, the E.U., Japan, …

Heading into the second week of Copenhagen … the arc of the negotiations

Wow!  Has it really only been a week of the international global warming negotiations in Copenhagen?  Based upon the intensity of the debate you would think that we are down to the wire in the second week of the negotiations.  After all, these negotiations often only get finalized in the wee hours of the final days. Usually these negotiations start out with a lot of optimism, then hit a lull around the end of the first week through the beginning of the second week, and then start to gain momentum towards agreement in the final days.  This meeting has a …

Don’t lose the forest for the trees

Stemming global deforestation emissions: Copenhagen (part 4)

There was an extensive debate in the lead-in to the Kyoto Protocol (and after) about whether incentives for reducing deforestation would be recognized as a part of the agreement. For a number of reasons countries didn’t agree to include deforestation incentives, but did agree to allow increased forest cover to count. Unfortunately a lot of the world’s forests were lost in the meantime.  But things changed … In 2005, Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica proposed that deforestation incentives be included in the future international agreement to address global warming. And thus launched the formal negotiations on reducing emissions for …

Wouldn't it be nice if...

Developing country action to reduce global warming pollution: Copenhagen (part 3)

“If only developing countries would take action to reduce their global warming pollution.” That is the refrain that was heard in capitals around the world for years. This was driven partly by a concern over competitiveness in some places (e.g., the U.S. and E.U.). And it was also driven by the reality that global emissions (both developed and developing country) need to decline if we are going to solve this challenge. And while developed countries need to take the lead in making deep emissions cuts (as I discussed in part 2), we need to find a way for developing countries …

Developed targets

Developed country emissions reduction commitments: Copenhagen (part 2)

One of the six key elements of the international agreement is: 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). As I discussed in Part 1, the expectations for Copenhagen are that all developed countries will outline the further emissions reductions targets that they’ll undertake. Then next year these commitments will be firmed up (e.g., with more political backing to ensure that they are achieved or made more aggressive) and translated into legally binding commitments.  Copenhagen …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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