Noah Sachs

Noah Sachs is a professor of law at the University of Richmond. He is a national expert in international environmental law and he directs the law school's Robert R. Merhige, Jr. Center for Environmental Studies. His research focuses on regulation of toxics and hazardous waste, climate change, transboundary pollution, and sustainable economic development. Currently, he is on a fall semester sabbatical at Rocky Mountain Institute, where, as a Senior Research Fellow, he is conducting extensive research in improving the energy efficiency of appliances and electronics.

Proof Not in the Pudding

What’s missing in the Copenhagen accord?

Climate delegates finally finished two years of negotiations Saturday by “taking note” of the two-and-a-half page Copenhagen Accord hashed out Friday night. It reminded me of a marathoner who slow-walks the course, hobbles across the finish line seven hours late, and then declares victory. Yes, there was a semblance of a deal by Saturday, but it’s not what any of the parties said they were coming here to do, and no medals are being handed out. The most important part of this deal is what’s not in it. Crucial unresolved questions will continue to dog climate negotiators into 2010 and …

Obama science advisor John Holdren on U.S. strategy in Copenhagen

COPENHAGEN — One of the puzzles about the U.S. strategy here in is how negotiators expected that pledging a 17 percent emissions reduction below 2005 levels by 2020 could be taken seriously. After all, that would bring the U.S. to approximately 1990 levels a decade from now, which is higher than the level the U.S. committed to in the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 (signed, but never ratified). It’s also far higher than what other governments have committed to, notably the European Union, which has unilaterally promised to get to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The argument, of course, …

Hard Hat Area

What’s under construction in Copenhagen?

As 120 heads of state arrive at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, there’s amazingly little direction on just what exactly they are negotiating. Is this going to be an extension of the Kyoto Protocol (a second commitment period), or will the Kyoto Protocol be buried, with some brand new treaty rising from its ashes? Will the agreement be legally binding or just a declaration of principles? Here at the “climate café” lunchroom at the Bella Center, there’s a lot of talk about the proper “architecture” of an agreement, so let’s look at some building styles that might come out of …

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