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Articles by 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.

Featured Article

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 beyond:


The Accord says there’s a “collective commitment” by developed countries to provide fast-start financing to developing countries “approaching” $30 billion. There’s also a “goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.”

How these collective goals will go over with the national appropriators in the U.S., EU, and Japan who actually write the checks remains to be seen. Senate Republicans have already expressed opposition to the ... Read more

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  • 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. […]

  • 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 […]