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Thread: Climate and Energy Targets

  1. #1
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Climate and Energy Targets

    The United States and China have agreed on some targets for greenhouse gas emissions:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/12/op...te-change.html

    BEIJING — The United States and China are the world’s two largest economies, two largest consumers of energy, and two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Together we account for about 40 percent of the world’s emissions.

    We need to solve this problem together because neither one of us can solve it alone. Even if the United States somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, it still wouldn’t be enough to counteract the carbon pollution coming from China and the rest of the world. Likewise, even if China went down to zero emissions, it wouldn’t make enough of a difference if the United States and the rest of the world didn’t change direction.

    That’s the reality of what we’re up against. That’s why it matters that the world’s most consequential relationship has just produced something of great consequence in the fight against climate change.

    Today, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping are jointly announcing targets to reduce carbon emissions in the post-2020 period. By doing this – together, and well before the deadline established by the international community – we are encouraging other countries to put forward their own ambitious emissions reduction targets soon and to overcome traditional divisions so we can conclude a strong global climate agreement in 2015.

    Our announcement can inject momentum into the global climate negotiations, which resume in less than three weeks in Lima, Peru, and culminate next year in Paris. The commitment of both presidents to take ambitious action in our own countries, and work closely to remove obstacles on the road to Paris, sends an important signal that we must get this agreement done, that we can get it done, and that we will get it done.
    The major value of this is that it (at least for the moment) ends the American-Chinese deadlock on climate action. This deadlock has proven fatal to several climate summits. As Kerry wrote, this will create momentum on the upcoming summit. Also important is that this means the largest greenhouse gas emitters will commit themselves to binding targets. The targets themselves are not particularly ambitious (though one wouldn't expect Obama to have much leverage to push very ambitious policies through).

    http://www.theguardian.com/environme...-carbon-pledge

    Tao Wang, climate scholar at the Tsinghua-Carnegie Center for Global Policy in Beijing, said: “It is a very good sign for both countries and injects strong momentum [into negotiations] but the targets are not ambitious enough and there is room for both countries to negotiate an improvement.

    “That figure isn’t high because China aims to reach about 15% by 2020, so it is only a five percentage point increase in 10 years, and given the huge growth in renewables it should be higher.”

    Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, which promotes sustainable resource management, said the announcements would “inject a jolt of momentum in the lead up to a global climate agreement in Paris”.

    “It’s a new day to have the leaders of the US and China stand shoulder to shoulder and make significant commitments to curb their country’s emissions,” he said.
    It's a very real possibility that China and the US will takeover leadership on addressing climate change from the EU. These are the comments of German Green MEP Bütikofer (a specialist on energy policy) on it during an interview, with the questions in bold:

    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/ene...targets-309867

    The European Council adopted the 2030 climate and energy targets at the end of October. What do you think of the final package adopted by the Council, in particular about the energy efficiency target that was watered down by member states from 30% to 27%?

    The EU is abandoning climate leadership and is handing it over to the US and China, who will call the shots in Paris.[The United Nations international climate talks due to take place next year] But the EU is also letting down its own industry.

    Not a single European leader was willing to stand up to the strong lobbying efforts [from the fossil fuels industry]. Member states have also granted each other veto powers on issues of concern to them. France got a veto over more interconnectivity, Poland vetoed the renewables, and the UK blocked more energy efficiency.

    Basically there has been a mutual agreement on one common approach, which is the slowest dictates the pace.

    Germany would have been in a position to take a leadership role but it was not prepared or it didn’t care. It chose not to fight for something that is at the basis of the strength of the German economy. It’s those countries that invest in renewables and efficiency that are the most innovative or competitive. It’s vice versa. And they should take a lesson from the reality.
    (The United Kingdom and Poland, along with the Netherlands to a lesser degree, overall oppose detailed EU climate and environmental policies, though the UK is rather involved in providing climate aid to developing nations and lobbied for a more ambitious 2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction goal (30%). France is normally relatively ambitious, but it seeks to protect its nuclear power plants, which would suffer a lot from Spanish renewables, because PV power in particular reduces electricity prices drastically during midday when prices are highest. Hopefully the Russian-Ukrainian crisis will up the ambition.)

    Other important blocs on international summits are the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), which opposes strong climate action, and AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States), that advocates policies that keep warming below 1.5 degree centigrade by 2100.

    Overview of current targets:

    Spoiler: Climate and energy targets 


    The list will be edited as the targets change and will also include other major players (like India) soon.
    Last edited by Villerar; June 5th, 2015 at 06:22 AM.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    The Senate rejected a bill to fast-track approval of the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday evening.
    http://www.vox.com/2014/11/18/724388...l-fails-senate

    This doesn't mean at all that Keystone XL is off the hook.

    It is an important issue because Keystone XL can be a significant threat to limiting global warming. At least the State Department report assumed a spectacular failure of American and global climate policy (and that isn't really plausible), so Keystone XL will likely influence the consumption of oil from tar sands in the real world.

    That's why it is so disturbing that voters are so apathetically in favour of Keystone XL (despite the support being hardly universal, it is a comfortable majority):

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...ost-universal/
    Last edited by Villerar; December 2nd, 2014 at 06:41 AM.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    Someone posted this in the chat earlier about the potential of graphene:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...s-9885425.html

    A recently discovered form of carbon graphite – the material in pencil lead – has turned out to have a completely unexpected property which could revolutionise the development of green energy and electric cars.

    Researchers have discovered that graphene allows positively charged hydrogen atoms or protons to pass through it despite being completely impermeable to all other gases, including hydrogen itself.

    The implications of the discovery are immense as it could dramatically increase the efficiency of fuel cells, which generate electricity directly from hydrogen, the scientists said.


    The most weighty climate issue for the upcoming time will be the climate summits in Lima (2014) and Paris (2015). Recent summits have had a mixed record: Copenhagen (2009), Doha (2012, lol Qatar) and Warsaw (2013, kek Poland) were rather bad and pointless, Cancún (2010) and Durban (2011) actually covered some ground and secured some moderate successes. Overall, the record hasn't been that good, though, but maybe the US and China's role will be rather different this time around, providing a new dynamic.

    This gives a good idea of the complexity of climate negotiations:

    http://www.vox.com/2014/12/1/7314727...ate-talks-lima
    Last edited by Villerar; December 2nd, 2014 at 06:43 AM.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    https://euobserver.com/news/128214

    He was the only candidate that was controversial enough to incite a protest at the Luxembourg square in front of the European Parliament, a manifesto signed by 85 MEPs, a petition signed by 400,000 citizens in one day, and his own hashtag on social media: #stopcanete.

    Half a year later that fierce opposition to Spanish centre-right politician Miguel Arias Canete seems to belong to the distant past.

    On Wednesday it is exactly six months since Canete was questioned by members of the European Parliament at a confirmation hearing to become the EU's energy and climate action commissioner.

    This website spoke to five of them who expressed criticism at the time. Has Canete been able to convince them that he is passionate about fighting climate change, and that there are no conflicts of interest arising from his past as an investor in oil companies?

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    Ontario will join California and Quebec's emission trading system:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0N41X220150413

    (Reuters) - Ontario will join a cap-and-trade market set up by Quebec and California to reduce carbon emissions and slow the pace of climate change, provincial Premier Kathleen Wynne said on Monday.

    Quebec joined California's cap-and-trade carbon market in 2014. Both are part of the Western Climate Initiative, a group of U.S. states and Canadian provinces moving to create a carbon market to reduce emissions. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, had long signaled it would also opt for cap-and-trade.

    "The cost of further delay, further pollution, and further catastrophic and irreversible weather events - these are the costs that we cannot endure, the costs that we must not impose on our children and grandchildren," said Wynne, a Liberal.

    Cap-and-trade markets require industrial facilities to purchase or trade permits at a market price for each unit of carbon emitted. Ontario offered no pricing details on Monday.


    A landmark lawsuit from private parties demands more action towards sustainability from the government of the Netherlands:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environme...rbon-emissions

    The first public hearings will take place in the Hague on Tuesday in the first case in the world to use existing human rights and tort law to hold a government responsible for failing to reduce carbon emissions fast enough.

    The 886 citizens involved in the class action against the Dutch government aim to force it to take more robust action to reduce emissions. They also hope to offer a legal solution to the political impasse on international climate change action.
    It is something of a test case: other suits are (being) planned in other countries.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    I had forgot to post this earlier, but it's rather good news. (Especially for a certain country with a government that has done close to nil on improving the share of renewables for years.) It's about an initiative by the conservatives (ECR) and the greens (Greens-EFA):

    http://www.euractiv.com/sections/ene...as-grid-313659

    The North Seas Grid should be one of the building blocks of the Energy Union, companies and campaigners have told EU energy ministers, as momentum builds behind the project connecting offshore wind farms in ten countries.

    Environmental think tank E3G today (9 April) separately called for ministers and the European Commission to work together to bring rapid agreement on a new way of coordinating nations to deliver the electricity infrastructure investment needed.

    The grid would boost interconnection and renewables capacity, fight climate change and bolster energy security, which are the central goals of the Energy Union, E3G said.

    Members of the European Parliament have backed the project, which will connect Ireland, Scotland, the UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    How reliable is electricity from renewable sources? Very, if you are willing to invest in grid flexibility.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...getting-easier

    Sitting in a control center that helps ensure uninterrupted power for 82 million Germans, Gunter Scheibner is proving that renewable energy from the sun and wind can be just as reliable as fossil fuels.

    Scheibner, in charge of keeping flows stable over 6,200 miles (9,976 kilometers) of transmission lines in eastern Germany, must keep power from solar and wind in harmony whether it’s sunny or overcast, windy or still. In doing so, he’s overcoming the great challenge for renewable energy: how to keep supplies steady when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

    The system Scheibner manages has been so successful that Germany experiences just 15 minutes a year of outages, compared with 68 minutes in France and more than four hours in Poland. The model in Germany, the biggest economy in the world to rely so heavily on renewables, is being copied from California to China as wind and solar displace traditional fuels such as nuclear and coal.
    PS: When you reach the end of the article, don't scroll further down. Content warning included.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    Canadian provinces and territories, with the notable absence of provincial pervert Alberta, team up to goad the federal Harper government into action on climate change prevention.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-oil-tar-sands

    In the buildup to the Paris climate conference towards the end of this year, Canada has promised to announce emissions targets for the period up to 2020 by early June. Meanwhile the country’s provinces and territories – with the exception of Alberta – have formed a common front to exert pressure on the federal government.

    At a meeting in Quebec City in April, Quebec’s premier Philippe Couillard said that, with the Paris conference, 2015 would be a “pivotal year”, but to make it a success capitals all over the world, and federal states and regions, must start work now. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN framework convention on climate change, acknowledged their role, announcing at the Quebec gathering that the Paris conference would hold a special one-day meeting for subnational bodies. It was, she said, important to encourage a range of efforts and approaches by governments to end use of fossil fuels.

    Ontario stole the show the day before the Quebec meeting when the driving force behind the Canadian economy signed up to a carbon trading market set up by California as part of the Western Climate Initiative. Quebec joined the scheme last year. Now that Ontario has joined the cap-and-trade scheme, three-quarters of all Canadians live in provinces where carbon emissions will be taxed.

    The aim of the Quebec summit was above all to display a joint determination to move forward on making the Canadian economy more “carbon sober” and increase cooperation on combating climate change.


    An encyclical by Pope Francis (well, duh) and Cardinal Turkson to be released in June will address the environment. The Vatican is the world's only fully carbon-neutral country thanks to the efforts of Pope Benedict XVI.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environme...uty-for-action

    Increasing use of fossil fuels is disrupting Earth on an “almost unfathomable scale”, a top Vatican official has said, warning that a “full conversion” of hearts and minds is needed if global warming is to be conquered.

    The statement by Cardinal Peter Turkson, Pope Francis’s point man for peace and justice issues, was made at a Vatican summit on Tuesday, which focused on climate change and poverty. His call for a moral awakening of politicians and people of faith is a likely precursor to the highly anticipated encyclical on the environment, which was drafted by Turkson and which Pope Francis is expected to release in June.

    “In our recklessness, we are traversing some of the planet’s most fundamental natural boundaries,” warned Turkson. “And the lesson from the Garden of Eden still rings true today: pride, hubris, self-centredness are always perilous, indeed destructive. The very technology that has brought great reward is now poised to bring great ruin.”

    Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general who delivered the keynote address at the summit, said he believed the pope’s encyclical – coupled with the pontiff’s planned speeches before the UN general assembly and a joint session of the US Congress – would have a profound impact on climate change negotiations.
    This effort has for some reason thrown a cat among the conservative pigeons. Why they're hysteric exactly now is bemusing, that the Vatican supports proactive climate policies might have been breaking news in 2005.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    I have a few questions, but is Tom Steyer relevant to this topic, and is it okay that I admire him?

    As for the conservative pigeons, they're out of touch with reality pretty frequently.
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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    Quote Originally Posted by LeftyGreenMario View Post
    I have a few questions, but is Tom Steyer relevant to this topic
    Judging from the Wikipedia article about him, yes, but I can't tell whether anybody can answer your question. I likely couldn't.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    Here's an attempt to explain the value of framing climate change as an ethical issue and why this upsets pro-pollution stink tanks.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/4/29/8512853...uel-divestment

    The Pope plans on delivering an encyclical on climate change this summer and it has American conservatives freaking out. The Heartland Institute, Washington's leading anti-environmental "think tank," has even dispatched a crack team of deniers to Rome to dissuade His Holiness.

    Why the agita from the right? After all, similar statements of climate concern have been issued by virtually every major government, international development organization, and national science council in the world. It's not like the Pope is spilling the beans on a well-kept secret.

    But as Heartland clearly recognizes, the Pope's statement carries unique significance for the simple reason that he has unquestioned moral authority for millions of people. He threatens to situate the fight against climate change as a deeply moral issue, a matter of God's work on earth. Once it is so situated, it will slowly and inexorably drag culture and politics along in its wake.

    The right, which is entirely comfortable deploying moral arguments, understands this better than the mainstream, center-left environmental establishment. Large swathes of the center-left establishment (especially among the foundations that fund things) are besotted with dreams of technocracy and bipartisan civility — so much so that in 2009 Matt Yglesias pleaded with greens to "put the plodding moralism back in."
    They're probably right about far-right groups like the Heartland Institute fearing a moralised discourse, though their fear probably isn't that definite. What seems most obvious is that they are afraid of acceptance of global warming and climate change making headway into their base. However, that cannot really explain the very late timing.

    It's interesting that viewing climate change as an issue of morality seems far less controversial in Europe than in the United States. It might be the ubiquitous (but I'd argue not very thoughtful) liberal belief that morality shouldn't ever be put into regulation dominating the American left.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    It could be because morality is often associated with religion, though, and the United States is usually the more religious compared to Europe. Hence why the ubiquitous liberal belief about morality might be tied to secularism rather than generalizing about morality itself. Could be my guess, though. Me, I think morality is separate from religion, but discussion frequently ties the two.

    I do think climate change is an issue from both a science, fact, and moral-based standpoint, so I'd as far to think that organizations like the The Heartland Institute is poisonous to managing our environmental future of humanity. No doubt that climate change WILL impact the poorest nations the hardest, but it will overall negatively affect all of us. I do think the drought we have in SoCal is exacerbated or at least has some ties to global warming and I know several farmers are struggling right now.
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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    Hollande has called on countries to state their commitments before the climate summit in Paris and on businesses to be cooperative. Various top persons in the summit have underlined the import of having fossil fuel companies on board.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environme...at-paris-talks

    François Hollande, president of France, has called for a “miracle” to happen later this year at a crunch climate change conference in Paris, saying this would be needed for a compromise to be reached on the future of limiting greenhouse gases that would involve both developed and developing countries.

    He urged all countries to come up with commitments on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, ahead of the signing of a new global agreement by world governments later this year in Paris.

    He ruefully acknowledged the difficulty of coming up with such an agreement. “We must have a consensus. If within our own country, that’s difficult, imagine what it’s like with 196 countries. A miracle!” He added he was confident it could be achieved.

    For any agreement to work, he said, the role of businesses would be “key”. Invoking the foundation of the French republic, he said: “We need a revolution in business.”

    President Hollande talked of the need for carbon sequestration, developing new clean technologies, and finding ways to be more energy efficient.
    I think the more realistic approach would be to ignore the fossil fuel industry and focus on cooperation with more ambitious companies, like Fiat and Unilever. Just enforce sufficiently strict norms on the industry fossils, because any leeway will be seized and abused.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    Someone's faculty page has a useful overview of commitments for 2025/2030 ahead of the Paris COP15.

    http://igor.gold.ac.uk/~tharr001/par...es/index.html?

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    A LSE study predicts a peak of Chinese GHG emission in 2015, which would make a 2C warming limit more likely.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...025-says-study

    China’s greenhouse gas emissions will probably peak in 2025, five years earlier than its stated target, a study said on Monday, in a boost for hopes to curb climate change.

    On current trends, the world’s biggest carbon emitter will discharge 12.5-14bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) in 2025, after which emissions will decline, it said.

    The work was carried out by two research institutes at the London School of Economics (LSE).

    “This finding suggests it is increasingly likely that the world will avoid global warming of more than 2C above pre-industrial levels,” they said in a statement.

    The average temperature goal, which translates into 3.6F, is the upper limit targeted by the UN, which is seeking to enshrine it in a global accord in December.
    A global warming of 2C is nonetheless still an existential threat to several small island nations and states, especially in the Southern Pacific.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    http://www.vox.com/2015/6/9/8753051/...gulations-jobs

    Opponents of President Obama's Clean Power Plan (CPP) — the EPA's proposed rule to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector — tend to discuss it in apocalyptic language, particularly regarding its effects on employment. To pluck an example from a hat: when he was running for Senate last year, Ed Gillespie warned that EPA carbon regulations would destroy "244,000 jobs a year." (Yes, that is ludicrous.)

    So it should set everyone's mind at ease that, according to a new study, the CPP will yield a small net gain in employment.

    Before getting to those details, it's worth emphasizing a broader point that gets lost in these debates: the net effect of the CPP on employment, like the net effect of past air-pollution regulations, is likely to be small. Performance standards on energy technologies simply do not create or destroy enough jobs to matter much in the larger debate over economic health. Other structural factors, like whether the Fed prematurely raises interest rates, will likely have much more macroeconomic employment effect than EPA's rule.
    http://www.vox.com/2015/6/9/8748081/...newable-energy

    It is technically and economically feasible to run the US economy entirely on renewable energy, and to do so by 2050. That is the conclusion of a new study in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, authored by Stanford scholar Mark Z. Jacobson and nine colleagues.

    Jacobson is well-known for his ambitious and controversial work on renewable energy. In 2001 he published, with Mark A. Delucchi, a two-part paper (one, two) on "providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power." In 2013 he published a feasibility study on moving New York state entirely to renewables, and in 2014 he created a road map for California to do the same.

    His team's new paper contains 50 such road maps, one for every state, with detailed modeling on how to get to a US energy system entirely powered by wind, water, and solar (WWS). That means no oil and coal. It also means no natural gas, no nuclear power, no carbon capture and sequestration, and no biofuels.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    See here: Geothermal energy in the United States

    What about geothermal energy? That would be good for Wyoming, Idaho, Washington (the state), Oregon, California, Alaska, and Hawaii (and a few other states).
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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    If you are referring to Jacobson's scenario, he does include geothermal, it is just that the article doesn't mention it (but inspect the figures, it is present there). However, geothermal energy typically can only provide a modest share of your energy needs unless you are a country like Iceland - which isn't to say that it would be unimportant, because it's a front-loaded energy source: after high initial investments, marginal costs are very low.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    A good achievement by Angela Merkel (with support from Hollande and Obama): forcing a modicum of reasonableness on Harper and Abe.

    http://www.politico.eu/article/germa...ssions-pledge/

    Merkel convinces Canada and Japan on CO2

    Germany browbeats Canada and Japan into joining broad G7 pledge to cut emissions.
    It was a long, hard slog for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but in the end the woman once dubbed the “climate chancellor” for her personal commitment to combating global warming pulled fellow G7 leaders to her side and triumphed over those resistant to putting an expiry date on fossil fuels.

    Backed by French President François Hollande, U.S. President Barack Obama and EU leaders, the host of the summit in Schloss Elmau succeeded in putting tough, tangible commitments into the communiqué that the group agreed to Monday afternoon. That includes the crucial promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 70 percent by 2050, compared to 2010 levels, and to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

    The result was a round of applause from climate experts and campaigners.

    “Merkel didn’t have to, but she really went all in in putting climate change at the top of the agenda,” said Daniel Boese, a media campaigner for the German civic group Avaaz.

    It was not easy for the German leader, added Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate change program at the World Resources Institute. “She’s been quite determined despite the discussions not being easy and in fact in one forum Merkel has described it as the most challenging issue she deals with.”
    Backed by the German public, and boosted by her own deep knowledge of climate change (Merkel is a trained chemist), her long and steady push is now being lauded for bringing other G7 leaders on board, and eventually forcing the two primary opponents, Japan and Canada, to back down, sources in Elmau told POLITICO.

    Japan, in particular, had entered the negotiations with a three stage strategy: “Delay, decline, block,” said an advocacy group source. Canada started to backtrack when it realized the U.S. had little interest in supporting its insistence that the G7 was not the venue to promote an ambitious global warming agenda, others said.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    The U.N. has forged an agreement on deforestation that actually packs some punch.

    http://grist.org/news/the-u-n-surpri..._campaign=feed

    A surprise deal emerged from U.N. climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany, this week: Diplomats managed to reach a key agreement to compensate developing nations that agree to preserve their forests. And environmental and civil society groups had generally nice things to say about the deal.

    Deforestation has a huge effect on climate change. Activities like slash-and-burn agriculture account for nearly 20 percent of greenhouse gases emissions, according to the U.N. Trees, of course, also play a key role in slowing climate change by pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere.

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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    Pope Francis has published his encyclical Laudate Si.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33182065

    The Pope has issued an encyclical, calling for fossil fuels to be "progressively replaced without delay".

    Pope Francis urges the richer world to make changes in lifestyle and energy consumption to avert the unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem.

    Environmentalists hope the message will spur on nations ahead of the UN climate conference in Paris in December.

    But parts of the document, leaked earlier this week, have already been criticised by some US conservatives.
    Naturally, several Republican Roman Catholics are being dimwits:

    The big question is how it will play in the USA, where it has already been dismissed by a Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who is a Catholic.

    Leading Republicans have warned the UN that they will undo President Barack Obama's climate policies - so if the encyclical sways any of the conservative Catholics in Congress that could prove significant.
    I'm glad bankers and law school types are questioning the Pope's credentials, who doesn't invoke any scientific authority as his and has actually had training as a chemist.

    It probably will have more effect among everyday Roman Catholic believers than among Republican politicians.

    http://www.vox.com/2015/6/16/8788813...climate-change

    On Thursday, Pope Francis released his long-awaited papal encyclical on climate change and the environment. In the sweeping 184-page document, he calls on the world's nations — especially rich nations — to curtail fossil fuel use, revamp their economic systems, and alter their lifestyles in order to avoid "unprecedented destruction of ecosystems."

    Encyclicals are high-level teachings meant to clarify Catholic doctrine and reach a broader audience. This is the first encyclical that any pope has ever devoted solely to the environment. The world's 1.2 billion Catholics certainly aren't required to obey its every word, but the ideas in the document are expected to trickle down to churches and schools, as it gets taught and discussed in the coming years.

    So how big a deal is this? The Guardian has called the pope's letter an "explosive intervention" that will "transform [the] climate change debate." Others are skeptical that even His Holiness can significantly increase the momentum for action on global warming. The boring answer is that we'll likely have to wait and see how this all plays out. But here are 16 points to consider in the meantime:

  22. #22
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    Interesting news, a court requires the Dutch government to do more to reduce CO2 emission with 1990 as a baseline year. The claim has been reduced to 25% reduction instead of the claimants' 40%. The government may still appeal the ruling.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33261474

    It reads like the script of a movie. Climate change campaigners go to court to force their government to take tougher action on greenhouse gas emissions.

    But it became reality in a Dutch court on Wednesday, when a judge ruled that The Netherlands must do more to combat the threat of climate change.

    As a low-lying country, the country is particularly vulnerable to flooding with around half of its territory - where much of its population lives - below sea level.
    ...

    And campaigners Urgenda, who brought the case, accuse the government of putting too much emphasis on mitigation rather than meeting international obligations to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

    The court said that the Dutch Government's current plan to reduce emissions by 17% by 2020 was less than the 25-40% international norm for industrialised nations.

    Under the ruling, The Netherlands has to cut emissions by at least a quarter on 1990 levels by 2020.

    The decision is legally binding, but the government has the option to appeal.
    The case is thought to be the first in Europe in which citizens try to hold a state responsible for lack of action on climate change.

    It is also thought to be the first to use human rights legislation as a basis to protect people from climate change, with similar cases being prepared in Belgium, Norway and The Philippines.

    Coming in the same month that Pope Francis released an encyclical on the environment, civil society is heaping the pressure on politicians to forge a new deal on climate change at a key UN conference at the end of the year.

  23. #23
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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    New targets unveiled by Brazil, the U.S.A. and China.

    http://grist.org/news/china-brazil-a...climate-goals/

    Three of the world’s biggest polluters — China, Brazil, and the U.S. — all announced new strategies to tackle climate change today.

    China unveiled its long-awaited pledge for the U.N. climate talks to be held in Paris this December. (Such pledges are known in wonk-speak as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs.) The country is committing to a more ambitious goal for cutting the amount of greenhouse gases emitted for each unit of economic growth.
    Just a few hours after the China announcement, President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff — the leaders of the Western Hemisphere’s two most populous countries — came forward with their own climate announcement. The leaders promised to have their countries running on 20 percent non-hydroelectric renewables by 2030. (Brazil gets a lot of its energy from controversial hydroelectric projects.)
    I shall include these new figures in the OP over the course of this week.

  24. #24
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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    Obama has proposed a renewable energy and emission cuts plan that delegates emission targets to the states.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33753067

    US President Barack Obama has unveiled what he called "the biggest, most important step we have ever taken" in tackling climate change.

    The aim of the revised Clean Power Plan is to cut greenhouse gas emissions from US power stations by nearly a third within 15 years.

    The measures will place significant emphasis on wind and solar power and other renewable energy sources.

    However, opponents in the energy industry have vowed to fight the plan.
    A "War on Coal" would be a great thing unlike what the detractors claim. Burning coal releases massive quantities of carcinogenic particles into the atmosphere, which affects us all. This is very unlike nuclear fission, from the effects of which we are usually shielded (for the time being).

    Also, coal is very inefficient as a job creator, being excessively capital-intensive. Renewable energy would create many more jobs.

  25. #25
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    Re: Climate and Energy Targets

    Australia announced some risible emission cuts.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33861390

    The remnants of burnt carbon have been causing Australians all over the world to hang their heads in shame in recent days.

    But the painful loss of the Ashes, cricket's most ridiculous trophy, to England, isn't the only CO2 related problem facing the Lucky Country.

    The Australian government's announcement of an emissions reduction target for 2030 has been met with the international political equivalent of "meh".

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott said his plan, to cut carbon by at least 26% of 2005 levels by 2030, was "fairly and squarely in the middle of comparable economies".
    Australia has chosen to use 2005 as its base year, coincidentally the year its emissions peaked. But if you make a comparison with 1990 as a baseline year, a clearer picture emerges.

    Figures from the Australian think tank, the Climate Institute show that Mr Abbott's new plan will cut emissions by 20% of 1990 levels by 2030. The US on the same basis will cut by 32%, the EU by 40% - and the UK will have reduced carbon dioxide by 66%.

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