Climate Mitigation

Green jobs organization proposes local fixes for climate change

ImageEnvironmentalists and communications firms are quick to point out that "green jobs" has been a phenomenally successful talking point. The idea originated as a modest attempt to improve job prospects of young people of color in Oakland, Calif., while helping clean up the environment at the same time.

Why U.S. support for a U.N. indigenous rights document is big news

ImageIf you watch green news, the tiny item announcing that the U.S. has promised to sign on to the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — which was passed in 2007 and scorned by the Bush administration — was a big deal.

Protecting health and climate: Developing integrated strategies

ImageLast week, in the wrap-up of the international climate change conference in Cancun, two of the rare side event meetings addressing public health effects of climate change were held in one day. The first event, a lunchtime roundtable, was sponsored by WHO and brought together ministers of health, environment and agriculture from Mexico, Macedonia, Bangladesh, Mali, Maldives and Spain. Their goal: to identify the challenges faced, and opportunities identified, through a focus on public health and climate change.

Should U.S. emissions be reduced in the courts?

ImageThe Supreme Court will soon be deciding whether the courts are the appropriate venue for seeking carbon dioxide emission reductions from coal-burning power plants. The plaintiffs in the case they'll hear -- 8 states, 3 land trusts, and New York City -- are seeking reductions based on the legal grounds that the emissions constitute a "public nuisance." A lower court had previously dismissed the case using the rationale that emissions regulations should be handled in the political arena, not in the courts.

Drilling down on the details: Climate finance and REDD

ImageA recent article published in the Washington Post describing the slow pace of progress at the international COP 16 climate change conference in Cancun argues that the conference is unlikely to produce a binding international treaty on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Many expected this going into the conference. However, as the article highlights, the COP 16 meetings have been important for other reasons, particularly with respect to hammering out the details for how to move forward on commitments made last year in Copenhagen.

Green California Summit: Easy wins

ImageContinuing my previous post summarizing what the biggest names in California environmental issues have to say about the next few years, I wanted to bracket a few comments that suggest that environmental issues are easier to win, and have a broader base of support, than we might think.

Green California Summit wrapup

ImagePHI sent Policy Associate Marisa Rimland and yours truly to yesterday's Green California Summit, organized by the California League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. The Summit, says CLCV Executive Director Warner Chabot, hopes to be a meet-and-greet for the broad coalition of groups that will meet the environmental challenges of the next several years. (Insiders' translation: By getting together and agreeing on policy priorities, Calfornia environmental groups maximize their chances of success.)

Has progress stalled in Cancun?

ImageJapan shocked delegates to the COP 16 Conference on Climate Change Tuesday by announcing that it would not agree to an extension of the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty. Adopted in Kyoto, Japan in 1997, the Protocol sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

Climate change, displacement and migration: Adaptation success or failure?

ImageLast night at the COP 16 climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, I attended a briefing on the topic of displacement and migration in the context of climate change. Representatives from a range of United Nations departments highlighted evidence identifying increased mobility and migration as one of the most significant human impacts of climate change: according to some projections, as many as 150 million people could be displaced by climate-related phenomena by the year 2050. As panelists argued, predicting the long term impacts of increased mobility is particularly difficult, thus leaving the social, political and health effects of climate-induced migration an open question.

A little good environmental news

ImageNothing will come of the Cancun climate talks, pundits predict, and the Republican-led Congress is poised to do exactly nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And yet two tiny nuggets of news suggest that we might see some environmental progress yet.

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