The Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to postpone implementation of the Clean Power Plan represents a setback for efforts to combat climate change; but the damage to the U.S. ability to meet pledges it made at the Paris climate summit in December “is less than it might seem,” says Michael Gerrard.
The United States has joined 185 countries in promising to curb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, develop other ways to mitigate the impacts and to make communities more resilient to climate change. So what exactly is the United States proposing to do?
“Reaching an agreement would firstly mean an increase in awareness for the particular situation faced by small island developing states. States such as Kiribati are on the front line of climate change since they are already experiencing its effects, and an agreement would enhance recognition of [their] vulnerability.”
The World Wildlife Fund will collaborate with the Earth Institute’s Center for Climate Systems Research to advance adaptation to the impacts of climate change around the globe. The partners will create new ways of generating climate risk information and embedding it into the World Wildlife Fund’s conservation and development planning, policies and practice.
Millions of people living in cities around the world already feel the impacts of climate change: Heat waves, flooded streets, landslides and storms. All of these affect important infrastructure such as transportation and water supplies, ports and commerce, public health and people’s daily lives. And it is cities that are at the forefront of the response.
As a nation still in its developing phase, with 1.25 billion citizens and counting, India can’t afford to forego even part of its industrial progress. But we also cannot go on developing without taking into account the emissions produced by industries that are major contributors to global warming.
The most important issue is whether countries will achieve their 2030 targets in a way that helps them to get to zero emissions by 2070. If they merely pursue measures aimed at reducing emissions in the short term, they risk locking their economies into high levels of emissions after 2030. The critical issue, in short, is not 2030, but what happens afterward.
I don’t believe for a second that we are on the brink of global destruction. We are on the brink of a global re-distribution and whole scale re-balancing of global goods and bads. But we have been there before and survived.
The report says it is possible to revamp the energy system in a way that reduces per capita carbon dioxide emissions from 17 tons per person currently to 1.7 tons in 2050, while still providing all the services people expect, from driving to air conditioning.
As we head to Paris, the expectations are profoundly lower. The national commitments that countries are putting on the table do not add up to nearly enough to keep us within 2 degrees; instead the plan is to come back every five years and hopefully do better. … It is still mathematically possible to stay within 2 degrees, but the odds of actually doing so seem to be receding by the month.