Grounding Climate Negotiations in Solution-Oriented Research

by |July 6, 2010

With the generous support of the Planet Heritage Foundation and the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Earth Institute is initiating the Global Network for Climate Solutions and evaluating its ability to influence future international climate negotiations by grounding them in shared research that is focused on concrete solutions and action. The effort aims to facilitate the design of country-based action strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation, with, potentially, the first set to become available in time for consideration and use during the 2010 climate conference in CancĂșn, Mexico.

To inform developing-country adaptation efforts and plans for global adaptation financing, the adaptation component of the network will interact with a range of institutes in developing countries to formulate a set of adaptation plans, following a common methodology. The goals are to advance practical, science-based methods for adaptation solutions; identify and assess new technologies and needed policies and institutions; create a basis for comparing adaptation costs; and improve capacities of institutes and nongovernmental organizations in developing countries to contribute to adaptation planning and practice.

polar-bearThe premise of the mitigation component of the network is that in the wake of the Copenhagen conference, addressing the risks of climate change requires new thinking, backed up by new kinds of information. Thus, the first step in this initiative is to develop a format for comparing the things individual countries can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with a focus on sectors and individual gases. Simultaneously, we will organize a network of contributing organizations with in-country knowledge to help us develop data for this format. Ultimately, we aim to use this information to make proposals for coordinated mitigation plans and policies, and for structuring future rounds of negotiations.

In this exploratory phase, the network will be hosted by the Earth Institute, coordinated by the Columbia Climate Center and overseen by two global project boards, one for adaptation and one for mitigation. Scott Barrett will chair the Mitigation Board, and Shiv Someshwar will chair the Adaptation Board. Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute, will oversee the program.

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