A run-through of the issues at stake in the intersessional climate negotiations, being held in Bonn, in preparation for the Paris agreement.
Dear Lehigh University,
A Master’s in Environmental Policy is bittersweet in 2015. We are given the tools to do what is morally right but are hindered by what I was told was financially feasible. I graduated in 2015: the year the world will agree a new global accord on climate action (through the UNFCCC) in Paris and set a Post–2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. This is also a breakthrough year for reinvestment strategies: where the word Divestment once seemed like it might stain the ivory towers of our major institutions, it is now a central component to the actions being taken by leading companies, investment funds, and insurers. Educational beacons are now being marked as a call to action.Read more
What is happening right now in climate policy, smart financial investment strategy redesign, and energy innovation, is as big a revolution as the world has known in its history. In the last year, we have seen the world move from an aim to avoid global temperature rise of 2ºC, to the more ambitious 1.5ºC; we have seen breakthrough technologies in household clean energy storage, and hyperlocal distributed solar power generation. And this week, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister announced a vision that includes the full phase out of oil consumption by 2040 or 2050, with a profitable shift to solar energy.Read more
The state of Hawai’i has broken new ground in the United States’ project to build a truly secure, sustainable energy economy. By a vote of 74 to 2, the State Legislature passed a first-in-the-nation bill, mandating 100% renewables by the year 2045. The binding target applies to electric utilities, and sets a steady increase in the rate of renewables that must be used, along the way to 100% carbon-free electricity 3 decades from now.Read more
The United States released its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) yesterday. The core of the commitment is a reduction of 26% to 28% below 2005 greenhouse gas emissions levels by the year 2025, a rate of emissions cuts that puts the US on track for 80% emissions reductions by 2050, but will likely not be enough to prevent a continued rise in global average temperatures to no more than 2ºC above pre-industrial levels. What is crucial is that this plan allows for the adding of more aggressive decarbonization over time, as progress is made, technology develops, investment patterns shift, and as the UN process looks toward setting 1.5ºC as the upper limit for temperature rise.