French minister: 2015 climate deal must avoid US Congress

BONN, Germany     (AP) – The global climate agreement being negotiated this year must be worded in such a way that it doesn’t require approval by the U.S. Congress, the French foreign minister said Monday.

Laurent Fabius told African delegates at U.N. climate talks in Bonn that “we know the politics in the U.S. Whether we like it or not, if it comes to the Congress, they will refuse.”

If negotiators follow his plan, that would exclude an international treaty that has legally-binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions - something some countries still insist on but which would have no chance of being ratified by the Republican-controlled Congress.

“We must find a formula which is valuable for everybody and valuable for the U.S. without going to the Congress,” said Fabius, who will host the U.N. climate summit in Paris in December where the new agreement is supposed to be adopted.

Those pushing for a legally binding deal in Paris include the 28-nation European Union and small island nations who fear being wiped out by rising seas.

Amjad Abdulla, a Maldives delegate who is the chief negotiator for the small-island group, said while the group still wants a binding agreement “I think it’s important that we get everyone on board.”

“We are still looking into options,” he said.

One possible outcome in Paris is a deal in which some elements are binding but not the emissions targets set by individual countries.

The Obama administration has pledged to reduce U.S. emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.


Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come

Climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans, scientists reported, and they warned that the problem was likely to grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.


Greenland'­s immense ice sheet is melting as a result of climate change. Credit Kadir van Lohuizen for The New York Times

By 2047, Coldest Years May Be Warmer Than Hottest in Past

“If greenhouse emissions continue their steady escalation, temperatures across most of the earth will rise to levels with no recorded precedent by the middle of this century, researchers said Wednesday.

Scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa calculated that by 2047, plus or minus five years, the average temperatures in each year will be hotter across most parts of the planet than they had been at those locations in any year between 1860 and 2005.”

There may be an argument for Australia to price carbon but it can’t be to arrest global warming or slow climate change - we’re simply too small an emitter of greenhouse gases for moderate cuts to make any measurable difference.

- Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 April 2011

(Really? We’re going to be that defeatist?  Change has to start somewhere…)

The Atlantic Cities:

A Small Number of People Are Causing a Huge Share of Our Greenhouse Emissions

Emily Badger. June 27, 2013

You probably don’t need a sophisticated climate model to tell you that a compact, car-free apartment in the city has a smaller carbon footprint than a 3,000 square-foot single-family house in the suburbs. But add all of those big, far-flung homes together, and their cumulative impact starts to look really disproportionate. In many metropolitan areas, this means that a narrow slice of households are responsible for a vastly larger share of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Just how much larger are we talking? An interesting new study out of Switzerland, published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technologylooked at this question in a single town there. Researchers at ETH-Zurich developed a model using census data for the life-cycle assessment of housing and local transportation consumption in the town of Wattwil, home to 3,238 households. Twenty-one percent of the households there, the researchers calculated, were responsible for 50 percent of the region’s housing and mobility-related emissions.

The main culprits? Large homes requiring a lot of energy to heat and cool, and relatively long commutes. This snapshot of a small town in Switzerland obviously doesn’t translate directly to New York City (the authors also did not factor into their model other kinds of consumption, like food and clothing). But previous statistics from the U.S. suggest that the paper’s main conclusion likely applies broadly: "The findings,” the authors write, “suggest that [greenhouse gases] are not emitted equally.”

Image: Shutterstock

In California, polluting companies are paying to line the roofs of the disadvantaged with solar panels. It’s not charity, either, exactly—it’s public policy. Very good policy.

The San Francisco Chronicle explains how a new program arising from the state’s cap-and-trade law—in which companies must pay, per ton, for their carbon pollution—is delivering solar to the poor: “Run by Oakland nonprofit Grid Alternatives, the effort will install home solar arrays in disadvantaged neighborhoods, using $14.7 million raised through California’s cap-and-trade system for reining in greenhouse gas emissions.”

— rw


The United States’ transition to a low-emissions society powered by renewable energy is not going to be led by its biggest oil companies. At meetings Wednesday, ExxonMobil and Chevron rejected a number of shareholder proposals that would address climate change, be it by setting goal for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or investing in renewable energy. Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, in particular, acted incredulous that anyone would even suggest such a thing.

Big Oil is not interested in being part of the solution

Senators Tell Global Forum U.S. Must Lead on Fighting Warming

WASHINGTON — Corporate moguls, policy experts and U.S. senators spoke with one voice about global warming Wednesday, telling a world forum that the United States must take a lead role in cutting greenhouse gases if it wants to encourage China and India to do the same. At a Capitol Hill…

CO2, global warming, Greenhouse Emissions, US

Tears for a Dying World

Driving On Awesome Solar Roadways Is Right Around The Corner (IMAGES & VIDEO)

Driving On Awesome Solar Roadways Is Right Around The Corner (IMAGES & VIDEO)

Imagine solar panels that melt snow and let you drive, park, and walk on all while outing greenhouse gases by 75 percent. While flying cars ala’ the Jetsons still hasn’t happened, solar roadways is a pretty cool start.  It seems that these technological marvels may just be closer to becoming a reality as the Solar Roadways crowd funding campaigntopped its goal of $1 million and with 3 days left…

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Take a long, last look at the iconic glaciers in the Mt. Everest region of the Himalayas, the area with the highest volume of ice outside the north and south poles. They’re incredibly sensitive to the impacts of a warming planet, a new model from a team of international researchers finds, and they’re set to all but disappear by the end of the century. The study, published in the journal The Cryosphere, carries either bad news or very bad news for the region. It predicts that by the year 2100, glacier volume will decrease by anywhere from 70 to 99 percent. Just how bad it gets — the difference between losing most, or virtually all, of the ice — depends on how much we’re able to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, and the changes in temperature, snowfall and rainfall that result from manmade global warming.

The Himalayan region is particularly susceptible to climate change, a new study finds

In Mar. 2001, President George W. Bush withdrew the US from the Kyoto Protocol due to Senate opposition and concerns that limiting greenhouse gas emisions would harm the US economy. From July 16-27, 2001 the COP 6 conference (conference of signatory parties to the UNFCCC) took place in Bonn, Germany, and the final amendments to the Kyoto Protocol were made. 179 countries reached a binding agreement without the participation of the US.
—  The more I educate myself on things Bush did the more I grow to despise him and others alike.

When It Comes to Cutting Carbon, Cities May Be More Powerful Than National Governments

When it comes to leadership on climate change issues, don’t bother looking to the top. National governments have made little headway in developing plans and policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto protocol was the start of an international conversation, but one with a limited impact. The COP 15 Climate Change Conference in 2009 resulted in little, as did its follow-up meetings in 2010 and 2011. Delegates at theRio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development are hoping those talks will continue to develop, but recent history suggests leadership at the national level is far off.

At the local level, though, progress has been made. As we’ve previously reported, cities across the planet are crafting and implementing plans to adapt to and even reduce the impacts of global climate change. And according to a coalition of the world’s largest cities, progress continues. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group says its 58 member cities are on a track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 248 million tons by 2020 – about 0.8 percent of global emissions.

Not a huge bite, but at least its something. C40 notes that many of these city-level efforts have been enacted without the support of national governments.

The Carbon Disclosure Project’s 2012 global cities report [PDF] also asserts that mayors have direct control of over 75 percent of urban emissions sources, from municipal fleets to residential waste management to outdoor lighting to urban planning. This is a pretty striking figure.

And according to the report, city governments are responsible for 77 percent of the actions being taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

So while it might be nice and useful to see some leadership on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions at the national level, down at the city level there is power, funding and inclination to take action.”

Via: The Atlantic Cities

Photo:   Sergio Moraes / Reuters

The demand for electricity is set to rise dramatically. 

For lighting alone, electricity consumption is expected to increase by 60 per cent in the next 20 years. 

Today, lighting is responsible for 19 per cent of global electricity consumption and for six to eight per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The good news 

is that the technology is here to enable a global transition to lighting efficient enough to slash emissions by half.