Wednesday, December 16, 2015
One day before the Paris climate summit concluded with an agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions around the globe, students, faculty and staff packed a room in the Green Building to hear a panel of MIT experts assess the likely outcome of the negotiations. While the climate negotiations wrapped up over the weekend, their impact in the decades to come remains far from certain.
Moderated by Susan Solomon, the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Science, the panel included Noelle Selin, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Associate Professor of Data, Systems and Society, and of Atmospheric Chemistry; Jessika Trancik, the Atlantic Richfield Career Development Assistant Professor of Energy Studies; and Henry “Jake” Jacoby, the William F. Pounds Professor of Management Emeritus and Co-Director Emeritus of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.
In introductory remarks, Solomon noted that negotiators at the Paris meeting—known as COP21, or the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—had devoted considerable time to finessing language within 1600 sets of brackets in the proposed agreement to address concerns among its 195 signatories. Three days before the close of talks, that number had been whittled down to 361, and with two days remaining, it stood at 50.
LOE After working arduously for two weeks, COP21 delegates have adopted the ambitious Paris Agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry, White House Science Advisor John Holdren and Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo weigh in on the importance of these climate commitments and of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than the earlier target of 2 degrees. Host Steve Curwood speaks with World Resources Institute Global Climate Director Jennifer Morgan about the contents of the final Paris Agreement.
The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks how well countries perform on high-priority environmental issues in two broad policy areas: protection of human health from environmental harm and protection of ecosystems.
Indonesia is facing an environmental disaster. Fires from drained peatlands have caused massive air pollution, or ‘haze’, causing respiratory and other illnesses. The disruption in economic activities has cost the country $16 billion in losses. Stopping the haze requires a commitment to sustainable management of forests and peatlands.
The climate change agreement reached in Paris last weekend will cut greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of global warming. While the accord is voluntary and falls short of limiting emissions to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels scientists are calling for, it does provide a road map to ramp up action with support from private investors. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has details.
After two weeks of negotiations, the Paris climate talks that ended on December 12 delivered the foundations of a post-2020 climate regime.
To advance climate change mitigation efforts, the new agreement incorporates national targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for 2025/2030, a new five-year cycle to establish subsequent targets, a reporting and review placeholder, and official stocktaking two years prior to those submissions to compare global progress against long-term goals.
In Paris, 189 of 195 participating countries pledged action in the form of intended nationally determined contributions, or INDCs. These pledges will be assessed in 2018 to encourage countries, where possible, to increase the level of ambition.
The review mechanism agreed on in Paris is a crucial first step. The new climate regime has also been lauded for its transparency provisions, which will be essential to establishing trust in the review process.
Implementing the pledge review process laid out in Paris will not be easy, but it is necessary to have a chance of ratcheting up efforts over time to meet the agreement’s ultimate goal of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
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