Climate Change Accounting Goes Public in a Big Way

Solve Climate reports on a massive electronic billboard displaying the real-time stock of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, unveiled on 18 June outside New York City’s Penn Station. The world’s first “Carbon Counter”, launched by Deutsche Bank, will be seen daily by half a million people and millions more can do so online at … Continue reading Climate Change Accounting Goes Public in a Big Way

US ‘global warming bill’ one step closer?

A bill to create the first national limit on greenhouse-gas emissions was approved by a House committee yesterday after a week of late-night debates that cemented the shift of climate change from rhetorical jousting to a subject of serious, if messy, Washington policymaking.

The legislation would create a cap-and-trade system: Over the next decades, power plants, oil refineries and manufacturers would be required to obtain allowances for the pollution they emit. Those who need more or less could turn to a Wall-Street-like market in the allowances. The 33 to 25 vote was a major victory for House Democrats, who had softened and jury-rigged the bill to reassure manufacturers and utilities — and members of their own party from the South and Midwest — that they would not suffer greatly. Continue reading US ‘global warming bill’ one step closer?

Did global warming stop after 1998?

Anyone who has an interest in exploring patterns in global temperature should take a look  around Paul Clark, a British software developer and “practically-oriented environmentalist and conservationist” has developed an online interface that allows anyone to go examine basic longterm trends in climate time series data (including the HADCRUT3 / GISTEMP Global Temperature & … Continue reading Did global warming stop after 1998?

Obama’s win refreshes key climate talks – Nature Special Report

As all eyes turn to Poland for the start of the United Nations meeting next week, Jeff Tollefson (Nature Special Report) looks at what progress is likely to be made.

Nature News, 27th November 2008

The United Nations Climate Change Conference that begins in Poznań, Poland, on 1 December will in some ways mark the end of an era. The United States’ long-standing opposition to climate regulation is vanishing, offering new opportunities for cooperation with its allies in Europe and beyond.

But to some extent, international climate negotiators will remain in limbo until 20 January 2009, when US President-elect Barack Obama enters the White House. Obama has advocated forceful domestic action on global warming and re-engagement with the international community.

“There is a lot of hope and a lot of optimism,” says Rob Bradley, who heads international climate policy at the World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank in Washington DC. “A lot of countries will be willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the new administration — but they are all very aware that in Poznań they will be talking to the old administration.”

The meeting will bring together representatives from some 192 countries in an ongoing effort to craft a global-warming accord to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997 and expires in 2012. UN officials hope to reach a successor agreement in Copenhagen next year to leave time for implementation and ratification. Yet many think that goal is too ambitious, especially at a time when world leaders are worried about the global economy.

Poland has cited economic reasons in trying to build a coalition to block a European Union rule that, among other things, would require full auctioning of carbon allowances in 2013. But Saleemul Huq, of the International Institute for Environment and Development in London, thinks that opposition is now waning. He says the European Council might even move ahead with the rule as early as 12 December, the last day of the Poznań conference. The US re-engagement will only help, he says. “People will have a more rosy outlook in terms of being able to achieve something,” says Huq, “and that will probably bend the European position in a more positive direction.”

Continue reading “Obama’s win refreshes key climate talks – Nature Special Report”

The missing link in the “solutions” to climate change

The recent Garnaut report states that “the solutions to the climate change challenge must be found in removing the links between economic activity and greenhouse gas emissions.” In order to successfully mitigate climate change impacts on both the environment and the economy, we need to go a step further and replace those links with avenues … Continue reading The missing link in the “solutions” to climate change