Climate Change

Historic Progress on Climate Finance at COP27

The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP27, concluded with a historic decision to establish and operationalize a type of climate finance known as the loss and damage fund. The 27th COP was held from the 6th to the 20th of November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. More than 100 heads of state and thousands of delegates and 35, 000 people, took part in high-level events and key negotiations and events showcasing climate action around the world. Here is a brief history of climate finance and a summary of the achievements and shortcomings of COP27. There have been three...

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Three Decades of UN Climate Change Conferences

Over the last three decades, the UN has brought the world together to secure historic international agreements and advance global climate action. The annual climate change meetings are formally known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC) Conferences of the Parties (COP). These conferences rely on the best available science to direct climate action and provide guidance for policymaking. The climate COP process was born n 1992 as part of the Rio Earth Summit which was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The agreement that emerged from that meeting provides a framework for negotiating specific international treaties...

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Top Ten Climate Provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act

The U.S. climate bill, more formally known as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 was signed into law by President Joe Biden on August 16th.  The 755-page bill includes 100 climate, energy, and environmental programs that are designed to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 40 percent. The incentive-driven approach in the IRA is expected to avert more than a billion tons of carbon by 2030.  The IRA has provisions for emissions reductions in every major sector of the economy including electricity production and transportation as well as energy-intensive manufacturing industries like steel, chemicals, and cement.  The IRA pays for itself, creates jobs,...

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How Many Heat Waves Will it Take for us to Act on Climate Change?

Despite steady increases in global temperatures and years of ever more deadly heat waves, we are not doing anywhere near enough to combat climate change. The UN describes the decades of worsening heat as an "undeniable trend" of anthropogenic warming. Last summer an article in The Atlantic said the heat was "unignorable" and hundreds of similar headlines warned us that we must act now to slow global warming. Once again this summer we are breaking heat records and adding to the vast body of evidence calling us to urgently address the climate crisis. Despite an incessant barrage of warnings, we are not doing what we...

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Despite the Headlines, 2021 Was A Year Full of Environmental Victories

You cannot be faulted for failing to notice the long list of environmental wins that occurred in 2021.  Good news stories do not have the sensationalistic allure of dramatic prophecies of doom, but once you get past the dire headlines, there is a litany of overlooked achievements that tangibly illustrate progress. Environmental successes are easily overlooked in a world ravaged by climate change, biodiversity loss, an ongoing global pandemic and attacks against democracy. We are bombarded with apocalyptic predictions that seem to celebrate defeatism, however, contrary to the prognostications of the ubiquitous prophets of doom, we still have time to act. ...

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Are the Gulf and Jet Streams Collapsing? Here’s what the Science Says

If you read the headlines you could not be faulted for believing that the jet stream and the Gulf Stream are on the cusp of imminent collapse. These dire predictions claim to be derived from research but closer scrutiny reveals that they are getting way ahead of the science. This is a story about the dangers of overstating the evidence. The collapse of the Gulf Stream and the jet stream are valid concerns. Tipping points like these are being investigated by scientists because they could trigger a cascade of impacts that will be irreversible and could contribute to the collapse of civilization as we...

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Why Education is the Key to Managing Climate Change

Education that improves climate literacy builds consensus and lays the foundation for the acquisition of the specialized expertise required to solve the problems we face. Education including basic scientific literacy is a catalyst for change and a bulwark against misinformation and disinformation that impedes action. A well-informed population also serves the public interest on many other levels. People who are apprised of the threats faced by civilization can make informed decisions in their personal lives and at the ballot box. No threat looms larger than climate change and while this is a daunting challenge we still have time to avert a catastrophe. If...

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IPCC Report is Our Final Warning

The evidence for climate change is irrefutable, it is impacting all areas of the globe and humans are the cause. While some of the effects of global warming are irreversible there is still time to prevent some of the worst impacts. However, the planet is warming faster than previously thought, and the window of opportunity to act is rapidly closing.  On August 9, 2021, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I released its sixth comprehensive assessment. This 3,500-page state-of-the-science report combines multiple lines of evidence making it the most comprehensive scientific undertaking on the climate crisis to...

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The Most Effective Ways of Addressing Climate Change

There are effective solutions to the address the climate crisis and there is still time to avert a catastrophe. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change we must half carbon emissions by 2030 and zero them out by 2050. While we are seeing optimistic signs from governments, businesses, and civil society, it is not enough and time is running out. If we are to have any hope of succeeding we need an "all hands on deck" collaborative approach that includes science-based policies from all levels of government. As reviewed in a study titled "Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene," urgent...

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The Case for Climate Optimism

The state of the climate is indeed perilous but contrary to the prevailing pessimistic narratives, we have seen major improvements since the signing of the Paris accord. This includes climate emergency declarations around the world, the climate advocacy of young activists like Greta Thunberg, and mass public protests. We have witnessed the proliferation of climate groups like the Sunrise Movement and Extinction Rebellion. We have also seen leadership from countries around the world (Sweden, the UK, Denmark, Norway, Morroco, and Chile)*. In the U.S. politicians like Washington Governor Jay Inslee promoted the Green New Deal and drove climate change to the top of the agenda in...

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