Despite the disappointments of Copenhagen there is progress being made on tackling climate change. Here are four recent stories to give us hope:
Climate Progress re-published the Center for American Progress’s (CAP) recent report on the status of the Copenhagen Accord. Included in the report is an interactive map that shows details about each country’s policy on the accord, all of which currently "could hold us to a 3-degree increase rather than the 4.8 degree rise we would see by 2100 under a business as usual scenario." Additionally, the report suggests two main ways of improving countries’ collective commitments: 1) make the climate accord a legally binding agreement, and 2) add emission reduction targets to the accord. In the meantime, the authors note that the absence of those two things is actually a good thing, since the current
Copenhagen...accord is still a work in progress…current pledges under the accord are not final. They can still be improved. It doesn’t make sense to worry that the commitments made so far put us on a disastrous pathway to a world 3, 4, or more degrees warmer…we still have time to use the accord to get us to a safer world.
via Climate Progress
The PEW Environment Group just published a report showing that China leads the United States and other G-20 members in 2009 clean energy investments. The United States still leads in energy capacity. The full report is available on PEW’s website and The Guardian is hosting complete and sortable data summary spreadsheets here.
What can you do with it?
via The Guardian
Sightline Daily reports on Sean Pool’s write-up of the success of the carbon cap-and-trade system in the northeast United States (also known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI):
…RGGI's markets appear to be free from gaming or manipulation. Even more importantly, the program is reducing emissions effectively and efficiently…[and] RGGI's cap and trade program is the backbone of a flourishing new green jobs sector.
See this post to read a partial list of the benefits that RGGI’s auction proceeds have for the state economies and workers in the northeast United States.
via Sightline Daily
The Seattle City Council has added "carbon neutrality" to its list of the year's priorities. This article in the Daily Journal of Commerce examines how this goal came to be and how it is starting to be implemented with special attention given to the strides Seattle City Light has made in reducing emissions and becoming carbon neutral, and the importance of reducing vehicle emissions in Seattle.
But by far, the biggest emissions category for Seattle is transportation. The Puget Sound Regional Council has determined that in our region, transportation (including air travel) is responsible for 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions...That means that reducing vehicle use is the key to lower carbon emissions. Investment in mass transit, coupled with land use decisions, is a big part of the answer. New highway lanes will just carry emissions problems forward to the next generation.
“The question of reaching sustainability is not about whether we will have the money, or the resources, or the technology to do it - those we have. The question is, will there be enough leaders in time?” - Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt & Dr. Göran Broman
Second Nature President Anthony Cortese and Senior Fellow Georges Dyer look to colleges and universities to supply our immediate future leaders and prepare them for the challenges of creating a sustainable society before it is too late. This article introduces the work they’re doing with the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) network to bring institutions together to pledge “to take immediate actions, create longer-term plans, and publicly report their progress toward net-zero emissions.”
via Fast Company
6: A lighter look at recent American energy politics: