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Confronting the Elephant in the Room: Differentiation of Obligations in the Paris Climate Agreement

Coming into the Lima climate negotiations on December 1st, the US-China joint climate announcement, the European Union’s political agreement on its 2030 emissions reduction target, and the successful capitalization of the Green Climate Fund had all combined to create a sense of momentum and a positive mood.

But these developments had done little to resolve the sharp disagreements about which countries are responsible for taking which kinds of action on climate change, and these different perspectives on the issue of differentiation nearly derailed the final decision in Lima. As it was, the Lima decision on the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) was a disappointing, minimal outcome. If these conflicts over the issue of differentiation are not resolved, or at least significantly narrowed, they could threaten the prospects for agreement in Paris next December on a new, comprehensive post-2020 climate regime. Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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Governor Cuomo is Not a Scientist—So He Asked the Experts

In late October, I wrote about the disturbing trend of politicians copping out of taking public policy positions by saying, “I am not a scientist.” Well, yesterday we heard Governor Andrew Cuomo complete the sentence in a way that I applaud. He said, “…I’m not a scientist.  So let’s bring the emotion down, and let’s ask the qualified experts what their opinion is.” Read More

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Google and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Leaders and Fortune 500 Companies Unite in Support of Renewable Energy

Q: What do Google, 223 other businesses, 14 attorneys general, 11 U.S. senators, and more than 25 environmental, public health, and clean energy organizations all have in common?

A: They all told EPA that renewable energy should play a strong role in reducing emissions from existing power plants under its proposed Clean Power Plan. Read More

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At COP 20 in Lima: The Buzz about Renewable Energy

I’m in the beautiful city of Lima, at the annual United Nations climate talks, or COP 20. Even as negotiators labor over “non-papers” and “elements of draft negotiating text,” the real buzz here is about the incredible opportunity to drive down global emissions by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. What makes this a particularly exciting time is that the costs of renewable energy are falling dramatically. The clean energy transition has never been more affordable – or, frankly, more urgently needed. Read More

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Preventing Asthma: Searching “Upstream” for the Evidence

Guest Bogger

Felix Aguilar, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine

Los Angeles, CA

The buzzing sound of a hand-held nebulizer has become background noise at my clinic. It sounds like a hive of bees moving noisily. Everyday children and adults in South Los Angeles get asthma treatments at community clinics because of exacerbations, also known as asthma attacks. I am a family physician with over a decade of work at community clinics in the poorest areas of Los Angeles. Read More

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The Clean Power Plan is a Climate Game Changer. Here are Seven Ways to Strengthen it.

Yesterday the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) submitted its comments on the draft Clean Power Plan (CPP) to the EPA. Joining millions of others, we registered our strong support for these historic, first-ever limits on carbon emissions from power plants, which are the single largest source of these emissions in the United States. This rule could be a climate game changer. We also recommended a number of ways the plan should be strengthened and improved, especially by increasing renewable energy contributions.
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The Detroit Power Outage: It’s Not About the EPA or Fuel Supplies

News comes today of disruptions to life in Detroit. But before we see this story spun up into an argument for one type of power plant or another, let’s get the facts. Read More

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Could Lima Mark a Climate Turning Point? What to Look For

With the historic climate march in New York, and pledges by the world’s three largest emitters—China, the United States, and the 28 countries of the European Union—to cap or cut emissions, I’m already on record as suggesting that the fall of 2014 could be a turning point in the international effort to address global warming.

The momentum seems to be building.  Read More

Categories: Energy, Fossil Fuels, Global Warming  

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The Proposed Bailout for Ohio’s Coal Plants: A Bad Idea Any Way You Look at It

Ohio’s three biggest electricity providers are asking the state to approve a bailout plan that would force Ohioans to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in extra charges to keep some of the nation’s oldest, dirtiest, and least efficient power plants operating. If the proposals are approved, electricity costs for Ohioans will rise as consumers are forced to pay extra to maintain the Buckeye State’s risky over-reliance on coal. Read More

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Good News for the Climate: U.S. & China Agree to Cut Emissions (Finally!)

One day, when historians look back to pick the time when the world finally woke up and decided to address global warming, that time may well be the fall of 2014. First, the march in New York drew 400,000 people and many thousands more across the globe to demand that our leaders take action on climate change. And today, the United States and China announced a truly historic agreement to cut emissions of carbon dioxide.
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