Paris climate summit: Why more women need seats at the table
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Paris climate summit: Why more women need seats at the table

November 23th, 2015. While women, especially in developing countries, are on the frontline of a changing climate, “women’s vulnerabilities remain hidden and their voices quiet”. At high levels of policymaking around global environmental issues, women have been severely underrepresented as well, the CNN article highlights. Studies have demonstrated though that engaging a “critical mass of women is linked to more progressive and positive outcomes and to more sustainability-focused decision-making across sectors”. The paper argues on the necessity of including women at all levels of climate policy and lists “15 women climate champions, from activists to artists”, among which Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN climate change convention, Laurence Tubiana, France’s special representative for COP21 and ambassador for climate change, or Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, poet and activist of the Marshall Islands.

Unchecked climate change will kill 250,000 a year by 2030
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Unchecked climate change will kill 250,000 a year by 2030

November 18th, 2015. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on world leaders to reach a strong climate agreement to reduce carbon emissions and to help improve human health across developing countries. The organisation “considers the Paris treaty to be a significant public health treaty, one that has the potential to save lives worldwide," WHO said in a statement. According to its estimates, “climate change is already causing tens of thousands of deaths every year”. A report from the UN agency for disaster risk reduction (UNISDR) claimed that weather-related disasters have killed more than 600,000 people over the last 20 years. The WHO predicted that climate change “will cause an additional 250,000 deaths per year from malaria, diarrhoea, heat stress and under-nutrition between 2030 and 2050”, and that children, women and the poor in lower income countries will be the most affected. 

Obama Urges CEOs to Fight Climate Change at APEC Summit
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Obama Urges CEOs to Fight Climate Change at APEC Summit

November 17th, 2015. The U.S. president, Barack Obama, urged business leaders to act to reduce emissions and to invest in clean-energy technology, on 18 November, in a conference of chief executives during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila. The president described climate change as a challenge but also as an opportunity. He supported transition to green energy saying that “the old rules that said we couldn’t grow our economies and protect our environment at the same time, those are outdated.” He recalled the need for an ambitious global climate deal in Paris, which “will prompt investors to invest in clean-energy technology”.

Big rise in climate change investment
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Big rise in climate change investment

November 16th, 2015. According to an annual report from the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) advisory group, more money than ever before was channelled to combat climate change. “Global investment in activities to reduce planet-warming emissions and vulnerability to climate change grew 18 per cent to £260 billion in 2014, as private backing for renewable energy technologies surged”. Yet, despite the increase in funding, the report noted that around £11 trillion is necessary between 2015 and 2030 to shift the global energy system in line with the 2-degree objective. The figures corroborate what the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has already described as a quiet “revolution in renewable energy”. "It didn't happen by accident (…) we really can see what a de-carbonized power generation sector would look like," Simon Upton, the OECD's environmental director, said on 20 November at a conference in Paris.

G20: Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time
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G20: Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time

November 16th, 2015. The G20 group has reiterated on 16 November the below 2C goal and underlined its commitment to deliver a "fair, balanced, ambitious, durable and dynamic" agreement for tackling global greenhouse gas emissions. The communique published after the two-day Antalya Summit in Turkey highlights the G20's backing for the UN's recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals and underlines the progress made on phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. "We recognize that actions on energy, including improving energy efficiency, increasing investments in clean energy technologies and supporting related research and development activities will be important in tackling climate change and its effects," the text states.

Paris climate deal must be legally binding, EU tells John Kerry
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Paris climate deal must be legally binding, EU tells John Kerry

November 12th, 2015. After the US secretary of state, John Kerry, said that the Paris agreement would “definitively” not be a treaty, the EU warned the Obama administration that a global climate deal at the Paris summit must be legally binding. The Obama administration is worried that “a Republican-dominated US Senate could demand a deciding say over any treaty with legally binding obligations”, but the country stated that any agreement in Paris will be enshrined in law. While the EU would like to see a five-yearly multilateral review process, for now “it remains unclear what sanctions could be imposed against developed countries that flout their obligations, or how the review process would ramp up inadequate climate pledges”.

India could push world into climate change danger zone, warn scientists
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India could push world into climate change danger zone, warn scientists

November 11th, 2015. Experts have recently warned that if India grows at expected rate without strict emission controls, critical two-degree rise would be hard to maintain. In its pledge, India committed to increase its greenhouse gas emissions more slowly than the economy grows, however without mentioning a set date by which emissions would peak. According to India, developed countries which have become “rich on fossil fuel energy should make deeper cuts in emissions rather than curb poorer countries’ growth”. Besides, at the G20 gathering in Turkey this week, India said it did not want the G20 to interfere in the Paris talks and opposed the inclusion in the statement of the need to discuss a “review mechanism”, supported by the EU as a main feature of the climate agreement.

Energy Transition Underway Ahead of Paris Climate Talks
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Energy Transition Underway Ahead of Paris Climate Talks

November 11th, 2015. According to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report released on 10 November, there are signs of an ongoing worldwide energy transition from coal to renewables and other less-polluting forms of energy. That transition is embodied in more than 150 countries’ pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions, mostly by using more renewables such as wind and solar power and by implementing a variety of energy efficiency measures. In its World Energy Outlook 2015, “the IEA is projecting that by the early 2030s, those pledges will help renewables overtake coal as the largest source of electricity worldwide”. However, “carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector are likely to continue to rise, possibly by as much as 16 percent by 2040 as energy demand increases worldwide by 70 percent, the report says”. The report warns that “the globe’s current emissions levels puts it on a path to see 2.7°C of warming by 2100”. The IEA invites countries to agree to cut more of their carbon emissions in order to keep global warming to manageable levels.

Climate Change Could Drive More Than 100 Million Into Poverty by 2030, Report Says
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Climate Change Could Drive More Than 100 Million Into Poverty by 2030, Report Says

November 8th, 2015. “Climate change could drive more than 100 million people into poverty by 2030”. This conclusion is largely due to difficulties producing crops, according to a new World Bank report. The report found that “climate change could lead to a 5% decline in crop yields by 2030 and 30% by 2080” and that diseases spread during extreme weather episodes could exacerbate global poverty. “Poor households are more vulnerable to increases in food prices, and poor communities are often built in areas most susceptible to the risks of climate change like flooding”. As poor countries are the hardest hit by global warming, addressing climate change and providing financial support to the developing world will be essential to ending poverty and hunger and providing access to energy around the globe, argues the report.

World's Pledges To Reduce Carbon Emissions Aren't Enough To Tackle Climate Change, UN Warns
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World's Pledges To Reduce Carbon Emissions Aren't Enough To Tackle Climate Change, UN Warns

November 6th, 2015. Even if pledges submitted by countries ahead of the COP21 are kept, they won't be sufficient to limit global temperature rise to the recommended level of two degrees Celsius this century, according to an analysis released on 6 November by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report found that the nations’ pledges “would amount to only about half of the greenhouse gas emission cuts needed to stabilize warming below dangerous levels”. Moreover, the UNEP estimated that global temperatures could still jump at least three degrees Celsius by 2100. Besides, as several studies have underlined that poor countries would be the hardest hit by global warming, a Guardian paper draws an evaluation of potential negative impacts of climate change in European countries: “seas, mountains, forests, plains, towns and cities – the risks within Europe itself are many, varied and increasingly difficult to ignore”.

Green Climate Fund approves first eight projects
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Green Climate Fund approves first eight projects

November 6th, 2015. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) approved cash for its first eight projects at a meeting in Zambia on 6 November, launching thus the flow of climate finance to developing countries. Those initial projects cover mitigation and adaptation measures and “ranged from an energy efficiency green bond in Latin America to an early warning system for climate-linked disasters in Malawi”. With climate finance being a critical element of global climate talks taking place in Paris, some board members of the GCF have underlined, during the meeting, the lack of an agreed set of criteria and globally “there were questions around human rights, co-funding with the private sector and the definition of climate adaptation”.

Citing Climate Change, Obama Rejects Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline
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Citing Climate Change, Obama Rejects Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

November 6th, 2015. President Obama announced on 6 November that he had rejected the request from a Canadian company to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a “1,179-mile pipeline which would have carried 800,000 barrels a day of carbon-heavy petroleum from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast”. The US President argued that the construction would have had little impact on the nation’s economy. This symbolic decision shows that the United States is strongly committed to act on climate change. “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” President Obama said. The rejection of the pipeline is one of several actions the President has recently taken as he strengthens his climate policy, among which a set of new regulations announced in August to cut carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants.

China and France say Paris climate pact should have five-year reviews
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China and France say Paris climate pact should have five-year reviews

November 2nd, 2015. On a two-day visit to China, French president, François Hollande, declared China and France had taken an “historic” step towards tackling climate change. The two countries agreed, in a joint statement, that any deal reached in Paris should include “checks on whether signatories are keeping their commitments to reduce emissions”. Progress should be reviewed every five years in order to “reinforce mutual confidence and promote efficient implementation,” says the statement. There is greater optimism about Beijing’s positive role ahead of the next month’s negotiations in Paris, reports The Guardian, as China pledged to hit its “peak emissions” by 2030. “What we have just established here in this declaration is a likelihood that the Paris conference will succeed,” the French president told reporters.

Climate change could have a significant impact on our economy
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Climate change could have a significant impact on our economy

November 2nd, 2015. Climate change may have many economic impacts, including loss of crops or changes in water supply. The UN food security expert has recently predicted that the negative impact from climate change on agriculture could subject another 600 million people to malnutrition by 2080”. More generally though, “hard evidence about the effects of climate change on economic activity has been inconsistent”. A new paper published in Nature has however studied the complex relationship between temperature and economic productivity, showing that economic activity in all regions is coupled in some way to global climate. The findings are striking: it suggests, first, that “overall economic productivity reaches its peak at an annual average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius and declines sharply at both higher and lower temperatures” and, secondly, that climate change could reduce “average global incomes roughly 23 percent by the year 2100”.

Inside A Photographer's Mission To Capture The Human Face Of Climate Change
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Inside A Photographer's Mission To Capture The Human Face Of Climate Change

November 2nd, 2015. Capturing the human face of climate change. That was the mission of Slovenian photographer Ciril Jazbec as he embarked on several journeys to the town of Uummannaq, Greenland. His photos, shot over four trips from March 2013 to March 2015 and displayed in the National Geographic magazine, illustrate melting glaciers and fjords through the eyes of the Inuit, a group of indigenous people living in the Arctic region. The WorldPost interviewed Jazbec on living with Greenland's Inuit community and on his thoughts about the impacts of climate change on the Inuit way of life. According to the photographer, the melting of the glaciers is threatening fishing, the main industry in Greenland, and makes it harder to get food. He predicts a decrease in the number of settlements stating that “between 2013 and 2015, some of the Inuit have completely changed their lives. Some moved away, abandoning their houses”.

5 things you need to know about COP21
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5 things you need to know about COP21

October 30th, 2015. A few weeks ahead of the COP21, the CNN paper gives the key elements one should know about this global event. What is the goal of the 2015 conference? Who will be there? What is necessary for it to be a success? Are some of the questions addressed. As explained in the paper, COP21 is a meeting of 195 nations dedicated to adopt unanimously a legally binding agreement on climate change to begin in 2020. The main objective is to reduce global carbon emissions and to keep warming below the 2°C threshold. The article recalls that as everyone will be affected by climate change, the outcome of the Paris climate conference is critical in framing “the international response to man-made climate change”.

An Inside Look At The U.N. Climate Negotiations In Bonn
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An Inside Look At The U.N. Climate Negotiations In Bonn

October 26th, 2015. Climate negotiators gathered last week in Bonn for a final round of talks to outline a new binding global agreement before Paris conference. While progress was made on mitigation and transparency, more fundamental differences remain on adaptation and finance. The G77 group are looking for increases on the $100b per annum from 2020 that was previously promised and want money to come from new public sources. On the contrary, developed nations underline the need to increase private climate finance and ask for emerging countries as India and China to accept responsibility for their own carbon emissions. Despite disagreements early in the week, the parties succeeded in producing a text that can serve as the basis of negotiations in Paris.

24 states sue to overturn centerpiece of Obama’s climate-change initiative
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24 states sue to overturn centerpiece of Obama’s climate-change initiative

October 25th, 2015. As soon as a key feature in President Barack Obama's climate-change initiative became law on 23 October, 24 states, among which West Virginia and Kentucky, sued to block the new regulations. The regulations, known as the Clean Power Plan, require the nation’s power plants to cut their carbon dioxide emissions to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Generating about a third of the nation's power, coal-burning power plants are the hardest hit under Obama's initiative. Instead of shifting to cleaner methods of energy production, the disagreeing states want to focus on building pollution controls at fossil-fuel-fired plants already in operation. Unless the plan is blocked by the courts or revised, implementation is to begin in 2022.

Snow leopards at risk as Himalayas face climate change 'crisis'
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Snow leopards at risk as Himalayas face climate change 'crisis'

October 23rd, 2015. More than a third of the snow leopard’s mountain habitat could become uninhabitable because of climate change, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has recently warned. With a number as low as 4,000 snow leopards left in Central Asia’s high mountains, the endangered species would face increasing pressure from global warming. Increasing temperatures could cause the tree line to shift up the mountains and encourage farmers to plant species less appealing to the leopard’s prey, squeezing thus the snow leopards into smaller ranges where they are more likely to come into conflict with humans. The impacts of rising temperatures would not only be felt by wildlife in the region: it could also drastically alter the flow of water down from the mountains and threaten the livelihoods of people across the continent, according to the WWF report.

Running from the Arctic to COP21 for a Climate Campaign
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Running from the Arctic to COP21 for a Climate Campaign

October 22nd, 2015. The aim of the campaign “Pole to Paris” is simple: running from the North Pole to Paris to drive people to re-engage with climate change. The volunteer runners have already travelled almost 2,000 km from the North Pole, and UK runners in Edinburgh have just taken over the “Pole to Paris” baton. While the team travel the length of the UK, they are collecting signatures to present to David Cameron as “Pole to Paris” run passes through London in mid-November. The petition asks the UK to heighten its climate change efforts at a national level but also to act as a strong advocate for a worthy global climate deal. After the UK relay, “Pole to Paris” will keep on to Brussels and eventually Paris in time for the start of COP21.

Tension in Bonn as climate talks resume
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Tension in Bonn as climate talks resume

October 19th, 2015. Climate negotiators are gathering this week in Bonn for a final round of talks to map out a global agreement before Paris conference. Released earlier this month, the new draft text of 20 pages long has raised scepticism from developing countries. They claim key issues have been removed as loss and damage and the provision of climate finance. Lead negotiator for the Africa Group said the draft text could not be used as the basis for negotiations as it is "unbalanced". Moreover, alliance of small islands declared weak UN climate deal might be “worse than no deal at all”. Laurence Tubiana, French special representative for the COP21, said that the Bonn talks will address any weaknesses in the draft text before Paris talks begin. France has launched an “unprecedented diplomatic drive”, as described in The Guardian, to reach a major climate change deal.

Climate change: nations talk, but cities act
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Climate change: nations talk, but cities act

October 19th, 2015.The EUobserver article notes that cities and regions are more and more involved in reaching the climate goals their national governments agree to. Some have already begun to do that by promoting greener and more sustainable cities. Several cooperation agreements have been signed, such as the Covenant of Mayors, which, as of September 2015, have been signed by 5,887 mayors of mostly European cities and municipalities. “While this does not yet mean that promises will be fulfilled, it shows at least that saving energy and increasing the share of renewable energy is on the agenda of local governments”, states the paper. "As cities, we can lead the way in demonstrating innovative solutions", Karin Wanngard, the mayor of Stockholm, said at a recent conference organised by the Vatican..

Obama To Meet With Fortune 500 CEOs To Boost Support For Climate Change Efforts
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Obama To Meet With Fortune 500 CEOs To Boost Support For Climate Change Efforts

October 18th, 2015. President Barack Obama met on 19 October with the heads of 10 prominent U.S. companies to discuss efforts in the fight against climate change. The meeting is part of a broader White House strategy to encourage the private sector in developing technologies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Following the roundtable, Vice President, Joe Biden, and other senior administration officials will hold a separate meeting with business representatives, science and technology leaders, and environmental organizations to discuss the U.N. climate talks. “We need every country on the same page, all pushing for an ambitious, durable, and inclusive agreement that will finally put us on the path towards a global clean-energy future,” John Kerry, Secretary of State, said in a speech in Milan. “Failure is not an option”, he added.

Which countries are doing the most to stop dangerous global warming?
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Which countries are doing the most to stop dangerous global warming?

October 16th, 2015.As countries from around the world have submitted action plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, The Guardian compares in an in-depth analysis 14 key countries and blocs’ pledges, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Hereafter are some of the findings. As the EU’s pledge is probably the most ambitious commitment, the analysis questions the feasibility of its far-reaching objectives. Experts view the US climate pledge as a good start but think the second-largest carbon polluter needs to do more after its 2025 target year. They consider China’s pledge as a major shift compared to its prior position. As for Mexico’s ambitious programme, it could “be undermined by lack of political will”. The analysis also predicts that, with “absolute reductions target” pledged, Brazil will “bridge the gap between rich and poor nations” at the Paris talks.

 New IPCC chief calls for fresh focus on climate solutions, not problems
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New IPCC chief calls for fresh focus on climate solutions, not problems

October 12th, 2015. Hoesung Lee, the new chief of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), announced in his first interview a major change in direction for the organisation’s exhaustive science reports. It’s time experts shift away from tracking the impacts of climate change and focus instead on finding solutions, he declared. This change in approach towards a more solutions-oriented research is needed to have more impact and to more effectively boost governments and businesses to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to the new IPCC chair. He also defended a carbon pricing : “Study after study has found that a price on carbon is the most important building block in addressing the climate change problems that we need to resolve,” he said.

Judges plan to outlaw climate change 'denial’
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Judges plan to outlaw climate change 'denial'

October 11th, 2015. Top judges from across the world gathered last month in UK’s Supreme Court in Britain and proposed to make illegal any opinion that contradicted climate change. They think science on climate change is strong enough to be settled and met to consider whether the judiciary should step into climate negotiations to enforce worldwide law limiting carbon emissions. If such a law is adopted, it could then be made illegal for any government, corporation or even any scientist to question the agreed “science”. Keynote speaker at the meeting, Philippe Sands QC, said courts could hold a top-level “finding of fact” to solve the scientific disputes once and for all.

Development Banks Boost Funding to Fight Climate Change
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Development Banks Boost Funding to Fight Climate Change

October 9th, 2015. The world’s top development banks have pledged to boost their funding to lower impacts of climate change. The World Bank alone has pledged to rise its climate financing by a third, adding $29bn a year in funding. “As we move closer to Paris countries have identified trillions of dollars of climate-related needs. The bank, with the support of our members, will respond ambitiously to this great challenge,” Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank Group, said. The development banks’ pledges could then bring closer the possibility of reaching the target of $100bn a year by 2020 and echo to the call made last week by the finance ministers of 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change’s impact to boost adaptation funding. In 2014, rich countries and businesses provided close to two-thirds, nearly $62bn, of the “climate finance”, according to a recent report issued by the OECD.

The Horn Of Africa Is Rapidly Drying Out Due To Climate Change: Study
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The Horn Africa Is Rapidly Drying Out Due To Climate Change: Study

October 9th, 2015. Warmer global temperatures were expected to boost rainfall in the Horn of Africa and add greenery to arid landscapes. However, a new research published this week in the journal Science Advances suggested the opposite is happening in the region. The land is drying out at an unusually fast pace, the result of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Much of the growing aridity will affect Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia, already drastically impacted by decades of drought and extreme hunger. In Ethiopia, for example, “below-average rainfall is decimating crops and livestock, leaving 4.5 million people in need of food relief”. The Horn of Africa is not the only region hit by climate change: the total area affected by severe drought in the Amazon will triple by the end of the century with major ecological effects, a recent study found.

UN publishes draft of slimmed-down Paris climate change deal
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UN publishes draft of slimmed-down Paris climate change deal

October 5th, 2015. A new draft of the expected global agreement on climate change, to be negotiated this December in Paris, has been published by the United Nations. The draft has been cut from more than 90 pages to 20 pages. This work provides a “concise basis” for the next Bonn talks on October 19, the final pre-Paris session, the UN said. The text includes a commitment by governments to hold warming to no more than 2C, or potentially 1.5C, above pre-industrial levels. It also calls for a process of review of nationally set climate targets in the years following any Paris agreement, with countries required to communicate their emissions goals every five years.

India announces new climate change targets
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India announces new climate change targets

October 3rd, 2015. India, the world’s third biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has submitted its climate change plan to the UN. It is the last major economy, following 140 other countries including China, the EU and the US, to submit a pledge before international negotiations to reach a global agreement on climate change. India has declared it will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 33-35% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. For this, India has to source about 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources. The country will focus on clean energy as solar and wind power and increase its forest cover to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. However, the Indian government has also said it would not accept constraints on its development as part of any climate deal. “Though India is not part of the problem, it wants to be part of the solution. Our historical cumulative emission as of today is below 3%,” Prakash Javadekar, India’s environment minister, said. Experts have praised India’s pledge, but have also suggested that it was disappointing in regard of the country’s intention to pursue high-emission growth.

Island States threatened by rising seas call at UN for urgent action on climate change
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Island States threatened by rising seas call at UN for urgent action on climate change

October 1st, 2015. Islands states from the Pacific and Caribbean called for urgent action on climate change at the United Nations General Assembly on October 1st. One of the leaders warned that their people and culture would face “potential genocide” from rising seas. This call comes as a new study, published in the Journal Science Advances, predicts that if climate change continues, sea level extremes are going to become more frequent and stronger. Coasts and communities in the Pacific face thus more extreme weather hazards with global warming, causing severe consequences on the already vulnerable coastlines of Pacific islands. Moreover, climate change magnifies the devastating El Niño effect, a periodic bubble of heat that hits the tropical Pacific every few years, causing sea levels to rise in one place and to fall in another, say scientists.

 Getting to $100 Billion in Climate Change Aid
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Getting to $100 Billion in Climate Change Aid

September 29th, 2015.  Financial assistance seems to be a crucial issue in negotiations towards a universal agreement on climate. “Financing is the most challenging aspect of the whole deal,” said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In Copenhagen in 2009, the world’s industrial nations committed to “mobilizing jointly $100 billion a year by 2020, to address the needs of developing countries.” The money was to come from “a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance.” Now, no figure has been provided in the draft text of negotiations on how much financial assistance to developing countries should amount, though it should be more than the $100bn a year already promised by 2020. Yet, the New York Times article underlines another question: “What counts as the right sort of aid?” and how to distinguish climate finance from development aid? 

Study: Most Non-Climate Scientists Agree on Global Warming Too
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Study: Most Non-Climate Scientists Agree on Global Warming Too

September 27th, 2015. Studies had shown that 97% of climate scientists believe that humans are contributing to global warming. Now, a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters suggests that consensus extends to scientists in other fields: nearly 92% of biophysical scientists surveyed believe that human activity has contributed to global warming. The consensus on climate change among scientists stands in strong contrast to the views of the general public in the United States, where less than two-thirds believe change is happening and only 40% believe it’s caused by humans, according to a report from the Pew Research Center.

UN Sustainable Development Goals: Climate Change, Poverty, Gender Equality And Other Targets To Improve The World
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UN Sustainable Development Goals: Climate Change, Poverty, Gender Equality And Other Targets To Improve The World

September 25th, 2015. U.N. General Assembly has formally adopted an ambitious 17-point plan for the next 15 years designed to end poverty and hunger by 2030 and to promote shared prosperity and well-being. While the millennium development goals - which were adopted in 2000 and expire this year - were focused on poverty, education and health issues, the new sustainable development goals also target reducing inequality and preserving the planet. Indeed, an entire goal was devoted to fighting climate change and comes at a critical moment with world leaders planning to agree on a universal climate agreement later this year. One related goal aims to ensure modern and sustainable energy, and another one looks to ensure that infrastructure built will be resilient.

U.S. and China to Announce New Measures to Combat Climate Change
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U.S. and China to Announce New Measures to Combat Climate Change

September 24th, 2015. The United States and China will announce on 2 October significant steps in their efforts to combat climate change, providing definition to a joint announcement the two states made last November in which they committed to curbing greenhouse gas emissions in their countries. The new policies will include new standardized regulations for heavy emitting vehicles and a national cap-and-trade program in China set to begin in 2017, according to White House officials. This emissions-trading system marks the first time China has launched such an initiative. China will also announce a financial commitment to help developing countries prepare for the effects of climate change and the U.S. will reaffirm its commitment of $3 billion to a U.N. fund for that purpose. The announcements will likely position the world’s two largest polluters as leaders in the fight against climate change ahead of the U.N. conference to be held in Paris.

Leading Brands Sign Renewable Energy Pledges at Climate Week New York
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Leading Brands Sign Renewable Energy Pledges at Climate Week New York

September 23rd, 2015. Thousands of corporate leaders, environmental activists and financiers gathered from September 21-28 in New York for the Climate Week, an annual event coinciding this year with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. The event is meant to obtain stronger action from companies while putting pressure on governments to intensify their own efforts on climate change. Nine Fortune 500-listed U.S. companies have joined the RE100 global coalition of leading businesses pledging to switch to renewable power by a set date. The initiative, led by The Climate Group and launched at Climate Week NYC 2014, had 13 original corporate partners and now counts 36 major corporate signatories. Moreover, the United Nations also launched its own initiative to get companies and others to become “climate-neutral.” The “Climate Neutral Now” platform is targeting business, consumers and governments to voluntarily measure their climate footprint, reduce emissions where possible, and offset the remainder through a UN-certified website.

Climate Change Could Cost The World Trillions More Than We Thought
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Climate Change Could Cost The World Trillions More Than We Thought

September 21st, 2015. If the world's permafrost - the permanently frozen ground in the world's coldest places - thaws, humanity could be saddled with a bill that adds more than $43 trillion to the already massive climate-related debt the world will be accumulating in the next two centuries, a new study warns. Indeed, unchecked global warming could thaw this band of ground and cause 10,000 years' worth of trapped organic matter to decompose. This decomposition could easily double the amount of greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere, explain the authors of the research. Furthermore, it has also been concluded by a recent American research that trash may be contributing to climate change more than scientists believed, as waste going into landfills in the US has been underestimated. Trash in landfills release methane gas, a greenhouse gas that greatly contributes to climate change. The need to address pollution from landfills may be growing as urbanization pushes people into cities and increases waste.

EU united for ambitious, binding agreement at Paris talks, says climate chief
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EU united for ambitious, binding agreement at Paris talks, says climate chief

September 18th, 2015. Environment ministers of the European Union have adopted on September 18 the bloc’s joint negotiating position ahead of the climate conference in Paris. “We stand ready to conclude an ambitious, vast and binding global climate deal, and we will settle for nothing less,” said EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Cañete. The joint position includes a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 over 1990 levels and says the nearly 200 countries meeting in Paris should commit to a long-term vision for “climate neutrality and climate resilience in the second half of this century”. Furthermore, it calls for five yearly reviews of countries’ carbon emission cuts after any deal is reached in December, as a follow-up mechanism, and insists on the great importance of the issue of transferring funds from developed to developing countries to help them cope with climate change.

Obama announces $120 million for clean energy
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Obama announces $120 million for clean energy

September 17th, 2015. The administration of US President Barack Obama announced on September 16 more than $120 million in efforts to support clean energy through innovation, including in solar power and other energy sources. The effort will be deployed across 24 US states in an attempt to promote “smart, simple, low-cost technologies to help America transition to cleaner and more distributed energy sources, help households save on their energy bills, and to address climate change,” the White House said. Solar energy is now cost-competitive with traditional energy, such as coal or gas, in 14 states. Under Obama’s presidency, the cost of home solar energy systems has fallen nearly 50%, the deployment of solar energy increased nearly 20 times and the number of homes with rooftop solar power jumped from 66,000 to 734,000, the White House asserted. The United States’ Clean Power Plan now rates the country among one of the most attractive country for renewable energy.

More national climate action plans submitted to UN climate talks
© Cop20 Lima/Flickr

More national climate action plans submitted to UN climate talks

September 16th, 2015. Thirty-five parties, counting the 28 nations of the EU as one, have now submitted climate action plans, covering over 60% of global terrestrial greenhouse gas emissions. These “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs), as they are referred to in UN-speak, will form a critical part of the new climate agreement set to operate from 2020. All INDCs communicated before 1 October will be included in a UN-led analysis to determine estimates for the overall impact of global emissions-reductions efforts in 2025 and 2030. The UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres, urged nations to ensure the speed of future efforts and stressed the need to fill a shortage in funding to poor countries, which are expected to be hit hardest by effects of climate change. That should be one of the key messages of Pope Francis in his speech before the U.N. General Assembly on September 25 where he will be exhorting climate action, as part of the sustainable development goals, according to the Washington Post.

U.S., Chinese officials gather for 2-day climate change summit in LA
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U.S., Chinese officials gather for 2-day climate change summit in LA

September 15th, 2015. Officials from the United States and China, the world’s top two sources of greenhouse gas, gathered for a two-day summit in Los Angeles on September 15 to discuss local strategies for fighting climate change in their respective countries. As part of an effort to build on the recent agreement reached between Barack Obama and Xi Jinping that sets targets for reducing significantly greenhouse gas emission, mayors of several U.S. and Chinese cities signed agreements promising to take steps to help their countries reach those national goals – the U.S. would cut emissions to 26 to 28% under 2005 levels by 2025, while China would halt its emissions levels by 2030. The agreements include promises by the Chinese and U.S. cities to regularly report greenhouse gas emissions and work bilaterally on “sharing best practices and lessons learned, as well as innovating, demonstrating and deploying low carbon technologies.”

The heat is on to ensure sustainable development in Asia's swelling cities
© Dmitrii Efremenkov/Flickr

The heat is on to ensure sustainable development in Asia's swelling cities

September 15th, 2015.With growth in Asia driving up greenhouse gas emissions, there is an increasing need for policies that take an integrated approach to climate change. Asia’s growing urban areas are increasingly affecting the environment and cities are generally not able to keep air pollution levels within international health standards. These urban crises are coinciding with natural disasters: more than 90% of people affected by natural disasters are in Asia. Some mitigating measures such as the preservation of green spaces as well as innovative solutions as radar systems tracking forecasting hours in advance or public refuge buildings in flood-prone areas have been implemented. Some far-sighted planning policies also aim to reduce the growth of large cities by creating separate new towns, as the development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area in China.

Threat to oceans from climate change must be key to Paris talks, say scientists
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Threat to oceans from climate change must be key to Paris talks, say scientists

September 11th, 2015. A group of marine research scientists - attached to the French research vessel Tara, which is completing a three-and-a-half year trip gathering information from across the globe for a major study of plankton - are stressing on the dangers posed by global warming to the world’s oceans. They are hoping to collect at least 100,000 signatures for a petition they are presenting at the Paris conference, calling for much more attention to the oceans, as up to now, the role of the planet’s biggest ecosystem has been largely ignored at the UN climate talks. Their research shows that warmer seas could have a huge impact on plankton which represents about 95% of the biomass in the oceans and is vital in the marine food chain. The planet’s oceans act as enormous carbon and heat sinks, they are absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, leading to severe implications for marine life, and are churning heat out of the atmosphere in a long-term cycle that runs over decades.

Global warming may have led to the death of this polar bear, researcher says
© Kerstin Langenberger Photography

Global warming may have led to the death of this polar bear, researcher says

September 8th, 2015.National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen posted in recent days a photo of an emaciated polar bear which he captured last summer while traveling around Svalbard (Norway). This photograph, along with another photo of an uncommonly skinny polar bear that went viral in late August, would seem to reveal the growing dangers that global warming poses to the species. Ice loss has been particularly noteworthy in recent years in northwestern Svalbard, says Ian Stirling, an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta who has studied polar bears for four decades. As an ecotourism guide in Svalbard, he has seen an increase in sightings of skinny bears coming onshore. Nicklen's photo, Stirling says, shows a bear that most likely died of starvation related to sea ice melt as polar bears are more and more struggling to hunt seals. Norway, Greenland, Canada, the US and Russia have signed a ten-year agreement aimed at saving Arctic polar bears’ current habitats.

 Climate Change Negotiators Are Undeterred by Slow Progress
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Climate Change Negotiators Are Undeterred by Slow Progress

September 4th, 2015. Negotiators from nearly 200 countries gathered in Bonn this week to outline a global climate change agreement. They lamented the slow progress of crucial negotiations to curb global warming. By the end of the conference, some key issues on how to address climate change remained unresolved, from how to fund climate change initiatives in developing countries to how to ensure transparency. There is still much work to do, less than three months before the Paris conference, however experts remain optimistic explaining that in complicated negotiations, the most important decisions are often left to the end. In the aftermath of the Bonn negotiations, an informal two day ministerial meeting has been held in Paris to clarify contentious issues as climate finance and loss and damage. 

 Bill Gates: Who Will be Most Affected by Climate Change? What can we do?
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Bill Gates: Who Will be Most Affected by Climate Change? What can we do?

September 3rd, 2015. Bill Gates recently wrote a paper in his blog in which he warns that climate change will lead to major disruptions in agriculture and that farmers in poor countries will be the first exposed to its worst impacts. He stresses that it’s thus urgent to find ways to help the most vulnerable better cope with it and to save the global food system, knowing that “by 2050, global food demand is expected to increase by 60 percent”. “For the world’s poorest farmers, life is a high-wire act—without safety nets… Just one stroke of bad fortune—a drought, a flood, or an illness—is enough for them to tumble deeper into poverty and hunger”, he explains. Among the solutions he proposes: investments by governments in new clean-energy innovations in addition to basic tools to help the poorest farmers adapt, as access to financing, better seeds, fertilizer, training and markets where they can sell their products.

Climate change brings cyclone risk to Persian Gulf, study warns
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Climate change brings cyclone risk to Persian Gulf, study warns

September 1st, 2015. Climate change is causing small risks that tropical cyclones will form in the Persian Gulf for the first time, in a threat to cities such as Dubai or Doha which are unprepared for big storm surges, a US study said on August 31. Even though the probability of cyclones is very low for the Persian Gulf, the shallow and warm waters of the Persian Gulf might generate the storms in future as a side-effect of global warming. The study also warned that cities like Tampa in the US and Cairns in Australia, which are already witnessing cyclones, would be more vulnerable to extreme cyclones in the 21st century.

TObama Makes Urgent Appeal in Alaska for Climate Change Action
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Obama Makes Urgent Appeal in Alaska for Climate Change Action

August 31st, 2015. United States President, Barack Obama, issued on August 31 a global call for urgent action to address climate change on the occasion of an international conference on the Arctic in Anchorage (Alaska). “We’re not acting fast enough”, he stressed and recognized that the United States was partly to blame for this situation and would boost global efforts to counter it. He reiterated the pledge of his country: US will cut emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025. “We are working hard to do our part to meet this challenge, and in doing so, we’re proving that there doesn’t have to be a conflict between a sound environment and strong economic growth”, he added.

How Climate Change Impacts Women the Most
© Flickr

How Climate Change Impacts Women the Most

August 31st, 2015. While the United Nations will finalize in September its Sustainable Development Goals aiming at eliminating poverty - including lowering the harmful effects of climate change -, some advocates are fighting to put in the UN sustainability goals measures to address the different impacts of climate change on men and women, making women more vulnerable. "In the climate change process specifically, we want the normative framework to embed gender equality", said Verona Collantes, a climate change specialist with UN Women, the international agency's gender empowerment organization. Particularly in developing countries, social structures that disadvantage women often put them at higher risks of harm and even death from climate change. As an example, women are largely responsible for tasks that may become more difficult in a warmer world.

Oceans Will Rise Much More Than Predicted, NASA says
© Nasa/Flickr

Oceans Will Rise Much More Than Predicted, NASA says

August 27th, 2015. On average, the world's oceans are now about eight inches higher than a century ago and this sea change is only getting started, have warned NASA scientists. “With future warming, we may lock ourselves into multiple-meter sea level rise” over the coming centuries, says a NASA glaciologist, threatening coastal megacities like Tokyo, New York, Shanghai or Mumbai. However, how much and how fast the polar ice sheets will melt is the biggest unknown. This statement comes as delegates from nearly 200 countries are meeting in Bonn this week to pursue the negotiations on a new global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. An article of the National Public Radio exposes the major alliances in UN climate negotiations and how countries negotiate in groups as the “Umbrella Group”, the “Group of 77” or the “Environmental Integrity Group”.

Tropical forests almost the size of India set to be axed by 2050
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Tropical forests almost the size of India set to be axed by 2015

August 25th, 2015. Tropical forests covering almost the size of India are set to be destroyed in the next 35 years, a faster rate of deforestation than previously thought, a study warned on July 24. The Washington-based Center for Global Development, using satellite imagery and data from 100 countries, predicted that 289 million hectares of tropical forests would be felled by 2050, which will have significant implications for accelerating climate change. If current trends continue, tropical deforestation will add 169 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2050, the equivalent of running 44,000 coal-fired power plants for a year, the study’s lead author said. “The biggest driver of tropical deforestation by far is industrial agriculture to produce globally-traded commodities, including soy and palm oil”, according to the environmental economist Jonah Busch.

July was the Earth's hottest month on record – while 2015 could be the warmest year, scientists say
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July was the Earth's hottest month on record - while 2015 could be the warmest year, scientists say

August 21th, 2015. It is almost certain 2015 will be the hottest year recorded, scientists have said after it was established that July was the Earth's warmest month on record. The average global temperature across land and ocean surfaces reached 16.61°C, 0.81°C higher than the 20th century average for the month, according to scientists. Records on global temperatures kept by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an American scientific agency, go back to 1880 and it calculated that nine of the ten hottest months have occurred since 2005. NOAA climate scientists say that the temperatures seen can be explained by a combination of man-made climate change and a strong El-Niño.

EU calls for urgency in ‘seriously lagging’ Paris climate talks
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EU calls for urgency in 'seriously lagging' Paris climate talks

August 20th, 2015. EU has urged world leaders to accelerate efforts in order to seal a meaningful global emissions pact at Paris summit. With 100 days to go until the Paris climate summit, the EU’s climate commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete, has warned that progress in drawing a draft negotiating text is proceeding too slowly and urgently needs to be stepped up. “In the negotiating rooms, progress has been painfully slow. The technical talks are seriously lagging behind the political discussion and this must change”, he told a press conference in Brussels. In substance, the 85-page draft agreement “is still far too long, with all options put forward by countries still on the table”, he added. At this stage, 56 countries - responsible for 61% of global greenhouse gas emissions - out of more than 190 nations had so far delivered pledges on reductions.

Coral reefs are 'likely to disappear from the Earth' despite climate change talks
© Heidi Kaldahl/Flickr

Coral reefs are 'likely to disappear from the Earth' despite climate change talks

August 18th, 2015. Even a "idly successful" COP21 summit in Paris this December won’t be able to save coral reef Professor Peter F Sale said. The professor and marine ecologist of the University of Windsor in Canada presented his analysis at the largest annual geochemistry conference worldwide this week.”We have lost 90 per cent of our commercial fish biomass since the 1940s … Either we agree limits, which means the end of the 'high seas', or we let large parts of the seas die.” According to the US coral reef task force, 70% of the world’s reef is already threatened or destroyed. With the ecosystems supporting 33% of marine fish species, marine scientists warn that the COP21 target of 2°C is not enough as far as the biodiversity of the ocean is concern.

Islamic leaders echo pope's call for action on climate change
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Islamic leaders echo pope's call for action on climate change

August 18th, 2015. Muslim leaders and scholars from 20 countries made a joint declaration on August 18 at a conference in Istanbul, calling on Muslims and all nations worldwide to address climate change. The Islamic Declaration on Climate Change cites research and includes a detailed call to action, urging participants to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, COP21, to set clear goals. It also calls wealthy and oil-producing nations to be leaders in curbing gas emissions. The declaration also acknowledges the role played by other religions, “If we each offer the best of our respective traditions, we may yet see a way through our difficulties.”

The First Climate Change Museum will open in New York City
© Risdclimatemuseum.tumblr.com

The First Climate Change Museum will open in New York City

August 18th, 2015. Three years ago, Sandy’s floodwaters slammed into New York and Miranda Massie got the idea of the Climate Museum: a museum that would chronicle the global and local impacts of climate change, the possible solutions and the connections that exist between every visitor to the museum and the world around them. The climate Museum Launch Project is not about debates but about getting its audience to think critically about the issue, possible solutions and the power of individuals. “We want the legacy to be that the museum helped put climate at the center of our shared culture and ethics and public life. It’s not just the province of elected officials or scientists, it’s the province of all of us,” she said.

Australia Sets Emissions Goal, but Climate Experts Say It Falls Short
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Australia Sets Emissions Goal, but Climate Experts Say It Falls Short

August 11th, 2015. Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced Australia greenhouse reduction goal in preparation of COP21: reducing carbon emissions at least 26 percent, and possibly 28 percent, from 2005 levels by 2030. But for some scientists and environmental groups, as well as Marshall Islands representative, it is not enough. “If the rest of the world followed Australia’s lead, the Great Barrier Reef would disappear,” Tony de Brum, the Marshall Islands’ foreign minister, said. For Tony Abbott, the Australian plan "gets the right balance between [the country] economic and environmental responsibilities". However according to the Climate Institute’s calculations, Australia’s goal for 2030 lags behind those of the European Union, Canada, Germany and Britain as well as the United States, if a 2005 benchmark is applied to all of them.

Obama Takes a Crucial Step on Climate Change
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Obama Takes a Crucial Step on Climate Change

August 3rd, 2015. US president Barack Obama has unveiled what he called "the biggest, most important step we have ever taken" in tackling climate change. The revised Clean Power Plan adopted requires the nation’s power plants to cut their carbon dioxide emissions to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030; power plants being responsible for more than a third of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions. The measures will place significant emphasis on wind and solar power and other renewable energy sources. The initiative is important not only because of the reductions it will achieve in domestic emissions, but also because it is a strong signal addressed to the international community saying that America is serious about limiting its contribution to the global greenhouse gas pollution.

UN's Post-2015 Agenda: Ending Poverty 'In All Its Forms And Dimensions'
© The Danish Wind Industry Association Vindmølleindustrien/Flickr

UN's Post-2015 Agenda: Ending Poverty 'In All Its Forms And Dimensions'

August 3rd, 2015. The United Nations members from 193 nations endorsed a “historic” roadmap on July 2 to tackle poverty and hunger, promote well-being and safeguard the environment over the next 15 years. The “Agenda for Sustainable Development” is expected to guide policy and funding after the deadline for achieving the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, adopted in 2000, expires by the end of this year. The roadmap includes an ambitious target of “ending poverty in all its forms and dimensions” by 2030 and the need for an urgent action to fight against climate change and its effects. The Sustainable Development Goals document will be adopted at the U.N. summit in New York in September, ahead of the climate summit in Paris in December. “Critically, the summit will also contribute to achieve a meaningful agreement in the COP21”, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

From science to economics, why 2015 is different for climate action
© Brandon Obama1/Flickr

From science to economics, why 2015 is different for climate action

July 31st, 2015. The environmental media, GreenBiz, has listed some of the major changes since COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 and explains how it could mark 2015 as the year of the most important negotiations on climate change. Scientific knowledge has been expanded: researches have shown that this year’s temperatures are once again breaking records, indicating the climate pause may be ending. Politically, the clearest sign of change since the Copenhagen talks is the joint announcement late last year of commitments on greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. and China, the world’s two biggest emitters. But there is also new businesses’ initiatives being taken ahead of Paris, and many studies arguing that tackling climate change can be a boon to economies. Moreover, this fall, in advance of the Paris talks, the U.N. and world governments are preparing to set out Sustainable Development Goals, which will have climate change as a core issue.

Climate change: world’s wealthiest understand, but only half see it as threat
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Climate change: world’s wealthiest understand, but only half see it as threat

July 28th, 2015. While more than 75% of people in Australia, the US, UK and most of the rest of Europe are aware of climate change, far fewer consider it to be detrimental to themselves or their families, new research has found. In every South American country, concern over climate change is above the 90% mark, with this level of worry shared by Mexico, India, Tanzania and Morocco. Japan is one of the few highly advanced economies in the world to have a population as concerned about the risks of climate change. The study says that different factors drive awareness and risk perceptions of climate change. Education levels and understanding the human influence upon the climate was the greatest factor in Europe, while perception of changing temperatures is the key influence in many African and Asian countries.

Apple, Goldman Among Companies in $140 Billion Climate Pledge
© Patrick Nouhailler/Flickr

Apple, Goldman among Companies in $140 Billion Climate Pledge

July 27th, 2015. Thirteen best-known U.S. companies have pledged on July 27 $140 billion towards efforts to reduce their carbon emissions and increase funding for clean energy. The companies have said they will produce “1,600 megawatts of new, renewable energy, enough to power nearly 1.3 million homes”. The effort is part of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, a White House initiative to enlist private companies in the fight against climate change ahead of the United Nations climate-change summit to be held later this year in Paris. The pledges would indeed help the U.S. government meet its commitment to cut emissions by up to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. A second round of similar pledges from other companies is expected to be announced later this fall.

Alaska’s terrifying wildfire season and what it says about climate change
© Flickr

Alaska's terrifying wildfire season and what it says about climate change

July 26th, 2015. As hundreds of wildfires are continually whipping across the state of Alaska this summer, the 2015 Alaska wildfire season may soon be the state’s worst ever with almost 5 million acres already burned. The blazes are so intense and extensive that they could transform the entire Alaska’s ecosystem: its forests, its coasts, its glaciers, and perhaps most of all, the frozen ground beneath. More troubling to climate scientists, the fires could contribute to the worsening of climate change: intense wildfires burn not only trees, sending the carbon they contain into the atmosphere, but also deep into the duff layer, sending up still more carbon. Alaska has already warmed by more than 3C in the past half-century, and the consequences have included an annual loss of 75 billion metric tons of ice from its iconic glaciers.

Fresh negotiating text promises 'strong foundation' for Paris Climate Summit
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Fresh negotiating text promises 'strong foundation' for Paris Climate Summit

July 25th, 2015. The United Nations published on July 24 a “streamlined” version of the negotiating text underpinning the climate change talks. The document, which still runs to 83 pages, is a consolidated version of the formal “Geneva” negotiating text and will be used as a basis for the next formal round of Bonn talks in late August. It includes an array of different options for negotiators to consider and "provides for the first time clarity on what could be contained within the emerging legal agreement in Paris", according to the UNFCCC. The new text came shortly after a ministerial meeting in which ministers indicated that some progress had been made on the issue of how to periodically assess progress on INDCs to ensure promises on emissions reductions are being delivered.

Climate change ‘a matter of conscience’ at Paris summit
© ARC/Flickr

Climate change ‘a matter of conscience’ at Paris summit

July 21st, 2015. Two months ahead of COP21, faith leaders, Nobel laureates, economists and artists from around the world gathered in Paris for the Climate Summit of Conscience, hosted by French President François Hollande on July 21. The conference was an initiative of Nicolas Hulot, François Hollande's special envoy for the protection of the planet, aimed at debating climate change from a spiritual perspective. “The word ‘conscience’ impacts every one of us […] There are philosophies, there are convictions, there are global diversities that should at a certain point unite, and unite to make decisions”, explained Hollande. The day before, France’s Foreign Affairs minister called for compromise on political differences to speed up progress on an agreement on climate change at a conference of representatives of 45 countries held in Paris.

Japan reveals greenhouse gas emissions targets ahead of climate change summit in Paris
© Ian Britton/Flickr

Japan reveals greenhouse gas emissions targets ahead of climate change summit in Paris

July 17th, 2015. Japan revealed on July 17 its contribution ahead of the COP21 set in order to limit the global average temperature rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels. The world’s fifth larger emitter of greenhouse gases said it would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent by 2030 from 2013 levels. The target is based on the government’s power generation plan for 2030, which calls for relying slightly less on nuclear power than on renewable energy following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The Japanese Trade Ministry said that the government would plan to “make nuclear energy account for 20 to 22 per cent of Japan’s electricity mix in 2030, versus 30 per cent before Fukushima. It set the target for renewable energy at 22 to 24 per cent of the mix, liquefied natural gas at 27 per cent and coal at 26 per cent”.

Natural Disasters on Rise, 20M Fled Homes in 2014
© DFID/Flickr

Natural Disasters on Rise, 20M Fled Homes in 2014

July 21st, 2015. Since 2008, about 26.5 million people have been displaced every year because of natural disasters, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said in a report published on July 20. Although 2014 estimates were lower than average, there is an increasing long-term trend, according to the NRC: nearly 20 million people were forced to flee their homes due to floods, storms and earthquakes last year, and Asia is particularly prone to natural disasters, accounting for almost 90 percent of the displaced people in 2014. If climate refugees are not a phenomenon limited to poor countries, with examples of recent extreme climate events in Japan or in the United States, researchers emphasize that deaths and personal hardship are much more widespread among low-income countries.

Climate scientists say 2015 on track to be warmest year on record
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Climate scientists say 2015 on track to be warmest year on record

July 21st, 2015.The Earth experienced its hottest June and the hottest first half of the year since records began, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an American scientific agency. NOAA calculated that the world’s average temperature in the first six months of 2015 was 14.35C, beating the old record set in 2010 by one-sixth of a degree. June was the fourth month of 2015 to break a record, with exceptional heat in Spain, Austria, parts of Asia, Australia and South America. Southern Pakistan had, for example, a June heatwave that killed more than 1,200 people. And while Earth has broken monthly heat records 25 times since 2000, it hasn’t broken a monthly cold record since 1916.

Benefits far outweigh costs of tackling climate change, says LSE study
© LSE in Pictures/ Flickr

Benefits far outweigh costs of tackling climate change, says LSE study

July 13th, 2015.The economic benefits for a country from tackling climate change easily outweigh the costs”, that is the conclusion of a recent study published by two research institutes at the London School of Economics. New jobs and improved health are some of the major economic gains, beyond preventing extreme weather events. Investments in low-carbon energy and mitigation actions are also net-beneficial for countries, resulting in increased energy efficiency. Besides, reaching a global agreement in Paris would bring down the costs of a transition to a low-carbon economy while sharing the benefits that such investments would deliver, according to the study. Those incentives echo to the conclusions recently drawn by the Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz who said that tackling climate change was an opportunity to strengthen global economy.

Scientists: 2015 is a critical year for 'bold action' on climate change
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Scientists: 2015 is a critical year for 'bold action' on climate change

July 10th, 2015. Ahead of the COP21, two thousands of scientists and policy experts have met in UNESCO headquarters in Paris on July 7 to July 10 for the “Our Common Future under Climate Change” conference dedicated to fact-based solutions to reduce the effects of global warming. There was consensus that climate change impacts are deeply widespread. Limiting warming to 2C is still possible but this requires reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40-70% below current levels by 2050, says the final statement. The recommendations include phasing out subsidies on fossil fuel-based energy and putting a price on carbon. Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate in economics, has largely defended the latter solution, saying that the “cap-and-trade” system was not working and that voluntary carbon reductions would not be sufficient to succeed towards a low carbon economy.

Scientists predict huge sea level rise even if we limit climate change
© Flickr

Scientists predict huge sea level rise even if we limit climate change

July 10th, 2015. Even if the limitation to 2C of the global warming is reached, irreversible melting in parts of the West Antarctic ice sheet will contribute to rising sea levels, says a recent study. Sea levels may rise at least 6 meters above their current heights, affecting many coastal and small island communities. For example, it would reshape the US coast, causing Louisiana to lose its boot and globally, by 2050, storm damages could cost cities from Hong Kong to Dhaka trillions annually if adaptation measures are not taken. Global warming consequences are more and more felt as another recent study shows that bumblebees are disappearing from areas where they used to live several decades ago because of climate change. These species are even more affected since, unlike most animals, they can’t move north on their own to avoid warmer temperatures.

Climate change is a matter of human rights, agrees UN
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Climate change is a matter of human rights, agrees UN

July 6th, 2015. The Human Rights Council adopted on July 2 a resolution emphasizing the interplay between climate change and human rights. Championed by Bangladesh and the Philippines and adopted by consensus, the resolution constitutes a strong signal addressed to climate change negotiators as it stresses on the importance of addressing the adverse consequences of climate change for human rights, especially for most vulnerable countries. The resolution also mandates the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, together with relevant international organizations, to work on a report on “how climate change adversely impacts the efforts of states to promote and protect the right of everyone to the highest standards of physical and mental health”.

No plan B if Paris climate summit ends in failure, says EU climate chief
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No plan B if Paris climate summit ends in failure, says EU climate chief

July 6th, 2015. Miguel Cañete, the European commissioner for climate action and energy, urged world leaders to give their ministers permission to be flexible on their negotiation positions in order to agree on a deal in Paris this December. In an interview with the Guardian, the commissioner said he was very concerned about the lack of negotiating time remaining before the conference, reminding that Paris climate summit was the ultimate step to reach an agreement. Cañete also warned that the EU would reject any deal he thought was not ambitious enough in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Heat Waves in Europe Caused By Climate Change Says Scientists
© Riley Veldhuizen/Flickr

Heat Waves in Europe Caused By Climate Change Says Scientists

July 5th, 2015. A group of climate experts from universities, meteorological facilities and research teams came up with a real-time analysis of climate data this week, saying that the latest heat waves in Europe are caused by climate change and are increasing in frequency. Effects of climate change are not only felt on weather but also on biodiversity: scientists warned in a recent study of a polar bears population crash in most parts of the Arctic Ocean if global greenhouse emissions continue at current rates, because of a“substantial sea ice loss and expected declines in the availability of marine prey that polar bears eat”, says the author of the study. If global emissions are not reduced, the number of bears across the Arctic will sharply fall 25 years sooner than if greenhouse gas rates peak in 2040, according to the study.

A group of Nobel Laureates have signed a declaration calling for urgent action on climate change
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A group of Nobel Laureates have signed a declaration calling for urgent action on climate change

July 3rd, 2015. A group of 36 Nobel prizewinners have signed a declaration calling for urgent action against climate change, on Mainau Island in southern Germany, just as they did nearly 60 years ago to prevent the use of nuclear weapons: “We believe that our world today faces another threat of comparable magnitude”, says the new declaration. The scientists hope that the climate change summit to be held in Paris in November 2015 will result in concrete actions to limit future global emissions: “If left unchecked, our ever-increasing demand for food, water, and energy will eventually overwhelm the Earth’s ability to satisfy humanity’s needs, and will lead to wholesale human tragedy”, warns the declaration.

Local-governments day announced for Paris climate summit
© Flickr

Local-governments day announced for Paris climate summit

July 1st, 2015. Leaders of cities and regional governments, social groupings and scientists from around the world gathered in the French city of Lyon on July 1 and 2 for the World Summit on Climate and Territories. They exposed their specific emissions-reduction pledges and urged national governments to deliver a “robust, binding, equitable and universal” planet-saving climate pact in December. They asked for financial resources from national governments and financial institutions to cope with climate change at their scale. The day before the Summit, Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, and Anne Hidalgo, the current mayor of Paris, publicly called for increased recognition of the role of cities and local governments at the Paris climate talks and set a Climate Summit for Local Leaders on December 4 in Paris.

China ready to go further on climate change
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China ready to go further on climate change

June 29th,2015. Following parallel climate change summits in Brussels and New York City on June 29, China is set to reveal an ambitious climate change pledge for the COP21 Summit by moving up the timeline for peaking its carbon emissions and considering sending money to other countries to take action, says EU sources close to the negotiations. In particular, Beijing would target 2030 for its emissions to peak and could eventually join developed countries in financing climate action and adaptation in developing countries. As of 2014, China had reduced its emissions by 33.8 percent compared with 2005 and it aims to reach 45 percent by 2020, according to Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change.

Paris deal on climate change should reflect differentiated responsibilities
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"Paris deal on climate change should reflect differentiated responsabilities"

June 29th, 2015. Paris Agreement on climate change should “fully reflect” differentiated responsibilities of developed and developing countries, ministers from the BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) bloc said as they met for the 20th Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change during the weekend. Contributions should be comprehensive, addressing mitigation, adaptation and the provision of support by developed to developing countries, says the joint statement. The four countries express their disappointment with rich countries’ failure to fulfil their commitment six years ago to mobilise $100bn a year by 2020 and they made it clear that developing countries could not be expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions without help.

Who will ensure climate change deal protects children?
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Who will ensure climate change deal protects children?

June 29th, 2015. Climate change is endangering basic rights of millions of communities around the world facing the prospect of increasingly frequent and severe weather events, such as heatwaves. The assertion defended in an UNICEF blogpost states that children are even more vulnerable, with disastrous impacts on their access to food and water, on their health and wellbeing and on their education. Connection between climate change and challenges on human rights have recently been made by the UN Human Rights Council: climate change will trigger new poverty traps and could lead children falling victim to sexual abuse and exploitation. Yet, despite some initiatives as the Geneva Pledge for Human Rights in Climate Action, international talks on climate have been slow to deal with the subject.

Credit rating agencies are miscalculating risks of climate change, report finds
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Credit rating agencies are miscalculating risks of climate change, report finds

June 25th, 2015. A new report, released on June 24 by the Center for International Environmental Law (Ciel) - an American advocacy group -, claims that credit agencies’ failure to properly account for climate risks and for the value of fossil fuel investments could lead to the next global financial crisis, “just as sub-prime assets became worthless during the credit crisis”. By overestimating the value of fossil fuel assets, credit rating agencies may be overinflating the credit ratings and value of companies that are contributing to global warming, putting investors at risk, says the report. Even though agencies like Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s have started to explore the risk climate change poses to the financial community, this understanding is yet not incorporated into their rating methodologies.

Climate Change Could Erase 50 Years of Health Advances, Report Says
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Climate Change Could Erase 50 Years of Health Advances, Report Says

June 23th, 2015. Climate change presents a potentially “catastrophic risk” to public health due to increased risk of the spread of diseases, food insecurity and air pollution, among many other things, according to a new research by an international team of researchers published in the journal The Lancet. However, authors write that global warming is a great opportunity to improve people’s health in the 21st century and key recommendations of the report consist in switching to clean energy, investing in medical research and changing cities to support healthy lifestyles.

10 key excerpts from Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment
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10 key excerpts from Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment

June 18th, 2015. Pope Francis issued a rare encyclical on both climate change and poverty on June 18 in which he calls for an “ecological conversion”. Climate change “represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day”, he says, and it has severe implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. The warming caused by rich countries is affecting developing countries “especially Africa, where a rise in temperature, together with drought, has proved devastating for farming”. Human development and preservation of nature will not be addressed simply by market growth and no effective global agreements on the environment have yet been taken by the international community, he adds.

Climate change projects in poorest nations lose out in battle for funds
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Climate change projects in poorest nations lose out in battle for funds

June 18th, 2015. Plans to help poorest countries to be more resilient to extreme weather are on hold because of a lack of UN climate funds. Despite the proliferation of international climate funds, among which the Green climate Fund, the Least Developed Countries Fund or the Adaptation Fund, competition is fierce, aid limited, and funds are running out of resources. Amid projects awaiting support, adaptation projects are the most in need as, for example, helping government officials in Bangladesh and Rwanda work out how to adapt to the growing impacts of climate change and keeping health facilities safe from storms.

Asia must invest more in clean energy to cope with climate change, says ADB
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Asia must invest more in clean energy to cope with climate change, says ADB

June 17th, 2015. Governments must seize the chance that low oil prices present to cut off fuel subsidies and support renewable energy that has become cheaper as technology progresses, Asian Development Bank (ADB) officials and other experts said on June 17. Coal is remaining a dominant energy source in Asia and its use is forecasted to rise by 50% from 2010 levels by 2035. In that view, the ADB supports that Asia must continue its efforts towards renewable energy use including solar, wind and geothermal power and therefore boost green investments in energy efficiency technology to meet rising demand.

 IEA urges greater effort on climate goals
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IEA urges greater effort on climate goals

June 15th, 2015. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted on Monday 15 that current pledges on reducing emissions would not be enough to reach the goal of keeping the increase in average global temperature below 2°C by the end of the century. "If stronger action is not forthcoming after 2030, the path [...] would be consistent with an average temperature increase of around 2.6°C by 2100 and 3.5°C by 2200", projected the IEA in a report. The Agency suggested five key measures in order to ensure a peak in global energy-related emissions in 2020, among which, increased investment in renewable energy technologies and a gradual phasing out of greenhouse gas emissions.

 Bonn meeting ends with last-minute compromise on Paris climate text
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Bonn meeting ends with last-minute compromise on Paris climate text

June 11th, 2015. The 11-day international talks in Bonn, that gathered more than 190 countries till June 11, have made little progress towards a new global deal on climate change, according to the article. After two weeks of negotiations, the 89-page draft text on climate change, drawn up at a meeting in Geneva in February, had been cut by just four pages, and NGOs declared that “difficult issues” such as finance and emissions cuts had yet to be addressed. However, it has been agreed to let co-chairs of the negotiations to make their own alterations to the text, and present it to all countries for approval, probably in late July.

The weird effect climate change will have on plant growth
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The weird effect climate change will have on plant growth

June 11th, 2015. Climate change may hamper plant growth, assuming limited efforts to curb climate change, says a new study in PLOS Biology. The research, which relied on an analysis of satellite data and weather projections, predicts that extreme temperatures, a decrease in water availability and changes to soil conditions will make it more difficult for plants to thrive: hot tropical regions could lose as many as 200 growing days per year. Consequences may be destruction of forests and even forests could produce carbon instead of removing it from the atmosphere!

 NASA released a ton of data to help developing nations prepare for global warming
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NASA released a ton of data to help developing nations prepare for global warming

June 10th, 2015. NASA released a vast database that combines 21 climate modelling simulation results: it provides precise details on what our future climate may look like in 2100, including how greenhouse gas emissions may affect temperature and precipitation patterns. The NASA initiative is part of a broader climate resilience program, developed by the Obama administration, aimed at pushing climate adaptation policies forward. The main purpose of the database is to provide developing countries tools to anticipate and cope with climate change effects.

Climate change dominates G7 agreement as leaders back full decarbonisation vision
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Climate change dominates G7 agreement as leaders back full decarbonisation vision

June 8th, 2015. Climate change has been a core topic of the Group of Seven (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US) gathered in Bavaria, in Germany, on June 7 and 8. The leaders discussed how to deliver more green funds to developing countries and the urgency of cutting carbon emissions. They pledged to keep global warming below a rise of 2°C and supported strong action to tackle climate change, saying that nations should strive to reach full “decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century”.

Chinese emissions may peak by 2025, says analysis
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Chinese emissions may peak by 2025, says analysis

June 8th, 2015. While climate change negotiators from more than 190 countries are meeting until June 11 in Bonn, in Germany, a recent study reveals that “China's greenhouse gas emissions will probably peak in 2025, five years earlier than its stated target”. The world’s biggest carbon emitter will discharge 12.5-14 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2025, after which emissions will decline. The research states that China’s coal use has reached a “structural maximum”. The structural changes in China’s economy led by the government for a more sustainable growth are critical as reaching the 2°C goal “depends in significant part on China’s ability to reduce its emissions at a rapid rate post-peak”, says the paper.

 Global citizens “very concerned” about climate
© World Wide Views

Global citizens “very concerned” about climate

June 7th, 2015. The World Wide Views on Climate and Energy of June 6, supported by ENGIE, gathered thousands of citizens around the world to discuss on the key climate change issues addressed by the COP21. In each of the 79 countries participating, 100 people from a cross section of society contributed to the debate. The resulting worldwide survey shows that nearly 80% of people are “very concerned” about impacts of global warming and think every nation should do its part to stop it. Nearly 70% believe the UN negotiations process has not done enough to curb global warming. The results of the daylong consultations will be addressed to climate change negotiators in Bonn, in Germany, later this week. 

Climate change challenges health and productivity of oceans: UN Chief on World Oceans Day
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Climate change challenges health and productivity of oceans: UN Chief on World Oceans Day

June 7th, 2015. On World Oceans Day celebrated on June 8, UN Chief, Ban Ki-moon, declared that climate change was challenging the health and productivity of the oceans. Covering three quarters of the Earth’s surface, oceans are vital for a sustainable future, they “regulate the climate and process nutrients through natural cycles while providing a wide range of services, including natural resources, food and jobs that benefit billions of people”, he said. The issue is even more accurate as a recent scientific study established that a global warming “slow-down” since 1998 - a conclusion drawn up by a UN comprehensive report on climate science in 2013 and supported by many climate sceptics - never happened.

Europe's energy big six say gas must help in the fight against climate change
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Europe's energy big six say gas must help in the fight against climate change

June 1st, 2015. Europe’s six largest energy companies have underlined the critical role of natural gas in plans to tackle global warming while meeting energy needs. They have also called for a carbon pricing, which would involve a fee being charged to emit the greenhouse gas, to be part of the solution that emerges from climate talks in Paris Conference at the end of the year. The six companies had written to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the body that convenes the international talks, to deliver their strategy and solutions to cope with climate change and to be part of the climate negotiations.

How Cities Are Key to Curbing Climate Change
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How Cities Are Key to Curbing Climate Change

June 1st, 2015. The Mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon, takes position to bring the voices of cities in the climate change negotiations. Besides national contributions for climate, cities are “at the forefront of exploring innovative ways for a new post-2020 climate scheme”, he said. As cities are responsible for 70 to 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, urban scale initiatives are needed in addition to climate talks on a global scale with nation states taking center stage. In that purpose, 2.500 urban leaders from around the world participated in roundtables discussions in Seoul, with delegates from 88 countries, 240 cities and 190 international agencies. One hundred signatories adopted the Seoul Declaration, a “major milestone towards urban sustainability”, according to the Mayor.

Bonn U.N. talks seek to trim unwieldy climate change plan
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Bonn U.N. talks seek to trim unwieldy climate change plan

May 31st, 2015. Climate change negotiators from more than 190 countries are gathering this week in Bonn, in Germany. They will discuss during ten days in order to lay foundations for a global agreement on climate change, less than 200 days before the Paris Conference. The negotiation will consist in simplifying an 80-page draft text drawn up at a meeting in Geneva in February. The Bonn Summit will also be an occasion to trigger more countries to submit their national greenhouse reduction pledges (INDCs). The effort of clarification for a final agreement is a critical step while the French Environment Minister, Ségolène Royal, has criticized the sluggish pace of the talks and has called for a more efficient procedure to deal with climate change.

 Climate change could shrink Mount Everest’s glaciers by 70 percent, study finds
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Climate change could shrink Mount Everest’s glaciers by 70 percent, study finds

May 27th, 2015. According to a new scientific study, the Mount Everest - the Earth’s highest mountain - could see “a major loss of its glaciers over the course of this century” because of global warming. It turned out that the glaciers around the Everest region are “more sensitive to temperature than anyone expected before”, said the author of the research, and that the number for glacial losses is estimated at 70 percent, a major decrease. The study also suggests that the melting process could “lead to sudden large discharges of water from gigantic melt lakes atop the glaciers”, which is worrying in regard to natural disasters that the region has already known.

Tropical storms get fiercer with climate change
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Tropical storms get fiercer with climate change

May 26th, 2015. US and Korean researchers have found that tropical storms like typhoons, hurricanes and cyclones are becoming less frequent but more violent with human-caused global warming. Their study sets a pattern of change from 1984 to 2012 showing that even slightly higher average temperatures would lead to more energy and therefore higher wind speeds at sea as well. The analysis also points out that even developed countries are exposed to tropical storms as the storm Sandy that hit New York in 2012, which had devastating consequences.

UN chief seeks 'global action' on climate change this year
© Gilles François/Flickr

UN chief seeks 'global action' on climate change this year

May 25th, 2015. On the occasion of a weather quadrennial congress in Geneva, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called for “global action” this year to tackle climate change. In 2015 “governments will make major decisions on sustainable development and climate change”, he said. The call comes in view of the Paris accord, which would take effect from 2020 and which aim is to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. So far, only 38 parties have presented their carbon pledges, according to the website of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, among which United states, the European Union, Russia and Canada.

Business & Climate Leaders Urge Climate Change Policies
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Business & Climate Leaders Urge Climate Change Policies

May 22nd, 2015. The Business & Climate Summit held in Paris on the 20th and 21st of May during the Paris Climate Week gathered over 2,000 global business leaders, political leaders, and climate negotiators. They have commonly pledged to carry out a global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. It has been a clear fact that the private sector has a leading role to play to reach a global climate agreement in Paris at the end of this year. Economic leaders have assessed their involvement in green growth and have called on policymakers to agree on a carbon pricing as well as closer collaboration between business and governments on climate policies.

Why climate change demands the reform of our financial system
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Why climate change demands the reform of our financial system

May 22nd, 2015. A report of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) defends a financial transformation in order to tackle climate change, correlating climate change to global wealth. As an example, existing climate variability is costing up to 2.4 per cent of GDP per year in Kenya. Financial systems should therefore integrate environment and social factors as sustainability criteria and set measures covering risk, capital mobilization and transparency in order to insure transition from high-carbon to low-carbon investments, argues the report. The recent development of green bond market is indicative of the scope for this transformation and is paving the way for those structural transformations.

Fighting Climate Change Will Take Economic Innovation, Too
© ENGIE

Fighting Climate Change Will Take Economic Innovation, Too

May 17th, 2015. WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a New York-based advocacy organisation has exposed at a recent event its conception of “environmental activism”, which it defined as “a system that creates the new - new technology, new partnerships, and (sooner than we think) new ways of thinking about the world we all want to live in.” It states that ensuring a secure future for our planet can not only rely on the innovation of science or national contributions but also needs economic innovators and a concrete implication of the local community: residents should be empowered enough to take their own actions. It also strongly connects healthy environment to economic justice.

March of the Penguins director to close Cannes with climate change film Ice and the Sky
© Eskwad/Wild Touch/Marc Perrey

March of the Penguins director to close Cannes with climate change film Ice and the Sky

May 17th, 2015. The fight against climate change will have a say on the red carpet in Cannes! Several of the world’s leading filmmakers have given their support to Film4Climate, an initiative of the World Bank’s Connect4Climate program which support the film and entertainment industry to take action on climate change. Furthermore, though the Cannes Festival rarely shows documentaries in official selection, Ice And The Sky realized by Luc Jacquet will close the 68th Cannes Festival on May 24th. The documentary is drawing attention to the devastating consequences of climate change in Antarctica and honors Lorius, a French glaciologist known for his studies on the composition of air samples caught in polar ice.

China and India call on rich countries to step up climate change efforts
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China and India call on rich countries to step up climate change efforts

May 15th, 2015. China and India, world’s first and third biggest carbon emitters, have addressed developed countries a joint call to comply with their commitment of $100bn annual climate aid by 2020. During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to China, both countries have asked rich countries to provide finance, technology and necessary support to help developing countries to reduce their greenhouse emissions, knowing that these are facing challenges in terms of social and economic development. China and India will continue to work together in areas such as clean energy technologies, energy conservation and renewable energy, the joint statement says.

 Harper government alters climate targets, but protects oil sands
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Harper government alters climate targets, but protects oil sands

May 15th, 2015. The Canadian government is pledging to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, while ensuring Canadian companies remain competitive and preserving oil sands emissions - the largest source of Canada's climate warming pollution according to environmental critics. In that perspective, new regulations on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry will be taken. Experts call on the Canadian government to adopt concrete and coherent commitments to back up its climate targets in order to counteract its current pro-tar sands policies and to align with the U.S. cutting greenhouse emissions.

 Hollande calls for rich nations to help poor at Caribbean climate conference
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Hollande calls for rich nations to help poor at Caribbean climate conference

May 10th, 2015. On the occasion of the Caribbean Climate Summit held on the 9th of May in Martinique, François Hollande called for “rich countries to help poor countries fight global warming”. While the Caribbean islands only contribute for 0.3% of greenhouse gas emissions, they are the most affected by climate change with a critical rise in sea levels. Climate change represents $600 million a year in costs to the Caribbean region alone and threatens its tourism-dependent economies. The French President underlined the role of the U.N. climate fund, an international green fund, to help vulnerable countries to mitigate the effects of global warming.

 Satellite technology offers new insights into climate change's effects on the Arctic
© NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr

Satellite technology offers new insights into climate change's effects on the Arctic

May 9th, 2015. New satellite technologies are essential as they are providing measures related to the atmosphere, to the sea ice or to how vegetation and marine life are changing in Arctic region. Data collected by the use of satellite imagery allow scientists not only to better understand changes in the Arctic but also to explain extreme weather patterns observed in mid-latitudes. Thus, monitoring the Arctic the most effectively way is fundamental for scientists as the implications are reaching far beyond the region.

 The key climate and clean energy problem of 2015: Doing a lot isn’t the same as doing enough
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The key climate and clean energy problem of 2015: Doing a lot isn’t the same as doing enough

May 8th, 2015. Several reports from international agencies have made clear that limiting the global warming under 2°C will hardly be achieved despite encouraging commitments taken by countries in view of the Paris Climate Conference to be held at the end of this year. For instance, a recent report from the U.N. Environment Programme states that percentage of renewables - providing 9.1% of the world’s total energy - is not growing fast enough. Some scientists are even more alarmist, predicting that the 2°C target is even not sufficient to mitigate climate change effects. These facts strengthen the need for strong collective engagements for gas emissions reduction and global investments in clean energy.

 MIT: “Massive” Solar Expansion Critical for Climate
© ENGIE/Camille MOIRENC

MIT: “Massive” Solar Expansion Critical for Climate

May 8th, 2015. According to a report of the MIT, solar is the best suited clean energy to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It should be thus massively developed to make a climate difference: “the amount of solar power generation capacity on US soil would have to increase from today’s 20 gigawatts to up to 400 gigawatts”, states the study. The analysis also makes recommendations related, among others, on ways of funding the renewable. For example, it suggests that government support and incentives for solar energy should be redefined, including “scrapping state renewable power generation standards for utilities and directly subsidising solar power generation in lieu of tax credits”.

Kofi Annan: ‘We must challenge climate-change sceptics who deny the facts’
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Kofi Annan: ‘We must challenge climate-change sceptics who deny the facts’

May 3rd, 2015.Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, asserted in an interview realized by The Guardian that “shifting towards low-carbon energy systems can avert climate catastrophe while creating new opportunities for investment, growth and employment”. He called for a “fair, universal and binding climate agreement” to be conclude at the Paris Summit and stated that countries must take concrete measures for green growth as, for example, adopting a tax on carbon emissions or providing financial resources and technologies to vulnerable countries to help them cope with climate change.

Environmental scientist Heidi Cullen on the role of oceans in climate change
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Environmental scientist Heidi Cullen on the role of oceans in climate change

May 3rd, 2015 The chief scientist for the non-profit environmental organization Climate Central shares her thoughts on climate change and defends a shift towards renewable energy. She calls for a strong leadership from countries and effective policies that would combine climate change mitigation and adaptation. She estimates that Australia is “by far one of the most vulnerable countries when it comes to the impacts of climate change”. As a former oceanographer, she recalls the effects of climate change on oceans, which are drastically affected as 93% of the heat is going into the water. 

China says climate change threatens major projects
© ENGIE/ABACAPRESS/MATTIOLI Daniele

China says climate change threatens major projects

May 3rd, 2015. The head of China's Meteorological Administration warned in a state newspaper that climate change is threatening some of China’s most important infrastructure projects. "Global warming affects the safety and stability of these big projects, as well as their operations and economic effectiveness, technological standards and engineering methods", he said. He added that the country’s rate of warming is higher that the global average and that “the first decade of this century was the hottest in the past 100 years”. The world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases is increasingly willing to take measures to reduce its carbon emissions and to shift to cleaner energy. 

Study Finds Climate Change as Threat to 1 in 6 Species
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Study Finds Climate Change as Threat to 1 in 6 Species

April 30th, 2015. A study on the impact of climate change on biodiversity loss published in the journal Science found that one in six of world’s species faces extinction if manmade greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current pace. The research, based on 131 existing studies, concludes that global warming could have significant impacts on ecosystems. Some of those include stresses on wildlife and habitats but also pressures due to deforestation, pollution or overfishing. The analysis specifies that species are more at risk in tropical environments and as an example more endangered in South America than in North America.  

Extreme weather already on increase due to climate change, study finds
© Michaël Lumbroso/Flickr

Extreme weather already on increase due to climate change, study finds

April 27th, 2015.  A new study published in Nature Climate Change has established that heat waves that previously occurred once every three years are now happening four to five times more often due to manmade climate change. The research shows that global warming of the atmosphere increases the number of times temperatures reach extreme levels and evaporates more water from the oceans. It states that on average, any given place on Earth will experience 60% more extreme rain events and 27 extremely hot days.

Africa: Benefits of Adapting Africa's Infrastructure to Climate Change Outweigh the Costs
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Africa: Benefits of Adapting Africa's Infrastructure to Climate Change Outweigh the Costs

April 27th, 2015.  A World Bank report has quantified impacts of climate change on energy and water infrastructure in Africa and has suggested adaptation options for investment plans. The report states that infrastructure investments in Africa’s water and power sectors will undoubtedly benefit a sustaining growth in Africa. Analyses show how investments could minimize the risks due to climate change and they quantify the corresponding benefits and costs. Concrete actions are thus provided by the report to increase climate resilience and to integrate climate considerations into planning and design of infrastructure.

 China is building a Great Wall of Trees to fight climate change and the encroaching Gobi Desert
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China is building a Great Wall of Trees to fight climate change and the encroaching Gobi Desert

April 27th, 2015.  The world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases is engaged in a massive tree-planting program also known as the “Green Great Wall”: the country is building a belt of trees that will stretch some 2,800 miles across north and northwest China. It has helped to offset tropical deforestation and suck some of the climate-changing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Observers describe China’s reforestation program as the world’s largest ecological engineering project. Overall, the country has planted 13 million hectares of new forest since 2008, according to the State Forestry Administration. On a global scale, researchers found that the amount of carbon absorbed in vegetation had increased by about 4 billion tons since 2003.

Under U.S. Leadership, Arctic Council Vows To Fight Climate Change
© ENGIE/CLOT Christian

Under U.S. Leadership, Arctic Council Vows To Fight Climate Change

April 25th, 2015. The United States, which assumed chairmanship of the Arctic Council held on April 24th in Iqaluit in the northeast of Canada, have made the fight against climate change the priority goal of this international summit in order to cope with the melting of the sea ice and to reduce carbon emissions. Undergoing drastic changes, the Arctic region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world making indigenous communities particularly vulnerable.

Obama: Climate Change Can No Longer Be Denied or Ignored
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Obama: Climate Change Can No Longer Be Denied or Ignored

April 21th, 2015. A few months before the Climate Conference to be held in Paris in December 2015, Barack Obama, in his weekly address, has strongly supported the fight against climate change as a priority for the planet. The American President stated that climate change is one of the biggest threats to our planet and that it represents risks for national security and the national economy of the United States. He pointed out that the country is using clean energy, today more than ever before, and is adopting emission-cutting policies.

G7 Agrees Greater Role for Climate Change in Foreign Policy
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G7 Agrees Greater Role for Climate Change in Foreign Policy

April 20th, 2015. Foreign ministers of the G7, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, pledged last week to a strong commitment to address climate risks. They have agreed on a report describing climate change as one of the biggest global security threats of the 21st century. Thus, the text advocates integrating climate change into foreign policy to allow “G7 countries to better assess climate-related security challenges and to assist other countries in preparing for and responding to these risks". The ministers reiterated the need for a strong climate deal to be agreed on at the Paris Climate change Conference at the end of this year.

Climate Change Could Make This Year the Warmest on Record, Warn Scientists
© Flickr

World Has Just Had the Hottest March since 1880 – and Climate Change Could Make This Year the Warmest on Record, Warn Scientists

April 17th,2015. March 2015 has been the hottest March since 1880, when record-keeping began. During this month, the average temperature increased to 0.85°C above the average for the 20th century. The record is not an isolated fact as the first three months of this year have shown an increase in temperatures and the trend could continue throughout 2015. The article presents a map showing how the high temperatures have affected different regions of the planet in March 2015. For example, many African countries had experienced warmer temperatures than average or northern and central Argentina had seen significant precipitation causing many floods in the region.

 The Arctic is ‘Unraveling’ Due To Climate Change, And the Consequences Will Be Global
© Flickr

The Artic is 'Unraveling' Due to Climate Change, And the Consequences Will Be Global

April 16th, 2015While climate change is drastically reshaping the Arctic, a new booklet from the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council highlights the impacts of this situation on a global scale. The article summarizes four potential planet-wide consequences: changes in weather in the mid-latitudes leading to particular weather conditions; warming oceans having an impact on the fishing industry and thus on what we eat; rising of the level of the sea worldwide and an amplification of the global warming by the thawing of frozen ground of the Arctic which contains huge stores of frozen carbon. What is happening in the Arctic is thus our concern!

 Climate Change: Have We Passed The Point Of No Return?
© Flickr

Climate Change: Have We Passed the Point Of No Return ?

April 13th, 2015. We are not there yet says Scientific American, but we have never been so close, way too close. The “point of no return” with regard to climate change means that no amount of cutbacks on greenhouse gas emissions would be enough to save us from catastrophic global warming. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sets the point in 2042, but Greenpeace thinks we only have until 2020, leading to the key questions of what the main decisions should be made at the COP21? From carbon pricing systems, to deforestation deceleration or even adapting our food systems, one thing is certain: we need to change our ways.

 France Urges Australia to Make an Ambitious Climate Commitment Ahead of UN Summit
© Val in Sydney/Flickr

France Urges Australia to Make an Ambitious Climate Commitment Ahead of UN Summit

April 13th, 2015."Your country is a very influential country in the Asia Pacific region and you know that climate change is having tremendous consequences in the region." said French ambassador to Australia, a week before Prime Minister Tony Abbott meets with French President Hollande in Paris. While COP20 participants were expected to announce their climate commitment before the end of March, Australia’s Federal Government released an issues paper two weeks ago making no mention of the two degree goal. But Australia met its previous international target and, according to it foreign Minister, wants to play a positive role in the Paris talks.

 Canada Provinces and Territories Meet to Address the Nation Plan to Tackle Climate Change
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Canada Provinces and Territories Meet to Address the Nation Plan to Tackle Climate Change

April 14th, 2015Canada is among the vast majority of UN country members that did not meet the March 31 deadline. “Canada wants to ensure we have a complete picture of what the provinces and territories plan before we submit” said the office of the federal Environment Minister, Leona Aglukkaq. Representatives met on Tuesday the 14th in Quebec city to, among others goals, assert the role they could play in contributing to the success of the international climate conference. Over the weekend 25,000 people marched through the city to show their representatives they were committed to action on climate change and so should they.

Yale Published an Interactive Map of Global Warming Beliefs in the US
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Yale Published an Interactive Map of Global Warming Beliefs in the US

April 6th, 2015. Yale researchers provide a deeper look at the general statistics, given that 63 percent of Americans believe that the globe is warming. They published an interactive map highlighting, per state or local communities, where people believe in global warming and what they think its implication could be. And as one could expect, the reality is far more diverse than a nation-wide statistic implies. The study confirms that most Americans believe global warming is happening and support renewables energy initiatives. However there is an important split on whether or not human activities are driving the change, and even on the existence of a scientific consensus on global warming.

Obama Promotes Solar Power as Economic Fuel
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Obama promotes Solar Power as Economic Fuel

April 3rd 2015. President Obama launched a new initiative as part of his growing list of climate actions meant to combat global warming. As part of a plan to train workers to manufacture green energy technologies, the new program will seek to train 75,000 people – including veterans – to enter the solar workforce by 2020, increasing the goal it set in May 2014 by 25,000. "As a byproduct, we're going to make this country safer, we're going to make the planet cleaner," Obama said. The administration hopes the solar push will cause Americans to use less fuel, thereby working toward the recently set goal of slashing total emissions by 28% in the coming decade.

UN Green Climate Fund Could Be Spent on Coal-Fired Project
© Flickr

UN Green Climate Fund Could Be Spent on Coal-Fired Project

March 29th, 2015. The UN green climate fund, set up to help developing countries finance clean energy and measures to help adapt to climate change, does not ban coal-fire power plants – the most polluting form of electricity generation. Japan, China and Saudi Arabia opposed a ban on fossil fuel projects, arguing a more “pragmatic approach” with the modern power-plant being far more efficient. However the board agreed to set a minimum benchmark for the greenhouse gas emissions cuts that projects must achieve, but not until 2016.

Mexico Announces Its Climate Target While Most Countries Will Not Meet the Deadline
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Mexico Announces Its Climate Target While Most Countries Will Not Meet the Deadline

March 27th 2015. Last December, climate negotiators of the 196 countries committed to declare their goals, known as Individually Determined National Contributions, or INDC’s, by March 31. After the European Union, Norway and Switzerland, Mexico submitted its target, being the first developing country to do so. If the US should follow, most countries would delay their pledges, with experts warn it could hurt the accord. But what if latecomers, by trying to top the earlier contributions, were to actually make the Paris treaty even stronger?

Economic Theory to Explain Climate Change Solving Problem
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Economic Theory to Explain Climate Change Solving Problem

March 27th, 2015. Robert J. Shiller, Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale introduces us to two organizational theories to tackle climate change. The Copenhagen theory of change, the more idealistic of the two, relies on individual action to create a social movement within a specific community. The second theory, the economic theory of clubs considers that a realistic structure is necessary: a group of countries needs to create incentives and erect a tariff barrier.

Earth Hour: Switching Off the Lights for Climate Action
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Earth Hour: Switching Off the Lights for Climate Action

March 27th, 2015. Every year, for the past 9 years, WWF has been inviting people to switch off their lights for an hour on the last Sunday of March to promote action on Climate change. But this year, on the road to the UN summit in Paris in December, the Earth Hour was even more meaningful. For Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, the event in which 7,000 cities took part, “Earth Hour shows what is possible when we unite in support of a cause: no individual action is too small, no collective vision is too big. This is the time to use your power”.

UN Warns of Water Shortage Within 15 Years
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UN Warns of Water Shortage Within 15 Years

March 20th, 2015.  If we continue on our current trajectory, we'll only have 60% of the water we need in 2030, says the UN’s annual World Water Development Report. While the global population increases as well as the demand for potable water, 20% of groundwater reserves are already “overexploited”. To avoid water deficit, and limit the numerous consequences of climate change on water management, the report calls for an increase in water tariffs to limit extensive use, while also developing proper sanitation system in impoverished communities.

US Government Commits to Cut its Own Emissions 40 Percent by 2025
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US Government Commits to Cut its Own Emissions 40 Percent by 2025

March 19th, 2015. President Obama signed an executive order committing the federal government as well as the federal agencies, which were asked to increase their use of renewable energy and reduce their vehicle fleet emissions. The federal government is the single largest energy consumer in the United States, with 360,000 buildings and 650,000 vehicles. The new measures are as much about reducing the footprint than setting an example for the private sector.

The Next Energy Revolution is in Our Brains
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The Next Energy Revolution is in Our Brains

March 16th, 2015.  As part of a three-article series, called “Your Brain on Energy”, the Washington Post explores the Navy and Marines latest battle: energy reduction. Their secret weapon? Behavioral change. Changing old patterns in the way vehicles are used or understanding consumption by using gauges are some of the ways used by the Military to set up a new behavioral approach with its platoons. For Columbia University psychologist Elke Weber, who is consulting with the Navy on energy use, changing human behavior might be the most efficient means to fight against climate change, because it influences all other fields, such as increasing solar power or energy efficiency.

Earth Hour: Switching Off the Lights for Climate Action
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Cyclone Pam: Did Climate Change Cause Vanuatu Damage?

March 16th, 2015. At least 24 people died when cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu, a number that could rise even further in the coming days. For the country’s President Baldwin Lonsdale this terrible catastrophe is directly linked to climate change. "This year we have had more [cyclones] than in any year. Yes, climate change is contributing to this." he said. For climate experts, however, the direct link between the frequency of tropical storms and climate change is hard to prove. They are more confident that, by causing heat waves and rising see level, climate change makes Vunuatu more vulnerable to cyclones. Reducing the severity of climate change is a matter of survival for Vanuatu.

 A Film Reveals How American “Experts” Discredit Climate Scientists
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A Film Reveals How American “Experts” Discredit Climate Scientists

March 15 th, 2015. Florida recently banned the use of terms such as “climate change” and “global warming” by state employees. A perfect illustration of the war between science and politics, according to Naomi Oreskes, whose 2010 book “Merchant of Doubt” has just been adapted to cinema. The film explains the tactics of climate change “experts”, often employed by think tanks funded by industries, to “maintain status quo”. According to the author, they use the American notion of freedom as an argument against government regulation, a notion that scientists are ill-equipped to counter.

 New Delhi Has the Dirtiest Air and is Becoming Aware of It
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New Delhi Has the Dirtiest Air and is Becoming Aware of It

March 10 th, 2015.  For a long time, Indian officials have expressed little interest in climate and pollution. But recently Delhi’s air problem started getting international exposure, including stories about asthma and related illnesses in the most polluted city in the world. According to Greenpeace India, the air pollution is “worse than that of Beijing” with micro particles way above the safety limits. The green NGO submitted a proposal to the government and said a campaign would soon be launched.


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Solar Impulse 2 Starts Round-the-World Solar-Powered Journey

March 9 th, 2015.  After 12 years of preparation the single-seater Solar Impulse 2 has taken off from an airport in Abu Dhabi in its attempt to fly around the world powered by nothing more than the sun. Two pilots will survive on 20 minute naps every two to four hours and endure temperatures ranging from -40C to 40C during the five month journey. The plane will stop at various locations around the world — for the pilots to rest and do maintenance but also to spread the message about clean, renewable technologies.

 Discover The Guardian’s New Series on Climate Crisis
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Discover The Guardian’s New Series on Climate Crisis

March 6 th, 2015. The Guardian is dedicating a major series of articles to the climate crisis and how humanity can solve it. “The changes may be happening too fast for human comfort, but they happen too slowly for the newsmaker,” says Guardian editor Alan Rusbriger of the reason for the series. The first two publications are extracts from the introduction to Naomi Klein’s recent book, This Changes Everything. The author calls the climate crisis a civilizational wake-up call to alter our economy and our lifestyles, now – before they get changed for us.

 New York City Panel on Climate Change released a report on Clime change impact on New York City
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New York City Panel on Climate Change released a report on Clime change impact on New York City

February 23th, 2015.  The city is expected to see more frequent heat waves and extreme precipitation event as the century progresses. Models predict a 4.1- to 5.7- degree Fahrenheit increase by 2050 as well as a 11 to 21 inches see level rise. The report recommends that the city adapt for the risks of climate change and become more sustainable.

 Solar energy could create up to 1 million jobs in India
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Solar energy could create up to 1 million jobs in India

February 14th, 2015. The country’s goal of reaching 100 gigawatt solar energy goal by 2022 could create one million jobs in addition to improving the energy access for Indian citizens. During the US-India summit in January, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama announced the creation of joint programmes to scale up renewable energy and create jobs through innovative transnational investment strategies.

 A few months before general election, UK major party leaders make joint climate commitment
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A few months before general election, UK major party leaders make joint climate commitment

February 14th, 2015.David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg said climate change was one of the most serious threats facing the world and that they would work together, whatever the election results are. This is a major step to ensure a common European position at the UN conference in Paris where some were afraid of the climate scepticism.expressed by Conservative party members and newspapers. Among other decisions, the three leaders pledged to end the use of unabated coal for power generation.

195 countries agreed draft text for a deal to fight climate change in Geneva
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195 countries agreed draft text for a deal to fight climate change in Geneva

February 13th, 2015.  On February 13, countries delegates adopted the 86-page draft as the basis for negotiations on the deal due to be agreed in Paris. Climate negotiations are off to a promising start, but a lot remains to be done. Before meeting in Paris, countries delegates will meet again in June, early September and late October, in Bonn, Germany.

 EU energy consumption level falls to 20-year low
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EU energy consumption level falls to 20-year low

February 11th, 2015. A dramatic drop, reflecting on one hand the economic troubles in the eurozone, but also the efforts and progress in improving energy efficiency. However Europe remains heavily dependent on fuel import, the reports says, with major national disparities. After nuclear power, renewable sources of energy, which in total generated just under a quarter of homegrown power, accounted for the second biggest slice of the EU’s own generation of electricity.

 New UC Berkeley study makes a step towards zero-carbon future
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New UC Berkeley study makes a step towards zero-carbon future

February 9th, 2015. Biomass is already well known as an efficient sustainable energy production technology. A new UC Berkeley study goes even further, showing that power generators could store more carbon than they emit and therefore become carbon-negative. “There are a lot of commercial uncertainties about carbon capture and sequestration technologies” said study leader Daniel Sanchez, but it stresses the great potential of biomass in reaching zero-carbon future.

 Frankfurt, London and Copenhagen are the most sustainable cities in the world
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Frankfurt, London and Copenhagen are the most sustainable cities in the world

February 9th, 2015.  The Sustainable Cities Index assessed 50 urban areas across the world based on their economic social and environmental characteristics. The index uses a various range of indicators such as business performance, transport infrastructure, health and of course energy consumption or recycling rates. Its major point of interest is the fact that seven of the top 10 cities on the list are in Europe, and the other three in Asia, while the first North-American city, Toronto, ranked 12th. However the study notes that there is no utopian city and that all faces a tough balancing act across the three indicators.

 In the United States, Wind and solar production capacity have tripled since 2008
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In the United States, Wind and solar production capacity have tripled since 2008

February 4th, 2015. An impressive change highlighted in Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s «2015 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook». Overall, the report describes a changing energy world where despite the energy rebound from 2007 to 2014 electricity demand staid flat. A change «too large, too structural, to simply go away» the Washington Post says.