Press Release: Reactions to the Katowice Declaration on Forests for the ClimateDecember 12, 2018
Katowice, Poland. On December 12th, The Polish presidency of the 24th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) will announce The Ministerial Katowice Declaration on Forests for the Climate. The declaration is expected to be endorsed by many developed and developing nations. Under the declaration, governments pledge to accelerate actions to protect and restore forests, which they describe collectively as a “key component to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement” and as producing many additional benefits. Those benefits include enhancing water security, improving air quality, protecting human health, empowering indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities, and safeguarding biodiversity and critical natural habitat.
Nigel Purvis, CEO of Climate Advisers and former senior U.S. climate negotiator in the Clinton and Bush administrations, said “The Katowice declaration on forests is helpful but insufficient. While Poland deserves credit for raising the visibility of forests in global climate talks, the world needs action.” Purvis noted that the latest scientific findings indicate that forests and other natural climate solutions could provide at least thirty percent of needed climate action now. Yet, Purvis said, “natural climate solutions tend to receive a trivial amount of political attention and climate funding.” Purvis noted that “many governments endorsed the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests, which set the goal of cutting deforestation in half by 2020 and yet today deforestation rates are actually rising.” Purvis also cautioned that “forests and other natural climate solutions should not be seen as reason for delaying rapid decarbonization of the industrial economy, including moving beyond coal.” He emphasized, “Meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement requires rapid progress on both forests and coal.”
Peter Graham, Managing Director of Climate Advisers’ forest and land practice group and a former top Canadian climate negotiator on forests, called the Katowice declaration “a step forward.” He noted, however, that “saving forests is a race against time that will require many steps taken quickly.” Graham noted that the Katowice declaration begins to respond to calls by NGOs and scientists issued at the Global Climate Action Summit in California this past September. At that time, a diverse coalition of civil society groups called on governments to make natural climate solutions, including forests, represent 30% of climate action by 2030. That statement from civil society can be found here. Today, Graham said, “endorsers of the Katowice declaration on forests should work together to turn their words into action in 2019, including at the climate summit hosted by UN Secretary General Guterres in September. Now is the time for concrete measures.”
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The EPA’s deputy chief may be an even bigger threat to the environment than Scott PruittApril 26, 2018
Pruitt’s new second in command “keeps a lower profile, he’s not as flashy,” says Zach Drennen, the communications manager at Climate Advisers, a consulting firm that focuses on climate change policy. But he also has a clear track record of changing policies. Wheeler is a Washington insider who’s been working for years to weaken environmental protections out of the public eye. His career includes a stint as the chief counsel for Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), a known climate denier who famously brought a snowball in the Senate as proof that global warming isn’t real. Wheeler has also worked as a lobbyist for clients including Murray Energy, a coal giant that sued the EPA multiple times. “As a former coal lobbyist, he’s got more of an appreciation of the intricacies of the system,” Drennen says.
The EPA’s push for dirtier cars is based on old dataApril 19, 2018
But the real fight over the standards might take place between the EPA and California, according to Maria Belenky, who has tracked a number of the EPA’s moves as the director of policy and research for policy shop Climate Advisers.
If a long legal fight breaks out over this, Belenky says, automakers will probably still plan for the stricter Obama era standards in the meantime. “I can completely see a case in 2024 where we are what we are today, where California refused to back down in terms of its own requirements, the manufacturers didn’t want to meet two sets of standards — one in California, one in the rest of the United States — they continue to manufacture cars in line with California standards, and there are lawsuits on either side,” she says. “Delay is actually probably our best friend in this kind of scenario.”
Young Republicans push for GOP action on climate changeMarch 6, 2018
It’s the first time that college Republican groups have publicly endorsed a policy to tackle climate change. But the coalition — announced yesterday — is also part of a burgeoning Republican grassroots movement that’s trying to sway the GOP to act on climate. These conservative constituents care about the environment and take global warming seriously — and they want the GOP to take notice.
“The fact that conservative students are getting involved is heartening,” says Maria Belenky, director of policy and research at Climate Advisers, in an email to The Verge. “We need more conservative voters to speak up and show support for climate action.”
AP FACT CHECK: Trump on the Paris climate accordFebruary 27, 2018
Nigel Purvis, an international law expert who was a State Department climate negotiator both in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, said no country is obligated to make financial payments to any other country under the Paris accord. “That is exactly what the Bush administration and Congress said they wanted instead of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which did have different obligations for developed and developing nations,” he said.
Divesting is hard. So groups short oil companies on Wall StreetFebruary 27, 2018
Gabriel Thoumi, a financial analyst and director of capital markets at Climate Advisers, said he talked with Litterman several years ago about the swap.
The phenomenon of stranded assets dates back many years and doesn’t apply to energy companies alone, he pointed out.
“My great grandparents might still have a horse, buggy and whip at home that they could theoretically use,” Thoumi said. “But they don’t.”
At least two niche investment funds — Green Alpha Advisors and Green Century Funds — are using a strategy similar to Litterman’s, he said. And hedge funds are taking short positions against stranded-asset investments, too, he added.
“Bob is saying that you should invest in where the new economy is going,” Thoumi said, “instead of investing in outdated processes.”
Three things we learned at this week’s U.N. climate change meetingNovember 27, 2017
Recognizing the long odds, Nigel Purvis of the consultancy Climate Advisers likens these targeted efforts to “Battlestar Galactica” and “the ragtag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest . . . a shining planet known as Earth.” We shall find out if they can succeed.
Forest Initiatives Announced in Bonn Target Sustainable Management, Emissions ReductionsNovember 27, 2017
Convened by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with Meridian Institute and Climate Advisers, the Global Platform seeks to facilitate coordination and communication among stakeholders, share best practices, and support progress monitoring. The platform will collaborate closely with the NYDF Assessment Partners, a network of civil society groups and research institutions that publishes the annual NYDF ‘Progress Assessment.’
Questionable Deforestation Practices Lead to LossesNovember 27, 2017
When it comes to deforestation, companies that don’t responsibly manage risk could face input or output price volatility, loss of market access, loss of reputation and reduced brand equity, operational impacts, and regulatory/litigation impacts, according to a new case study report from Ceres and Climate Advisers.
US and them: America, the elephant in room at climate talksNovember 14, 2017
“It’s like having a guest at a dinner party who complains about the food but stays anyway,” said Nigel Purvis, who worked climate issues in the State Department for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – and dealt with a similar situation.
Nations to work on curbing climate change despite TrumpNovember 6, 2017
A key issue will be the transparency of emissions reports, said Nigel Purvis,, a former U.S. State Department negotiator under the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush presidencies.
The United States used to be the major force pushing for more open reporting and that will suffer because of the Trump administration’s planned withdrawal from Paris, he said.
“Without U.S. leadership the deal is likely to take a little bit longer and may not be as strong,” said Purvis, president of the group Climate Advisers.
Trump’s asking price for Paris: unknownSeptember 21, 2017
“Until such time as the Trump administration is more clear about what it means, there won’t be a lot of efforts by the international community to read his mind about what it will take to make the president like the Paris agreement,” says Nigel Purvis, who worked on climate at the State Department under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and later advised Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.
However, there’s little to suggest that the administration is putting more meat on the bones of its policy.
“There’s no real evidence that they are actively pursuing that theoretical opening that the president provided,” Purvis, the CEO of the consulting firm Climate Advisers, tells Axios. “There has been no cabinet-level or high-level process to define ‘the ask’ of the international community.”
The U.S. Won’t Pay for the World’s Best Climate ScienceAugust 11, 2017
But here’s a huge caveat: The 2017 funding resolution’s legalese had a loophole. “Although the Congressional Appropriations Act eliminates the line item, it doesn’t prohibit contributions to the IPCC or the UNFCCC,” says Maria Belenky, the director of policy and research at the climate policy research nonprofit Climate Advisors. This is unlike, say, the $3 billion Green Climate Fund, to which contributions were explicitly prohibited. “So, technically, the State Department could find a way to contribute if there’s enough will to do so,” says Belenky. For instance, Secretary of State could pull money from the discretionary Economic Support Fund. The former CEO of Exxon Mobil could also reveal that he’s a lifetime member of the Sierra Club. Possible, but not likely.
U.S. Officially Tells U.N. it Wants Out of Paris Climate DealAugust 7, 2017
“The State Department is telling the U.N. what the president already told the world on June 1 and it has no legal effect,” said Nigel Purvis, who directed U.S. climate diplomacy during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
Purvis said countries can’t withdraw from new international agreements, including the Paris climate one, until three years after they go into effect. The Paris agreement went into effect on Nov. 4, 2016.
Deforestation briefing: Fresh hope in battle to save the orangutan from palm oilJuly 28, 2017
Gabriel Thoumi, director of capital markets at New York-based Climate Advisers, and one of the authors of the Chain Reaction report, says many small and mid-sized Malaysian companies have both palm and rubber plantations, and overlapping boards.
He points to an additional problem: while deforestation-free commitments bind individual companies, joint ventures, even between two companies that have individually made zero-deforestation commitments are not covered. “There’s a gaping hole in the NPDE in that it doesn’t cover joint ventures, and in some cases a significant amount of revenue is coming to the companies from their joint venture sales.”
Unilever slaps palm oil supplier SMS with suspension following damning deforestation reportJuly 28, 2017
Gabriel Thoumi, a director at the consultancy Climate Advisers, said the palm oil bought by Unilever represented about 8% of SMSS’s total palm oil sales in the first quarter of 2017.
Operating in the leakage market is a high-risk game, for both suppliers and buyers. The big food brands, many of which have strict sourcing policies on the commodity and are members of the RSPO, move increasingly quickly to snub out any potential scandal.
AP FACT CHECK: EPA chief gets his facts wrong on coal jobsJune 6, 2017
PRUITT, arguing that the U.S. had no alternative but to pull out of the Paris accord because it couldn’t otherwise change its terms, said the deal “can only be ratcheted up,” not softened. The Obama administration had pledged to reduce carbon emissions by about a quarter within eight years.
“Scott Pruitt is wrong,” said Nigel Purvis, who was a State Department climate negotiator under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. “They are just hiding behind a falsehood because it is convenient.”
Donald Trump dumps Paris climate accord but offers to renegotiateJune 2, 2017
Some critics claimed the President ignored his diplomatic and economic advisers in favour of chief strategist Stephen Bannon, in a desperate bid to rally loyal supporters as investigations deepen into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.
“The President threw a political temper tantrum and the international community should ignore it,” said Nigel Purvis, a former US climate change negotiator. He said the call to renegotiate made “no sense”, because under the non-legally binding Paris climate deal, President Trump was already allowed to weaken US commitments and stay in the agreement.
Trump says goodbye to the Paris climate agreement. Here’s what that meansJune 1, 2017
But the United States is still the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases; in 2013, it was responsible for about 13 percent of the world’s total, after China’s 28 percent. Once the United States weakens its domestic climate policies, will that reduce other nations’ pressure on one another, sapping other nations’ political determination to change?
As part of the Paris Agreement, the Obama administration had made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 — and 26 to 28 percent by 2025. The United States might still meet its 2020 target, according to separate analyses by Climate Advisers and the Rhodium Group.
Bucking Trump, These Cities, States and Companies Commit to Paris AccordJune 1, 2017
American companies also face the wrath of overseas consumers for abandoning what has been a popular global agreement — customers who could buy more Renaults instead of Chevrolets or Reeboks instead of Nikes.
“Pulling out of Paris would be the worst thing for brand America since Abu Ghraib,” said Nigel Purvis, a top environmental negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations and the chief executive of Climate Advisers, a consulting firm.
Reports: Trump Is Planning to Abandon the Paris Climate DealMay 31, 2017
“Should the President withdraw the US from the Paris agreement it would define his America First foreign policy as being oblivious to important global challenges that the American people and our allies care deeply about,” says Nigel Purvs, who has worked as a US climate negotiator and is now president of the consulting group Climate Advisers. “Regardless of whether the US participates in the Paris Agreement, other countries will continue to take action against climate change. They understand that most of what they need to do to reduce their climate pollution are things that make their economies more competitive and their people better off.”
Trump to announce decision on climate deal on ThursdayMay 31, 2017
The emissions goals are voluntary with no real consequences for countries that fail to meet them. That means the U.S. could stay in the accord and choose not to hit its goals or stay in the pact but adjust its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. has agreed to reduce its emissions by 2025 to 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels — about 1.6 billion tons.
“Paris more than anything is a symbol,” said Nigel Purvis, who directed U.S. climate diplomacy during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
In Liberia, a battered palm oil industry adjusts to new rulesMay 10, 2017
But Sime Darby wasn’t as lucky. According to a study by the Washington D.C.-based consultancy firm Chain Reaction Research, at least 45 percent of the company’s concession area in Liberia would be off limits under the HCS approach.
The report recommends a series of options for Sime Darby to maintain the profitability of its Liberian operation. On the one hand, the report notes, the company could completely disregard its environmental and social obligations – a risky strategy that it is almost certain not to pursue. On the other hand, the report suggests Sime Darby could move toward contract farming, in which the company would act as a buyer for palm fruit farmed by communities on their own land. It warned that Sime Darby’s share price could decline once its investors realize how unlikely it is that the company will be able to clear and develop its entire concession area.
Trump Administration Delays Decision on Leaving Climate PactMay 9, 2017
“Other world leaders are likely to press on the president not only the importance they place on climate change but also the impact that pulling out will have on the president’s other foreign policy priorities,” said Nigel Purvis, a climate negotiator in the Clinton and Bush administrations. “And I think that will make an impression.”
Trump says other nations contribute ‘nothing.’ He’s wrong.May 2, 2017
The architecture of the Paris deal, which allows countries to offer emissions cuts and finance based on what each government believes it can deliver, makes comparing commitments difficult. But that freedom to set goals is part of what makes the Paris accord “fair,” said Nigel Purvis, a chief climate negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush years. That architecture follows what Democrats and Republicans alike demanded in a 1997 Senate resolution that passed 95-0, which specified that any climate deal the United States joined must treat all parties’ commitments the same legally.
“Not only is it fair, but [it] is what the Bush administration thought was fair,” he said. “It’s been a pillar of U.S. climate policy for 10 years.”
Fighting 100 days of Trump’s environmental rollbackApril 29, 2017
Another group fighting back is Climate Advisors, a policy consultancy in Washington which produces the Trump BackTracker – a regular analysis of the vulnerability of Obama-era climate policies to Trump and, they said, “what that means for the US climate pollution trajectory”. Their first update warned of the “Trump Effect” – a half a gigaton increase in pollutants by 2025. This came after the group’s analysis found that 55% of Obama’s 2015 climate goals were highly vulnerable to reversal under the new administration.
A Refuge for Orangutans, and a Quandary for EnvironmentalistsApril 25, 2017
Organizations that monitor the industry say they have yet to see a correction. Satellite imagery captured by Chain Reaction Research, a risk-management research institute, showed active deforestation on concessions managed by a subsidiary of Sawit Sumbermas Sarana as recently as last May. Concerns over deforestation have led some major palm oil buyers, including Wilmar, the world’s largest refiner of palm oil, to halt purchases from the company.
Trump’s Climate Cuts Could Result in Half-Billion Extra Tons of CO2 in the AirApril 25, 2017
President Donald Trump’s planned climate change policies could lead to an extra half a billion tons of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 2025, according to a new analysis. That is equal to the annual electricity emissions of 60 percent of U.S. homes. Climate Advisers, a Washington consultancy, predicts that U.S. carbon emissions, which have been falling, will begin to flatten or increase by 2020 if the Trump administration succeeds in repealing the Clean Power Plan and other Obama-era regulations.
White House cancels meeting to decide stance on climate pactApril 18, 2017
Nonetheless, a withdrawal or public announcement that the U.S. is abandoning its efforts to fight man-made climate change could spark repercussions individually from other nations, said Nigel Purvis, who was the top U.S. State Department environmental diplomat when George W. Bush pulled out of the 1997 Kyoto climate treaty. “Any sign that the administration would not be serious will provoke an international reaction that would undermine the administration’s foreign policy,” said Purvis, an international attorney who served in Democratic and Republican administrations. Other countries, he said, take climate change seriously and could retaliate in trade deals or tariffs or balk on negotiations over international security costs.
Trump trades the planet for a few coal jobs in a doomed industryMarch 28, 2017
Today’s executive order doesn’t dismantle the CPP just yet — the policy was finalized under Obama, and can’t be eliminated with the stroke of a pen. Rather, it instructs the EPA to begin the process of reviewing and reversing the CPP, which could take years. The administration has to publish a proposal saying what’s changing and why, open a period of public comment, and then respond to those comments. “Basically, the CPP will be on the books for a while, while the EPA muddles through the process to undo it,” Maria Belenky, director of policy and research at Climate Advisers, writes in an email to The Verge. “Now, that said, there will obviously be no enforcement.”
Trump team asks State Dept. what it spends on international environmental effortsFebruary 7, 2017
“’While I don’t expect President Trump to lead on international climate finance, U.S. programs that support low carbon development abroad will not disappear as some fear,’” said Nigel Purvis, who served in the State Department under both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and now heads the D.C. consulting firm Climate Advisers. Purvis’ position is based on the following argument: Programs that promote U.S. clean energy exports to developing countries are likely to continue because they are good for American companies. Furthermore, efforts to create more resilient societies can be defended on national security and humanitarian grounds rather than as climate adaptation, and international forest conservation programs tend to be popular with liberals and conservatives in Congress, he said.
It’s judges, not Trump, who will decide Obama’s environmental legacyJanuary 20, 2017
The courts will “really decide the extent to which the Obama legacy is maintained or rolled back,” says Maria Belenky, director of policy and research at Climate Advisers. “The courts are the area of last resorts for a lot of environmental groups and a lot of states that have supported the Obama administration’s agenda.”
Trump team asks State Dept. what it spends on international environmental effortsDecember 20, 2016
“While the transition team has a right to know how the State Department spends its money, what they are going to find out is that environmental spending is a tiny fraction of the foreign affairs budget, which itself is a small part of the federal budget,” said Nigel Purvis, who served in the State Department under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and now heads the D.C. consulting firm Climate Advisers. “Most international environmental programs run by the State Department enjoy broad bipartisan support and many of these programs were started by Republicans.”
What Does Trump’s New “Open Mind” on the Climate Accord Mean?November 23, 2016
“The Trump administration has far more to gain from staying in the Paris Agreement than getting out of it,” said Nigel Purvis, who served as a deputy assistant secretary of state for environment under President George W. Bush when the United States signed but failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Bush subsequently declared Kyoto “dead.” “I saw firsthand how America’s go-it-alone approach on climate made it harder to secure international support for President Bush’s foreign policy priorities,” Purvis said. “Rejecting Paris now would undermine the president-elect’s goals on trade, migration and terror, which presumably he cares more about than walking away from an innocuous climate agreement.”
The Climate Challenge Trio: Nations can and must deal with climate change, poverty and economic growth all at the same time.October 28, 2016
The three biggest challenges facing humanity are climate change, poverty and the economy. Perhaps the only good thing about the three is that they can and should be dealt with at the same time.
‘Super-pollutants’ and the US Senate: How important is Kigali ratification?October 20, 2016
Nigel Purvis, chief executive officer of Climate Advisers and a former State Department treaty lawyer, says that such approval may not be necessary. “It’s a well established principle of U.S. law that the President can approve, without further Congressional review, certain international agreements that fall under a treaty already approved by the Senate,” he wrote in an emailed statement to the Monitor. The Montréal Protocol, to which the Kigali Agreement is an amendment, was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate in 1988, with a vote of 83 to 0.
The Paris Agreement is really happening — and it’s about more than climate changeOctober 4, 2016
“The international community has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the Paris Agreement by bringing it into force in less than a year, which is extraordinary compared to other major international pacts,” said Nigel Purvis, a former senior U.S. climate change negotiator in the Clinton and Bush administrations and president of Climate Advisers. “No nation will be able to withdraw from the Paris Agreement without alienating important allies and undermining vital foreign policy objectives.”
US to Fail Paris Emissions Pledge Without ‘Fundamental Change’: ReportSeptember 26, 2016
But any action is preferable to the climate future the U.S. could face under a Donald Trump presidency, experts warned. Maria Belenky, a senior associate at the policy firm Climate Advisers, told The Verge that “The key here is political will from the next administration and that’s gonna be extremely integral to whether or not we’re able to meet our targets.”
Why Trump’s idea of ‘renegotiating’ the Paris climate agreement is so bizarreMay 18, 2016
“Countries gave considerable thought in Paris to creating a durable agreement that would outlive occasional lapses in political will,” Nigel Purvis, the president and chief executive of Climate Advisers, said in an April interview with The Washington Post.
Obama’s rapid move to join the Paris climate agreement could tie up the new presidentApril 11, 2016
In late March, when the United States and China jointly declared that they’d be moving to immediately sign and then join the Paris climate agreement “as early as possible this year,” it was seen as the latest show of joint leadership by the two largest emitters.
Supreme Court’s Blow to Emissions Efforts May Imperil Paris Climate AccordFebruary 10, 2016
“The Supreme Court just clarified the stakes for the American people in the election when it comes to climate change,” said Nigel Purvis, the president of the Climate Advisers consulting group and a climate diplomat under Bill Clinton and Mr. Bush.
Delegates at Climate Talks Focus on Saving the World’s ForestsDecember 10, 2015
The climate deal being negotiated here is meant to begin a transformation of the world’s energy systems, but it has another goal that has received far less attention: a sweeping effort to save the world’s forests.
The White House’s COP 21 goals: less climate idealism, more political realismDecember 10, 2015
The United States’ refusal to make internationally binding its ambitious pollution targets at the Cop21 climate talks in Paris isn’t a sign of Barack Obama’s lack of political will, but a reflection of the legal limits of his authorities and the political realities of what other nations will commit to doing.
Billions of dollars in Green Climate Fund may be stymied by rising sea of red tapeDecember 6, 2015
The Green Climate Fund was created to be the main conduit for tens of billions of dollars a year from the world’s biggest economies for climate projects. “In order to keep the 2 degree target in sight, we need to help the developing countries do more. Every country should do more, but the opportunity to do more quickly is through partnerships with developing countries,” says Nigel Purvis.
How climate negotiations proceed: just like an action movieDecember 2, 2015
“It’s like seeing an action movie,” said former U.S. climate negotiator Nigel Purvis, who is now president of Climate Advisers. “There’s generally a plot, bad guys come to threaten the world. Eventually humanity rallies together and overcomes. That’s the kind of thing that happens here.”
Could a GOP president scuttle a global climate deal? Yes, but it would be anything but easy.December 1, 2015
There are two ways the next GOP president could scuttle our participation in such an international agreement, in which participating countries would all pledge to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. The first, most direct way is by pulling the United States out of it. The second, less direct way would be to roll back Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which seeks to reduce carbon emissions from power plants and thus may be pivotal to whether we can meet our end of the bargain.
Climate talks get down to tough business of compromiseDecember 1, 2015
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that parts of the global warming deal being negotiated in Paris should be legally binding on the countries that sign on, setting up a potential fight with Republicans at home.
3 things to know about forests going into ParisNovember 30, 2015
Although it won’t take center stage, one thing is certain: The world can’t stay below 2 degrees Celsius of warming — the threshold determined by scientists that, if crossed, could lead to catastrophic climate change — without the carbon-sequestering power of forests and the land-use sector.
Trick or treaty? The legal question hanging over the Paris climate change conferenceNovember 30, 2015
“The basic rule is if an international agreement doesn’t require a change in U.S. law, if the president has the authority to implement the agreement with existing law, you don’t need to send it to Congress for approval,” Purvis said. He added that presidents since George Washington had joined “executive agreements” without seeking Senate approval.
Paris summit is already a win for Obama, but planet remains in dangerNovember 28, 2015
President Obama travels to the Paris climate summit on Sunday for what could be the crowning diplomatic achievement of his presidency, yet one that climate experts say will still leave the planet on a path toward dangerous levels of global warming.
Hamstrung by Congress, Obama tries to clinch climate pactNovember 28, 2015
President Barack Obama is trying to negotiate a legacy-making climate change pact this coming week in Paris with one hand tied behind his back. Congress can’t even agree whether global warming is real.
Meet the climate frenemiesNovember 26, 2015
U.S. President Barack Obama wants to burnish his climate legacy before he leaves office, while the Europeans want an ambitious worldwide deal that doesn’t leave the Continent’s businesses saddled with uncompetitive environmental rules. There’s just one big problem: They remain sharply at odds over some fundamental issues.
Sputtering Corporate Effort to Save Forests Highlights a Big Issue for Paris TalksNovember 26, 2015
As global leaders begin hashing out a global warming accord in Paris beginning next week, their efforts to tackle the enormous issue of deforestation was supposed to be boosted by a heralded, business-led effort to protect the world’s tropical forests and combat climate change. But that program has so far failed to deliver progress and its sluggishness serves to highlight how complex the issue is, and how many barriers stand in the way.
Stern discipline: The US climate envoy walking a fine lineNovember 25, 2015
Todd Stern is special envoy for climate change at the US State Department, one of a handful of positions to report directly to John Kerry. Stern has held the role since early 2009, appointed by President Barack Obama at the bidding of Hillary Clinton, who he knew when White House staff secretary to Bill Clinton from 1995-1998. It’s a “gruelling” and “near impossible” job trying to convince the world to take action and keep the US Congress onside, says Nigel Purvis, deputy chief US climate negotiator from 2001-2002.
When’s a warming treaty not a treaty?November 12, 2015
Whatever international deal comes out of the Paris climate talks, it likely won’t be a treaty that needs ratification by a reluctant Republican U.S. Congress. However, as Nigel Purvis explains, the U.S. Constitution and the rest of the world have different definitions of the word “treaty,” and the outcome of Paris is likely to contain both binding and non-binding elements.
How the U.S. might help close a ‘significant’ emissions gap after Paris talksNovember 3, 2015
The Obama administration can help narrow the emissions reduction shortfall that is projected to come out of this year’s Paris talks by leveraging trade negotiations and other bilateral engagement to help developing nations deliver more than they can do on their own, a new Climate Advisers analysis proposes.
As Indonesia’s president visits U.S., the ‘biggest climate story on the planet’ unfolds in his countryOctober 26, 2015
An Oval Office meeting between President Obama and Indonesian President Joko Widodo comes as raging forest and peatland fires in Indonesia pour huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, highlighting the challenge both leaders face in curbing climate change.
Forests advocates see a gap in draft text for Paris talksOctober 13, 2015
The near complete omission of the climate-change-mitigating ability of forests from the recently released draft text of the United Nations’ climate deal has some forest advocates closely watching the upcoming pre-Paris meeting to be held later this month.
Palm oil company pledge to halt deforestation boosts calls for government reformSeptember 23, 2015
Indonesia’s second-largest palm oil grower, Astra Agro Lestari, pledged to halt deforestation, peatland destruction and labor violations in its palm oil plantations. The strong commitment goes further than the deforestation moratorium the company announced in June, and could also have deeper political ramifications in Indonesia as companies are looking to the Indonesian government to enact meaningful forest reform to level the playing field.
Optimism in the Fight Against Climate ChangeSeptember 18, 2015
Climate Advisers’ Rebecca Lefton talks with WNYC’s The Takeaway about the road through the Paris climate summit and the reasons for renewed optimism in the international fight against climate change.
BBC World News TV: Michael Wolosin Discusses Deforestation in BrazilJuly 9, 2015
Climate Advisers’s Managing Director Michael Wolosin joins BBC World News TV to discuss deforestation trends in Brazil, and President Rouseff’s recent meeting in Washington with President Obama in which the two countries announced new plans to fight climate change ahead of the Paris summit in December.
In a major moment for climate policy, China, Brazil, and the U.S. all announce new commitmentsJune 30, 2015
Alongside the announcement of China’s official climate plan for the Paris summit, President Obama and Brazilian President Rousseff pledged for both countries to increase their share of renewable energy, while Brazil also committed to restore 12 million hectares of its forests by 2030 as it works to eliminate illegal deforestation.
Brazil’s president under pressure to make zero-deforestation pledge during Obama meetingJune 25, 2015
Environmental groups in Brazil and the United States are laying out a wish list for the Tuesday meeting between U.S. President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, including a suggestion for the Brazilian leader to announce a target date to end deforestation in her nation once and for all.
Deforestation freeze unlikely in U.S.-Brazil climate declarationJune 25, 2015
A target date for Brazil to reach zero net deforestation is not expected to be part of a bilateral summit between President Dilma Rousseff and President Obama in Washington. However, many expect the two countries to announce plans for ambitious cooperation to tackle the main causes of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
E.P.A. Takes Step to Cut Emissions From PlanesJune 9, 2015
The EPA has released its endangerment finding showing that emissions from airlines pose a risk to human health because of their contribution to climate change, an essential first step to reign in one of the world’s fastest growing emissions sectors. However, the EPA may follow the lead of the International Civil Aviation Organization, which is on track to set a ‘business-as-usual’ standard that could lock in emissions increases for decades to come.
Six Months Before the Paris Climate Talks, Nations Have a Lot of Work to DoJune 5, 2015
Analysis shows that the UN climate agreement in Paris will, at best, get the world halfway to an emissions pathway to stay under 2 degrees C of warming. The international community has to now look at how we can work together to get the other half through partnerships on clean energy, forest conservation, and other global measures.
EPA Nears Decision on Aircraft Emissions’ Risk to ClimateJune 2, 2015
The EPA is preparing to set regulations on carbon emissions from airplanes, which are on pace to triple by 2050. This is an opportunity for meaningful climate action, but the EPA may just match the standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, which are unlikely to deliver any significant emissions reductions.
The news on climate is awful. So now what?May 19, 2015
David Roberts follows up on a widely-read post on the “awful truth” about climate change with a piece about what we need to do about it — including a discussion of the gap between the action we need and the commitments heading into this year’s negotiations in Paris.
Indonesia extends forest-clearing moratorium, but greens say it’s not enoughMay 14, 2015
Indonesian announced that the country has again extended a key policy intended to preserve its swiftly disappearing tropical forests. Environmental groups praised the decision as a signal that the nation’s new administration is taking forest protection seriously, but because the moratorium has had limited on-the-ground impact, advocates also called for the policy to be strengthened.
She’s ahead in the polls, but where is Hillary on climate change?April 13, 2015
As the race for the White House in 2016 begins, ClimateWire takes a closer look at where Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton stands on climate change and energy issues.
48 hours that changed the future of rainforestsApril 2, 2015
Wilmar International’s landmark No Deforestation policy in December 2013 started a wave of commitments from global palm oil traders to stop deforestation, peatland development, and labor exploitation in their supply chains. Grist tells the behind-the-scenes story of the campaign and negotiations led by Glenn Hurowitz with Wilmar CEO Kuok Khoon Hong that led to this historic agreement.
This is how the U.S. plans to tackle climate change in the next decade and beyondMarch 31, 2015
As the United States and other countries submit their formal national strategies for reducing greenhouse gases ahead of the UN climate talks in Paris, our analysis shows that a strong set of expected pledges could deliver around 50 percent of the emissions reductions need for a likely chance of limiting warming to 2°C. As Rebecca Lefton argues, bilateral international partnerships can help close the gap in these multilateral international agreements.
ADM Announces Plan to Fight DeforestationMarch 31, 2015
Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest commodities suppliers, has joined the growing number of major agriculture and food companies promising to take steps to conserve forests that are threatened by the global demand for commodities like palm oil and soy.
Palm Oil King Goes From Forest Foe to Buddy in Deal With CriticsMarch 12, 2015
Bloomberg BusinessWeek tells the fascinating inside story of how Wilmar International CEO Kuok Khoon Hong went from “forest foe” to one of the leading drivers of the palm oil industry’s move towards forest and human rights protection over the past year.
The critical flaw in the EU’s climate planFebruary 25, 2015
Today the EU will unveil its latest commitment to fighting climate change – a pledge to cut internal emissions by at least 40% by 2030. The new target represents a good step forward, a hard-fought political compromise at a time of considerable economic difficulty. But the EU’s regulations would only reduce emissions within Europe, whereas success on climate depends on Europe also taking steps to cut pollution outside of Europe as well.
How a small band of activists saved tropical forests by turning around ‘Big Doughnut’February 4, 2015
America’s biggest doughnut companies’ decision to buy only deforestation-free palm oil offers a window into one of the environmental movement’s biggest success stories in recent years. How it came to be is an example of a new form of green advocacy, manifested in equal doses of public protest and behind-the-scenes detective work.
Obama’s India visit: Hopes for clean energy and climate dealsJanuary 23, 2015
As President Obama travels to India, the US hopes to persuade India, one of the world’s biggest emitters, to commit to an ambitious post-2020 plan for reining in its greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the international climate change meeting in Paris this December.
Wilmar opens palm oil supplies to scrutiny to protect forestsJanuary 22, 2015
Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil trader, made information on all of its 800 palm oil suppliers available through an online dashboard in a major new transparency initiative to further implementation of its landmark No Deforestation commitment.
Valuing carbon: One size doesn’t fit allJanuary 6, 2015
Even as a global deal to curb carbon emissions eludes the world’s governments, different carbon-pricing systems are being set up by regional blocs, signalling that the carbon-credit system is not dead, but flourishing.
The Big Fix: Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate ChangeDecember 23, 2014
In the battle to limit the risks of climate change, it has been clear for decades that focusing on the world’s immense tropical forests is the single most promising near-term strategy. Now, a growing global movement is making a fresh push to end deforestation and promote regrowth of the world’s forests.
How regular people are fixing the international palm-oil industryDecember 12, 2014
The past year has seen a string of commitments from palm oil traders to stop deforestation, peatland development, and labor exploitation in their global supply chains. In an interview with Grist, Glenn Hurowitz explains how this transformation has come about and what it means for the future of forests and sustainable agriculture.
Brazil extends Amazon-saving soybean moratorium to 2016November 26, 2014
The Brazilian soy industry announced that it would renew the Amazon Soy Moratorium, a historically successful forest protection measure that was set to expire at the end of 2014, through May 2016.
After the U.S.-China Pact, Will the World Pick a Peak Carbon Date?November 17, 2014
The U.S.-China agreement suggests the potential for a new global peak carbon target—the year by which worldwide greenhouse gas emissions will start to decline.
Bunge commits to zero deforestation palm oilOctober 28, 2014
Agribusiness giant Bunge has joined the growing ranks of companies that have established zero deforestation policies for their palm oil supply chains.
Experts take sides on new U.S. position on Paris talksOctober 16, 2014
As momentum builds toward the next United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, experts weigh in on the opportunities and challenges of negotiating a new global climate pact in 2015.
Report rates palm oil companies on sustainability commitmentsOctober 5, 2014
A new report ranks global palm oil companies on their sustainability commitments and performance on protections of forests, peatlands, and human rights.
Cargill commits to zero deforestation across entire global supply chain: all commoditiesSeptember 24, 2014
Cargill, one of the world’s largest agricultural companies, has extended its zero deforestation commitment for palm oil to all commodities it produces.
The world’s 2 largest greenhouse gas emitters use U.N. summit to pledge climate actionsSeptember 24, 2014
President Obama and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli told a landmark global warming summit yesterday that their countries stand ready to make serious new commitments to tackling climate change.
Nelson Mandela’s widow calls for urgent climate action at UNSeptember 24, 2014
The widow of Nelson Mandela punctured the self-congratulatory mood of the UN summit on Tuesday, saying world leaders had failed to rise to the challenge of climate change.
Companies Take the Baton in Climate Change EffortsSeptember 24, 2014
With political efforts to slow global warming moving at a tortuous pace, some of the world’s largest companies are stepping into the void, pledging more support for renewable energy, greener supply chains and fresh efforts to stop the destruction of the world’s tropical forests.
Obama: No Nation Has “Free Pass” On Climate ChangeSeptember 23, 2014
In a forceful appeal for international cooperation on limiting carbon pollution, President Barack Obama warned starkly on Tuesday that the globe’s climate is changing faster than efforts to address it. “Nobody gets a pass,” he declared. “We have to raise our collective ambition.”
You Cannot Save the Climate Without TreesSeptember 22, 2014
The People’s Climate March that trumpeted its way through the streets of Manhattan yesterday was led by communities on the front lines of climate change—and Indigenous Peoples were at the forefront of this group. The tropical forests where they live are not only getting hammered by changing weather patterns, drug traffickers, invasive pests, and massive fires, but these woodlands are also being cleared at an alarming rate, making way for cropland, pastureland, strip mines, and other ventures that extract natural resources from the Earth.
Leaders Restart Climate TalksSeptember 21, 2014
World leaders embark Tuesday on the first new round of global climate talks since a push in 2009 failed to reach binding agreements.
Sweet: Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme Pump Up Pledge On Palm OilSeptember 18, 2014
Environmentalists say two major doughnut chains got a little sweeter this week. Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Brands have both made new commitments to source palm oil for frying their goodies from suppliers who are not clear-cutting forests.
This Month’s U.N. Climate Summit Will Help Seal the Fate of NationsSeptember 5, 2014
The first thing to know about the U.N. Climate Summit is that it’s not a part of the formal global climate treaty negotiations. Except it sort of is.
The pending Paris climate deal may not keep the world under 2 C — does that mean failure?August 21, 2014
A growing number of leaders are openly acknowledging that a 2015 international agreement to avert catastrophic global warming will surely fall short of what’s needed to achieve that goal.
Abbott’s Direct Action claim ‘disingenuous’June 11, 2014
Tony Abbott’s assertion on the eve of his visit to Washington that Barack Obama’s climate change policy is “very similar” to his own Direct Action approach contains an element of truth but is also disingenuous. There are more differences than similarities between the Prime Minister’s and President Obama’s approaches to climate change, far beyond their contrasting enthusiasm for the topic.
Obama budget provides many federal agencies with a focus for dealing with climate changeMarch 5, 2014
The president’s budget undergirds a mantra of the climate change movement: It’s cheaper to strap down the nation before a storm strikes than to rebuild it afterward. It also reveals the political difficulties in doing that.
Kerry’s Asia agenda highlights climate change talksFebruary 14, 2014
Secretary of State John Kerry arrives today in Beijing, where climate change will claim center stage on his agenda. Traveling with U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern, Kerry is expected to meet with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi on a range of issues, including cooperation between the two emissions giants in areas like vehicle fuel standards, building efficiency and the collecting of greenhouse gas emissions data.
McCarthy to discuss agency’s climate work at DavosJanuary 22, 2014
U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy plans to tout her agency’s efforts to address climate change this week when she speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Climate change leads agenda at Davos economic talksJanuary 21, 2014
When corporate leaders and politicians gather today for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, climate change will dominate their agenda in an unprecedented way.
Pacific trade agreement draft could facilitate illegal logging, say forest advocatesJanuary 16, 2014
Environmentalists yesterday reacted strongly to a leaked draft of the environment chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among 12 countries that is being negotiated behind closed doors.
International carbon bank could revive flagging marketDecember 17, 2013
The recent UN climate talks in Warsaw failed to give carbon markets the certainty it needed, but there are some signs of revival, say experts, and an international carbon reserve could be the answer.
Deforestation reduction mechanism faces trouble finding financial support, says studyOctober 8, 2013
A lack of financial support for a key scheme to fight deforestation is foreshadowing a dim future for the program, a recent paper finds. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), a movement that would create a financial system to pay landowners to keep forests standing, is suffering from an unclear future demand for carbon credits, said authors in a paper from the environmental group Conservation International, a strong supporter of REDD+ and the use of carbon markets to generate financing for conservation.
Women Climate Leaders Highlight Environmental Issues in the PacificAugust 20, 2013
On August 20, 2013, Meridian hosted a roundtable discussion which brought together a State Department International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on Pacific Women Climate Leaders with women leaders from Washington, DC-based climate-focused organizations to discuss environmental and climate policy.
Glimmer of hope for carbon marketsJune 17, 2013
Carbon markets suffered a heavy setback recently when the European Parliament rejected a plan to boost the flagging price of carbon in the region’s emissions trading scheme (ETS). But while carbon trading worldwide has been floundering, experts say carbon markets have a permanent role in combating climate change and are predicting an industry revival in the coming years.
U.S. govt has role to play in stopping commodity-driven deforestationJune 7, 2013
The U.S. government could play a key role in breaking the link between commodity production and greenhouse gas emissions associated with tropical deforestation, argues a new report released by seven environmental groups.
Administration, Congress must work with business to end deforestationJune 4, 2013
Climate Advisers managing director Michael Wolosin on the crucial role the U.S. government can play in helping break the link between commodity production and climate change.
Indonesia Goes Green to the Dismay of Palm Oil ProducersMay 30, 2013
Climate Advisers Managing Director, Glenn Hurowitz, comments on Indonesia’s extended policy to protect rain forests from palm oil development.
Carbon markets have worked despite Europe’s difficulties, report assertsApril 30, 2013
Climate Advisers’ President, Nigel Purvis, comments on some of the key findings of a recent report co-authored with the Center for American Progress on carbon markets.
Obama fiscal plans strive for breakthrough energy research and low-carbon transportationApril 11, 2013
Climate Advisers director of research and policy Michael Wolosin suggests that policy measures need to play a greater role than direct finance in meeting the Obama administration’s international climate objectives.
Lessons From Kenya & Malawi on Combining Climate Change, Development, Population PolicyApril 8, 2013
Clive Mutunga, a senior research associate at Population Action International (PAI), spoke alongside Abigail Jones of Climate Advisers and Eliya Zulu of the African Institute of Development Policy at the Wilson Center about two new policy reports on incorporating population dynamics – mainly efforts to meet unmet demand for contraceptives – into climate change adaptation policies in Malawi and Kenya.
Public and private investment described as critical to prevent forest destructionMarch 20, 2013
The United States must use public money to spur private investment to stop massive deforestation, said the U.S. envoy for climate change yesterday.