In the News

The U.S. Won’t Pay for the World’s Best Climate Science

August 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.

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U.S. Officially Tells U.N. it Wants Out of Paris Climate Deal

August 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.

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Deforestation briefing: Fresh hope in battle to save the orangutan from palm oil

July 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.”
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Unilever slaps palm oil supplier SMS with suspension following damning deforestation report

July 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.

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AP FACT CHECK: EPA chief gets his facts wrong on coal jobs

June 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.”

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Paris Agreement: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

June 3, 2017

 

Donald Trump dumps Paris climate accord but offers to renegotiate

June 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.

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Trump says goodbye to the Paris climate agreement. Here’s what that means

June 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.

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Bucking Trump, These Cities, States and Companies Commit to Paris Accord

June 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.

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Reports: Trump Is Planning to Abandon the Paris Climate Deal

May 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.”

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Trump to announce decision on climate deal on Thursday

May 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.

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In Liberia, a battered palm oil industry adjusts to new rules

May 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.

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Trump Administration Delays Decision on Leaving Climate Pact

May 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.”

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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.”

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Fighting 100 days of Trump’s environmental rollback

April 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.

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A Refuge for Orangutans, and a Quandary for Environmentalists

April 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.

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Trump’s Climate Cuts Could Result in Half-Billion Extra Tons of CO2 in the Air

April 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.

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White House cancels meeting to decide stance on climate pact

April 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.

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Trump trades the planet for a few coal jobs in a doomed industry

March 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.”

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Trump team asks State Dept. what it spends on international environmental efforts

February 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.

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It’s judges, not Trump, who will decide Obama’s environmental legacy

January 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.”

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Trump team asks State Dept. what it spends on international environmental efforts

December 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.”

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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.”

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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.

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‘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.

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The Paris Agreement is really happening — and it’s about more than climate change

October 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.”

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US to Fail Paris Emissions Pledge Without ‘Fundamental Change’: Report

September 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.”

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Why Trump’s idea of ‘renegotiating’ the Paris climate agreement is so bizarre

May 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.

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Obama’s rapid move to join the Paris climate agreement could tie up the new president

April 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.

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Supreme Court’s Blow to Emissions Efforts May Imperil Paris Climate Accord

February 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.

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Delegates at Climate Talks Focus on Saving the World’s Forests

December 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.

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The White House’s COP 21 goals: less climate idealism, more political realism

December 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.

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Billions of dollars in Green Climate Fund may be stymied by rising sea of red tape

December 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.

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How climate negotiations proceed: just like an action movie

December 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.”

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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.

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Climate talks get down to tough business of compromise

December 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.

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3 things to know about forests going into Paris

November 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.

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Trick or treaty? The legal question hanging over the Paris climate change conference

November 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.

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Paris summit is already a win for Obama, but planet remains in danger

November 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.

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Hamstrung by Congress, Obama tries to clinch climate pact

November 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.

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Meet the climate frenemies

November 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.

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Sputtering Corporate Effort to Save Forests Highlights a Big Issue for Paris Talks

November 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.

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Stern discipline: The US climate envoy walking a fine line

November 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.

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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.

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How the U.S. might help close a ‘significant’ emissions gap after Paris talks

November 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.

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As Indonesia’s president visits U.S., the ‘biggest climate story on the planet’ unfolds in his country

October 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.

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Forests advocates see a gap in draft text for Paris talks

October 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.

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Palm oil company pledge to halt deforestation boosts calls for government reform

September 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.

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Optimism in the Fight Against Climate Change

September 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.

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BBC World News TV: Michael Wolosin Discusses Deforestation in Brazil

July 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.

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In a major moment for climate policy, China, Brazil, and the U.S. all announce new commitments

June 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.

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Brazil’s president under pressure to make zero-deforestation pledge during Obama meeting

June 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.

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Deforestation freeze unlikely in U.S.-Brazil climate declaration

June 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.

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E.P.A. Takes Step to Cut Emissions From Planes

June 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.

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Six Months Before the Paris Climate Talks, Nations Have a Lot of Work to Do

June 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.

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EPA Nears Decision on Aircraft Emissions’ Risk to Climate

June 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.

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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.

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Indonesia extends forest-clearing moratorium, but greens say it’s not enough

May 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.

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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.

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48 hours that changed the future of rainforests

April 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.

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This is how the U.S. plans to tackle climate change in the next decade and beyond

March 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.

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ADM Announces Plan to Fight Deforestation

March 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.

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Palm Oil King Goes From Forest Foe to Buddy in Deal With Critics

March 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.

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The critical flaw in the EU’s climate plan

February 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.

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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.

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Obama’s India visit: Hopes for clean energy and climate deals

January 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.

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Wilmar opens palm oil supplies to scrutiny to protect forests

January 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.

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Valuing carbon: One size doesn’t fit all

January 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.

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The Big Fix: Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate Change

December 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.

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How regular people are fixing the international palm-oil industry

December 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.

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Brazil extends Amazon-saving soybean moratorium to 2016

November 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.

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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.

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Bunge commits to zero deforestation palm oil

October 28, 2014

Agribusiness giant Bunge has joined the growing ranks of companies that have established zero deforestation policies for their palm oil supply chains.

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Experts take sides on new U.S. position on Paris talks

October 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.

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Report rates palm oil companies on sustainability commitments

October 5, 2014

A new report ranks global palm oil companies on their sustainability commitments and performance on protections of forests, peatlands, and human rights.

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Cargill commits to zero deforestation across entire global supply chain: all commodities

September 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.

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The world’s 2 largest greenhouse gas emitters use U.N. summit to pledge climate actions

September 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.

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Nelson Mandela’s widow calls for urgent climate action at UN

September 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.

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Companies Take the Baton in Climate Change Efforts

September 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.

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Obama: No Nation Has “Free Pass” On Climate Change

September 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.”

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You Cannot Save the Climate Without Trees

September 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.

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Leaders Restart Climate Talks

September 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.

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Sweet: Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme Pump Up Pledge On Palm Oil

September 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.

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This Month’s U.N. Climate Summit Will Help Seal the Fate of Nations

September 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.

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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.

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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.

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Obama budget provides many federal agencies with a focus for dealing with climate change

March 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.

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Kerry’s Asia agenda highlights climate change talks

February 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.

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McCarthy to discuss agency’s climate work at Davos

January 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.

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Climate change leads agenda at Davos economic talks

January 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.

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Pacific trade agreement draft could facilitate illegal logging, say forest advocates

January 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.

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International carbon bank could revive flagging market

December 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.

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Deforestation reduction mechanism faces trouble finding financial support, says study

October 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.

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Women Climate Leaders Highlight Environmental Issues in the Pacific

August 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.

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Glimmer of hope for carbon markets

June 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.

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U.S. govt has role to play in stopping commodity-driven deforestation

June 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.

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Administration, Congress must work with business to end deforestation

June 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.

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Indonesia Goes Green to the Dismay of Palm Oil Producers

May 30, 2013

Climate Advisers Managing Director, Glenn Hurowitz, comments on Indonesia’s extended policy to protect rain forests from palm oil development.

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Carbon markets have worked despite Europe’s difficulties, report asserts

April 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.

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Obama fiscal plans strive for breakthrough energy research and low-carbon transportation

April 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.

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Lessons From Kenya & Malawi on Combining Climate Change, Development, Population Policy

April 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.

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Public and private investment described as critical to prevent forest destruction

March 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.

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