Paris Agreement

Energy Efficiency and Technology Squeeze the Carbon Bubble

Read time: 4 mins
Homeowner installing programmable thermostat to help weatherize home

The carbon bubble will burst with or without government action, according to a new study. That will hurt people who invest in fossil fuels.

As energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies improve and prices drop, global demand for fossil fuels will decline, “stranding” new fossil fuel ventures — likely before 2035, according to the study in Nature Climate Change, “Macroeconomic impact of stranded fossil fuel assets.”

Trump Has Damaged the Paris Agreement, Say its Architects

Read time: 6 mins
Trump announces the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

By 

One year on from Donald Trump’s announcement he would withdraw the U.S. from the UN climate pact, leading figures assess the “dire consequences”

On the first day of June last year, Trump ended months of speculation by siding with conservative aides who had urged him to remove the U.S. from the Paris deal.

That “reprehensible decision” has had “dire consequences,” Laurent Fabius, the former French prime minister who presided over the Paris talks in 2015, wrote on the Profiles of Paris website last week.

New Scenarios Show How the World Could Limit Warming to 1.5C in 2100

Read time: 11 mins
Climate activists at COP21 in Paris

By Zeke Hausfather, Carbon Brief. Originally posted on Carbon BriefCC BY-NC-ND 4.0

In the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, nearly every country on Earth pledged to keeping global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C”.

However, at the time, scientists had only modeled energy system and carbon mitigation pathways to achieve the 2C target. Few studies had examined how the world might limit warming to 1.5C.

Now a paper in Nature Climate Change presents the results from a new modelling exercise using six different “integrated assessment models” (IAMs) to limit global temperatures in 2100 to below 1.5C.

How American Cities and States Are Fighting Climate Change Globally

Read time: 5 mins
America's Pledge, #WeAreStillIn

By Emma Lecavalier, University of Toronto

Since the Trump administration announced last June its intended withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, attention — and hope — has turned to America’s cities and states.

Many local and regional governments actively voiced support for upholding the United States’ pledges under the Paris Agreement. Initiatives that represented those commitments, including the U.S. Climate Alliance, the We Are Still In declaration and America’s Pledge were all active participants at November’s UN climate conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany.

Why Meeting the Paris Climate Goals Is an Existential Threat to Fossil Fuel Industries

Read time: 6 mins
Cars and trucks on the highway

By Henry Kelly, University of Michigan

Attacks on climate policies are not really about the science. They’re about the future of fossil fuels.

Any program with a reasonable chance of meeting the goals embraced by the 2016 Paris accords (holding global temperature increases below 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial levels) is likely to mean drastic changes in fossil energy markets.

Despite Trump Plan to Ditch Paris Accord, Former US Climate Envoy Thinks America Will Be Back

Read time: 5 mins
Todd Stern

BONN, GERMANY – Even if Donald Trump successfully withdraws the U.S. from the Paris climate accord in the next three years, Todd Stern, former climate envoy under Obama, doesn’t think the country will be gone from the agreement for good.

I just firmly believe the U.S. will be back in,” he told attendees of the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany. “I don't know exactly when that will be, obviously, but we're gonna be back in.”

Tillerson Scraps US Climate Envoy Position Ahead of UN Talks

Read time: 5 mins
Pershing

With the next round of United Nations climate talks scheduled for November, eyes will be trained on how the United States chooses to engage — or not — now that President Donald Trump is withdrawing the country from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement. Yesterday, Secretary of State and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson indicated that this process will not happen through the State Department’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, because, well, he’s scrapping the position.

In a letter to Senate Foreign Relations chair Bob Corker (R-TN), Tillerson wrote, “I believe that the Department will be able to better execute its mission by integrating certain envoys and special representative offices within the regional and functional bureaus, and eliminating those that have accomplished or outlived their original purpose.”

When Politicians Cherry-pick Data and Disregard Facts, What Should Academics Do?

Read time: 6 mins
March for Science sign reading 'Science matters bigly'

By Andrew J. Hoffman, University of Michigan

When politicians distort science, academics and scientists tend to watch in shock from the sidelines rather than speak out. But in an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” we need to step into the breach and inject scientific literacy into the political discourse.

Nowhere is this obligation more vivid than the debate over climate change. Contrary to the consensus of scientific agencies worldwide, the president has called climate change a “hoax” (though his position may be shifting), while his EPA administrator has denied even the most basic link to carbon dioxide as a cause.

It’s another sign that we, as a society, are drifting away from the use of scientific reasoning to inform public policy. And the outcome is clear: a misinformed voting public and the passage of policies to benefit special interests.

Cities Can Jump-start Climate Progress by Plugging in Their Vehicles

Read time: 5 mins
Nissan Leaf electric vehicles in the city of Seattle fleet

By Daniel Cohan, Rice University

President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate agreement reaffirmed what was already clear: The federal government is no longer leading American efforts to shrink our carbon footprint. But many state and local governments — along with businesses and consumers — aim to help fill this policy void.

At least a dozen governors have joined the United States Climate Alliance, committing their states to achieve emissions reductions consistent with President Barack Obama’s Paris pledge. More than 200 mayors are promising their cities will follow suit.

My research with my former student Shayak Sengupta about how cities can benefit from buying electric cars suggests that fuel-free municipal fleets can cut urban carbon footprints while improving public health and saving taxpayers money.

To Slow Climate Change, India Joins the Renewable Energy Revolution

Read time: 6 mins
Indian woman standing on a pole adjusting solar street light

By Arun Agrawal, University of Michigan

On June 3, two days after President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged a hug with French President Emmanuel Macron during an official visit to Paris. Modi and Macron pledged to achieve emissions reductions beyond their nations’ commitments under the Paris Agreement, and Macron announced he will visit India later this year for a summit on solar power.

For observers who equate India’s energy production with a reliance on coal, this exchange came as a surprise. Modi’s internationally visible pledge would put India three years ahead of schedule to achieve its “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution” to the Paris climate agreement. Instead of shifting to 40 percent renewables by 2030, India now expects to surpass this goal by 2027.

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