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Sunday, November 24, 2013


I am always amused by the disconnect between the manner in which the UNFCCC reports the outcomes from COP meetings and how those outcomes are reported by the media, the environmental lobby, and anyone else for that matter. The UN's COP-19 website is reporting that the conference places nations "on a track towards a universal climate agreement in 2015 and including significant new decisions that will cut emissions from deforestation." Much was also made about the commitment of new $ to the Adaptation Fund to address adaptation and loss and damage in developing nations.

In reality, nations simply agreed to go away and work on developing plans to be presented in 2015 for what they might be willing to "contribute" to global mitigation efforts under a new treaty regime starting in 2020. But nations have yet to commit to any actual reductions. Meanwhile, adaptation funds continue to lag significantly behind the projected costs of climate adaptation in the developing world, and some countries have yet to fully deliver on the funds they've previously pledged. I suppose that diplomacy isn't diplomacy unless it happens at the last possible moment, but it all seems like so much fiddle playing, and there's a waft of smoke in the air around Rome.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More Loss and Damage

Loss and damage continues to be a hot topic at COP19, and the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security has joined the fray with a new report that presents a number of case studies from different developing countries. Based upon interviews, surveys, and focus groups, the report presents empirical evidence of loss and damage. However, as it also notes that attribution of loss and damage to climate change is beyond the scope of work, it largely seems to provide evidence that extreme weather events has consequences, particularly for those most vulnerable.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Loss and Damage

Amidst the flurry of activity in Warsaw associated with the COP-19 meeting, ActionAid International, CARE International and WWF International have released a new report on the need for an international mechanism to address loss and damage from climate change.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change

The Obama Administration has issued a new Executive Order as part of its ongoing policy efforts to promote climate adaptation and build resilience. While its unlikely to transform the landscape for adaptation in the nation, it does present a few opportunities to build capacity and enhance some of the Administration's earlier initiatives. It establishes a new Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to focus on policy reform. It tasks several agencies with reporting proposed changes in land and water management policies. It contains some rather generic language on improving data coordination among federal agencies. It also tasks agencies with enhancing their current climate adaptation plans (as required under an earlier EO) - perhaps because the White House realized that the current plans are almost unanimously useless.  

The Leaky IPCC Ship

Media outlets are already reporting on the contents of WGII of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report. Draft versions of the report are becoming available to the general public through blogs and other websites almost as quickly as they are made available for internal use to IPCC authors, review editors, and governments. Recent media stories have reported nothing but the traditional doom and gloom scenarios, which I suppose is the only information journalists find interesting in the hundreds of pages of commentary on the state of knowledge.