Copenhagen posturing

Obama-meets-with-UN-SecretaryThe last round of negotiations prior to the Copenhagen Summit in Barcelona fizzled to a message of decreased expectations.  This has set the table for rapid political posturing from the US.  On Tuesday the Wall Street Journal quoted several key Senators, including climate bill sponsor Sen. Kerry, with various statements postponing the possibility of US domestic climate legislation until next year.  Thursday the Washington Post broke a story that the Obama administration is feeling out the possibility for interim agreements in lieu of a formal treaty in December.  This morning the first official news of President’s Asia trip is of an agreement with Japan that both countries will commit to decreasing GHG emissions by 80% by 2050 with global reductions of 50% by mid century.  With China and India on schedule for later in the trip it is probable that climate will come up again, although balance of trade and Yuan/$ exchange is likely to dominate the conversation (for more on expected China content check out Robert Borosage on Huff Post).

It seems to this writer that Obama is guarding his international reputation more than setting a clear signal that the US is ready to engage in international climate agreements.  Continue reading


Manure to Electricity

There is concrete evidence that climate change is mainly due to anthropogenic actions. We are emerging into a world where consumers are becoming more concerned on where their food is coming from and the impacts that food production has on the environment.  Recently, cattle farmers are targeted in terms of rearing practices and amount of methane gas cattle emit.  Although, methane is a natural by-product from a cow, there are increasing concerns with the high demand of beef and therefore an unhealthy amount of cattle that are reared to meet the beef consumption—especially in the United States.   Continue reading

Report on Food Security and Agricultural Mitigation in Developing Countries

FAO-emblem_enAt the Barcelona Climate Change Talks The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) releases the Report on Food Security and Agricultural Mitigation in Developing Countries.

The report  highlights the mitigation potential from agriculture of improvements in cropland and grazing land management and soil restoration. It explores potential synergies between food security, adaptation and climate change mitigation from land-based agricultural practices in developing countries.

It indicates that mitigation options need to require financing and implementation processes.

A final version of the paper will subsequently be prepared for distribution at UNFCCC COP 15 in Copenhagen

The U.S. and China on Climate Change: Who Has the Better Hand?



As President Obama gears up to make his first presidential trip to China later this month, environmental groups and other research organizations are becoming increasingly more vocal regarding the need for greater cooperation between China and the United States on the issue of climate change.

Three prominent American organizations, the Asia Society, the Center for American Progress, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (N.R.D.C.) all agree that the two countries should make climate change a top priority. In their opinion, China and the U.S. should focus on two aspects of climate change mitigation: the use of carbon capture technology and the creation of a market for carbon.

These organizations lay a solid foundation for why China and the U.S. need to pay more attention to climate change, and they also make a strong case for why the two countries should work together on the issue. However, the question remains: will the two countries tackle climate change during President Obama’s upcoming visit and come to some sort of agreement before heading into Copenhagen, or will the issue take a back seat to other topics as is often the case during these “head of state” meetings? Continue reading

Africa Makes a Stand

Africa Protest


African nations boycotted the UN climate talks in Barcelona, Spain because they accused the rich nations of having inadequate promises to combat climate change.  Although these nations agreed to resume work on the UN climate talks, this has showed that African nations are united and are willing to stand their ground—protecting their citizens, where these nations are most likely to be hit the hardest by climate change with water and food shortages, floods, droughts, and rising sea levels. Continue reading

Looking ahead to Copenhagen, seeing REDD

Here at ecociety we are paying close attention to developments in the run up to COP 15. One of the most important areas of negotiation involves the issue of deforestation. The UN established the Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing countries (REDD) to encourage developing nations to reduce deforestation through economic incentives. As with many aspects of climate change policy, deforestation is intimately linked with issues of equity and development. The bottom line question is who will pay for it and how much? Continue reading

Barcelona Climate Change Talks.

The Climate Change Talks are being held from 2-6 November 2009, in Barcelona, Spain.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Yvo de Boer opened the Barcelona Climate Change and highlighted the significant advances in the negotiations on adaptation, technology transfer, capacity-building and reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD)

The Barcelona meeting is unlikely to resolve the big issues on finance and emission reduction targets, but it is critical in terms of building the essential architecture in place to make a Copenhagen agreed outcome function.