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Tag archives for United Nations

Study: Half a Degree Matters

Last week more than 150 nations signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Now, the first comprehensive analysis of the impacts of that half centigrade difference…

Antarctic Ice-Sheet Collapse Could Trigger Rapid Sea-Level Rise

A study published in Nature finds that Antarctic ice-sheet collapse driven by greenhouse gas emissions could double the sea-level rise predicted for this century—from 3.2 feet according to a three-year-old United Nations estimate to upward of 6.5 feet by 2100. The research builds on the work of other recent studies pointing to an irreversible melting…

Record Low Arctic Sea Ice Extent Points to Irreversible Changes

Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said on Monday that Arctic sea ice cover of 5.607 million square miles on March 24 represented the lowest winter maximum since records began in 1979. That’s 5,000 square miles less than last year’s record low. Contributing to the ice extent loss were record high…

Supreme Court Denies Request to Block EPA’s Mercury Rule

Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. denied a request for a stay or injunction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS) rule—a rule that 20 states have claimed is “unlawful and beyond EPA’s statutory authority.” The ruling means MATS, which requires coal-burning power plants to install technologies to…

Study, EPA Spotlight Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Industry

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an updated draft of its Greenhouse Gas Inventory, finding that total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2014 were 6.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent—1 percent higher than in 2013, but 8 percent lower than the 2007 peak. The most revelatory revision: methane emissions figures…

Sticking Points for the Paris Climate Talks

At the Paris climate talks, where ministers are hammering out an international deal to curb climate change, two huge debates remain unresolved: the long-term global warming target and the amount and nature of finance that will flow to poor countries, a debate that hinges on differentiation of developing country and developed country responsibilities. “Whether the…

Paris Climate Talks Begin

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, world leaders on Monday suggested that stakes are too high to end negotiations on Dec. 11 without inking a climate deal that would limit global warming to two degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels—the U.N.-declared threshold for avoiding the most dangerous climate change impacts. NPR reports that…

Saudi Arabia Joins Climate Change Effort

Saudi Arabia—the world’s biggest crude oil exporter—has become the last of the G20 countries to submit an emissions pledge in the run up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, Nov. 30–Dec. 11. The desert kingdom said it will avoid up to 130 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2030…

Countries Position Themselves for Paris Climate Talks

In a joint statement on Monday, China and France signaled that any deal reached at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, Nov. 30–Dec. 11, should include five-year reviews of emissions reductions commitments in order to “reinforce mutual confidence and promote efficient implementation.” The two countries also called for an “ambitious and legally binding”…

China Announces Cap-and-Trade Program

On his visit to Washington last week, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced that his country, the world’s biggest carbon polluter, will launch a national cap-and-trade scheme in 2017. The move would make China the world’s biggest carbon market and could strengthen global efforts to put a price on carbon. The planned emissions trading program will…

Bonn Climate Talks Look to Shape More Complete Text Ahead of Paris

The next round of international climate negotiations began Monday in Bonn, Germany, and runs through June 11. The main task for the delegates from nearly 200 countries: pare down draft text for a final global climate deal to be negotiated at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year. The 89-page working…

R4WO Invited To The United Nations To Discuss Marine Plastic Pollution

The R4WO had a lot on its plate in the Big Apple in order to keep on passing the message about the urgency to act for our oceans. Litter is found in all the world’s oceans and seas and concerns are growing about impacts of marine litter on ecosystem health, biodiversity and human health. For this reason,…

UN Conferences Are a “Fantastic Agenda for International Sustainability”

Marina Grossi is the President of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development. In this interview she discusses the role of business in Brazil in helping prepare the agenda for two United Nations conferences later this year critical for bringing Earth back to a sustainable balance: the Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, in…

Livelihoods, Jobs, and the Illegal Wildlife Trade

By John G. Robinson

The illegal wildlife trade is big business. Not including the illegal trade in timber, it exceeds $19 billion annually. The trade is heavily capitalized and is part of the same criminal networks that are involved in drugs, weapons and human trafficking. While the impacts on wildlife populations – including elephants, tigers, and fish species – are widely known, the effects on human livelihoods, community integrity, income-generating jobs, sustainable development, and national economies are equally pervasive.

Listening to the volcano: Nasa communities blend ancestral knowledge with contemporary seismology in Colombia

On Ricardo Mena’s first humanitarian mission with the United Nations in April 1994, the only way to fly over southwestern Colombia’s Valle del Cauca was by police helicopter. Mena had been assigned to track indigenous Nasa displaced by the Páez River earthquake, but an eager police officer kept leaning over to photograph the poppy fields…