U.S. Climate Envoy Lays Out New Principles for Climate Negotiations

Quelle: Circle of Blue vom 15.01.2013

Ambition, differentiation, and flexibility will define the U.S. position leading to a new treaty in 2015.

Today at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, Todd Stern, the lead U.S. negotiator for climate change, laid the groundwork for how he will think about the next round of global climate change negotiations.

A new framework should be based on three principles, Stern argued: ambition, differentiation, and flexibility.

At the 2011 climate conference in Durban, South Africa, the parties agreed to draft a new treaty that would apply to all countries, rather than the two-tiered system under the Kyoto Protocol.

“This was a landmark moment,” Stern said, about the Durban conference. “Now we have to deliver.”

Ambition, Stern said, means breaking with earlier ideas that strict and enforceable limits on greenhouse gas emissions are the only path forward.

The idea of differentiation – that developed countries had to cut emissions, while developing countries were exempted – was a blueprint for the Kyoto Protocol. Stern said this mindset, a product of negotiations more than two decades ago, must be scrapped.

Stern’s third item, flexibility, is related to the first two. It is clear, he argued, that countries must be the ones to set emissions targets, if any agreement is to garner broad support. “Mitigation commitments rooted in national policy planning rather than abstract numbers agreed to in an international negotiating room stand a much better chance of being successfully implemented.”

But how to ensure that countries set ambitious targets? That is the rub, and where negotiators will be tested. Stern suggested that part of the problem lies in how we talk about emissions limits.

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2012 was among 10 warmest years in global record: NASA/NOAA

Quelle: Scientific American vom 15.01.2013

Last year was among the top 10 warmest in the modern global record, two U.S. climate-watching agencies reported on Tuesday, less than a week after 2012 was declared the hottest ever in the contiguous United States.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Last year was among the top 10 warmest in the modern global record, two U.S. climate-watching agencies reported on Tuesday, less than a week after 2012 was declared the hottest ever in the contiguous United States.

The U.S. space agency NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration jointly issued two reports on 2012 world temperatures. NASA ranked last year the ninth-warmest since record-keeping began in 1880, while NOAA found last year was the tenth-warmest.

The difference in the two rankings may be due to NASA's extrapolation of temperatures in areas with no weather stations, particularly near the poles, according to James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

The 2012 global surface temperature, including land and water, was 1 degree F (.56 degree C) warmer than the 1951-1980 average. That was enough to increase extreme high temperatures last year, Hansen reported.

Last year was also the 36th consecutive year with a global temperature hotter than the 20th century average, scientists from the two agencies told a media briefing.

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UC Irvine scientist: Climate change policies not working fast enough

Quelle: SCPR 09.01.2013

A scientist at UC Irvine is calling for greater urgency in the effort to control greenhouse gases.

In a study published in Environmental Research Letters, earth systems scientist Steven J. Davis and three co-authors said carbon emissions are growing faster than ever, prompting them to re-think a strategy on reversing climate change.

“After eight years of mostly delay, the action now required is significantly greater,” the paper concludes.

The only way to significantly slow global warming is through innovation in the field of energy production, they said. They call for new approaches that will support the development of carbon-free energy on a massive scale.

“Doing so would entail a fundamental and disruptive overhaul of the global energy system, as the global energy infrastructure is replaced with new infrastructure that provides equivalent amounts of energy but does not emit carbon dioxide,” they write.

That's in direct opposition to a theory of "wedges" popularized nearly a decade ago, when climate scientists began framing their thinking around the idea that global carbon emissions could be kept in check by a series of small steps.

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