State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup – Week of 3/21

Progress Seen on Forest Scheme, Tehran Times

Germany joins a 60-country and multi-billion dollar effort to stave deforestation in developing and tropical countries. The plan was initially discussed during the Copenhagen summit this December. However, the details were finally fleshed out Thursday at an all-day conference in Paris, where representatives gathered to decide how to disburse the funds. The plan calls for two rounds of funding, an immediate “fast-start” sequence of funds available for 2010-2012 and a long-term allotment consistent with the Copenhagen commitment to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius. It is unclear what this long-term allotment will exactly consist of.

Customary Laws Protect Forest Better than Government Does: Study, Jakarta Post

A study on forest preservation activities in rural Indonesia shows that local governance is more effective than national regulations in curbing deforestation. Ali Akbar, a researcher at the University of Indonesia Faculty of Humanities department, commented that a culture of preservation is integral to many communities indigenous to rural Indonesian provinces. Protecting the forests is a spiritual obligation and customary laws decreed by tribal leaders are respected more than national environmental regulations. Globally, deforestation accounts for roughly 20% of our total CO2 emissions. Addressing deforestation on a local, community scale might do more to stave emissions than national or international mandates.

States Sue EPA to Stop Greenhouse Gas Rules, Reuters

More than 15 states have sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its regulations controlling greenhouse gas emissions. Representatives from the states, which include Florida, Virginia, and South Carolina, complain that the EPA is relying on flawed research — mainly the IPCC’s reports on climate change (found here). The states demand that the EPA reopen the “endangerment hearings” from last spring that found greenhouse gas emissions harmful to human health. The dissatisfaction with the EPA regulations could provide the political leverage needed to drive more lawmakers to support a climate bill in Congress, as the legislation being discussed there would preempt any EPA regulations if put into effect.

Chaos on Carbon Market Over ‘Recycled’ Permits, The Times

Confusion over the sale of used certificates of emission reduction (CERs) by several Hungarian companies has threatened to undermine Europe’s emission trading system (ETS). The Hungarian companies exploited a loop-hole in the United Nation’s Clean Development Mechanism – the authority that issues CERs – by selling the used permits to European and non-European investors. With the potentially worthless or invalid permits circulating the market, prices plummeted from 12 EUR per tonne of carbon to 1. The European emissions trading system has suffered in the past from lack of confidence and oftentimes struggles to create effective incentives for companies to reduce emission.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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