State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Climate News Roundup – Week of 11/8 and 11/15

World Should Eradicate Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Reuters, Nov. 9

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has issued its annual World Energy Outlook, which highlights the need for countries to completely abolish fossil fuel subsidies. While fossil fuel subsidies are projected to reach $500 billion by 2015, renewable energy subsidies are projected to be no more than $100 billion. Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 would curb global energy demand by 5 percent. The IEA also said that the lackluster efforts by nations to curb emissions undermines efforts to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, a goal which was announced at the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen last December.

U.S. to Announce Home Energy Efficiency Initiatives, Reuters, Nov. 9

Vice President Biden outlined last Tuesday the two most important aspects of the nation’s energy challenge: helping Americans keep down energy costs while at the same time encouraging the growth of the “home energy efficient industry”. New initiatives include a program that would provide federally insured loans from private lenders for home improvements, as well as a pilot program that would allow federal contractors to rank home’s energy inefficiency on a scale of 1 to 10. The Administration hopes that the energy efficiency and green technology sector will be the engine to drive job growth.

Clean Energy Groups Ready Lame Duck Push The Hill, Nov. 12

The lame duck congress is ready to push through several renewable energy bills, including the extension of an expiring stimulus program that provides grants for renewable power generation projects. These projects have greatly benefited the solar industry in particular. In addition, the bills provide tax incentives for manufacturers of electric vehicles and, most importantly, will bring a vote on renewable electricity standards.

Zimbabwe: War Against Climate Change Rages, AllAfrica, Nov 19

A recent report published by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre details the need for climate change adaption. For countries on the banks of the Zambezi River Basin, where HIV/AIDS, inequality and poverty exacerbate the impacts of climate change, adaptation is especially crucial. Increasingly unpredictable rainfall patterns, especially the timing of the onset of the rainy season, complicates planting decision for farmers. The report highlighted how “conservation farming” practices, which emphasize the use of natural farming methods, can mitigate soil erosion and maximize crop yield.

China Vows Greater Efforts to Cope with Climate Change, Xinhua, Nov 19

Top Chinese leaders held a meeting on combating climate change as part of a series of high-level national conferences to devise the next five year plan (2011-2015). The new five year plan will emphasize energy efficiency, low carbon technologies, and will establish carbon trading markets. China has vowed to cut the country’s energy intensity by 40-45%, compared to 2005 levels, by 2020.

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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