Climate 411

The big news on forests you may have missed during the Global Climate Action Summit

Last week marked another significant achievement in California’s climate leadership, as the state hosted side-by-side global gatherings of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), and the tenth annual meeting of the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, a multi-lateral organization of subnational jurisdictions, which California helped launch in 2008.

But California doesn’t just add to the notches in its environmental leadership by hosting meetings, drawing celebrities, and showcasing pledges.

It’s the work that underlies it all – years, even decades in the making – that gives California the heft to pull off these feats.

One of California’s real accomplishments that was overshadowed – undeservedly – by the summit was the release of the California Tropical Forest Standard, which would lay the groundwork to help protect tropical forests around the world by leveraging the state’s climate program and its global vision.

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Posted in California, Forest protection / Leave a comment

The Trump administration’s Clean Power Plan replacement – for many states, worse than doing nothing

The Trump Administration’s proposed “replacement” for the Clean Power Plan would not only increase dangerous climate pollution and cost American lives – it would actually be worse than doing nothing at all in many states.

The proposal would severely weaken our nation’s only limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants. It would increase climate and health-harming pollution from those plants, and would lead to more premature deaths compared to leaving the Clean Power Plan in place.

But that’s not all – EPA’s own numbers show that the proposal would also increase pollution in many states compared to a world without the Clean Power Plan.

In many states, this proposal would leave communities worse off than if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had done nothing at all.

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Posted in Clean Air Act, Clean Power Plan, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Health, News, Policy, Setting the Facts Straight / Comments are closed

Climate smart rice farming: Integrated co-management of fertilizers with mild-intermittent flooding

This blog was co-authored by Richie Ahuja, Tapan Adhya & Kritee

By applying climate smart farming practices, small-holder farming communities in India can become more climate resilient, as well as improve yield and profit. But as recently revealed by Environmental Defense Fund, rice farmers using the well intentioned current prescribed irrigation practice – intermittent flooding – to improve mitigation and adaptation could be contributing to elevated emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), a powerful, long-lived greenhouse gas.

In collaboration with the Fair Climate Network and a coalition of grassroots NGOs across India, we worked directly with small-holder farmers across 16,000 acres in five states between 2012 and 2016 to perform high frequency monitoring of methane (CH4) & N2O emissions for both business-as-usual and potential climate smart farming practices.

Photo by Tamil Selvi. A farmer learning to measure water levels in the field using a field water tube

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Posted in Agriculture, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Science / Comments are closed

Global anthropogenic climate impacts must include nitrous oxide emissions from rice fields

This blog was co-authored by Kritee, Jeremy Proville, Terry Loecke, Richie Ahuja

Rice is a critical global crop: it provides livelihood to 150 million households and is a staple for half of humanity. However, it uses 11% of arable land and a third of irrigation water. In addition, continuously flooded rice fields are like wetlands and known to produce about 12% of total anthropogenic methane (CH4), a powerful short-lived greenhouse gas. Despite being one of the few crops whose climate impacts have been deeply studied over two decades, the potential of large emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), a long-lived greenhouse gas, from rice cultivation was surprisingly missed until recently.

Given that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiators working on agricultural mitigation are set to review the issue of water and nitrogen management in early 2019, it is crucial that the climate impacts of rice cultivation are determined and lowered over both the long- and short-term.

Photo by Rakesh Tiwari: Women harvesting seedlings for rice nursery

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Posted in Agriculture, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Science / Comments are closed

Once is enough: how climate negotiators can protect the environmental integrity of the Paris Agreement by avoiding double counting

Climate ambition is often thought of in terms of the stringency of emission reduction commitments, expressed by countries under the landmark Paris Agreement as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). While the NDCs that have been pledged by countries are important, they are only the first step.

To truly assess progress in reducing global climate pollution, it is necessary to look behind country pledges to understand exactly how their emissions are counted and reported. We need consistent accounting rules and transparent reporting to ensure the world is on track.

The details of accounting and transparency may sometimes sound boring and technical. But the content of these rules is as important as countries’ headline climate targets, since the headline numbers are only as good as our ability to ensure countries are clearly reducing emissions and counting those reductions accurately.

Fortunately, these same accounting and transparency rules – if done right – can also help unlock the potential of carbon markets to drive investment and innovation up, and pollution down. Read More »

Posted in Aviation, Carbon Markets, United Nations / Comments are closed

The science is clear: We need a stronger smog standard

By Ananya Roy

A mom rubs her sons back as she murmurs softly “It’s going to be OK. You are going to feel better soon.”“Mom, am I going to miss baseball practice again?” Frustration lacing every word, as the young boy looked longingly at the sunshine streaming through the emergency department waiting area window. The sound of his wheezing carried across the room.

In the U.S. more than 26 million people are known to have asthma, of which 6 million are children. These are the Americans who may face situations like this one. The CDC estimates that asthma costs the U.S. economy more than $80 billion annually in medical expenses, missed work and school days and deaths.

We can and must do better.

Ground level ozone (also known as smog) is an air pollutant with well-established adverse effects on health including worsening of asthma. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required by law to set national air quality standards that protect public health with an adequate margin of safety. Read More »

Posted in Clean Air Act, Health, Policy, Setting the Facts Straight / Comments are closed