Monthly Archives: October 2020

New Mexico’s opportunity to deliver on its bold climate goals

In southeastern New Mexico, farmers saw temperatures that averaged seven degrees above normal in July. In Santa Fe, a wildfire charred five square miles on the outskirts of town and darkened skies for weeks. And currently, nearly three-fourths of the state is experiencing severe drought, as state officials grapple with plans to ensure critical water supply for cities, farmers, ranchers and more.

This year has been unusually hot and dry for New Mexico. And these grueling conditions put even more strain on New Mexicans, particularly disproportionately impacted populations like Black, Hispanic and tribal communities already reeling from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Heat and drought are becoming more severe and frequent in New Mexico as climate change accelerates. Without strong action to curb climate-warming emissions, the state could see twice as many dangerous heat days and a 70% increase in drought severity.

It is very encouraging then that New Mexico leaders like Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and House Speaker Brian Egolf are moving to confront the crisis head on. In August, Speaker Egolf recognized these threats in a webinar on public health and climate change where he said the NM House of Representatives would make a “comprehensive climate package” that will “set emissions limits” a priority for the next legislative session in 2021.

This legislative package could deliver meaningful climate action in New Mexico, if it includes key elements to codify pollution reduction targets, empower environmental regulators to meet them and protect environmental justice communities.

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Posted in Cities and states / Read 2 Responses

Pueblos Indígenas enfrentan desafíos para una participación efectiva en foros internacionales de política climática

Esta publicación fue corredactada por Bärbel Henneberger. 

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Apertura de la reunión del LCIPP en el marco de la COP25 en Madrid, España, diciembre de 2019. UNclimatechange/Flickr

Los impactos negativos de COVID-19 van más allá de los efectos directos en la salud, particularmente entre los Pueblos Indígenas, que han estado entre los más afectados por la pandemia. Las violaciones de derechos humanos junto con los conflictos ambientales se han intensificado, lo que ha obligado a las comunidades indígenas a lidiar con estas circunstancias y lo que significan para su capacidad para continuar participando en procesos políticos que son parte integral de la defensa de sus derechos e igualdad.

COVID-19 ha impedido que los Pueblos Indígenas participen en persona en las negociaciones internacionales sobre cambio climático convocadas por la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático (CMNUCC), ya que estas se han pospuesto o se están realizando de manera virtual. La presencia de los Pueblos Indígenas en estas negociaciones asegura que los derechos humanos sean centrales en todas las discusiones y también ayuda a reducir los posibles impactos ambientales y sociales negativos de las nuevas políticas internacionales. Sus perspectivas son clave para pintar una imagen precisa de lo que está sucediendo en sus territorios y cómo el cambio climático ya está teniendo un impacto significativo en su forma de vida.

La Plataforma de las Comunidades Locales y los Pueblos Indígenas (Plataforma CLPI)

Asegurar la participación efectiva y activa de los Pueblos Indígenas, tanto de manera presencial como virtualmente, para que puedan plantear sus inquietudes y contribuir a este proceso, es una de las principales prioridades del movimiento indígena. Una vía primordial a través de la cual los Pueblos Indígenas pueden participar en el proceso de la CMNUCC es la Plataforma de las Comunidades Locales y los Pueblos Indígenas (Plataforma CLPI).

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Posted in Indigenous People, News, United Nations / Comments are closed

Indigenous Peoples face challenges to effective participation in international climate policy forums

This post was coauthored by Bärbel Henneberger.

Versión en español.

Opening of LCIPP meeting at COP25 in Madrid, Spain, December 2019.

Opening of LCIPP meeting at COP25 in Madrid, Spain, December 2019. UNclimatechange/Flickr

The negative impacts of COVID-19 span beyond direct health effects, particularly among Indigenous Peoples—who have been among the most drastically impacted by the pandemic. Human rights violations have skyrocketed and environmental conflicts have intensified, forcing Indigenous communities to grapple with these circumstances and what they mean for their ability to continue participating in political processes integral to advocacy for their rights and equality.

COVID-19 has prevented Indigenous Peoples from participating in person at the international climate change negotiations convened by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as these have been postponed or moved online. The presence of Indigenous Peoples at these negotiations ensure that human rights are central to all discussions, and also help reduce the possible negative environmental and social impacts of new international policies. Their perspectives are key to painting an accurate picture of what is happening on the ground in their territories, and how climate change is already having a significant impact on their way of life.

The Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform

Ensuring the effective and active participation of Indigenous Peoples, both physically and virtually, so that they may raise their concerns and contribute to this process is one of the main priorities of the Indigenous movement. A key avenue through which Indigenous Peoples can participate in the UNFCCC process is the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP).

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Posted in Forest protection, Indigenous People, United Nations / Comments are closed

Analysis: North Carolina can curb emissions and reduce costs through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

As North Carolina Governor Cooper considers policies to reach the state’s climate goals, analysis from EDF and M.J. Bradley & Associates shows that joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) can help get the job done. RGGI would significantly reduce climate-warming pollution in North Carolina by capping and reducing power sector carbon emissions.

The analysis underscores that North Carolina will not reach its emission reduction targets under a business-as-usual scenario, though a strong cap on emissions can deliver the reductions necessary while driving investment in zero emitting resources. We also found that RGGI can help North Carolina reduce emissions while lowering overall system costs, reducing the state’s reliance on fossil fuels, and improving public health through reduced air pollution.

EDF and M.J. Bradley & Associates modeled the potential impacts of placing a cap on power sector emissions that declines at a rate consistent with the cap trajectory adopted by the 10 other states participating in the regional program. This analysis looked at several different scenarios, which evaluated a range of fuel prices and different options regarding whether surrounding states capped power sector emissions and found substantial benefits from participation in RGGI. The analysis was completed prior to availability of data related to potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on carbon emissions, electricity demand, and economic recovery, though COVID-19 considerations are addressed below.

By modeling a range of fuel price and policy scenarios, we can draw useful insights about expected trends in emissions, electricity generation sources, and power sector costs based on a number of different factors. Energy models, like the one used in this analysis, are not crystal balls that predict exactly what emissions or costs will be in the future, but they provide useful insights about the directional impacts of climate policies compared to a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario with no carbon limit.

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Posted in Cities and states, Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Read 1 Response

The path to zero-emission trucks and a 100% clean energy future

The transportation sector is at a crossroads: zero-emission trucks have the potential to cut pollution that causes climate change and harms human health. However, a transition away from diesel pollution will require strong leadership from policymakers and private sector executives alike.

That opportunity was front and center last week, when EDF hosted a Climate Week 2020 panel discussion on new initiatives that will spur electrification in the transportation sector. So, too, was the urgent need to act: The transportation sector accounts for one-quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions. And urban cargo trucks burning dirty diesel are fouling the air, causing the deaths of nearly 10,000 people annually in the U.S. alone.

Here are four major takeaways from the panel, which included representatives from Air Alliance Houston, Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, and Ryder trucks.

Truck pollution hits vulnerable communities hardest

“On-road sources of air pollution disproportionately burden communities of color and low-income neighborhoods due to their proximity to roads and vehicular traffic,” Dr. Bakeyah Nelson, executive director of Air Alliance Houston, noted in her presentation. Read More »

Posted in News / Comments are closed