Climate 411

The ambition-raising opportunity of reducing methane emissions

This blog was authored by Alice Alpert, Senior Climate Scientist at EDF.

Evening silhouette of oilfield pipeline. Source: Getty Images

Meaningful methane emission reductions are not only possible—such efforts can potentially have a massive impact on warming.

Readily available methods to reduce methane can deliver a whopping 0.25°C of avoided temperature rise by 2050. This year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that reductions of methane emissions would also lower peak warming and reduce the likelihood of overshooting the warming levels described in the Paris Agreement. In pathways limiting warming to 1.5°C, methane is reduced by around 33% in 2030 and 50% in 2050. But not all countries define methane targets or even include methane in their Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs).

The Global Stocktake process, also called the Paris Agreement’s ambition “ratchet,” allows countries to assess collective progress toward the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals on mitigation, adaptation, and finance. A successful stocktake will help countries implement their existing climate commitments and provide the impetus and information necessary for them to raise the ambition of their next NDCs. EDF is collaborating on an extensive project with C2ES to help shape the Global Stocktake process by highlighting opportunities to scale up climate ambition.

As work in the Global Stocktake continues toward its conclusion at next year’s COP28, it’s important for all NDCs to include methane-specific targets, and policies and strategies to achieve those targets. Read More »

Also posted in Climate Change Legislation, Energy, International, Policy, United Nations / Comments are closed

Unlocking the planet-saving potential of crediting natural climate solutions

With contributions from Julia Paltseva, senior analyst, Britta Dosch, analyst, and Christine Gerbode, senior research analyst, all at Environmental Defense Fund. 

Gardens of the Queen archipelago off the coast of Cuba

Earth’s forests, oceans, wetlands and other natural landscapes have the power to pull carbon out of the atmosphere and to store it – making well-managed ecosystems key resources in the fight to halt climate change. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found protecting these resources offers one of the highest mitigation potentials.

Efforts to keep healthy ecosystems intact, restore those that have been cleared or degraded, and improve how these landscapes are managed can have huge benefits to people and the planet, like improving water quality or protecting biodiversity. When these efforts also increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions, they are known as natural climate solutions, or NCS.

Healthy ecosystems around the world are disappearing rapidly, as more of the planet is degraded or converted to other uses. This continued loss could have dire consequences for the entire globe through its effect on climate, while doing particular harm and injustice to the Indigenous and local communities who have historically stewarded many of these crucial environments.

Scaling up global funding and support for NCS activities is an opportunity to limit climate damage while enhancing and protecting the enormous good these ecosystems provide – and benefiting the local people carrying out these important tasks.

One way to do this is to incorporate NCS activities into global carbon markets by crediting emissions. Environmental Defense Fund is now leading a collaborative process to lay out the key considerations and challenges of supporting NCS with the potentially powerful tool of crediting emissions reductions and removals—and of making sure the systems to support this tool are ethical, equitable and effective at the much larger scales of ambition needed to meet the moment.

Read More »

Also posted in Carbon Markets, Forest protection, Indigenous People, Plants & Animals / Comments are closed

Getting to net zero: New policy insights on the role of carbon management strategies

This blog was originally co-authored with Jake Higdon, former Manager for U.S. Climate Policy at EDF.

This summary for policymakers, based on new modeling from Evolved Energy Research, shares insights on the potential role of carbon removal and carbon capture strategies in reaching net-zero emissions in the U.S.

Emerging technologies to capture carbon are gaining traction at the federal level – evidenced by the new innovation investments in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Department of Energy (DOE)’s re-organized Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, and DOE’s Earthshot initiative to substantially cut the cost of carbon dioxide removal. However, it is hard to predict what role these technologies will play in reaching President Biden’s net-zero emissions goal when they are currently at different stages of development and vary widely in cost.

While harnessing widely available, cost-effective solutions we have at our fingertips right now is the unquestionable priority for tackling climate change, there are aspects of our carbon pollution problem that cannot be addressed with clean energy and efficiency solutions today. This is where technology-based carbon management,” which refers to strategies that use technologies to capture carbon pollution from both heavy industrial facilities and the atmosphere, can help us close this emissions gap. Importantly, carbon management also addresses what happens after carbon is captured, whether it’s stored in geologic formations underground or utilized to help produce low-carbon materials or synthetic fuels.

Carbon Capture vs. Carbon Removal

To better understand these technologies’ potential and inform federal innovation policy, EDF commissioned Evolved Energy Research, a leading energy systems modeler, to explore a series of carbon management scenarios.

Read More »

Also posted in Policy / Comments are closed

OSHA takes important first steps to address growing risks of heat to workers

As climate change intensifies heat-related risks in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing regulations that would provide critical protections for workers from heat hazards in indoor and outdoor settings — a process that should incorporate consideration of climate impacts and the firsthand expertise of affected workers.

As an initial step in the rulemaking process, last fall, OSHA announced its intent to propose a rule and requested public comment on how to design a heat standard that will provide effective protection. Environmental Defense Fund and the Institute for Policy Integrity recently submitted joint comments supporting OSHA’s efforts to protect workers and urging that the agency design standards that account for the disproportionate impacts of extreme heat on marginalized communities and the increased heat risk that workers will face due to climate change.

Laboring under high heat can lead to heat exhaustion, stroke, kidney disease, and other maladies. Heat also makes workplace injuries more likely, with studies finding increased rates of accidents like ladder falls and even helicopter crashes. A day of over 100°F is associated with a 10-15% increase in traumatic workplace injuries, compared with a 60°F day. Climate change exacerbates these harms, driving up temperatures, humidity, and the frequency and severity of extreme heat events.

Read More »

Also posted in Economics, Extreme Weather, Health, Jobs, News, Partners for Change, Policy / Read 5 Responses

Snowstorm of Misinformation: A Consumer’s Guide to Shoveling Out of EV Falsehoods


My Tesla Model Y charging at a public charging station the morning after the recent snowstorm in Virginia.

EV misinformation has reared its head again, but this time it seems to be stuck spinning its wheels in the snow. You may have seen a recent Washington Post editorial that expressed some concern about electric vehicle (EV) performance in cold conditions and falsely claimed that vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) are better. Prompted by a false anti-EV meme that’s been circulating on the internet (about a worried Tesla driver stuck in Virginia’s recent 48-mile snowy traffic jam), the editorial is sadly based on the author’s longtime bias against EVs–rather than on EV facts or science.

Don’t be fooled by skepticism towards unfamiliar tech. Electric vehicles not only keep pace with gas-guzzling cars in the snow–in some ways, they’re even better.

So, here are some key points for consumers to consider when you’re knee-deep in this type of EV misinformation this winter season (from a car guy who grew up dealing with snowy winters in New England, but now lives in Virginia, and drives an EV… even in the snow):

Read More »

Also posted in Cars and Pollution, News, Policy, Setting the Facts Straight / Comments are closed

Climate change threatens Louisiana’s future, but the state is taking bold action to increase its resilience

Louisiana has lost 2,000 square miles of coastal wetlands in less than a century, threatening communities from sea level rise and more intense hurricanes. Photo: Leslie Von Pless, EDF

Louisiana represents the paradox of a modern state shaped by a history of fossil fuel-supported development and structural racism that is now dealing with the climate-driven and social impacts of those choices.

As it attempts to do so, it has become a center of climate adaptation and resilience practices, and more recently, climate mitigation efforts, while seeking the right balance for its people, economy and environment.

The results so far look like this:

Read More »

Also posted in Basic Science of Global Warming, Cities and states, Extreme Weather, News / Comments are closed