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Equity: No Longer a Peripheral Issue at Global Climate Talks – November 26, 2012

What’s needed now is courage, and a bit of real statesmanship that takes into account the evolving realities of this mad and dangerous world

Well, the annual climate talks began again today. This time they’re in Doha, the capital of Qatar, which has the highest per-capita emissions in the world.

Equity is, of course on the agenda. The surprise — at least it’s a surprise for some — is that its no longer a peripheral issue. With the negotiations now tasked with setting the stage for a 2015 negotiations breakthrough, equity is getting some real time in the spotlight. In that context, you might spare a moment to read The pathway to Ambition, the “equity opener” which was just published in the opening edition of the Climate Action Network’s ECO newsletter. I… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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“Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” — Bill McKibben’s call for a carbon divestment move – July 27, 2012

But the core problem here is that, absent real leapfrogging, the developing countries will be hard put to take any paths apart from those that have already been pioneered in the wealthy world

The new issue of Rolling Stone has a major essay by Bill McKibben, called Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math. It’s a must read, for a number of reasons. The big one is that McKibben’s call for a “carbon disinvestment” movement – aimed at breaking the hammerlock that the fossil cartel has on our civilization – is a big step forward. It’s not the only step we need to take (more on this below) but it would make a huge difference.

First up, Terrifying New Math is a fine science-for-civilians essay on the recent “extreme weather,” which has been monumental. In fact, the summer of 2012 may well turn out to… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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An Arithmetic Proof Against the Keystone XL Pipeline – September 28, 2011

Do the Math: Burning the Tar Sands = Climate Catastrophe

Photo by Steve Meirowsky A truck hauls 36-inch pipe for Keystone XL Pipeline south east of Peabody, Kansas.

The first wave of Keystone XL Pipeline protests — the arrests at the White House back in August — was one for the history books. At a time of crisis in the climate movement, and in the Obama presidency, the protesters managed to open a major new front in the carbon war and even to invigorate the domestic climate movement.  Moreover, there’s every reason to hope that the resistance to the pipeline will keep rising.  Still, a friend of mine recently asked me: “Why oppose this project… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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Cancun Success or Failure – Compared to What? – December 14, 2010

Cancun was not a surprise. Nor was it a failure. This much is easy to say.

But was it a success? This is a more difficult question. I used to have an irritating friend. Every time you made a strong, implausibly simple claim – something like “Cancun was a success” – he would reply “Compared to what?” It was a pedantic device, but it worked well enough. It made you think, which, I suppose, is why it was irritating.

Compared to what the science demands, Cancun was obviously a failure. The Climate Tracker crew made that clear in an evaluation filed before most people even got home… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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In Cancun, Begin with the Science – December 2, 2010

Just before COP16 began, the United Nations Environment Program released The Emissions Gap Report: Are the Copenhagen Accord pledges sufficient to limit global warming to 2° C or 1.5° C?

It’s gotten a great deal of attention, and this is a very good thing. Despite the glorious weather here in Cancun, the mood is grim. Tensions are high, so it’s good to have this sort of unambiguous framing – a clear reminder of the science – front and center. It helps everyone remember how high the stakes are.

The UNEP report basically consists of a meta-analysis of the various current studies of emissions pathways and their consequences. It’s… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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