Raising the Climate Change Battle to Geoengineer the Earth

The 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, which came into force in 2016, commits nearly every nation in the world to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, a first major step toward global consensus and cooperation on combating climate change after years of United Nations-led negotiations. But environmental scientists have moved on, asking this question: What if … Read more

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US Republicans Extend Global Gag Rules, and Asia’s E-Trash Piles Up

In this third installment of an occasional series on research and data useful to readers, PassBlue takes a look at financial threats to a United Nations agency focused on family planning and how e-waste in Asia is hurting the regional environment and public health. With the fate of funding for the United Nations Population Fund, … Read more

Good Cop, Bad Cop: Climate Change After Paris

The 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015 was a good COP. It demonstrated unprecedented global collaboration when divisions were deep and stakes were high. Since 1995, when COP1 met in Berlin, governments have been assembling annually in an effort to create a … Read more

UN Puts on Big To-Do, Amid Tight Security, for Signing of New Climate Agreement

The United Nations threw a large and lavish party at its headquarters in New York on Earth Day, the opening day of the signing ceremony for the world’s new climate agreement. About 170 heads of state and government representatives came to inscribe their names, in alphabetical order by country, in the General Assembly Hall, in … Read more

 

Climate Accord Adopted: An Historic Moment for the Earth and the UN

In a show of solidarity few environmental advocates would have predicted confidently a decade ago, 195 nations, facing the realization that global warming poses a potentially cataclysmic threat to the world, agreed on Saturday, Dec.12, to a timetable and national commitments for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the main cause of climate change. When … Read more

Negotiations on the Climate Change Treaty Go Past Deadline

What is the status of the negotiations among the nearly 200 country delegates attending the climate change conference in Paris right now, given that it was supposed to close Dec. 11 with a legally binding treaty to control global warming? Some outstanding issues remain to be debated, though none of them, it appears, will interfere … Read more

Climate Talks Produce a New Draft Accord and More Hope

With barely two days left to reach an international agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to slow global warming, a new version of the draft agreement was released Wednesday in Paris. But outstanding disputes remain over how much nations will be prepared to reduce the use of fossil fuels, which emit the most carbon dioxide, … Read more

Now the Hard Part Begins on Global Climate Talks

The second and supposedly final week of negotiations on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, amid now-measurable climate change, began on Monday at the COP21 in Paris with a draft global accord on the table. It is, however, littered with hundreds of bracketed words indicating that hard bargaining, and no doubt compromises, lie ahead. Especially vexing, to … Read more

 

A Monastery’s Farm in Burkina Faso Feels the Impacts of Climate Change

KOUBRI, Burkina Faso — More than 2,500 miles away from this village, world leaders met recently in Paris to try to save the earth from severe climate change and its deadly effects. Here in West Africa, people in rural communities scrape together livelihoods in a region that is extra-vulnerable to drought and hunger, problems brought … Read more

Critical Climate Talks Open in Paris Amid Hopes and Fears

Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, left, and Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general at the UN's conference on climate change.

Two weeks of the most crucial negotiations ever held on slowing the destructive warming of the earth in this century began in Paris on Nov. 30. The importance of the 21st Convention of Parties — COP21 — was evident in the attendance of more than 150 world leaders and other participants, a total representation of … Read more

Can $600 Billion in Climate Funds Be Raised in the Next Six Years?

A relatively upbeat joint report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of developed countries, and the independent Climate Policy Initiative shows that the international campaign to finance projects to halt or to adapt to damaging climate changes is headed in the right direction. The just-released survey covering 2013 and 2014, updated … Read more

Industrial Mining: A Wild Frontier in Need of Monitoring

Extracting minerals from the earth is a messy, albeit lucrative business, and the disputes that plague the industry tend to be equally challenging. As the center of international trading of mining company stocks, London is regarded by some watchdog groups as a hub of multinational mining companies that they say tends to disregard the environment … Read more

 

Can New UN Goals Put an End to Filthy Air in Beijing and Delhi?

Remarkably after a yearlong effort by environmental health advocates, air quality has been embedded in the new set of universal development goals for a sustainable future. Since an estimated 60 percent of the global population will live in cities by 2030, which is the deadline of the new goals, outdoor urban air quality is now … Read more

A Peruvian Paradise, Sensitive to El Niño and Other Climate Effects

ICA, Peru — Located in the Pisco Province of the southern Ica region of Peru, the Paracas National Reserve is a Unesco World Heritage Site because of its rare natural diversity. Rich in marine life and wildlife, its unique ecosystem is one of the most biologically productive on the planet. Encompassing the Atacama Desert, the Pacific … Read more

Clinging to Coal: A New Report Belabors Increasing Use by Many Nations

SHANGHAI — Coal use by some of the world’s most advanced societies — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, known as the Group of 7 — has been increasing deaths and disease globally, Oxfam International, a consortium of 17 affiliates fighting poverty, found recently in a report titled “Let Them Eat … Read more

World Health Assembly Backs Calls to Strengthen Clean Air SDGs

Negotiations are entering the last stages of formulating the Sustainable Development Goals. For over a year, governments, the United Nations system, nongovernment organizations and parliamentarians have been engaged in negotiations on the next set of development goals, called SDGs, to succeed the eight Millennium Development Goals, which expire at the end of this year. The … Read more

 

Vanuatu Women Track Cyclone Pam’s Damage on Subsistence Lives

On March 13, a cyclone of historic proportions struck the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu with winds equivalent to those of a Category 5 hurricane. The story of this disaster briefly occupied the international media and then disappeared, perhaps because the death toll was surprisingly low. The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs … Read more

For Elephants in Zimbabwe, a Deeply Troubling Present and Future

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Elephants across the African continent face poaching, loss of habitable land and food supplies and culling. When World Wildlife Day was marked this month, the United Nations General Assembly discussed wildlife crime across the globe, including the threat to elephants, which are declining in number throughout Africa. Here in Zimbabwe, they face … Read more

Climate Moves the Doomsday Clock Closer to Midnight

Just a week after scientists reported that 2014 was the hottest year on earth since systematic records began to be kept 130 years ago, the Doomsday Clock, symbolic of how close the planet may be coming to catastrophe, moved ahead two minutes, to three minutes to midnight on Thursday, Jan. 22. The clock, designed by … Read more

For Journalists Covering Climate Change, the Topic Goes Beyond Science

NEW ORLEANS — In this urban symbol of disaster unpreparedness, journalists who cover climate change and the environment gathered this month, almost exactly nine years after Hurricane Katrina tore this city apart, to swap stories and advice while brainstorming communally on their beat. In a world that is ever more intertwined, it was clear to … Read more

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