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Jul 1

From NRDC: Climate laws and policies have doubled every five years since 1997: Global Climate Legislation Study

The following blog written by Han Chen with Jean Zhuang has been cross posted from NRDC's Switchboard blog. The original post is available online here

The 2015 Global Climate Legislation Study comes at a pivotal time in international climate diplomacy, as countries will be meeting for the UN Conference of the Parties in December of 2015 to discuss each country's intended actions for dealing with climate change. Without implementation of international climate agreements through national legislation and policies, these agreements have little impact. Fortunately, the latest report from the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Chance and the Environment, the Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE), and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) makes clear that national climate change legislation and policies directly related already exist in countries responsible for 93 percent of global greenhouse emissions, including 46 of the world's top 50 emitters.


2015 Global Climate Legislation Study provides "cautious cause for optimism"

Since 1997, the number of climate change laws and policies has doubled every five years. In 1997, there were only 54 laws and policies, rising to 426 in 2009 when the Copenhagen Accord was signed. By the end of 2014, there were 804 climate change laws and policies (see figure below). The majority of climate laws have been passed in developing countries, signaling a willingness by all parties to deal with climate change. The study rightfully notes that it is time to shift from just enacting legislation to the execution of existing legislation and commitments.

Countries that passed new comprehensive framework laws on climate change in 2014 include Bulgaria, Chile, China, and Mozambique. By the end of 2014, 58 countries (out of 99) had framework laws or policies in place to address both mitigation and adaptation. Seventeen countries did not have any framework laws or policies in place, including Saudi Arabia and Canada (the only two out of the top 20 emitters without any national climate framework legislation).


The study further reveals that much of the growth of laws and policies passed in 2014 has come from developing countries. In addition, there has been a definite shift from laws passed by the legislative branch towards policies passed by the executive branch, which the study notes, "may signal a greater emphasis on implementation" of existing laws.

All but one of the 99 countries in the study has published greenhouse gas inventory data and conducted some form of climate change risk assessment, although the assessment quality varies enormously. Half of the countries have only minimal climate change risk assessments, meaning that their adaptation plans do not go beyond the minimal reporting requirements to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Not surprisingly, the quality of national risk assessments depends on the capacity level of countries, and most of the countries completing only minimal risk assessments are developing countries. Because they are most vulnerable to climate change, the study emphasizes, these countries will need technical assistance to prepare for future climate risks.

Quality and quantity of legislation matters

The study reviewed short-term and long-term targets set out by countries, both of which are necessary for successful climate policy. Forty-five of the countries have economy-wide emission reduction targets, which account for over 75 percent of global emissions. Forty-one countries have economy-wide targets up to 2020, and 22 have targets that extend beyond 2020. Eighty-six countries have targets for specific sectors rather than economy-wide targets - including renewable energy, energy demand, transportation, or land use change and forestry. The majority of issue-specific targets are executive policies, rather than laws enacted by legislature.






















The number of climate laws has nearly doubled in the past five years, and over 75 percent of global emissions are subject to an economy-wide emissions reduction target. While the study revealed that current policies do not put the world on the path to avoiding global warming of more than 2°C, it is clear that the pace and breadth of climate action is accelerating, and we are likely to see even more policies enacted around the world in the lead-up to the Paris climate conference, as countries raise their levels of climate ambition.








Posted In: Natural Resources Defense Council
Jul 1

From USW: The Big Picture: Strengthen Unions


Posted In: United Steelworkers
Jul 1

The BlueGreen Source for Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Editor's note: The Source will take a break for the Independence Day holiday and return Monday, July 6. Happy 4th of July!


Georgia, California and Michigan are among the states with the highest use of renewable energy, according to the quarter one review released by Environmental Entrepreneurs yesterday. (Environmental Entrepreneurs)


“Today we can no longer claim ignorance as an excuse for inaction,” said actor Robert Redfordwhen he addressed the U.N. earlier this week.


Big deal – Ahead of the U.N. climate negotiations later this year, China announced its commitment to limit a rise in greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 years. (Reuters)

More momentum – President Obama met with Brazil’s president yesterday. The two leaders each made announcements upping their commitments to climate action, both announcing an increased commitment to expanding renewable energy. (New York Times)

Hail Mary – President Obama yesterday expressed optimism that long term transportation funding can be approved before the end of his term. He has already proposed a six-year funding bill and asked Congress to act on it. (The Hill)

Snail’s pace – Meanwhile the climate talks are moving along at a snail’s pace, according to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. (The Hill)


New York Times - A College in Maine That Tackles Climate Change, One Class at a Time

Inside Climate News - N.C. Church Takes a Defiant Stand—With Solar Panels

Charlotte Observer - DENR opposes bill that would overhaul NC environmental regulations

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You cansign up here.

Posted In: The Source
Jun 30

The BlueGreen Source for Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Eighteen states sued the administration over expanded clean water protections for thousands of miles of rivers and streams. (The Hill)


"Washington’s endless gridlock on almost everything ... is forcing the various committees with jurisdiction over our surface transportation laws to report bills that lack sufficient resources for the modernization and expansion of our highway and transit networks," said AFL-CIO TTD President Ed Wytkind.


Get on board – That’s the message European leaders are urging of China regarding climate change goals ahead of the Paris U.N. climate talks. (Wall Street Journal)

$2 billion – That’s how much money Bill Gates recently announced he plans to spend onrenewable energy over the next five years. (Huffington Post)

Social justice, economic justice – General secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, Sharan Burrow urges there be a plan in place for workers affected by the energy transition. (Reuters)

Mayors unite – Mayors of five major U.S. cities—including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio—call on Congress to act on long term transportation investments. (Fast Lane blog)


The Hill: Six states increasing gas taxes on July 1

Vox: The Supreme Court throws a wrench in the EPA's crackdown on mercury pollution

The Hill: GOP sharpens ax for regulations

RTCC: UN targets climate ‘momentum’ at New York summit

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You cansign up here.

Posted In: The Source
Jun 29

The BlueGreen Source for Monday, June 29, 2015


The Castio de San Marcos fort in St. Augustine, Florida has never fallen, but it and other forts—along with miles of invaluable national park land—are threatened by sea level rise. This is a threat that comes with a $40 billion price tag. (First Coast News)


“The Paris conference has the potential to be a great success, but only if measured by how much it speeds up progress, rather than whether we pass a finish line that is not yet within reach,” writesformer mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg.


On the horizon – Talks for a sweeping trade agreement—the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—will heat up soon and could even wrap up as early as this August. (The Hill)

Four weeks to go – As the countdown begins before federal highway funding runs out, the senate leans on the Finance Committee to address a $90 billion funding shortfall. (The Hill)

Thank you – Groups gathered in Rome this Sunday to thank the Pope for his encyclical on the environment that he released recently. (New York Times)

Underestimated – New findings show the Energy Information Administration consistently underestimates the potential of renewable energy. (Inside Climate News)


The Hill: GOP battles to defund work of Obama labor board

The Guardian: Half of Europe’s electricity set to be from renewables by 2030

The Center for Public Integrity: Slow-motion tragedy for American workers

Business Insider: China's UN climate pledges 'expected': state media

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You cansign up here.

Posted In: The Source
Jun 26

The BlueGreen Source for Friday, June 26, 2015


Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx pressed Congress to act on a measure allocating $275 billion to fund transportation over the next six years, approved by a Senate committee this week. (The Hill)


“The eyes of the country are really on New York and where we are going and how we are going to get there,” said John Williams, director of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority about the state’s ambitious energy plans.


Coming together - As President Obama prepares to meet with Brazil’s president next week, climate action is expected to be a prominent topic for the meeting. (Washington Post)

Wall Street all in – After years of spending very little money on renewable energy, investors are now all in on these investments—spending billions on renewable energy projects and investments. (Wall Street Journal)

Making the ask – European climate negotiators have made their expectations clear, asking for a legally binding deal out of the Paris climate talks and enforcement through five yearly reviews. (Reuters)


The Hill: Senate panel approves $9B Amtrak bill

Bloomberg: GE Signs First Deal After Australia Passes Clean-Energy Target

Reuters: Pakistan heat wave eases after more than 1,150 die

The Guardian: Gates to invest $2bn in breakthrough renewable energy projects

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You cansign up here.

Posted In: The Source
Jun 25

The BlueGreen Source for Thursday, June 25, 2015


In the first ruling of its kind, a court in the Netherlands has ordered the Dutch government toreduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels in the next five years, up from the current target of 15 percent. (New York Times)


"Unfortunately, what used to be the best transportation system in the world is now deteriorating, and our global competitors are greatly outpacing us in their infrastructure investment," said Senator Inhofe.


Final review – The administration has sent a proposed methane rule to address inefficiencies to EPA and OMB for final review. (The Hill)

Partisan divide – Split over partisan lines, the House yesterday voted to allow governors to opt out of the Clean Power Plan. (Huffington Post)

Ticked off – Drastic environmental changes have helped the tick population in Missouri where the exploding populations have become a growing problem. (KSKK)

Crowdfund it – Crowdfunding renewable energy technology opens us up to a whole new realm of renewable energy possibilities. (Scientific American)


Wall Street Journal: Data Centers and Hidden Water Use

BBC: Green Investment Bank to be part-privatised

Associated Press: Wildfires Blister Alaska with Increased Frequency, Intensity

Living Economies Forum: Obama's Push for Corporate Rule: A Moment of Opportunity

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You cansign up here.

Posted In: The Source
Jun 24

From CWA: CWA President Larry Cohen's Address to the 75th CWA Convention

This blog has been cross posted from the CWA blog. The original post is available online here

04_Cohen_2015_ConventionIn his last keynote address as CWA President, Larry Cohen told delegates that "we can't keep playing by their rules – the deck is stacked, the dice are loaded, the game is fixed." To change that stacked deck, "we need allies and deeper coalitions because the obstacles are that much tougher. We are forming something together beyond a single issue, a deeper sense that we are building a movement together that can move from one issue to another, linked by our goals of democracy and economic justice. I commit to you that I will fight just as hard, shoulder to shoulder with you to build this movement," he said.

Read Cohen's full speech and watch some video here.

Cohen administered the oath of office to new CWA President Chris Shelton, who praised Cohen as a "visionary, transformational" leader.

Cohen was presented with the President's Award, CWA's highest honor for organizing, also known as the "Hat Award," in honor of CWA founding President Joe Beirne. In presenting the award, Shelton said the honor was long overdue and was a tribute not only to the 40,000 New Jersey public workers that Cohen brought into CWA in 1981 but his decades of work to help wor

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Posted In: Communications Workers of America
Jun 24

From Sierra Club: UN Climate Talks Moved Slow, Steady

The following blog by Andy Katz, a member of the Sierra Club Federal and International Climate Campaign leadership team and the Sierra Club California Legislative Committee, has been cross posted from the Compass blog. The original post is available online here

In the lead up to the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris later this year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was recently hosting its annual Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) session in Bonn, Germany. This session, ADP 2.9, came six months prior to COP21 and presents the Parties -- the negotiating bodies for each country -- with a need to further develop and clarify the text that came out of the previous intersessional, ADP 2.8, in Geneva, Switzerland. This text will be used during the final 2015 climate negotiations in Paris, and will give us the 2015 Agreement. 

Andy Katz is a member of the Sierra Club Federal and International Climate Campaign leadership team and the Sierra Club California Legislative Committee. He is a volunteer with the Sierra Club, and he was blogging from Bonn.         

The anticipation is building for the international climate negotiations to result in a newfound resolve to fight climate disruption. While this process culminates with a major summit in Paris this December, the current so-called “intersessional” meetings in Bonn, Germany are crucial for negotiators to prepare language for the new legal agreement. As one of two Sierra Club leaders who participated as observers at this month’s session, this dispatch notes the progress that’s been made toward an agreement but also the long road ahead on the way to protecting the climate.

Aiming for greater ambition on climate action and more predictability on climate commitments than the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, 196 countries started with the clear elements of an agreement -- and nearly 100 pages of text compiled earlier this year in Geneva -- to narrow down into what is expected to be about a 15 page core agreement, followed by more explanatory declarations and decisions supporting its implementation.

Like recent agreements, this one is based on nationally-determined emission reduction targets – exactly how often and when these targets are increased to make up the “ambition gap” is a major negotiating issue, as is the inclusion of a long-term goal of moving to 100 percent clean energy to send a clear market signal to business sectors. The previously announced U.S. target of 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 is on the path to 80 percent emissions reductions by 2050. Consolidation of targets will help measure global commitments and the additional level of progress needed, since the current level of commitments could still trigger warming between 3 – 4 degrees Celsius.

Also of great importance was the inclusion of finance for developing countries requiring assistance to transition to sustainable development. Aspirational statements for developed country funding of this and other critical elements of a package like adaptation and technology transfer have yet to develop into specific commitments. President Obama’s proposal for initial funding of the Green Climate Fund is pending an uncertain fate in Congress.

Active sessions in Bonn stretched for over 12 hours daily, ranging from large negotiating groups sorting out language, smaller panels focused on issues like how to avoid double-counting efforts when reductions are measured across countries and sectors, and informal side events help process unresolved issues like what the legal form of the agreement may look like. State Department officials made time to meet with us and other environmental advocates in between a busy schedule of bilateral meetings with international negotiators – a slow but important process toward a complex agreement critical to the future of our planet.

The Sierra Club is preparing to send an urgent message from our local communities – to Washington and Paris alike– that the Earth can’t wait to protect our climate. Stay tuned for more on how Sierra Club’s Local to Global campaign will build on what’s achieved in Paris with stronger action from the bottom up.  

Posted In: Sierra Club
Jun 24

The BlueGreen Source for Wednesday, June 24, 2015


EPA released a report this week on the consequences of inaction on climate change that said cutting emissions drastically will avert some of the risks of costly and extreme disasters. (Vox)


"Transportation investment is a core federal responsibility. It’s time to transcend politics and do the right thing for America,” said American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President Pete Ruane in a statement.


Fast Track – The Senate will take the final vote on Fast Track authority today. If passed, it goes to the president next. (Bloomberg)

Chemicals policy – A House vote last night successfully advanced a bill regulating toxic chemicals. The Senate recently passed its own measure. Lawmakers hope to update the law by the end of the year. (Science Mag)

Prescription for health – The U.S. Surgeon General yesterday said that extreme weather events along with disasters that strain health infrastructure are endangering human health. (Huffington Post)

Best bet – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy yesterday said that every time environmental protections have been improved, the result has been a healthier environment and a stronger economy. (MPR News)

Ten million dollars – Under a New Jersey bill that’s been introduced, $10 million would be allocated to revive state funding to address lead poisoning. (Asbury Park Press) 


TechTimes: Watch Bill Nye Explain Climate Change With Emoji

The Guardian: Dutch government ordered to cut carbon emissions in landmark ruling

RTCC: European countries urged to prepare for 1.5m sea level

Yahoo: Pakistan heatwave deaths close to 700

That's it for The Source today. Don't forget to tell your friends about this great resource. You cansign up here.

Posted In: The Source