Climate Change

Treading Hot Water: Climate Negotiations in Poznan

The UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan, December 1-12, 2008 The world's governments are converging on Poznan, Poland over the first two weeks of December for the UN's annual climate change conference. The Poznan negotiations are a key step on the road to the crucial conference in Copenhagen next December, where agreement needs to be reached on the climate regime to take effect after the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. International Rivers is sending a three-woman climate team to Poznan: Payal Parekh, Barbara Haya and Ann-Kathrin Schneider. Our team will be pushing for

UN Suspends Clean Energy Project Auditor

Monday, December 1, 2008
Originally published in Reuters LONDON (Reuters) - The U.N. climate change body has suspended one of the largest auditors of clean energy projects under Kyoto Protocol, a move highlighting problems long aired by critics of the climate pact's greenhouse gas trading scheme. Norway's DNV had their accreditation as project auditors suspended late last week for five "non-conformities" relating to its practices, the U.N. said after performing a spot check of the company's operations in early November. The suspension means DNV cannot file for project registration or request credits under the Clean De

US Congress Waking Up to Offset Scams?

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico)
In September I spent a couple of days touring Congressional offices in Washington with Karen Orenstein from Friends of the Earth, US, a key ally on our climate change work. We were talking to senators' and representatives' staff about carbon offsets - in particular, international ones (i.e. CDM credits) - and whether they should be eligible to be used in the cap-and-trade regime which is expected to be passed by Congress over the next year or two. I was surprised at the level of awareness of the existence of the CDM, and indeed of its many problems. But disappointed at the wide

Hail Mary! Aussie Activists Celebrate Dam Suspension

Mary River Information Center, Kadanga, Queensland
Mary River Information Center, Kadanga, Queensland Patrick McCully/International Rivers Communities in the Mary Valley in Queensland, Australia, are celebrating the announcement by state Premier, Anna Bligh, that construction on a bitterly opposed dam would be delayed by up to four years. The Traveston Crossing Dam would displace hundreds of families, flood thousands of acres of rich farmland, and endanger iconic species including the Queensland lungfish and the endangered Mary River turtle and cod. Proponents claim the dam is needed to increase water storage because of the worsening dro

Dirty Hydro: Dams and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dirty Hydro
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Hydropower is often believed to be an inherently "climate-friendly" technology. But scientific studies indicate that the rotting of organic matter in reservoirs produces significant amounts of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. The warming impact of tropical reservoirs can be much higher than even the dirtiest fossil-fuel power plants. Download the factsheet to learn more about the different types of greenhouse gases that are being emitted, how reservoirs produce them, and how key regions and hydropower projects are contributing to global warming.Read the fact shee

Are We There Yet? Climate Change's Tipping Point

Is the financial crisis the disaster that the climate change movement has been waiting for? After the release of each IPCC report and the occurrence of every natural disaster that suspiciously smelled of global warming, I would wonder: Will the world finally wake up to its common peril? Will those in government (and those at home) finally realize the sooner or later, climate change will hit us in our comfy western seats (and hit hard)? Each time, the answer was no. Suddenly, however, there's a flurry of activity in the Climatosphere. Not only are policies like the WCI gaining steam,

RWE and BMW: Continue your dirty business, we have the CDM!

Xiaoxi Dam, Hunan Province, China
Are we living in two different universes? I am talking about the German environment minister, Sigmar Gabriel, and myself. Just yesterday, he congratulated himself for the fact that Germany had already registered 112 Clean Development Mechanism projects and was therefore number four of the world's CDM registering countries. Ok, first of all I am asking myself what his media advisors were thinking when they put out that press release. Having registered the 112th CDM project? Newsworthy? Number 4? Where is the hook, where is the news? I guess since the German government is granting sub

Rip-Offsets: Thanks Joe!

Thanks to Joseph Romm, the unbelievably prolific blogger at the excellent Climate Progress, for the term "Rip Off-sets." We've ripped it off to use as the title for our latest factsheet on the Clean Development Mechanism. We'll be distributing the factsheet to the CDM Executive Board and various other government officials, policy wonks, activists and carbon traders at the upcoming UN climate conference in Poznan, Poland. The factsheet summarizes the key criticisms we've been levelling at the CDM. One fact that really drives home the point that the CDM's offsets

Odds improve (for now) on Las Vegas' water supply

Hoover Dam intake, July 2008
Hoover Dam intake, July 2008 Back in March I wrote about a study showing a 50% chance that climate change would leave "Lake" Mead dry by 2021. Lake Mead is the huge (or at least formerly huge) reservoir behind Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. The reservoir supplies almost all the water for Las Vegas and much of that used by milllions of people in southern California and Arizona. Turns out that maybe things aren't quite that bad, yet. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a study to be released next year will show odds of less than 5% that the la

Rip-Offsets: The Failure of the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism

Rip Offsets
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is supposed to catalyze climate-friendly projects in low-income countries by allowing developers to generate revenue by selling "carbon credits" or "offsets." The offset buyers - industrialized country companies and governments - use the credits to show compliance with Kyoto Protocol-mandated emissions reductions. Because of the CDM's structural flaws and cheating by project developers, billions of dollars worth of credits are being sold by projects that never needed assistance from the CDM to be built. In the short-term the CDM must be radically improved;


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