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The G-7 committed on Monday to “decarbonization of the global economy over the course of this century.” The goal of decarbonization—powering the economy without emitting greenhouse gases—has ascended with dizzying velocity from a plea by activists to acceptance at the highest levels of government.
A new global climate agreement based on voluntary national pledges of domestic action is expected to be finalized in Paris in December. As of now, the 28 nations of the European Union and 9 other nations including the United States, Mexico, and Russia have submitted plans (called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs).
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally released proposed targets for blending biofuels with gasoline and diesel for 2014 (18 months late) and for the current year (6 months late).
From Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu to record-breaking drought in California, humanity is getting a preview of the devastation held in store by climate change. The pressure is on world leaders to reach an agreement in Paris this December to cut back on climate-changing emissions from fossil fuels and deforestation.
I’ve spent the last year at CGD working with a team of experts to figure out how to encourage more funders to pay tropical forest countries for results in reducing deforestation. My CGD colleagues Jonah Busch and Frances Seymour have done extensive research that documents that forests are critical for development and to combat climate change. And paying forest countries for performance – actual results in reducing deforestation – can provide an essential incentive and can complement funding for inputs, as reflected in CGD’s Cash-on-Delivery aid research.
Expanding economic prosperity while avoiding dangerous climate change is perhaps the defining challenge of the 21st century. So I’m glad to see that the draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a goal for climate. But I’m puzzled by a pretty fundamental omission. While the draft SDGs list targets for adapting to climate change, and educating people about climate change, and even mobilizing serious money in response to climate change, there’s not actually a target for, ahem, preventing climate change.
India just did something big for the climate: it announced that it will allocate $6 billion a year in tax revenue in a way that will encourage forest conservation. That’s more results-based finance for forest conservation than any other country in the world, including the current biggest spender Norway.
The Senate voted today (Thursday) to move ahead with legislation to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport millions of barrels of dirty tar sands oil from Canada to the US Gulf Coast, mostly to be refined and exported to other countries (legislation destined for the Presidential veto). Strange, then, that last week the Senate voted 98-1 to approve a resolution stating that “climate change is real and not a hoax.”