Equity and Emission Trading in China, a new analysis by MIT
December 7, 2015 01:29 PM - MIT Sloan School of Management
As representatives from more than 190 countries convene in France for the second week to address ways to slow global warming, an MIT-led team has published a paper outlining a set of options for incorporating equity considerations in a national Emissions Trading System (ETS) for China that could reduce carbon emissions while minimizing economic impact on poorer or less-developed regions.
The paper, “Equity and Emission Trading in China,” published in the journal Climatic Change, outlines a sophisticated menu aimed at Chinese policymakers showing how the burden of reducing carbon emissions could be shared or divided across the country’s provinces under a market-based carbon pricing system.
“Emission trading systems have been shown to be highly effective when they are allowed to work, but one of the toughest challenges involves how to distribute the cost,” said lead author Valerie Karplus, Assistant Professor of Global Economics and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. “We compare alternative schemes for allocating emissions rights that can effectively de-couple who pays for reductions from where the reductions actually occur.”
Why the Paris Climate Summit pledges are so important
November 29, 2015 11:57 AM - Tom Rickey, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
More than 190 countries are meeting in Paris next week to create a durable framework for addressing climate change and to implement a process to reduce greenhouse gases over time. A key part of this agreement would be the pledges made by individual countries to reduce their emissions.
A study published in Science today shows that if implemented and followed by measures of equal or greater ambition, the Paris pledges have the potential to reduce the probability of the highest levels of warming, and increase the probability of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.
In the lead up to the Paris meetings, countries have announced the contributions that they are willing to make to combat global climate change, based on their own national circumstances. These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, take many different forms and extend through 2025 or 2030.
Sea traffic linked to hazardous levels of nanoparticles along coastlines
November 21, 2015 09:20 AM - Staff, ClickGreen
The air along coastlines is being heavily polluted by hazardous levels of nanoparticles from sea traffic, a new study has found.
Almost half of the measured particles stem from sea traffic emissions, while the rest is deemed to be mainly from cars but also biomass combustion, industries and natural particles from the sea.
"This is the first time an attempt has been made to estimate the proportion of nanoparticles stemming from sea traffic. The different types of nanoparticles have previously not been distinguished, but this new method makes it possible", says Adam Kristensson, researcher in Aerosol Technology at the Lund University Faculty of Engineering in Sweden.
Will the upcoming UN Climate Change Summit in Paris kick the can down the road again?
November 14, 2015 07:41 AM - Mark Dwortzan, MIT News
Big hopes are riding on the 2015 United Nations climate change conference planned for Nov. 30-Dec. 11 in Paris, where more than 190 nations will strive to hammer out an international agreement aimed at lowering global temperatures through significant reductions in human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But the meeting, known as COP21, or the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is also attracting a fair amount of skepticism.
For good reason: More than two decades of UN climate summit meetings have yielded limited results. The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 established GHG emissions reduction commitments for a small number of industrialized countries from 2008 to 2012, but was not ratified by the U.S. because it made no demands on developing countries. Overcoming this hurdle, the Copenhagen meeting in 2009 produced voluntary pledges from both developed and developing countries through the year 2020 that promised little headway in keeping global temperatures below the 2 degree Celsius threshold identified by the UNFCCC as necessary to avoid the most serious impacts of climate change.
America Recycles Day November 15th
November 13, 2015 10:13 AM - JustMeans, Justmeans
Thousands of creative recycling events are being planned for America Recycles Day (ARD), a Keep America Beautiful initiative, which takes place on and in the weeks leading up to Nov. 15.
America Recycles Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. In its 18th year, ARD educates people about the importance of recycling to our economy and environmental well-being, and helps to motivate occasional recyclers to become everyday recyclers.
A number of ARD special events are focusing on this year’s theme of “Bathrooms, Bags & Gadgets." They include:
Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline
November 9, 2015 06:41 AM - Center for Biological Diversity
In a crucial victory for the climate, wildlife and the millions who spoke against it, President Obama rejected the Keystone XL project today, saying that building the tar sands oil pipeline is not in the national interest.
Over the past four years, scientists, environmentalists, tribes, farmers, celebrities and business people joined forces to fight the pipeline, with more than 2 million comments submitted to the U.S. State Department, tens of thousands participating in rallies against Keystone in all 50 states, and thousands of citizens arrested in peaceful civil disobedience.
“This is a historic moment, not just for what it means about avoiding the impacts of this disastrous pipeline but for all of those who spoke out for a healthy, livable climate and energy policies that put people and wildlife ahead of pollution and profits,” said Valerie Love with the Center for Biological Diversity. “President Obama did the right thing, but he didn’t do it alone: Millions of Americans made their voices heard on this issue, and will continue pressing Obama and other political leaders to do what’s necessary to avoid climate catastrophe.”
Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective
November 9, 2015 06:11 AM - NOAA News
Human activities, such as greenhouse gas emissions and land use, influenced specific extreme weather and climate events in 2014, including tropical cyclones in the central Pacific, heavy rainfall in Europe, drought in East Africa, and stifling heat waves in Australia, Asia, and South America, according to a new report released today. The report, “Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective” published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, addresses the natural and human causes of individual extreme events from around the world in 2014, including Antarctica. NOAA scientists served as three of the five lead editors on the report.
"For each of the past four years, this report has demonstrated that individual events, like temperature extremes, have often been shown to be linked to additional atmospheric greenhouse gases caused by human activities, while other extremes, such as those that are precipitation related, are less likely to be convincingly linked to human activities,” said Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D., director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
Acid rain's effects on forest soils found to be reversing
November 8, 2015 08:47 AM - USGS Newsroom
Soil acidification from acid rain that is harmful to plant and aquatic life has now begun to reverse in forests of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, according to an American-Canadian collaboration of five institutions led by the U.S. Geological Survey.
The new research shows that these changes are strongly linked to acid rain decreases, although some results differ from expected responses.
"Reduced acid rain levels resulting from American and Canadian air-pollution control measures have begun to reverse soil acidification across this broad region," said Gregory Lawrence, a USGS soil and water chemist and lead author. "Prior to this study, published research on soils indicated that soil acidification was worsening in most areas despite several decades of declining acid rain. However, those studies relied on data that only extended up to 2004, whereas the data in this study extended up to 2014. "
The massive Indonesian fires
November 7, 2015 07:25 AM - lisa palmer, Yale Environment360
The fires that blazed in Indonesia’s rainforests in 1982 and 1983 came as a shock. The logging industry had embarked on a decades-long pillaging of the country’s woodlands, opening up the canopy and drying out the carbon-rich peat soils. Preceded by an unusually long El Niño-related dry season, the forest fires lasted for months, sending vast clouds of smoke across Southeast Asia.
Fifteen years later, in 1997 and 1998, a record El Niño year coincided with continued massive land-use changes in Indonesia, including the wholesale draining of peatlands to plant oil palm and wood pulp plantations. Large areas of Borneo and Sumatra burned, and again Southeast Asians choked on Indonesian smoke.
The new imperative in buildings, cleaner air!
November 6, 2015 06:59 AM - Bill Roth, Triple Pundit
A study just published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has linked a building’s indoor air quality directly to its occupants’ cognitive function. Cognitive function is defined as the cerebral activities that lead to knowledge including acquiring information, reasoning, attention, memory and language.
The revolutionary finding of this study is that lowering indoor air levels of carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) improves human cognitive function. In other words: Cleaner air makes us smarter!