Archives for December, 2010

Conservation biologist Thomas Lovejoy, just back from the United Nations climate talks, shared his thoughts with National Geographic on the work under way in Cancun, Mexico, on addressing the role deforestation plays in global warming. Lovejoy, an innovator who coined the term “biological diversity” and introduced the concept of debt-for-nature swaps, was keynote speaker on…

Comments Off on Reporting from Cancún: As Climate Talks Continue, Local Governments Move Ahead with Concrete Actions

As the slow-moving conference on climate change gets underway in Cancún, the 193 nations present at the talks don’t seem to agree on much of anything. There is little hope that China and the United States will get past their differences on transparency reporting and other key sticking points, which made the Copenhagen agreements difficult…

Comments Off on Recycling Nuclear Fuel: The time has come to dispel old myths and re-engage

How much (or whether at all) a new generation of nuclear reactors should be considered in meeting America’s future electricity needs is a hotly debated topic these days, to say the least. But, in some respects, that’s putting the cart ahead of the horse. The question of what to do with the nuclear fuel we’ve…

The Cancun climate summit represents a surprising opportunity for progress towards saving the world’s forests and other ecosystems, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) in the wonky parlance of the climate negotiations. Even as a comprehensive agreement faces challenges, there’s relative consensus that the parties to the Kyoto Protocol, the predecessor climate agreement…

Comments Off on Residential Retrofits Can’t Keep PACE

As a colleague recently put it, PACE financing (Property Assessed Clean Energy) was the Get Out of Jail Free card of the residential efficiency market. PACE financing could have solved a number of the most persistent problems in funding residential retrofits. Under a PACE program, a city or municipality would issue and sell bonds. They…

Forty years ago today, the Environmental Protection Agency was created. It’s fitting that the anniversary falls just one week after Thanksgiving, because every American from every state should be grateful for the Agency’s work. Consider that by 1990, the EPA’s actions had prevented 205,000 premature American deaths, 189,000 cardiovascular hospitalizations and 18 million child respiratory…

One thing’s certain about the international climate negotiations happening right now in Cancun: no one’s expecting big things.  After last year’s failure in Copenhagen to broker a legally-binding, international agreement to reduce carbon emissions, the media, negotiators pundits and activists pretty much all agree that if anything comes of Cancun it will be unambitious.  Even…