Chapter 1. Dysfunction in Climate Governance
Chapter 2. The Worsening Climate Crisis
The Paris Agreement’s warming limit may be exceeded soon
As reported by the World Meteorological Organization, the “annual mean global temperature is likely to be at least 1° Celsius above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900) in each of the coming five years (2020-2024) and there is a 20% chance that it will exceed 1.5°C in at least one year, according to new climate predictions.”
G20 countries are spending over half a trillion dollars each year to subsidize fossil fuels
According to a new report, despite pledges to end support for fossil fuels, G20 governments provided $584 billion annually (2017–2019 average) in direct budgetary transfers and tax expenditures, price supports, public finance, and state-owned enterprise investment for the production and consumption of fossil fuels at home and abroad.
Sources of renewable energy are growing rapidly
According to a report from the International Energy Agency, by 2025 renewable forms of energy are anticipated to overtake coal as the largest source of electricity worldwide.
Chapter 3. Pathologies of International Relations
Chapter 4. Pathologies of National Politics in the United States and China
“Can Joe Biden make good on his revolutionary climate agenda?”
According to this essay in Nature, “although he faces a split Congress, the US president-elect has levers he can pull in the government to advance clean energy and curb global warming.”
Biden appoints a special presidential envoy for climate, creating a new cabinet-level position
President-elect Joe Biden has named former Secretary of State John Kerry as his cabinet-level special presidential envoy for climate. Kerry will try to convince other countries that the United States intends to become a leader on climate action. Read more in the New York Times.
Wildfires make climate change all too real for West Coast Americans
As unprecedented “mega fires” burned, climate change was “smacking California in the face” and doing the same in Oregon and Washington.
2020 “America’s Pledge” report updates emissions-reduction actions in the U.S.
Delivering on America’s Pledge aggregates and quantifies actions by U.S. states, cities, businesses and other non-federal actors to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in keeping with the Paris Agreement.
“Chinese Overseas Development Financing of Electric Power Generation“
An article in One Earth shows that most Chinese overseas energy financing is currently in coal. It argues that decarbonization of China’s (and other countries’) power investments will be critical for reducing future carbon emissions from recipient countries.
Do actions in China match its carbon-neutrality pledge?
To achieve the Paris Agreement’s target to limit global warming to less than 2°C, emissions from the energy sector will have to peak very soon and decline by 2030. This report “shows that power industry plans to build new coal-fired power plants after 2020 contradict China’s 2060 carbon neutrality target.”
“U.S. and China Climate Goals: Scenarios for 2030 and Mid-Century”
According to an Asia Society/Climate Analytics report, “If the United States and China … are able to achieve net-zero GHG emissions around mid-century, it would … require bold action in all sectors of the economy, with an early coal phaseout being paramount for both countries.”
Chapter 5. Pathologies of National Politics in the Global North
The European Parliament calls for emissions reductions of 60% by 2030
The European Parliament adopted a mandate for the EU to cut emissions 60% by 2030 on the way to being climate-neutral by 2050 and thereafter achieving “negative emissions”. It also called for ending all fossil-fuel subsidies by 2025.
“Russia rules out cutting fossil fuel production in next few decades”
Despite moves by other countries to move toward decarbonization, “Russia has no plans to rein in its production of fossil fuels in the coming decades.” Read more in the Guardian.
Chapter 6. Pathologies of National Politics in the Global South
Brazil’s forests continue to burn while the government looks away
Record-setting fires in Brazil destroy forests and wetlands, as ranchers, loggers and miners take advantage of the government’s policies of encouraging economic development and reducing environmental enforcement.
Chapter 7. Pathologies of Human Nature
The catastrophic impacts of humanity on the earth are increasing
According to the latest Living Planet Report, biodiversity is being lost at an increasing rate due to human activities. The populations of many species have declined by 68% since 1970, in the process harming human health and well-being.
Chapter 8. Reconsidering International, National and Human Governance
Chapter 9. Prescriptions for Governing Climate Change
“Politics is not enough: Individual action and the limits of institutions“
In The Ecological Citizen, Luke Philip Plotica argues that “if we are to treat the cause as well as the symptoms of ecological devastation, melioration must begin where the harm begins – with us, at home, at work, in our neighbourhoods and communities….”
Chapter 10. Policies and Prospects for Climate Governance
“Global food system emissions could preclude achieving the 1.5ºC and 2ºC climate change targets“
According to a report in Science, “even if fossil fuel emissions were eliminated immediately, emissions from the global food system alone would make it impossible to limit warming to 1.5ºC and difficult even to realize the 2ºC target. Thus, major changes in how food is produced are needed if we want to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
“Radical Realism”: the phase-out of oil and gas production
This 2-minute video argues that “burning just the oil and gas in already operating fields would blow the world’s carbon budget for 1.5ºC. In other words, it’s not enough to simply stop new fossil fuel extraction to achieve climate targets. Governments and investors must take action to close oil and gas fields and coal mines early, while implementing just transition measures at every step of the way.”
COVID-19 Recovery: A Pathway to a Low-Carbon and Resilient Future
According to a report from the Asian Development Bank, “countries can use the recovery to drive investments and behavioral changes that will reorient their economies toward a more strategic low-carbon trajectory, while simultaneously addressing underlying vulnerabilities and strengthening resilience.”
“Postapocalyptic environmentalism: A movement for transformational climate adaptation?”
This paper examines the strategic implications of a “postapocalyptic” environmental movement, which assumes that climate catastrophe is unavoidable.
The possibility of rapid transition: we’ve done it before
Is a rapid (and fair) transition to living within environmental thresholds even possible? Drawing on precedent, this pamphlet argues that “once we understand and accept the necessity of action, we’re even quite good at it. The past shows we can adapt fast.”