• Strategic Comments

    Lima climate accord: positive steps on the road to Paris

    18 December 2014. 

    Pledges made at the United Nations climate-change negotiations in Lima suggested a higher degree of commitment to agreeing crucial emissions reductions than has been previously on display. There is a chance that a substantive deal may yet be reached in Paris.

  • Politics and Strategy

    Jeffrey Mazo: Noise and Signal in Climate Science

    18 December 2014.  The last week or so has been a busy one for watchers of climate change and climate politics. On Monday I weighed in on the UN summit in Lima. But three other stories also drew my attention: new data on Arctic ice loss; 2014’s record temperatures and the end of the ‘pause’, and Denmark’s ‘claim’ to the North Pole. For all three, there is less than meets the eye, but...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Jeffrey Mazo: UN Climate Summit in Lima - The Road to Paris

    15 December 2014.  In the early-morning hours on Sunday, two days past the scheduled deadline, negotiators at the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, agreed a ‘Lima Call for Climate Action’. The decision ran to 22 paragraphs over four pages, outlining the ‘ground rules’ for national emissions-reduction pledges in the run-up to adopting a comprehensive global agreement at the December 2015 climate summit in Paris. Appended to the document were 39-pages of...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Jeffrey Mazo: What does the US–China deal mean for climate change?

    21 November 2014.  The 12 November announcement by presidents Xi Jinping and Barack Obama of their countries’ post-2020 targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions has been hailed as historic. It is important for a number of reasons. It is the first time China has made a formal, quantified commitment to emissions reduction (rather than merely slowing emissions growth). It reflects Obama’s decision to use executive action to cope with important issues, so as to...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Dana H. Allin: US Politics and the Climate Deal

    18 November 2014.  It is now two weeks to the day since President Obama’s party suffered another ‘shellacking’ – though he didn’t use the word this time – in midterm elections. There was much immediate chatter about the president’s supposedly diminished power at home and abroad. In a couple of news interviews and a blog post, I tried to put this in context. In terms of structural power relations in US domestic politics...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Jeffrey Mazo: Britain as an Arctic Nation

    03 November 2014.  Over the last four days I’ve been at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland. This international conference, now in its second year and set to be an annual fixture, brings together policymakers, parliamentarians, scientists, scholars, analysts, activists, businesses and others with an interest or stake in the Arctic. I had the opportunity to talk in the plenary session on Britain in the Arctic, organised by MP James Gray, who...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Jeffrey Mazo: Under the volcano

    14 October 2014.  Fifty-two years ago, on 12 October 1962, the ‘Columbus Day Storm’ smashed into the Pacific Northwest region of North America, causing at least $2 billion in damage in today’s money and interrupting electricity supplies to many areas for weeks. By some measures it was the most powerful extratropical storm to hit the United States in the twentieth century, and more powerful than Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Many tropical hurricanes, to...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Jeffrey Mazo: Can we afford to address climate change?

    01 October 2014.  In her post on this blog yesterday, my colleague and Survival co-author Shiloh Fetzek pointed out that last week’s UN Climate Summit in New York has reinvigorated high-level engagement and set a more optimistic tone for climate negotiations, although commitments to emissions reductions on the scale and of the pace needed to avoid dangerous climate change do not yet match ambitions. If, as seems likely, the world does exceed this...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Shiloh Fetzek: UN Summit reinvigorates high-level climate negotiations

    30 September 2014.  In the run up to the next ‘global moment’ on climate change, the December 2015 UN climate conference in Paris, world leaders assembled in New York last week to shift the politics of climate negotiation out of post-Copenhagen inertia. Despite a new level of commitment expressed by the US and China, the top two greenhouse gas emitters, leaders’ statements were generally long on aspiration and short on detail. Nevertheless, the Ban...

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