COP21, Op-Ed29 November

COP21 begins with leaders segment and sober expectations

Sérgio Abranches

Paris – Expectations seem to be on the rise about a possible Paris climate change agreement. World leaders have learned the lessons from Copenhagen, government aides in the U.S. and in Europe said. They’ve probably learned lesson number one, if not the harder ones. Lesson number one was a simple one: don’t improvise; don’t leave deals unfinished; don’t meet at the end unless you’re going to sign something with substance; beware of the U.N. legal routines. This time they are not going to Paris to close a deal. They are meeting at the very beginning of the Conference, to deliver motivational speeches and to sketch out publicly the basic guidelines for their negotiators. They are not improvising. Their speeches will be full of feasible or done actions, and very few promises, if any. Everybody will play safe. More »

COP 2111 February

The clock started ticking for Paris climate agreement

Sergio Abranches

Country negotiators in Geneva have initiated formal talks ahead of Paris’ COP 21. After only two days of talks, the draft text for a future climate agreement has ballooned to close to 100 pages. Most of the countries added contributions to the original text, making it to more than double its size. Pages added were fewer than the required amount to absorb all visions and interests from all parties to the negotiation. It would have required more than 200 pages to accommodate all countries’ visions. True negotiations will now start aiming at streamlining the text. So far the Geneva environment was calm. It is likely, though, that selecting which demands will enter the text to be sent to Paris would have a greenhouse effect on the climate of negotiations. More »

Analysis29 October

The Political Economy of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Reduction of climate emissions from deforestation (now known as REDD+) was among the innovations introduced in the Brazilian policy agenda during President Lula’s administration and Marina Silva’s tenure as Environment Minister. Ideas and policies related to reducing deforestation evolved along two different paths that eventually converged: one ideological and the other political. The ideological path started outside governmental circles, initiated by researchers from independent NGOs who used the meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a platform to raise issues and form a coalition strong enough to persuade the government and powerful domestic interest groups to accept an idea they had been opposing since the approval of the Kyoto Protocol. The political path took shape when Environment Minister Marina Silva created a space in 2003 for the open discussion of policies to reduce deforestation, bringing together NGO researchers and government officials. In the political space where the ideological and political paths converged, the decision of the Norwegian government to support the Amazon Fund (Fundo Amazônia), announced at UNFCCC’s COP13 in Bali in 2007, legitimized the idea and contributed to the paradigm shift in Brazilian deforestation reduction policy that eliminated obstacles to the introduction of a REDD+ mechanism as an official policy tool. This paradigm shift represented the abandonment of the official and dominant view of REDD+ as an undue intervention of foreign interests in domestic policy, to the view of REDD+ as a legitimate and legal mechanism of global cooperation to reduce emissions from deforestation. (CGD CLIMATE AND FOREST PAPER SERIES #10)

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Treks27 September

The IPCC summary for policymakers is out. What now?

Sérgio Abranches

The release of IPCC’s Summary Report for Policymakers today has ended speculations that animated the social media over the last few weeks, but has not eliminated controversies. A full view of the scientists’ take on the scientific state of the art on the physics of climate change will have to wait for the final draft of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report due on 30 September. More »

Treks15 August

China on the path to become a green technology power

Sérgio Abranches

China is braced to become a green technology powerhouse even before it transitions towards a green economy. Although having to manage a huge carbon stock, after relying mainly in coal and oil to fuel its economy for many decades, China has become the world’s major investor in clean energy. More »

Treks02 August

Climate and conflict may be causally related

Sergio Abranches

US scientists report a remarkable convergence of results from rigorous quantitative studies showing that climactic changes are strongly correlated with a rise in interpersonal violence (assaults, rapes and murders), as well as group conflicts and war. More »