Monthly Archives: November 2011

Jonathan Pershing Frames the US Stance in Durban

By Graciela Kincaid

On November 29th, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing swept into the US Delegation Offices and jumped into a 45-minute session regarding the US position at the negotiations. He held the invited American students enraptured, deftly framing the key issues for the American delegation and responding to questions. He provided an essential context through which to assess US action this week and next in Durban. Continue reading


Innovative Finance: Time for a “Hail Mary” for the Climate

By J. Timmons Roberts, Brown University Center for Environmental Studies/Adaptation Watch

So it’s come down to this, a “Hail Mary pass for the climate.”

At the end of an American football game, the losing team, down by three or four scores with virtually no possibility of winning, often resorts to a “Hail Mary Pass,” in which they line up a few guys to protect the quarterback, send everyone else down into the opposing team’s end zone, and then heave the ball up in the hopes one of their teammates will catch it. Continue reading

All talk no walk? How wealthy countries can meet their adaptation promises in Durban

By Spencer Fields and Dave Ciplet

As a part of the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, the rich nations of the world made a concrete dollar pledge to vulnerable countries experiencing the impacts of climate change worst and first.  Given that developing countries are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and have the least capacity to fund mitigation, adaptation and disaster recovery, these countries are in dire need of funds.

What have the wealthy nations done to fulfill the pledges they made in Copenhagen and recommitted to in Cancun?  Not nearly enough, according to a recent report published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and authored by members of Brown’s Climate and Development Lab.  Continue reading

“A Very Important Work”

By Brianna Craft

I’m sitting in the now-vacant breakfast room of my Durban hotel, using the Wi-Fi that doesn’t quite reach my room on the 19th floor and watching the clouds roll over the Indian Ocean.  From across the room, I can hear the staff gathering for what must be their monthly staff meeting.   After what I suspect are the usual congratulations for meeting the hotel’s monthly guest quotas, a manager strides forward to give the group a special presentation. Continue reading

Renegades Keep Climate Finance Tracking a Wild West

By J. Timmons Roberts

For a stretch of U.S. history back in the 1800s, two forces struggled to impose their social order on the expanses of the nation’s vast Western frontier.  On the one side were citizen “settlers” and their officials, trying to impose national laws from the East to make the place safe for building a society where joint problems like safety, land ownership, and building basic infrastructure got dealt with in a consensual and predictable way.  On the other side were bands of renegades or “outlaws,” who furtively sought the treasures of the land through their ability to terrorize the settlers and other bands of outlaws. Continue reading

US Players: Days Before Durban

By Kelly Rogers

On Monday, delegates from around the world will convene in Durban, South Africa for a two-week Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Delegates will pick up where last year’s Cancun negotiations left off, particularly concerning the contentious Green Climate Fund. At home in the US, spectators are watching our delegation’s position on the Fund–chiefly as it relates to public vs. private sector involvement. Recent reports about the lack of Congressional representation in the US delegation have observers worried about the domestic political viability of US promises made in Durban.
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Youth Activism: Hope of a Better Climate?

By Linlang He

“This world demands the qualities of youth- not a time of life but a state of mind: a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease”

— Robert F. Kennedy, “Day of Affirmation”
Cape Town, South Africa, 6 June 1966

The International Youth Climate Movement (IYCM) was first developed during COP11 at Montreal in 2005, referring to “an international network of youth organizations that collectively aims to inspire, empower and mobilize a generational movement of young people to take positive action on climate change”. Over the years, IYCM has offered its membership to coalitions and networks in over 100 countries. Each coalition or network within IYCM has had the opportunity to send a delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Indeed, China Youth Climate Action Network (CYCAN) became known to the world by attending the COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 as a member of IYCM. Continue reading