Sustainability Reads: December 8- December 14

A Welcome Shift at UN Climate Talks in Lima: A Focus on Action Now
As the UNFCCC COP20 came to a late close yesterday in Lima, Peru, the world was watching to determine whether we are any closer to an international agreement on climate change. Although a review of INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) or what countries plan on reducing in terms of GHG before next year’s talks was rejected, there were various key developments that can make us hopeful that an agreement is in sight. In particular, the sense of urgency that is no stranger to these talks was actually taken into account this year: one of the breakthroughs in Lima was that countries recognized the importance of reducing emissions today–not a decade from now. Nations must “move up the deadline for their next round of pollution cuts from 2030 to 2025 in order to start heading toward the targets today.” By Frances Beinecke at NRDC Switchboard.

Can organic crops compete with industrial agriculture?
A recent overview of 115 studies reveals that crop yields of organic farming methods are higher than previously thought and thus reduce the productivity gap between organic crops and conventional farming. Organic farming has traditionally been though of as resulting in low yields and therefore not taken seriously as an alternative to conventional farming in feeding the world. Enter this new study that suggests this gap may overestimated, and organic farming can hopefully finally be taken seriously a viable alternative to conventional farming. By Sarah Yang at UC Berkeley’s News Center.

New Yale partnership creates national environmental poll
Initial findings have been released from the first environmental poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). Key findings based on a sample of 1,578 American adults:

  • 56% believe global warming is happening and 20% believe it is not happening. Almost a quarter, 23%, are unsure.
  • About twice as many Americans favor U.S. participation in international climate negotiations as oppose it.
    • A majority of Americans say environmental protections will improve economic growth and provide new jobs in the long run.


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