Sustainability Reads: January 19- January 25

Fact Sheet: U.S. and India Climate and Clean Energy Cooperation
Although not as ambitious as the US- China agreement, the ‘cooperation’ announced by President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi today (1/25) is a positive step forward in addressing climate change. The two countries agreed to cooperate closely for a “successful and ambitious agreement in Paris” and for progress on the phase out of hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) via the Montreal Protocol. Plans were put in place to accelerate clean energy finance and research, reduce air pollution, and reduce the impacts of heavy-duty vehicles and transportation fuels. Climate resilience tools, super-efficient off-grid appliances, cooling solutions, and other clean energy pilot projects were covered as well. India is the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, but the country’s large population of rural poor will be severely affected by climate change so it was no surprise that the strength of the negotiations were not on par with China.

California’s Forests: Where Have All The Big Trees Gone?
A new study shows that California has lost half of its big trees since the 1930s. The number of trees larger than two feet in diameter has declined by 50% on more than 46,000 square miles of California forests. Factors for the disappearance include logging, climate change, housing development, and fire suppression that lead to a prevalence of small trees competing with big ones. Additionally, areas with the greatest loss of trees were those that suffered water stress, mainly by raising temperatures. Raising temperatures cause trees to lose more water to the air and earlier melting of snowpacks, which reduces the water supply available to trees during the dry season. Pine trees seem to be faring the worst and oaks are moving in to replace them. This is sad news as the drought in California continues on. Article by Warren Cornwall on National Geographic, study by McIntyre, et al. published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

U.N. Global Compact Expels Hundreds for Non-Compliance
372 companies were expelled from this private sector sustainability initiative in the last half of 2014. Companies were expelled for not submitting their yearly Communication of Progress (COP) reports and brought the count of expelled signatories last year to 657 (or 10% of total signatories). More EU companies are part of the initiative compared to U.S. companies (2 to 1) and large companies tend to dominate in both regions. The ease of large companies to comply to the initiative’s requirements compared to small and medium enterprises continues to be a contentious issue. Additionally, “firms that produce and sell their goods and services in countries with efficient government regulation” don’t always see the benefit of joining this initiative. We think the framework is encompassing and valuable for companies to take on social and environmental issues, but more focus should be given to streamlining support for all signatories, elevating requirements, and addressing other weaknesses. By Jan Lee on Triple Pundit.

Also, check out everydayclimatechange on twitter this month for beautiful and real photos from photographers documenting climate change around the world.

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