Sustainability Reads: May 25- June 14

The Sustainability Co-Op took a mini-summer vacation. but we’re back and ready to catch up on some exciting developments that took place over the past few weeks:

EPA airline emissions regulation is set to take off
Good news from the EPA: they took the first major step towards regulating emissions from commercial airlines, which make up 11% of emissions from transportation sector and 3% of total U.S. emissions. The step taken is the “endangerment finding” that officially states emissions from airlines contribute to climate change and threaten public health. EPA now moves to regulate such emissions through existing authority granted under the Clean Air Act. EPA is also working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on international emissions standards for commercial jet engines. By Bobby Magill on Greenbiz.

10 ways the next president could cut carbon emissions- even without Congress
This article frames WRI’s “10-point plan toward a low-carbon future” paper as potential avenues for Hilary Clinton’s stated “aggressive” approach to climate change. We hope it looks something like this…

  1. Follow through on Obama’s Clean Power Plan
  2. Strengthen energy efficiency standards for homes and buildings
  3. Expand programs to reduce HFCs
  4. Start regulating industrial CO2 sources
  5. Crack down on methane leaks from oil and gas infrastructure (this is a big one for us here at the Sustainability Co-Op)
  6. Expand fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks
  7. Set new standards for heavy trucks
  8. Set CO2 rules for aircraft (On our way- great news- this article was written before EPA announcement)
  9. Reduce methane from landfills and agriculture (Another trigger for us here, methane just needs to be addressed asap)
  10. Tackle miscellaneous greenhouse gases (Yes, everything else can add up!)

70% of the above are expanding policies Obama already put in place, so that makes it even easier for the next president to continue addressing climate change. And we hope it’s Hilary. WRI report here, article by Brad Plumer at Vox.

The U.N. surprises everyone with a breakthrough deal to slow deforestation
A new, surprise agreement was made by diplomats at the UN Climate Negotiations in Bonn, Germany this week. The agreement acts to support developing countries that agree to preserve their forests. It does so by “straightening out some key details” of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative, which has been in the making for over 10 years. The article notes that key details have held the initiative up, as well as the funding factor. Money for the developing countries could come from either the private sector or groups like the World Bank or the U.N.’s struggling Green Climate Fund.

And for further reading, this study by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) does a great job of using statistical analysis to gauge progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goal #7: Ensuring Environmental Sustainability. It’s all about the indicators.

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