New IEA Projections of CO2 Emissions

In a statement release yesterday, the International Energy Agency concluded that global carbon dioxide emissions climbed to a record 30.6 gigatons by the end of 2010, a 5% increase over 2008 levels; this follows a slight downtick in 2009, probably entirely attributable to the global financial crisis. Even more disconcerting that this was the IEA’s overall assessment of the prospects of avoiding the 2C above pre-industrial temperature levels “guardrail.” The Agency concluded that 80% of power plant emissions through 2020 are now “locked in” due to plants currently currently in operation or under construction. Moreover, to avoid exceeding the 450ppm concentration threshold to limit temperature increases to 2C, the Agency concluded that the world could only increase its emissions by 5% between now and 2020, the same increase that we witnessed between 2009-2010! The uptick in emissions in 2010 is largely attributable to developing States, especially China and India, with only 25% of emissions growth in 2009-2010 attributable to OECD States.

An excellent source for statistics on GHG emissions and scenarios to avoid passing critical thresholds is the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2010. The 2011 edition of this publication will include more discussion of the implications of fossil fuel infrastructure “lock in” for climate change policy.

Unitar Course on Climate Change and Trade

WTI/UNITAR e-Learning Course

Trade and Climate Change

The World Trade Institute (WTI) in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) offers e-Learning courses in the field of international trade policy and regulation. The four week long courses are designed specifically for officials and professionals wishing to deepen their knowledge and understanding of international trade. The courses are entirely delivered via the internet, including thematic online discussions moderated by instructors who possess in-depth knowledge and experience of current trade challenges and issues. Certificates of Completion shall be awarded to successful course participants.

The upcoming course is entitled ”Trade and Climate Change”. The course, mentored by Dr. A. E. Appleton, will be offered from 20 June to 15 July 2011. One controversial element of the climate change debate is the relationship between trade agreements and measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. This course explores key legal and economic issues arising from the climate change debate, including the relationship between the WTO Agreement and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) that address climate change. The course examines the legality under international trade rules of domestic and international trade measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as measures designed to influence the behaviour of trading partners. Issues addressed include: subsidies and countervailing duties, border tax adjustments, the use of technical regulations and standards to address climate change, how the WTO Agreement treats process and production methods (PPMs) that emit greenhouse gas emissions, and the WTO negotiations on environmental goods and services. Particular attention will be devoted to developing country concerns, including the economic implications for developing countries of WTO rules and MEAs affecting climate change, as well as intellectual property protection issues and technology transfer, including their role in mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Registration is now open for the course. For further information and registration, please visit the WTI/UNITAR e-Learning website at

World Trade Institute, Bern

E-mail contact:

New film on Ocean Acidification

A new 12-minute film titled “Ocean acidification: Connecting science, industry, policy and public” (, was launched and well received at the International Ocean Acidification Reference User Group meeting in Brussels May 11, on the following day at the EPOCA policy and public day and the wider media since.

Since the launch last week the film has already been viewed in Australia, Asia, USA, Europe, Africa and South America and includes the RUG as an example approach for connecting stakeholders and brings together a wide range of stakeholders including HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, school children, a Plymouth fishmonger, a fisherman, a UK government Chief Scientific Adviser, representatives from industry and policy making departments, as well as a group of internationally recognised expert scientists and policy advisors from the International Ocean Acidification RUG.

Dr Faith Culshaw from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), who commissioned the film, mentioned “Communication between these groups is essential if we are to face up to the world’s pressing environmental challenges. This short film, which we at NERC were pleased to support financially, shows that getting all interests around the same table to face up to a challenge, understand what needs to be done and sharing the responsibility can and does work.”

Please feel free to show the film and/or share the YouTube link ( and/or add the link to your web sites; we will also have a number of hard copies available for distribution (please contact Thecla Keizer on ).

Brazil Debates Easing Curbs on Developing Amazon Forest

NYT reports that the Brazilian Congress is considering legislation to exempt small farms from current requirements to maintain forest on property within the Amazon, which would allow significantly more deforestation than current law. Along with the traditional concerns about deforestation, the effort to relax deforestation restrictions comes at a time when large sections of the Amazon appear to be approaching a tipping point. Recent droughts and predicted climate changes suggest that at least parts of the Amazon are on the edge of flipping to another ecosystem type from forest dieback. Such an event would likely have major biodiversity and climate implications — reducing or eliminating large swaths of habitat and releasing vast quantities of carbon dioxide. (A 2005 Amazon dieback caused by drought, for example, is a suspected cause of a notable spike in global GHG concentrations that year). With the ecosystem already teetering, now is not the time to relax forest protection law.

IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy

Many of my fellow instructors probably share my trepidation in discussing all of the potentially dire implications of climate change without a commensurate dollop of hope. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s new report on the potential for renewable energy would be an excellent student reading in that it both reflects optimism and a dose of realism in terms of the future prospects for de-carbonizing the world’s economy. Among the key take-aways from the Report’s Summary for Policymakers:

  1. Renewable energy accounted for 12.9% of primary energy supply, of which 10.2% is from biomass energy, 60% of which is traditional biomass from cooking and heating applications;
  2. Of the approximate 300MW of new electricity generating capacity developed from 2008-2009, approximately half came from renewable energy sources;
  3. The global total energy potential of renewable energy outstrips projected demand;
  4. The future potential of bioenergy will be substantially influenced by climatic conditions, including the future for bioenergy. However, there are substantial uncertainties in this context;
  5. Some renewable energy sources are currently competitive with fossil fuels, though many still need incentives. Capturing the externalities of fossil fuel sources would help to increase competitiveness;
  6. Life cycle assessments of electricity production from renewable energy yield substantial reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. ” The median values for all RE are ranging from 4 to 46 g CO 2eq/kWh while those for fossil fuels range from 469 to 1001g CO2-eq/kWh;”
  7. On the basis of 164 scenarios, the study found that renewable energy sources could contribute  in excess of a 17% share of primary energy supply in 2030 rising to more than 27% in 2050. “The scenarios with the highest RE.shares reach approximately 43% in 2030 and 77% in 2050;”
    1.  Potential global cumulative CO2 savings between 2010 and 2050 range from about 220 to 560 Gt CO 2 compared to about 1530 Gt cumulative fossil and industrial CO2 emissions in the IEA World Energy Outlook 2009. Only a maximum of 2.5% of technologically possible renewable energy production is assumed in these scenarios;
  8. A number of policies have proven effective in fostering increased use of renewable energy, including feed-in tariffs, fiscal inncentives by governments, and fuel mandates or blending requirements (transportation sector);
  9. Two markets failures that diminish deployment of renewable energy include the failure to capture the market externalities associated with greenhouse gas emissions and innovative market failure, i.e. firms underestimating the future benefits of investment into learning renewable energy technologies.

Among the discussion questions that could grow out of this reading include the following:

  1. Should biomass associated with burning of forest resources be considered a renewable energy source given the negative enviornmental consequences of deforestation associated with many of these technologies?;
  2. What are the primary factors that explain the large gap between technologically feasible le3evels of renwable energy production and projected levels of deployment?
  3. What methods could governments use to capture externalities?

New Climate Change Law Simulations

We’ve added an additional four climate simulations on the Teaching Climate Law page of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law:

Please send additional pertinent materials as you develop them in the future; we all benefit from our collective expertise!

Law Review Symposium Issue on Climate Geoengineering

For those of you who follow climate geoengineering, and/or interesting international governance issues, the Stanford Journal of Law, Science & Policy has just published a special issue on climate geoengineering. The Table of Contents and the URL (open access) for the issue is listed below. wil


  • Geoengineering Governance Systems, Gregory E. Wannier, Megan Herzog, & Darrell Atkinson;
  • The Asilomar International Conference on Climate Intervention Technologies, Margaret Leinen;
  • Considerations on Governance for Climate Remediation Technologies: Lessons from the “Ozone Hole”, Richard Benedick;
  • The Limitations of Geoengineering Governance In A World of Uncertainty, Bidisha Banerjee;
  • Climate Geoengineering, Solar Radiation Management and its Implications for Intergenerational Equity, William C.G. Burns
  • Geoengineering and the Myth of Unilateralism: Pressures and Prospects for International Cooperation, Joshua B. Horton


New Climate Adaptation Courses in Spanish

Over the past year a number of climate change specialists have asked if we would offer our adaptation courses in Spanish. We are now proud to announce our four course adaptation module in Spanish beginning May 17, 2011. Please read the course description below—or follow these links:

Español OL 340 Adaptación al Cambio Climático Basado en la Comunidad:

English  OL 340 Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change:

                Diploma Program: Integrated Community Based Adaptation, DRR, and Rural Development:

Estimados Colegas de LARC-L,

CSDi está anunciando el lanzamiento en mayo de su módulo con diploma de cuatro cursos en línea sobre Adaptación al Cambio Climático Basado en la Comunidad—CBA. Estos cursos empiezan por introducir conceptos básicos de cambio climático y se desenvuelven mientras los participantes identifican vulnerabilidades de comunidades locales, identifican riesgos y peligros del cambio climático, investigan soluciones apropiadas, y desarrollan proyectos completos, los lanzan y gestionan.

Información completa y plan de estudios:

Participantes del curso en línea están usando nuestros cursos para desarrollar proyectos reales y locales con comunidades de verdad—ambos individualmente y a través de colaboraciones con estudiantes del Norte y el Sur. Personas de 103 diferentes países y 200 organizaciones han usado los cursos en línea de CSDi para desarrollar proyectos en el 2010 impactando a 100,000 personas:


Más de 40% de los proyectos escogidos por nuestros estudiantes trabajan para resolver problemas relacionados con cambios climáticos. Este modulo de cuatro cursos lo guiará a desarrollar proyectos locales que se enfocan en la adaptación al cambio climático. Para practicantes que desean empezar a trabajar a nivel comunitario para adaptarse exitosamente a los desafíos que se nos enfrentan.

En nuestros cursos en línea, los estudiantes verdaderamente desarrollan proyectos con comunidades reales.

En OL 341 y 342 podrá desarrollar proyectos en el campo, pero proyectos que se enfocan en técnicas para adaptarse al cambio climático basadas en la comunidad.

En OL 343 y 344 podrá investigar los desafíos especiales en su proyecto de adaptación y refinar las actividades de su proyecto. Construir sostenibilidad e impacto dentro de su proyecto a través de la participación de los miembros de la comunidad. Aprenda como lanzar, gestionar, y entregar a la comunidad proyectos cuyos impactos no podrán ser medidos en años, pero en décadas.

Los recursos incluyen enlaces a sitios de adaptación especializados, artículos prácticos en identificando desafíos de cambios climáticos, e información sobre técnicas de adaptación.

Haga clic en los enlaces de cursos para ver el resumen del programa de estudio, precios del cursos, y cómo inscribirse: 

OL 341 Adaptación Basada en la Comunidad 1: Diseño y Financiamiento de Proyectos CBA

17 de mayo—11 de julio, 2011: 8 semanas.

Obtener un entendimiento sobre métodos contemporarios de desarrollar proyectos sostenibles, orientados hacia tener un impacto, basados en la comunidad. Adquirir herramientas de campo prácticas y desarrollar una variedad de habilidades; facilitar la evaluación participativa de las necesidades, diseñar proyectos con actividades basadas en evidencia. ¿Cuál es el conocimiento de su comunidad sobre cambio climático? Desarrollar un proyecto real en tiempo real.


OL 342 Adaptación Basada en la Comunidad 2: Planificación para el Impacto

19 de julio – 29 de agosto, 2011: 6 semanas.

Sembrar impacto en su diseño del proyecto con un set poderoso de herramientas de gestionamiento. Marco Lógicos, presupuestos detallados, cronogramas, hojas de datos que evoquen inspiración, planes M&E, resultados e impacto. Estas herramientas le comunicarán a los donantes y otros actores interesados exactamente qué se está tratando de lograr y pueden ser usadas para el manejamiento efectivo del proyecto una vez financiado.

OL 343 Adaptación Basada en la Comunidad 3: El enfoque comunitario

6 de septiembre – 31 de octubre, 2011: 8 semanas.

¿Qué significa la adaptación al cambio climático a nivel comunitario? ¿Qué herramientas prácticas están disponibles hoy para la adaptación de las comunidades? Conducir una encuesta de referencia sobre vulnerabilidad climática, un análisis de la capacidad de adaptación, y obtener un entendimiento de conocimiento local sobre los cambios climáticos y las estrategias para enfrentarlos. Para practicantes que desean empezar a trabajar a nivel comunitario para adaptarse exitosamente a los desafíos que se nos enfrentan.


OL 344 Adaptación Basada en la Comunidad 4: Implementación Sostenible

8 de noviembre – 19 de diciembre, 2011: 6 semanas.

¿Cómo lanzar e implementar un proyecto de adaptación basado en la comunidad? La importancia de la participación comunitaria y el co-gestionamiento del proyecto. Desarrollando habilidades especificas para el uso de su comunidad en el proceso de adaptación. Herramientas de aprendizaje: monitoreo & evaluación. Empoderamiento comunitario durante el entregamiento del proyecto. Sostenibilidad, seguimiento & mentoría.

Únase a 400 colegas en compartir recursos y colaborar en línea. La Comunidad de Desarrollo de CSDi invita a personas activas en desarrollo o interesadas en aprender, a compartir recursos y colaborar en línea desarrollando herramientas y soluciones sostenibles y orientadas hacia tener un impacto.

Visite nuestra compilación de 300 actividades para proyectos de Adaptación Basada en Comunidades:

Si tiene preguntas sobre el Programa de Aprendizaje en Línea, por favor ponerse en contacto a través del correo:



Tim Magee, Director Ejecutivo

Center for Sustainable Development

The Center for Sustainable Development se especializa en proveer información basada en evidencia, herramientas y capacitación para profesionales trabajando en desarrollo humanitario alrededor del mundo. CSDi es una 501(c)(3) organización sin fines de lucro.

Center for Sustainable Development

724 Via Santo Tomas

Claremont, CA  91711

Be sure to visit CSDi’s Development Community and join colleagues in sharing resources & collaborating online:

The Center for Sustainable Development specializes in providing sound, evidence-based information, tools and training for humanitarian development professionals worldwide. CSDi is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


New study on penguins and climate change

A new piece  (open access) published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences assesses the potential impact of climate change on penguin populations in Antarctica. It could provide an excellent reading in the science section of a climate change course as a case study.  Among the take-aways from the study:

  1. While it had been hypothesized that the populations of Adelie penguins, which favor pack-ice habitat in winter in the West Antarctic Peninsula and Scotia Sea, would decline in the face of warming, while ice-avoiding chinstrap penguins would see population increases, empirical evidence shows that both have declined more than 50% in the last 30 years in the South Shetland Islands, and 75% in the South Sandwich Islands;
  2. The primary reasons that both species have declined is a massive drop in krill populations (with density declining  80% from the mid-1970s and a 38-81% decline in biomass). This is attributable to increasing temperatur5es, and consequent reductions in sea ice necessary to sustain large krill populations, and increasing competition from recovering seal and whale populations;
  3. The decline in the reproductive capacity of the krill population, along with declines in sea ice, may ensure further declines in food resources for penguins and other predators in the West Antarctic Peninsula;
  4. Krill catches in the West Antarctic and South Sandwich Islands have increased four fold in the past  ten years, and may expand further given the Marine Stewardship Council’s recent certification of one company’s krill fishing operations as sustainable, and introduction of new products, e.g. Omega-3 krill oil.

This study is another cautionary tale in the realm of climate science; as the study concludes, a species that was believed to be a “winner” as a consequence of climate chang’may be among the most vulnerable species affected by a warming climate.”

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Climate Change Simulations

I’ve posted a number of climate change negotiation simulations suitable for use in classes on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Academy of Environmental Law’s website:

If you have developed simulations of this nature that you’re willing to share, please send them to me at: