Environmental Science

Governing Geoengineering at the United Nations? No, at Least Not Now

UN Environment Assembly

A proposed resolution falters at the UN Environment Assembly

At this week’s UN Environment Assembly, countries’ representatives debated a draft resolution regarding climate geoengineering. Unable to come to agreement, it was withdrawn Wednesday. This is not surprising to me, as — for the most part — leaders presently lack political incentives to take action. I am also not particularly disappointed, because a counter-productive resolution seemed fairly […]

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Does the Fossil Fuel Industry Support Geoengineering?

Fuel to the Fire

A misleading new report from Center for International Environmental Law and the Heinrich Boell Foundation demeans the discourse

Geoengineering is controversial in the climate change community, and understandably so. Proposed interventions like negative emissions technologies (a.k.a. carbon dioxide removal) and solar geoengineering (a.k.a. solar radiation management or SRM) involve large-scale intervention in the climate system that could have adverse physical or social impacts. At the same time, some geoengineering methods could substantially reduce […]

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No Restrictive Language on Gene Drives

Convention on Biological Diversity

Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity reject a moratorium-like decision

The recent news in international environmental negotiations has been dominated by this month’s  Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. (See UCLA’s Ted Parson setting the stage, the New York Times article, and Carbon Brief’s detailed report.) The recent COP of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) flew somewhat under the […]

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Supreme Court Issues Narrow Decision in Dusky Gopher Frog Case, Leaving Key Questions About the Scope of Critical Habitat Unresolved for Now

Fifth Circuit Must Now Review Whether Designated Critical Habitat is “Habitat,” & Whether Agency’s Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Critical Habitat Designation Was Arbitrary

The U.S. Supreme Court filed its opinion in Weyerhaeuser v. U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service today. I’ve posted about this case previously here (when our clinic filed its brief on behalf of preeminent scientists) and here (on the day of the oral argument in the case). (Note that this blog post, like all my posts on this […]

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Don’t Believe Everything That You Read

CNN solar geoengineering tweet

Solar geoengineering is often inaccurately portrayed in the media

If you had followed the climate change news over the weekend, you might have been shocked to see headlines such as “Scientists Prescribe a Healthy Dose of Sulphate Particles to Promote Global Cooling on the Cheap.” CNN tweeted that “Harvard and Yale scientists are proposing that we tackle climate change by dimming the sun.” And […]

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What’s New Under the Sun?

New Book Demonstrates the Hidden History of Climate Science

It’s a great regret of mine that I did not study the history of science either as an undergraduate or in graduate school. Then, it seemed to me like an arcane, recondite field — almost bizarre. Boy, was I wrong. Now in my rapidly advancing dotage, I recognize how it touches on so many of […]

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Another Possible Means To Keep Global Warming Within 1.5 Degrees Celsius

Did the IPCC bury the lede regarding solar geoengineering?

In my previous posts on the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), I described how models assume the use of uncertain negative emissions technologies at very large — if not impossible — scales in order to keep global warming within 1.5 or two degrees Celsius (1, 2; see also my colleague Julia […]

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Negative Emissions Technologies in the New Report on Limiting Global Warming

SR 15 cover

The new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on 1.5°C warming relies heavily on negative emissions technologies.

Last week, I described how the scenarios expected to keep global warming within the 2°C target, which was internationally endorsed in the Paris Agreement, had to assume the use of negative emissions technologies at very large scales. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international assessment body, downplayed this essential fact in its most recent major report, […]

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A Major Challenge for Avoiding Climate Change Hides In Plain Sight

Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage

If we probably cannot keep global warming within agreed-upon limits by reducing emissions alone, how could we?

Next week, the international body responsible for assessing climate change will release a special report on the 1.5°C target, an ambitious, international goal to limit global warming that became part of the Paris Agreement in 2015. The report might mark a significant turning point for how policy makers, the scientific community, and others think about […]

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