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A Salute to a COP Pioneer

Monday, 14 December 2015
blog
It has occurred to me that the climate talks provide a fitting memorial to Maurice Strong, the extraordinary Canadian who died on the eve of the Paris Conference. Maurice was the Head of the first intergovernmental environment conference in Paris in 1972. He and I sat down before the Rio Earth Summit, which he ran 20 years after Stockholm, and we reviewed what was new on the agenda. I immediately said "ozone depletion," and he agreed. The ozone hole was only discovered in the mid 1970s. I then said "climate change," and he reminded me of a remarkable book that he had commissioned for Stockholm. The Study of Man's Impact on Climate was the result of research by MIT scientists, led by Carroll Wilson. It set out the case for climate change action in some detail. It played a small role in the Stockholm discussions, but Maurice made sure that it was put on the agenda. Something in that study worried him.

Historic Climate Change Deal Reached

Monday, 14 December 2015
article
CIGI's Distinguished Fellow David Runnalls talks COP21 and the Paris Agreement and what's next for Canada and other countries.

Success in Paris climate talks isn't certain. 5 things to remember

Monday, 14 December 2015
article
More than 150 countries have come to the Paris talks with plans to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions, an encouraging global response to this major global problem. But, as in all such major negotiations, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Success in Paris is not yet in the bag.

Mitigating the Adaptation Debate

Monday, 14 December 2015
blog
Erik Davies
With the final draft of the historic Paris agreement in place, there is a reference that could be easily overlooked. Article 40 requests that further work be done on how to enhance linkages and create synergies between…mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology transfer and capacity-building. It points to a fundamental relationship that has, surprisingly, not been addressed until now.

CIGI experts comment on outcomes of COP21 and Paris Agreement

Sunday, 13 December 2015
article
Waterloo, Ontario — As the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) comes to a close, the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) releases insights from its international law and global economy and politics experts regarding the outcomes, including the final Paris Agreement released on Saturday, December 12.

Canada faces tough realities to reach Paris climate change target

Sunday, 13 December 2015
article
Shawn McCarthy, Bill Curry
After this weekend’s historic global accord in Paris, Ottawa’s climate-change focus now turns to reaching a detailed national climate strategy with the provinces by early March while also moving toward a North American agreement on energy and environmental issues.

The Road from Paris COP21: An epic journey begins

Sunday, 13 December 2015
blog
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change is the culmination of the year in which the global community seems to have come of age and recognized its interconnectedness, and the importance of linking development, human rights and sustainability. The Addis Ababa Action Plan, the Sustainable Development Goals and the new Paris Agreement, all concluded this year, embrace principles of solidarity, equity and sustainability and reframe intractably complex issues as matters of common concern for all human kind to resolve together in a spirit of sharing and cooperation.

The End of the Beginning

Saturday, 12 December 2015
blog
Before the Paris climate talks, I wrote a brief note for CIGI quoting Churchill's famous phrase about a decisive battle not being the end, nor even the beginning of the end. It was, rather, the end of the beginning.

Who Will Pay?

Friday, 11 December 2015
blog
As might have been expected before the talks began, reports on the eve of the expected conclusion of the Paris climate change negotiations suggest that the talks have become bogged down over who will pay the costs of adaptation. (See The New York Times, here.) Advanced countries want the rising middle-income countries, China and India particularly, to share more of the burden. Poor and emerging nations, which will likely incur the greatest costs of climate change, should do more to address the problem they argue.

The Calm before (or after?) the Storm

Friday, 11 December 2015
blog
While there are informal talks still going on and the whole thing could collapse like a house of cards, there is a pretty complete, literate version of the final document that has been circulated by the French Presidency. It has few brackets in it, which means that the French have been quietly speaking with all of the groupings about their removal, or that they have finally put down a démarche. Agree with this or object at your peril. The latter is very likely, but I still think that we are in good shape.
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