Quantcast
Climate

Least to Blame, Hardest Hit: Vulnerable Nations Show Leadership at COP21

As the high-level Heads of State meeting wrapped up, emerging economies and developing nations took the spotlight at the COP21 Paris climate talks.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), representing more than 20 countries around the world most at risk from climate change, backed the inclusion of a goal to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 in the Paris Agreement. CVF, which includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam, also reaffirmed their commitment to a strict limit on global warming to no more than 1.5C, reminding the rest of the world that millions of people will be affected by the decisions made in Paris. Even more, the pledge demonstrated that poorer countries “aren’t waiting to be rescued.”

CVF’s ambitious stance also garnered them a Ray of the Day, the flipside of the more commonly awarded Fossil of the Day prize, which usually goes out to the countries that “perform the worst” at the climate talks. Instead the Ray awarded to the vulnerable nations lauded them for setting an example and making an ambitious commitment to fighting climate change.

Another highlight of the day was India’s willingness to partner with other nations to boost renewable energy development. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with French President Francois Hollande, launched an international solar alliance with more than 120 countries, calling it “the sunrise of new hope.” Most signatory nations hail from the sun-drenched regions of the tropics, but several European countries, including France, have also signed on.

This initiative is the latest and possibly the grandest expression of India’s embrace of clean energy to power its development and that of other developing nations, building on the country's INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions), in which India articulated its vision for decreasing energy poverty by massively scaling up its renewable energy capacity (to 40 percent by 2030) and cutting the carbon-polluting intensity of its emissions. The nation will be investing an initial $30 million with the eventual goal of raising $400 million from membership fees and international agencies.

Africa’s clean energy future is also looking bright, as 54 African nations announced the goal of producing 300 gigawatts of energy from renewable sources by 2030. That would nearly double the current generation capacity (of both clean and mostly non-clean energy) of the entire continent, entirely through renewable sources.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

$3.4 Trillion: Fossil Fuel Divestment Commitments Break New Record

Watch the Film of the Year: Racing Extinction

Obama: We Must Create a ‘World That is Worthy of Our Children’

These 4 Kids Walked to the North Pole and Now They Need Your Help

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, seen here speaking to the press about the Flint water crisis in 2016, will be the highest ranking official to stand trial over the public health disaster. Brett Carlsen / Getty Images

Judge Orders Michigan Health Director to Face Trial Over Flint Water Crisis Deaths

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon will be the highest ranking official to go to trial so far as a result of an investigation into the Flint water crisis, The Associated Press reported Monday.

Judge David Goggins ruled Monday there was probable cause for Lyon to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of Robert Skidmore and John Snyder that prosecutors say were due to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that Lyon was aware of a year before he alerted Michigan's governor, Michigan Live reported. Lyons is also charged with misconduct in office.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Coal-fired power plant near Becker, Minnesota. Tony Webster / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Trump's 'Dirty Power Plan' Could Cost More Than 1,000 Lives a Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled on Tuesday its long-anticipated replacement of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The new coal pollution rules will increase planet-warming carbon pollution and could cost more than a thousand American lives each year, according to the EPA's own estimates.

EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler released the "Affordable Clean Energy Rule" today under President Trump's directive. The new plan encourages efficiency improvements at existing coal plants to ensure they operate longer and allows states to weaken, or even eliminate, coal emissions standards. That's a clear difference from former President Obama's plan, which was aimed at phasing out coal and transitioning to cleaner power sources to avoid dangerous climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Two workers in protective gear scrape asbestos tile and mastic from a facility at Naval Base Point Loma in California. NAVFAC / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Why Asbestos Is Still a Major Public Health Threat in the U.S.

Reports surfaced this month that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had proposed a significant new use rule (SNUR) for asbestos in June, requiring anyone who wanted to start or resume importing or manufacturing the carcinogenic mineral to first receive EPA approval.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Rklfoto / Getty Images

Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Wants to End EPA’s Cruel Animal Testing

By Justin Goodman and Nathan Herschler

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress recently pressed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on its "questionable" and "dubious" animal tests. The lawmakers' demand for information on "horrific and inhumane" animal testing at the EPA comes on the heels of a recent Johns Hopkins University study that found that high-tech computer models are more effective than animal tests.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
Wikimedia Commons

Strongest, Oldest Arctic Sea Ice Breaks Up for First Time on Record

The Arctic is warming at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the globe, and now the region's thickest and oldest sea ice—also known as "the last ice area"—is breaking up for the first time on record, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

The breakage has opened up waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen-solid even in the peak of summer.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Climate Justice Edmonton

These Giant Portraits Will Stand in the Path of Trans Mountain Pipeline

By Andrea Germanos

To put forth a "hopeful vision for the future" that includes bold climate action, a new installation project is to be erected along the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion route to harnesses art's ability to be a force for social change and highlight the fossil fuel project's increased threats to indigenous rights and a safe climate.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
A worker inspects recycled plastic in a plastics factory. Getty Images

The Plastic Waste Crisis Is an Opportunity to Get Serious About Recycling

By Kate O'Neill

A global plastic waste crisis is building, with major implications for health and the environment. Under its so-called "National Sword" policy, China has sharply reduced imports of foreign scrap materials. As a result, piles of plastic waste are building up in ports and recycling facilities across the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
Aaron Teasdale

The One Thing Better Than Summer Skiing

By Aaron Teasdale

"There's snow up here, I promise," I assure my son Jonah, as we grunt up a south-facing mountainside in Glacier National Park in July. A mountain goat cocks its head as if to say, "What kind of crazy people hike up bare mountains in ski boots?" He's not the only one to wonder what in the name of Bode Miller we're doing up here with ski gear.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!