Environmental Issues: International Issues
All Documents in International Issues
- The Evolution of International Environmental Governance
- Since the 1970s, the international community has created a number of successful institutions and treaties to protect the global environment; but more work remains to turn commitments into action.
- Climate Report Card
- The world's top polluters had homework before the Paris talks. Here's how their pledges score.
- France Moves Toward a National Policy Against Food Waste
- In April 2015, French policymakers released ambitious proposals for a national policy against food waste, offering a rich set of ideas for prevention and recycling. Some measures, including a ban on supermarket food waste, are already being considered by the French Parliament, and others may follow.
- Clean by Design Grows to Scale: 2014
- NRDC launched its Clean by Design initiative in 2009 as an innovative "green supply chain" program to leverage the purchasing power of multi-national corporations to reduce the environmental impacts of factories in their suppliers abroad. Working with a number of prominent global apparel retailers and brands, we have focused this program first in the textile industry, notorious for its energy and water intensity and pollution load.
- Reducing Stress on India's Energy Grid
The Power Sector Benefits of Transitioning to Lower Global Warming Potential and Energy Efficient Refrigerants in Room Air Conditioners
- With India's already high ambient temperatures, rising middle class and fast-growing economic needs, air conditioning use is increasing rapidly. It is projected to grow five-fold from 2005 to 2030, resulting in increased demand on India's power grid. India's air conditioning market is in need of alternative refrigerants that reduce stress on the energy grid, operate more efficiently, open up new export markets and combat climate change.
- Stop Dirty Fuels
- As cheap, plentiful conventional oil becomes a luxury of the past, we now face a choice: to set a course for a more sustainable energy future of clean, renewable fuels, or to develop ever-dirtier sources of transportation fuel derived from fossil fuels -- at an even greater cost to our health and environment. Looking for fuel in all the wrong places puts wildlands, air, water and climate at risk.
- Clean By Design
Revolutionizing the Textile Supply Chain with Market-Based Strategies that Reduce Pollution and Improve Efficiency
- The massive amounts of coal burned by Chinese textile plants spread pollution across the globe. NRDC and the Council of Fashion Designers of America are working to reduce pollution by changing the way the textile industry operates and making factories cleaner.
- Rising Temperatures, Deadly Threat
Preparing Communities in India for Extreme Heat Events
- Extreme heat events already have had a significant impact in India, where summer temperatures are historically high. Coordinated action is needed among the many government departments and organizations to reduce the devastating health effects of heat stress on local populations. Ahmedabad is leading as the first Indian city to create a comprehensive early warning system and preparedness plan for extreme heat events.
- The Minamata Convention on Mercury: Contents, Guidance, and Resources
- It will take an international solution to curb the world's mercury pollution problem -- and the United States should lead the way.
- Increasing Resilience to Extreme Heat Health Risks Across Rapidly Urbanizing India
- The rapidly urbanizing Indian city of Ahmedabad experienced a devastating heat wave in 2010 that drove temperatures to a scorching 46.8°C (over 116°F). In response, NRDC and our on-the-ground partners, the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and the Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar (IIPH), are working with city officials and leaders in Ahmedabad to prepare communities for rising temperatures by piloting an innovative early warning system and interagency disaster risk reduction plan. Get document in pdf.
- NRDC's India Initiative on Climate Change and Clean Energy
- India is emerging both as an economic powerhouse and a global environmental leader. As India's economy charges ahead, the country needs to produce more energy to provide a better life for its people, many of whom live in rural areas and are very poor. At the same time, India has recognized that tackling climate change is in its own national interests.
- Renewable Energy in India
Employment Potential and Financing Solutions for Solar and Wind Energy
- Harnessing clean and renewable energy sources can help meet energy needs in a sustainable way and the growth of wind and solar power in India offers tremendous opportunities to create domestic jobs.
- India: Addressing Climate Change and Moving Towards a Low-Carbon Future
- India is an emerging economic powerhouse and a global leader. Despite the recent economic slowdown, India continues to be one of the largest economies in the world with a GDP projected to growby 6.5 percent by the end of 2015. In fueling this economic growth rate, India has become the fourth largest energy consumer in the world. This rapid growth and the accompanying increase in greenhouse gas emissions raise national concerns about climate change. As it develops, India is moving to reduce emissions intensity to protect its people and environment, and the new government is poised to continue leading these efforts. This fact sheet outlines the steps that India is taking to grow a low-carbon economy. Get document in pdf.
- Acting Now on Climate: How is Peru addressing climate change and moving toward a low-carbon future?
- Peru is on the frontlines of the fight against global climate change. Communities and infrastructure in low-lying coastal zones are susceptible to sea level rise, and a changing climate means new potential threats to important economic sectors such as fisheries and agriculture. Faced with these growing challenges, Peru is striving to address and adapt to its climate vulnerabilities.
- Dumping Dirty Diesels in Latin America
Reducing Black Carbon and Air Pollution from Diesel Engines in Latin American Countries
- Efforts to reduce black carbon emissions have become an increasingly important component of national and international efforts to fight global warming, particularly as recent studies have concluded that black carbon is the second most powerful climate warming pollutant after carbon dioxide.
- Building Efficient Cities
Strengthening the Indian Real Estate Market Through Codes and Incentives
- India's rapid development brings the country to an historic crossroads: to build using the typical old approaches, resulting in unprecedented increases in energy use and related greenhouse gas emissions, or to lead the market and shift to energy efficient strategies, enabling growth and constructing cleaner, healthier cities for the future.
- Building Smart from the Start
Spotlight on Energy-Saving Commercial Office Building in Noida, India
- As India experiences rapid urbanization and energy demand soars, constructing energy-smart buildings in the country's expanding cities is more important than ever. This case study highlights the former Spectral Services headquarters, an everyday office building in Noida that makes an extraordinary business case for energy efficiency.
- Concentrated Solar Power
Heating Up India’s Solar Thermal Market under the National Solar Mission
- Solar power can play a significant role in a secure and diversified energy future for India as the country becomes a hub for solar projects. More specifically, concentrated solar power (CSP) could have a unique role in India's energy mix. Its potential to use hybrid technologies and easily add storage could unlock dispatchable and base-load power, setting the stage for larger renewable energy penetration.
- Constructing Change: Accelerating Energy Efficiency in India's Buildings Market
- India is at a crossroads in its development path. India's building-occupied area is projected to skyrocket from 8 billion square meters in 2005 to 41 billion in 2030. To keep pace, India's energy production must grow 6.5 percent per year from 2011 to 2017. Energy efficiency will be the cheapest, fastest way to close the energy demand and supply gap.
- Greener Construction Saves Money
Incentives for Energy Efficient Buildings Across India
- India's continued economic development depends on providing more affordable, clean, and reliable energy and lessening the strain on current supplies, presenting an opportunity to real estate developers who can lock in energy and cost savings by building green.
- Laying the Foundation for a Bright Future
Assessing Progress Under Phase 1 of India's National Solar Mission
- From tentative beginnings, India's solar energy market is picking up steam. From 17.8 megawatts (MW) in early 2010, cumulative installed capacity reached 506.9 MW at the end of March 2012. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (NSM or Mission), launched in 2010, has catalyzed much of this growth. Even with 300 sunny days a year in most regions, creating a new solar energy market in India is no easy task.
- Retrofitting Mahindra Towers
How an Innovative ESCO Model Lowers Energy Bills With No Upfront Cost
- The Indian economy has experienced unprecedented growth over the last decade, leading to increasing per capita income and standards of living, rapid urbanization, rising demand for housing and expanding commercial office space, all of which strain India's current energy resources. Incorporating energy efficiency measures into India's building stock is an untapped energy resource with immense potential to help meet India's rising energy needs.
- The Prevention and Control of Shipping and Port Emissions in China
- China is home to seven of the world's ten busiest container ports. About 26 percent of the world's containers pass through the top ten Chinese ports every year. Every ship and truck brings pollution along with its cargo.
- Cooling India with Less Warming
The Business Case for Phasing Down HFCs in Room and Vehicle Air Conditioners
- Choices made in the next few years will shape whether Indian consumers, companies and government authorities can turn the challenges of the room and vehicle air conditioning expansion into business advantage and national opportunity while reducing climate change, improving air quality, and making air conditioning more efficient and less costly to operate.
- Connecting Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene with Fresh Water Conservation and Climate Resilience
The Need to Facilitate Integration in Development Assistance
- Integrated solutions can help end extreme poverty and ensure long-term access to basic human needs such as food, clean water, and sanitation facilities. Currently, the development sector all too often addresses WASH, climate resilience, and fresh water conservation as separate issues. Fortunately, though, awareness about the importance of integrated efforts to solve these challenges in development projects is increasing.
- Global Sustainable Development Post-MDGs
Building a new architecture for a new world
- In terms of negotiated commitments, Rio+20 is perhaps best seen as a starting point rather than an ending point for action on sustainable development, with the true impact of many commitments yet to be felt due to the long implementation times required. The world needs new structures and collaborations to meet the opportunities and challenges of a rapidly changing, interconnected world.
- Clean Energy in Chile
Powering Chile’s Future with Renewables and Efficiency
- Chile can meet its energy demands in the coming decades through a variety of "non-conventional renewable energy" (NCRE) sources and energy efficiency technologies supplementing its existing generation base.
- Fulfilling the Rio+20 Promises
Reviewing Progress since the UN Conference on Sustainable Development
- The June 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, also known as Rio+20, brought together leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector for the most participatory and socially inclusive U.N. conference to date. Rio+20 built upon the commitments made 20 years ago at the first Earth Summit, held in Rio in 1992.
- Evaluating Mercury Control Technologies for Coal Power Plants
- Coal fired power plants may be able to achieve mercury reductions of 90 percent or more as a co-benefit of existing pollution control devices already used by the plant. Controls designed to remove other pollutants can remove a substantial amount of mercury under certain conditions. Get document in pdf.
- Summary of Recent Mercury Emission Limits for Power Plants in the United States and China
- Both China and the United States have adopted landmark standards to curb mercury emissions among other pollutants as well from power plants, addressing the largest global source of mercury air pollution. Globally, coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury emissions, with China and the United States contributing a significant portion. In China, power plant emissions standards are expected to deliver mercury reductions in 2015, mainly through controls for other air pollutants, but nevertheless significant. In the U.S., significant mercury reductions are expected from coal-fired power plants beginning in 2016. Get document in pdf.
- NRDC in Latin America
- NRDC works with partners on the ground in Latin American countries to help develop sustainable solutions to pressing challenges, including protecting natural resources, meeting development goals, and supplying enough energy, food and services for growing populations.
- Saving Money and Energy
Case Study of the Energy-Efficiency Retrofit of the Godrej Bhavan Building in Mumbai
- Historic blackouts across India in July 2012 revealed the severity of India's energy crisis. Looking ahead, scaling up energy efficiency promises to be the fastest, cheapest, and cleanest way to help meet India's energy demands. This case study highlights Godrej Bhavan, an iconic office building in South Mumbai, focusing on the strong business case for energy-efficiency upgrades or retrofits.
- India at Rio+20: Putting Commitments into Action
- At the upcoming 2012 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, India will join over 135 heads of state and thousands of representatives from governments, business, and civil society to discuss sustainable development and the green economy. As a rapidly growing economy that is tackling the pressing challenges of development, India can lead in commitments during the Summit and in their implementation afterward. Working with partners in India, NRDC recommends practical actions to integrate sustainability objectives with economic growth, aligning with India’s priorities to address climate change, energy, food, water, and managing urbanization. India’s leadership, in translating its commitments into actions, is critical to helping the world meet the challenges of building a green economy. Get document in pdf.
- Delivering On Renewable Energy Around The World
How Do Key Countries Stack Up?
- At the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit -- Earth Summit 2012 -- countries, companies, cities, and individuals need to commit to increasing the amount of wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, and wave power throughout the world, to 15 percent of total electricity by 2020 -- more than doubling what is predicted under current trends.
- Peace Paddle: Laird Hamilton, Kelly Meyer Lead a Call for Action to Protect Our Oceans
- Hundreds of people joined together at NRDC's Malibu Peace Paddle to raise awareness about the critical problems facing the ocean. Now we need your help to make sure world leaders take decisive action to protect our oceans at the Rio+20 Summit this June.
- Rio+20 Earth Summit: Media Assets
Media materials for Rio+20
- Hansa Urbana’s Cabo Cortés Project in Baja California Sur
Investor Risk Advisory
- The Spanish developer Hansa Urbana intends to build a large-scale tourism and real estate complex called Cabo Cortés on the southeastern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. Due to its proposed scope and scale, the project could result in irreparable harm to vulnerable protected areas and endangered species, as well as negatively impact local communities. Environmental and social sustainability is necessary not only for the protection of local ecosystems and communities, but also to ensure the long-term financial success of a coastal tourism project itself. Potential investors must be fully aware of the serious concerns and risks associated with Cabo Cortés. Get document in pdf.
- Protecting Patagonia
Opposing Destructive Hydroelectric Dams and Promoting Sustainable Energy in Chile
- Chile's Patagonia is home to the snow-capped Andes, dense temperate rainforests, lush valleys and meadows, abundant marine and bird species, and traditional communities living a low-impact lifestyle. All of these could be devastated if a proposed hydro-electric complex called HidroAysén is constructed on two of the last free-flowing rivers in the world.
- More Water, Less Waste
Improving Global Sanitation and Freshwater Access with Waterless Toilets and Rainwater Harvesting
- Around the world, temperatures are rising and sources of freshwater are becoming increasingly unpredictable. Two and a half billion people already lack access to basic sanitation, and nearly one billion people lack access to safe drinking water. Adding to the problem, global warming is expected to lead to more floods and more droughts, both of which reduce the availability of safe, clean freshwater for drinking, sanitation, irrigation and other basic needs. Fortunately, there are technologies such as waterless toilets and rainwater harvesting that can be deployed immediately -- and cost-effectively -- to improve sanitation, protect existing supplies of freshwater, and create new sources of safe water. Get document in pdf.
- Safe Water in Peril
Addressing the Effects of Global Warming on Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation
- Nearly eight hundred million people do not have access to safe drinking water, and two and a half billion people live without adequate sanitation. These dire conditions already pose the greatest worldwide threat to environmental health, and global warming is making matters worse. More frequent, severe droughts and floods are increasing water shortages and causing widespread contamination and sanitation challenges. To avoid an outright global water catastrophe, local, national, and international leaders must urgently pursue a two-part strategy of reducing pollution to minimize further climate change and prepare vulnerable communities to deal with the changes in climate already in progress. Get document in pdf.
- Water for the World
Solving the World’s Most Pressing Environmental Health Problem
- For the nearly one billion people who don't have access to it, clean water is the world's most pressing problem. Lack of safe drinking water and sanitation is the single largest cause of illness in the world, contributing to the deaths of 2 million people a year, the majority of which are children. The solutions to this global public health crisis are well-known and cost-effective, yet more than 780 million people are without clean drinking water, and approximately 2.5 billion lack adequate sanitation.2 In 2005, recognizing the urgency of the crisis, the United States passed the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act, landmark legislation designed to address the need for global affordable and equitable access to safe water and sanitation. Get document in pdf.
- Climate Change and Health Preparedness in India
Protecting Local Communities in Ahmedabad, Gujarat from Extreme Heat
- In light of predictions of increased temperatures, rising sea levels, and changing disease patterns in India, there is a pressing need for increased scientific research and strategies on climate adaptation, focused on public health for the most vulnerable populations. Extreme heat already threatens the health of local communities, who suffer dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat syncope or heat stroke, and even heat-related death.
- Stopping the Massive HidroAysén Dam Project to Protect Patagonia’s Natural Heritage
- Chile’s Patagonia is one of the last untouched regions left on the planet. Among its lush fjords, dense rainforests, snow-capped glaciers, and powerful wild rivers, local communities live with a rich traditional culture. Yet, this unspoiled region and its communities are threatened by plans for a massive hydroelectric complex called HidroAysén that would dam two of Patagonia’s largest and wildest rivers. HidroAysén’s environmental review was deeply flawed and the Chilean public is strongly against the project. The project is simply not a wise investment. Get document in pdf.
- Race to Rio Earth Summit
- In June 2012, some 150 presidents and prime ministers will join 50,000 leaders and citizens in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the historic first Earth Summit in 1992. NRDC will be taking an active role in recommending solutions to build a more sustainable world. Learn more about NRDC's priorities and how you can get involved. Get document in pdf.
- The Rio+20 Earth Summit
Speeding up the transition to a sustainable future at the Rio+20 Earth Summit
- Two decades after the first UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, we're still waiting for action to address climate change and sustainability issues. NRDC will be taking an active role at the 2012 Rio+20 Summit. Explore here and check back frequently for updates on how we can work together to address the sustainability and climate crises facing our world.
- Clean By Design: Consumer Care
- Conventional dry cleaning is risky to public health and the environment. Consumers should minimize traditional dry cleaning services and wash more clothes at home in cold water and air dry when possible. Designers can help by minimizing the reliance on fabrics that need to be dry-cleaned and by educating their customers about cleaning alternatives.
- Clean By Design: Transportation
- Today, raw materials, manufacturers and retailers of apparel are routinely located on opposite sides of the globe. Any method to move garments from factory to market will impact the environment in some form, but retailers can make simple transportation choices to significantly reduce their pollution footprint and save money.
- Clean By Design: Fiber Facts
- The choice of fabric at the design table strongly influences the environmental impacts of a garment over its lifetime.
- HidroAysén's Environmental Impact Review
Weaknesses and Needed Solutions
- Chile’s environmental review of large energy projects has been a repeated source of conflict for communities, companies, and the government. Large and harmful projects, such as the Bio Bio dams in the 1990s, the Barrancones coal plant in 2010, and the current proposed HidroAysén mega-dam complex in Patagonia, were evaluated under a fundamentally flawed system. This inadequate system does not conform to international standards and it often fails to fully assess the environmental impacts or improve the quality of projects. The Chilean parliament revised the environmental review law in late 2010 to address some of the most problematic issues. But these changes are limited and came too late for the controversial proposed HidroAysén dam project, which is fatally flawed and should not be built. Chile should further reform its environmental review system to bring it in line with international standards and reduce potential risk around future projects. Get document in pdf.
- Protecting Nature's Treasures and Sustaining Livelihoods in Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula
- The Osa Peninsula is Costa Rica’s crown jewel of biodiversity, and truly one of the planet’s greatest natural treasures. Home to lush rainforests, breathtaking coastal landscapes, and rich tropical waters that shelter some of the world’s most spectacular biodiversity, the Osa has grown to be a model for small-scale ecotourism. Yet, the region is now at a critical juncture: increasingly, it faces threats from unsustainable land-use practices and large-scale tourism. The Osa Peninsula needs environmentally sustainable development that allows its local communities to thrive while protecting its unique natural values and sustaining biodiversity. Get document in pdf.
- Pipeline and Tanker Trouble
The Impact to British Columbia’s Communities, Rivers, and Pacific Coastline from Tar Sands Oil Transport
- The Canadian government is considering a proposal to build a pipeline under mountains and across rivers that could carry more than half a million barrels of raw tar sands crude oil (known as bitumen) daily across important salmon rivers, coastal rainforests, and sensitive marine waters.
- Saving Energy
Taking Building Efficiency to New Heights
- Efficiency is everywhere, but it is an invisible resource and often underutilized. Energy efficiency is the fastest, cleanest, and cheapest way to meet energy needs -- India alone could save $42 billion each year by largely improving energy efficiency in buildings, which currently consume more than 30 percent of the country's electricity. With a projected skyrocketing increase in building-occupied area in India, from 8 billion square meters in 2005 to 41 billion by 2030, any building constructed without optimizing efficiency represents a lost opportunity to lock in energy and cost savings for decades. Get document in pdf.
- Harnessing the Power of Science
India and the United States Collaborate to Create Opportunity for Breakthrough Clean Energy Research
- In November 2010, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and U.S. President Barack Obama launched the Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC), a key, bilateral $100 million effort under the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE). NRDC and our partners in India--the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)--share the objective of making this funding opportunity a success. We are disseminating this information widely to help ensure that the highest caliber of talent in both countries is drawn into this grant opportunity. The success of the JCERDC model could lead to bigger collaborations between India and the United States to accelerate clean energy, and catalyze low-carbon solutions to address both our countries' energy security and energy access needs. Get document in pdf.
- Chile's Clean Energy Future
Biomass, Biogas, Geothermal, Small Hydro, and Wind are Affordable Choices Now and Solar is Not Far Behind
- Chile can meet its demand in the coming decades through a variety of "non-conventional renewable energy" (NCRE) sources and energy efficiency technologies supplementing its existing generation base. But this will only be possible if Chile strengthens its renewable energy and energy efficiency policies to remove existing barriers and more effectively promote these sectors.
- Building a Brighter Future
Realizing Chile’s Potential to Become a Leader in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
- Chile's energy sector is at a turning point. It has enormous potential to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency to become a global leader. The country can take advantage of its remarkable and varied natural resources, as well as its expanding economy to foster growth in its renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors. Or Chile can continue to rely on conventionalenergy sources -- dirty fossil fuels and destructive large hydropower -- to meet the growing electricity requirements of its residents and industries. With the government projecting the national energy demand to double from 2010 to 2020 and triple from 2010 to 2030, the decisions Chile makes now will either unlock its potential for a diversified clean energy portfolio, or lock the country into a risky and polluting future. Get document in pdf.
- Working with Partners to Strengthen Environmental Leadership in Costa Rica
From protecting pristine natural areas such as the Osa Peninsula to advancing environmentally sustainable transportation and energy efficiency, NRDC is working with partners in Costa Rica to ensure access to world class best practices and international support and advocacy to meet the country’s carbon neutrality and biodiversity conservation goals.Get document in pdf.
- The Greening of U.S.-Indian Relations
A Review of Cooperation between the United States and India on Climate Change and Energy
- During his November 2009 state visit to Washington, D.C., Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh joined President Barack Obama in launching a Green Partnership between India and the United States to address climate change and clean energy. The Partnership has made remarkable progress, creating new relationships, structures, programs, and projects to provide a solid foundation for increased cooperation and commerce between the nations.
- Latin American BioGems
Saving Special Wild Places and Wildlife
- NRDC’s BioGems Initiative protects endangered wild regions and species throughout the Americas. In Latin America, NRDC has worked to preserve unspoiled ecosystems and threatened wildlife from Mexico’s Baja Peninsula to Chile’s Patagonia, working in partnership with communities and organizations to eliminate threats and to find environmentally sustainable alternatives.Get document in pdf.
- End Commercial Whaling
Renegade whale hunting threatens the survival of endangered species around the world
- Whales are still being killed across the world's oceans -- despite an international ban on commercial whaling -- by countries that exploit loopholes and label their hunts as "scientific research."
- Taking Energy Efficiency to New Heights
Analysis and Recommendations for the Buildings Sector from the Hyderabad Experience
- This report by NRDC and the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) examines the significant energy efficiency potential of India's real estate sector through specific analysis of Hyderabad's commercial and high-rise building sector.
- Capturing Energy Savings Opportunities Through Increased Building Efficiency
- Energy efficiency is the fastest and cheapest way to meet energy needs. Efficiency is an invisible resource -- one that is everywhere -- and yet often overlooked. According to McKinsey & Company, India could save $42 billion each year with enhanced efficiency; and the building sector could be a key source for those savings. Buildings already account for more than 30 percent of India's electricity consumption. Total building space in India will increase from 8 billion square meters in 2005 to 41 billion by 2030. Two-thirds of commercial and high-rise residential structures that will be standing in 2030 have yet to be built. Every building constructed without optimal efficiency represents a lost opportunity to lock in lower energy consumption and increased savings for decades. Get document in pdf.
- India Focus: Principles for Effective Environmental Governance
- India has the second-fastest growing economy in the world. This rapid development could exacerbate the already severe pollution problems the nation faces. There is a growing recognition that India’s existing structures to enforce environmental laws are inadequate to tackle the scale of the pollution problems. As a result, Indian civil society and the Indian environment ministry have put forward proposals to strengthen environmental governance in India, including government proposals to create a new agency focused on compliance and enforcement. To support these important efforts, NRDC’s new report, Effective Environmental Compliance and Governance, draws on our extensive experience in compliance and enforcement of environmental laws in the United States and elsewhere. The report considers the successes and failures of efforts in the United States and sets out key best practices for ensuring environmental compliance. Get document in pdf.
- From Crisis to Opportunity
How China is Addressing Climate Change and Positioning Itself to be a Leader in Clean Energy
- China and the United States are the world’s largest emitters of global warming pollution, and as both nations face an increasing dependence on foreign oil and dirty coal, their joint leadership is crucially needed to address global climate change and move the world to a clean energy economy. To combat global warming, China has committed to reduce its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, increase the share of non-fossil energy in its primary energy consumption to around 15 percent by 2020, and increase forest coverage.To meet these targets, China is moving to strategically establish itself as a leader in developing and deploying the clean energy solutions of the future: wind and solar power; advanced coal technology; electric vehicles, advanced batteries and high-speed rail; smart grid technology; and more energy efficient industries, buildings, lighting, and appliances.Get document in pdf.
- Clean by Design: Revolutionizing the Global Textile Industry
- Addressing the global health threats posed by the textile industry is a daunting challenge, even with more than 30 years of environmental victories under your belt. Yet this challenge spurred NRDC’s team of health experts to pioneer approaches that will help solve global industrial pollution problems associated with apparel, with a focus first in China, where most textiles are made. NRDC and its partner, The Council of Fashion Designers of America, are spearheading a multi-phased initiative called Clean By Design, which aims to revolutionize the way the apparel industry operates, from fiber and dye selection to fabric sourcing decisions to consumer care. This fact sheet explores the key phases of the initiative already completed and those underway in 2010.Get document in pdf.
- How Redbud Company Saved Money, Curbed Pollution, and Gained Favor from a Major Buyer
- NRDC and its partners in Clean by Design, an initiative to green the global textile supply chain, are recommending 10 practical, easy-to-implement best practices for textile mills that will not only improve manufacturing efficiency, but also save money and stem pollution. The Jiangsu Redbud Textile Company—a Chinese-owned mill that dyes cotton woven fabric supplying Wal-Mart among others—put our best practices to the test. And the results were profound. Get document in pdf.
- Green Textile Redux
Clean by Design's 10 Best Practices Offer Even Greater Pollution Reduction and Cost Savings
- Textile manufacturing has a huge environmental footprint, polluting as much as 200 tons of water per ton of fabric with a suite of harmful chemicals, and consuming tremendous amounts of energy for steam and hot water. That the industry is now centered in countries with still-developing environmental regulatory systems such as China, India, Vietnam, and Bangladesh only compounds the problem. To address the rapidly increasing global impact of this industry, NRDC and its partners are spearheading the Responsible Sourcing Initiative (RSI) -- a key element of the larger Clean By Design initiative to curb pollution from the fashion industry.
- From Copenhagen Accord to Climate Action: Tracking National Commitments to Curb Global Warming
- In December 2009, more than 120 Heads of Government attended the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit, the largest meeting of world leaders in history. Many of the leaders came to Copenhagen with new commitments to actions on global warming pollution. Presidents and Prime Ministers from more than two dozen key countries representing more than 80 percent of the world's global warming pollution hammered out the Copenhagen Accord.
- NRDC is Leading the Way Towards Climate Solutions for China
- China’s rapid development has created urgent environmental and energy challenges—-but it also presents a unique opportunity to help shape a low-carbon, sustainable development pathway for China that would have significant benefits both for China and the world. For nearly 15 years, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has been working to strengthen environmental protection and reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in China by working with central and local governments, research institutes, environmental groups, and businesses to develop the policies and tools needed to address China’s climate and energy challenges.
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- Cutting Through the Fog with China’s First Pollution Information Transparency Index (PITI)
- Developing a coordinated international effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions requires, among other things, that countries have confidence in each others’ capacity to monitor and mitigate their GHG emissions. Reliable emissions data in turn relies on the existence of governance systems that make energy and environmental information transparent and publicly available. In May 2008, the Chinese government took a critical step toward furthering environmental transparency by adopting a pair of sweeping pollution disclosure measures that for the first time required government bodies at all levels to make certain pollution information publicly available. The Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) and the Natural Resources Defense Council developed a Pollution Information Transparency Index (PITI) to carry out a systematic assessment of the first year of implementation for these regulations.
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- Identifying Near-Term Opportunities for Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) in China
- China is well-positioned to be a global leader in the development and deployment of carbon capture and sequestration (CSS) technologies that -- with broad support and engagement from the international community -- can be an important tool for reducing carbon emissions as the world transitions to truly clean energy technologies.
- Global Solutions to Global Warming
Recommendations for Leaders and Policy Makers in the United States and China
- Two nations play a vital role in efforts to curb global warming and secure the world’s energy supply: the United States of America and the People's Republic of China. Together, they account for more than 40 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use, more than 35 percent of the world's energy consumption, and more than 30 percent of the world's economic output, making their involvement in addressing the global warming crisis critical.
- Lethal Sounds
The use of military sonar poses a deadly threat to whales and other marine mammals
- Whales and other marine mammals face a grave threat from military sonar and other noise in the oceans. Manmade sound waves can drown out the noises that marine mammals rely on for their very survival, causing serious injury and even death.
- Bringing Safe Water to the World
Environmental stewardship can help eliminate the world's biggest health risk -- dirty water.
- One billion people around the world don't have access to clean, safe water. Developed countries have essentially eradicated diseases such as cholera, typhoid and malaria, but in developing nations, these and other waterborne illnesses kill 5 million people each year -- 6,000 children every day.
- Stop Electrocuting Patagonia
NRDC's campaign to protect Chile's wild places
- Chile's Patagonia, one of the most pristine places left on the planet, is being threatened by plans for a massive hydro-electric scheme that calls for dams to be built on the region's largest rivers and for construction of the world's longest power transmission line. NRDC is working with local, national, and international partners to bring smarter solutions and viable alternatives to discussions on the future of this treasured region.
- Smart Cities
Solutions for China's Rapid Urbanization
- The number of Chinese residents migrating from rural to urban areas in the next two decades will be roughly equivalent to the relocation of the population of the United States, a transformation that may bring disastrous consequences without careful planning. This December 2007 issue paper provides a comprehensive set of recommendations for smart growth strategies that promote more efficient use of land, services, and resources.
- Accelerating the Greening of China
Promoting Cutting-edge Environmental Solutions in China
- In the past three decades, China's explosive growth has resulted in serious environmental problems with impacts beyond China's borders. NRDC is working with key Chinese government agencies, research institutes, lawyers and environmental groups to help promote cutting-edge environmental solutions in China. These factsheets describe NRDC's work to help address some of China's most pressing environmental challenges.
- Costa Rica: Setting the Pace for Reducing Global Warming Pollution and Phasing Out Oil
- Already a world leader in renewable energy use and tropical forest conservation, Costa Rica has declared the goal of becoming the world’s first carbon neutral country. To achieve this goal, Costa Rica must reduce its dependence on oil and increase investment in domestic renewable energy production and demand reduction strategies. Get document in pdf.
- China's Greenest Building
A showcase for energy efficiency and sustainable design breaks new ground in the heart of Beijing.
- A showcase for energy efficiency and sustainable design breaks new ground in the heart of Beijing.
- China's Budding Environmental Movement
Attorney Alex Wang talks about what it's like to be in on the ground level of a new environmental movement.
- Attorney Alex Wang talks about what it's like to be in on the ground level of a new environmental movement.
- Environmental Law in China
NRDC litigators Mitch Bernard, Michael Wall and Alex Wang report from a training conference for judges and lawyers in China.
- NRDC litigators Mitch Bernard, Michael Wall and Alex Wang report from a training conference for judges and lawyers in China.
- If You Don’t Buy African Ivory, Why Would You Buy Amazon Mahogany?
- High consumer demand for mahogany has boosted prices and the illegal trade of these majestic trees from Peru to the United States, bringing disastrous impacts for indigenous peoples who rely on the forests, endangered species losing their habitat, and the long-term viability of commercial mahogany. Get document in pdf.
- What is a Biosphere Reserve?
These nature preserves balance biological and cultural diversity with economic development.
- These nature preserves balance biological and cultural diversity with economic development. There are 368 biosphere reserves worldwide. The 47 in the U.S. include Yellowstone and Everglades national parks and the Mojave Desert.
- Whale Nursery Saved
An NRDC-led coalition stopped Mitsubishi from building a saltworks at Laguna San Ignacio.
- Mitsubishi and the Mexican government announced on March 2, 2000 that they are abandoning plans to build a massive industrial salt plant in southern Baja California. The Mexican government had proposed to construct the saltworks in partnership with the Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan at Laguna San Ignacio, the last undisturbed birthing and nursery grounds of the gray whale.
For additional policy documents, see the NRDC Document Bank.
Get Updates and Alerts
- The Minamata Convention on Mercury: Contents, Guidance, and Resources
- The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty that addresses the global problem of mercury pollution.
- China's Budding Environmental Movement
- Attorney Alex Wang talks about what it's like to be in on the ground level of a new environmental movement.
NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs
- Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
- Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
- NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.