Poland Climate Talks, Brazilian Target to Cut Deforestation, and EU Climate Package…I talk on Earthbeat

I spoke yesterday from Poland on the radio program Earthbeat about some of the happenings in Poland these first days of the climate negotiations.  It is too early in the negotiations for any news on details of the negotiations, but as I discussed earlier there are a couple of sub-stories to keep your eyes on during these two weeks (and some of them are starting to play out already).  Here is the general gist of what I discussed, but you should also be able to listen to it here.

Looking forward to next year.  A different mood exists at these talks as the world looks forward to a new Administration in the US that understands that solving global warming is an environmental challenge of unprecedented impact and an economic opportunity at the same time.  He also understands that means being a credible player in the international negotiations.  Still a long ways to go to get a strong international agreement to address global warming, but the chances have increased significantly with a new leader in the US and with a changing Chinese tone in these negotiations as the Associated Press highlights.    

Brazil and deforestation.  While we don't expect any major breakthroughs in Poland as these will occur in the lead-in to Copenhagen, there was potentially groundbreaking news coming out of Brazil.  On Monday, President Lula da Silva signed a national climate change plan, which included a pledge to cut Brazil's deforestation rate in half from today's levels by 2018 - from approximately 4,633 to 2,260 square miles.  [Note the report actually pledges to cut them by 70% from the 10 year average rate.  As you can see here the rate of Brazilian deforestation has fluctuated over the years so that is the reason for the difference in values].  While that is still a lot of deforestation-too much in many respects-it is a potentially groundbreaking action if they can meet it.  Their success in addressing deforestation has been a mixed bag of late, so it will require a sustained effort over many years and real actions on-the-ground.  I'll post more on the details later.

EU global warming leadership.  As I discussed in the lead-in to the meeting, there will be important decisions this week in the European Union on the implementation of their plans to cut emissions significantly by 2020.  It seems from all insights I'm getting here from European's that their emission reduction targets will be agreed-20-30% below 1990 levels-but some of the details on the implementation may get weakened from the strong starting point that was proposed.  [My cellphone reception got bad at one point so some of these points may have gotten missed during the radio program.]  And, that is what I'm doing now.  I'm in Brussels for the day to brief EU Parliamentarians to help (in my small way) to push the European's to stick to their tough global warming plans.  I'll post on my impression and experience from this briefing later.