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This is my first blog post for the climate channel of UN Dispatch, an internationalist site funded by the UN Foundation. I hope to write a post per week for them to keep up with the climate beat.

Reports suggest that international climate negotiators meeting this week in Bonn, Germany are not focused on setting the stage for a binding climate treaty to be signed at the year-end conference in Cancun, Mexico. Instead delegates are trying to achieving what UN chief negotiator Christiana Figueres is calling the “politically possible.” What does that mean for the future of climate protection measure around the globe?

Internationalists holding out hope that the Cancun climate summit will produce a successor to the Kyoto Protocol are likely to be disappointed. After the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change failed to produce an international climate treaty in Copenhagen, its executive director Yvo de Boer stepped down, leaving leadership of the organization to Figueres. She appears to have scaled back the UNFCCC’s ambitions. Alex Morales of Bloomberg reports that she told delegates in Bonn it may be unnecessary to complete a full agreement in Cancun. “Decisions need to be taken, perhaps in an incremental manner,” Figueres said.

In spite of the recent failures of Australia and America to move forward with cap-and-trade emissions schemes, a handful of regions and countries have quietly taken the sort of incremental steps the new UN climate chief is advocating.

Click here to read the rest of the post or to make a comment.

Photo credit: OneEighteen (via Flickr)

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Fun factoid that didn’t make the final cut: four of the top five houses were from teams in cold-weather climates. The beautiful, fifth-place finisher from my home state of Minnesota is featured below. The full standings are here.


minnesota-solar-house-corbin-hiarThe US Department of Energy recently concluded its fourth “Solar Decathlon” in Washington, DC. The ten-event competition is a two-week contest between 20 of the world’s most energy-efficient houses. For the two brief weekends when the houses were open for viewing, the rows of futuristic abodes transformed the usually humdrum National Mall into the busiest and most high tech block in America. On the soggy final day of the contest, throngs of umbrella wielding architects and environmentalists replaced the standard assortment of tourists, protestors and ultimate Frisbee players on the nation’s quad.


Like the last decathlon in 2007, this year’s 
gold medal went to Darmstadt University of Technology in Hesse, Germany… 

Click here to read the rest of the MIL post about “The Homes of The Future.”

Photo credit: Dept of Energy Solar Decathlon (via Flickr)

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