Tagged: climate change

COP22 in Marrakech: key outcomes

In the early morning of last Saturday, negotiations at COP22 in Marrakech came to an end. If it’s unclear to you what exactly came out of this year’s UNFCCC climate conference –or worse, you were unaware that one was happening– you have come to the right place. In this article I summarize what happened, and what didn’t. So without further ado, let’s dive into it.

If you would ask me if I am enthusiastic about the proceedings of COP22, my spontaneous reaction would probably be ‘meh’. It has to be said: it was supposed to become the COP of action, where the actual implementation of the applauded Paris Agreement would take shape. Indeed, the conference started with very good vibes (more…)


Brexit and its impact on the climate


Thursday the 23rd of June 2016 will be remembered as a historical day. In a referendum, the Brits voted to leave the European Union –or at least 52% did. For the first time since the six founding members kick-started the European project for economic collaboration and peace building in 1958, a member state leaves the family.

The result sent shock waves through the world. A lot has been said and written and one thing is very clear: the United in United Kingdom is at an all-time low. The impacts of the Brexit on the climate have mainly stayed under the radar. I’ll do my best to present you some food for thought.

photo: Reuters/Toby Melville

photo: Reuters/Toby Melville



Born of Hope

photo courtesy

Now the media attention about COP21 has died out a bit and I had the chance to have a better look at the Paris Agreement, it’s time to make up the balance of the text called historical by the negotiators and bullsh*t by climate activists.

If you ask me, reaching any agreement between 195 countries on a topic that affects nearly all aspects of our societies is quite historical whatsoever. It took them twenty-one climate summits to get it, that is twenty too many. But hey, here we are.

Is it enough? Of course not. But if you read my blog post at the beginning of COP21, you know that I was not expecting that. To be honest, when I was going through the drafts of the agreement circulating during the two-week summit, I was optimistic. Some of the good things have made it to the final text, some have not.



Photo of the week: Earth day celebrates its 45th birthday

45 years ago, US senator Nelson organised what he called a “national teach-in on the environment”. The Americans were polluting as never before, but didn’t bother about the possible results of their emissions. Instead, protests against the war in Vietnam were the order of the day. Nelson believed he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution and their country, and believed it would inforce political action. And he succeeded. That 22nd of April 1970, 20 million people took to the streets for a sustainable way of living. In the next years, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) was founded, the Clean Air act, Endangered species act and Clean Water act were passed in congress. Earth Day became a yearly tradition and spread all over the world, fostering action to demand environmental protection. It created a social and political platform that is likely to have contributed to the first United Nations Earth Summit in 1992, often seen as the first global conference on climate policy (read more about in my post about the history of climate change policy). Today Earth day celebrates its 45th birthday and the message is clearer and more urgent than ever. Back in the early days, the science of climate change was not yet fully settled. Nowadays, 98% of climate scientists agree present man-made climate change is threatening the Earth in drastic ways. Action is needed, not only the twenty second of April, but every day from now on.

A Pace College student wearing a gas mask smells a magnolia blossom on Earth Day, April 22, 1970 (photo: AP Photo)

A New York city student wearing a gas mask smells a magnolia blossom on Earth Day, April 22, 1970 (photo: AP Photo)