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FINANCE:

Nations pledge a record $4.3B to offset environmental damage

Nations this week committed a record $4.43 billion over the next four years to help developing countries address climate change and other environmental issues.

The funding pledge from 30 nations to the Global Environment Facility will go toward a range of projects aimed at preventing environmental degradation in about 140 countries. Beyond climate change, the consortium of countries and institutions that make up the GEF also focuses on species extinction, toxic waste and ocean threats.

SCIENCE:

Global conversation on geoengineering steps begins in the most recent IPCC report

In its most recent landmark report on how the international community could avert climate disaster, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change discusses climate geoengineering in more detail than it ever has before.

In the eyes of the still relatively small group of scientists and policymakers discussing the risks and rewards of climate geoengineering methods, the news was cause for cautious optimism -- and a great deal of contextualizing.

CLEAN ENERGY:

Renewable energy rises, but IPCC authors warn that nuclear power must also rise to replace fossil fuels

Over the past decade and a half, countries around the world have taken unprecedented steps to shift their energy dependence from fossil fuels to alternative resources, yet carbon emissions from the energy sector continue to rise. The energy supply sector is the largest single contributor to human-caused global warming, and if the world hopes to head off potentially dangerous temperature rises, emissions from the sector will have to be sharply curtailed by midcentury, scientists say.

And yet carbon emissions from the energy sector continue to rise. From 1991 to 2010, they grew at a rate of 1.7 percent a year; over the following decade, that rate nearly doubled, to 3.1 percent a year, according to data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Notwithstanding a minor drop in emissions during the economic recession of 2009, the upward trajectory continues today.

Comparison of 2020 Targets and Ranges Pledged

Industrialized nations have put a variety of pledges on the table ahead of the U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen. For a rundown of the pledges, click here. (Updated: Dec. 15, 2009)

About this report

E&E tracks work on a post-Kyoto agreement for curbing emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

Negotiations

Major Economies

China, India

Developing Countries