Climate change is a global challenge and requires a global solution. Through analysis and dialogue, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is working with governments and stakeholders to identify practical and effective options for the post-2012 international climate framework. Read more


Promoting Low-Carbon Innovation at Rio+20

As Rio+20 negotiators rush to complete a consolidated text of outcomes before heads of state begin arriving tomorrow, participants at hundreds of side events are calling on business and government to take stronger action on clean energy, poverty elimination, food security, oceans, sustainable cities, green technology development, education, and more.

On Sunday at the U.S. Center pavilion, C2ES and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) convened a panel of companies, small-business innovators, and business representatives highlighting the critical roles played by each in promoting low-carbon innovation and sustainable development.

Mobilizing Information and Communications Technology in Rio to Deliver Sustainable Energy for All

One of the centerpieces of this month’s Rio+20 summit is an important initiative called Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All). C2ES is pleased to be contributing to this initiative as a founding member of a new global partnership aimed at improving energy efficiency and curbing greenhouse gas emissions through the use of information and communication technologies.

Led by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, SE4All recognizes the dual energy challenges facing the global community. We need to rapidly expand access to affordable energy for the 1.3 billion people who now lack even basic services, but do so in an environmentally sustainable manner that doesn’t put their health at risk or threaten the climate stability of our planet.

Bringing Lessons in Low-carbon Innovation to Rio+20

Opportunities for low-carbon innovation are growing, driven by policy changes, market shifts, and continued growth in energy demand, particularly in developing countries. This Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, ahead of the UN’s “Rio+20” Conference on Sustainable Development, C2ES will have a chance to share what it’s learned about low-carbon innovation with partners from around the world.

With the Global Environment Facility (GEF), we will convene a panel of companies (Johnson Controls, DuPont), small-business innovators (from the Cleantech Open), and government and business representatives (from UNIDO and ABDI) to share stories and lessons from the front lines of clean-tech entrepreneurship. The event, to be held at the U.S. Center pavilion, will examine the keys to successful low-carbon innovation, and the benefits for climate mitigation and adaptation, energy security, resource efficiency, and job creation.

Toward Greater Transparency Between U.S. and China

Over the past five years, countries have been working through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to strengthen the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide. Because these issues are especially important to the United States and China, C2ES has been partnering with Tsinghua University to convene informal discussions among MRV experts from both countries.

In late 2010 with Tsinghua, we organized a workshop in Beijing on Reporting Practices Related to Climate Change and Other International Challenges. This initial gathering focused on MRV at the international level. Last week, we co-hosted a second workshop in Washington, D.C., on Domestic MRV of Climate Efforts

While the issues can quickly become highly technical, it’s important to remember why stronger measurement, reporting and verification are so important: MRV contributes to stronger greenhouse gas mitigation by building confidence among countries, helps them track national and international progress, and provides opportunities to learn from one another’s experiences. In his opening remarks, Professor Teng Fei of Tsinghua University characterized MRV at the domestic level and MRV of international action as two sides of the same coin.

U.S.-China Workshop: Domestic MRV of Climate Efforts

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
Download presentations on domestic monitoring and evaluation of mitigation-related efforts, and the role of measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) in effective emissions markets, drawing in both areas on domestic experiences in the United States and China.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and Tsinghua University co-hosted a workshop Beijing in October 2010 on Reporting Practices Related to Climate Change and Other International Challenges. We are continuing this series of informal U.S.-China workshops to help strengthen mutual understanding of domestic monitoring, reporting and verification practices and challenges and to draw lessons from respective domestic experiences.  

This workshop focused on domestic monitoring and evaluation of mitigation-related efforts, and on the role of measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) in effective emissions markets, drawing in both areas on domestic experiences in the two countries. Links to speaker presentations (PDF) are provided below.

Download the entire workshop summary (PDF).


U.S.-China Workshop: Domestic MRV of Climate Efforts

June 4-5, 2012
Washington, D.C.

Monday, June 4

Welcoming Remarks

  • Elliot Diringer, Executive Vice President, C2ES
  • Teng Fei, Associate Professor, Tsinghua University

Energy-Related Monitoring and Verification
Accurate energy data is an essential foundation for policymaking and for tracking program implementation. This session focused on the monitoring, verification and assessment of energy data, and energy-related mitigation policies. Presentations provide overviews of China’s accountability system for its national energy intensity target, the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) collection and verification of energy data, and implementation of California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.

  • Teng Fei, Associate Professor, Tsinghua University
    Experience with the energy conservation target accountability system 
  • Perry Lindstrom, Industry Economist, U.S. Energy Information Administration
    Overview of U.S. EIA’s energy data tracking system 
  • Clare BreidenichIndependent Consultant
    Experience with implementation of California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard
  • Moderator: Kevin J. Tu, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

GHG Monitoring: Government and Industry
This session shifted to a focus on GHG monitoring and control programs involving industry. It began with an overview of the new U.S. GHG mandatory reporting rule. Presentations then focused, at a more disaggregated level, on monitoring and evaluation in the voluntary SF6 emission reduction program in the United States, and the Chinese cement sector’s experience in developing climate mitigation-relevant MRV systems. 

  • Kong Chiu, Senior Program Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    U.S. Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program 
  • Sally Rand, SF6 Program Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Voluntary industrial partnership programs: SF6 and Electric Power 
  • Wang Lan, Professor, China Building Materials Academy 
    Developing MRV guidelines for the Chinese cement sector 
  • Moderator: Tim Juliani, Director of Corporate Engagement, C2ES

Role of MRV in Effective Emissions Trading Programs
The use of market mechanisms for pollution control has a well-established history in the United States and is being actively pursued in China. This session focused on the design and implementation of monitoring, reporting and verification elements within pollution trading mechanisms, starting with lessons learned from emission trading programs for sulfur dioxide (SO2) in both the U.S. and China, and how these lessons apply to the monitoring, reporting and verification of GHGs and carbon dioxide (CO2).

  • Janet Peace, Vice President for Markets and Business Strategy, C2ES
    Design elements of an effective emission trading monitoring, reporting and verification system
  • Jeremy Schreifels, Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Emission monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) for U.S. cap and trade programs
  • Wu Jian, Deputy Dean and Associate Professor, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Renmin University of China
    Lessons from Chinese programs: SO2 emission trading pilot programs and lessons for CO2 MRV
  • Jeffrey Hopkins, Economic and Environmental Policy Adviser, Rio Tinto
    An industry perspective: emissions monitoring and participation in market-based compliance systems
  • Moderator: Maurice LeFranc, Senior Adviser, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Tuesday, June 5

MRV in GHG Markets at the Sub-National Level 
In both the United States and China, the use of market mechanisms for controlling CO2 and GHG emissions has moved forward at the state and regional levels. This session explored the establishment of monitoring, reporting and verification systems for GHG emissions trading at the sub-national level, focusing on the experiences of state and regional governments in the United States, and the pilot emissions trading programs currently being developed in seven Chinese provinces and cities.

  • David Farnsworth, Senior Associate, Regulatory Assistance Project
    Perspective from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (North-East U.S. States)
  • Wang Yu, Assistant Professor, Tsinghua University 
    Status of China’s regional trading programs
  • Michael Gillenwater, Executive Director and Dean, Greenhouse Gas Management Institute 
    Perspective from California
  • Moderator: Anthony Mansell, U.S. Policy Adviser, International Emissions Trading Association

Key Takeaways 

  • Joanna Lewis, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University
  • Xueman Wang, Team Leader, World Bank Partnership for Market Readiness


Can ICAO Meet the Challenges of Responding to Climate Change?

A Senate Transportation Committee hearing tomorrow will be the latest show of ire against the European Union’s effort to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation through its mandatory Emission Trading System (EU ETS). From Beijing to Delhi to Washington, governments claim the EU’s unilateral move violates international aviation law.

Indeed, in Washington, this is one of the rare issues these days where Democrats and Republicans find themselves on the same side opposing the EU’s action. The Obama Administration has weighed in with a strongly worded letter from Secretaries Clinton and LaHood urging the EU to drop its unilateral efforts and to work through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to reduce aviation sector emissions. 

But if tomorrow’s hearing before the Senate Transportation Committee is simply another round of EU-bashing, it will be a missed opportunity to focus on the one solution that virtually everybody (including the EU) appears to support—effective action by ICAO.  Frustrated by years of inaction within ICAO, the real motivation behind the EU’s move may be to reignite efforts to reach agreement within ICAO.

Promoting Clean-Tech Innovation for Low-Carbon Growth

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
Download presentations from our side event at RIO+20

Opportunities for clean-tech innovations are growing, driven by policy changes, market shifts, and continued growth in energy and resource consumption, particularly in developing regions of the world. The next 20 years will be critical for the development, demonstration and deployment of clean technologies that can support climate mitigation and adaptation, energy security, resource efficiency, job creation, and competitiveness. This panel will feature recent projects and lessons learned in promoting low-carbon and clean-tech innovation and entrepreneurship in both established multinational companies and start-ups. Business leaders will discuss the drivers and strategies for developing solutions that reduce GHG emissions at the same time as they bring bottom-line value, improved efficiency, enhanced performance, or competitive edge in a global marketplace. Innovation experts from business and government will describe the steps that can be taken to recognize and support innovation and entrepreneurs in their countries, including the needs for mentorship and incubation for aspiring innovators and small-medium enterprises.

This RIO+20 side event was held on Sunday, June 17, 2012, from 5:00-6:30 pm at the U.S. Center pavilion. Links to PDFs of the presentations are provided below.

Opening remarks:

  • David Rodgers, Senior Energy Specialist, Global Environment Facility
  • Meg Crawford, Markets Business Strategy Fellow, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)


  • Clay Nesler, Vice President, Global Energy Sustainability, Johnson Controls, Inc.
  • Dawn Rittenhouse, Director, Sustainable Development, DuPont
  • Rex Northen, Executive Director, Clean Tech Open
  • Pradeep Monga, Director, Climate and Energy, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
  • Roberto Alvarez, Agency for Industrial Development in Brazil (ABDI)

This event is organizied by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)

Climate Negotiators Open a New Round

A new round of climate talks opened this week in Bonn, Germany, with the ambitious goal of reaching a comprehensive legal agreement “applicable to all Parties” by 2015.

Countries agreed to launch the new round last December in Durban, South Africa, as part of a package deal that also keeps the Kyoto Protocol alive, at least for now. The so-called Durban Platform negotiations offer governments the chance to consider new approaches and—one can hope—commit themselves to meaningful action.

Since the start of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 15 years ago, there’s been tension between two competing models—binding targets-and-timetables vs. voluntary pledge-and-review. And in actuality, parties have now constructed both: the first in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the second in the parallel framework that emerged in Copenhagen in 2009 and was further developed in Cancún and Durban. 

Climate Change's Impact on International Arctic Security

This blog post is cross-posted on the Center for New American Security's National Security blog.

Today we released a new report today titled Climate Change & National Security: The Arctic as a Bellwether. The lead author of the report is Dr. Rob Huebert, Associate Director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. 

Official military doctrine in the United States now holds that “climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked.” Nowhere is this linkage more clearly illustrated than in the Arctic, and that’s why we think the region is a bellwether for how climate change may reshape global geopolitics in the post-Cold War era. 

As the planet has warmed over the past few decades, temperatures in the Arctic have been increasing at about twice the global rate. And the Arctic sea ice cover has been shrinking much faster than scientists anticipated. The five smallest sea ice covers ever recorded have all occurred in the past five summers. As a result, the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Archipelago has opened up every summer since 2007, and the Northeast Passage along Russia’s coastline has opened up every summer since 2008.

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