Table Of Contents

    On October 17, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at a Milan Expo, "Feeding the World, Energy for Life," where he asked world leaders to put aside their differences and agree to a climate change deal during the upcoming United Nations climate negotiations in Paris this December. This picture shows Secretary Kerry and Italian Foreign Minister Mogherini at the Expo. Image courtesy of the Department of State.

    White House Announces New Business Commitments on Climate

    On October 19, the White House announced that 68 new companies have joined the original 13 signatories of the “American Business Act on Climate,” for a total of 81 participating businesses. By signing the pledge, companies voice support for a strong international deal on climate change, and commit to taking climate action. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Walmart and the other participating companies collectively have a market capitalization of over $5 trillion, account for $3 trillion in annual revenue, and employ 9 million people. With the United Nations climate talks beginning next month in Paris, the Obama administration hopes that this pledge will help solidify efforts to reach an international agreement.

    For more information see:

    The White House, Fortune, Reuters

    White House Announces New Initiative on Climate Change Investment

    On October 19, Brian Deese, President Obama’s chief climate advisor, announced a new initiative to raise private capital for climate change investments. “Aligned Intermediary” (AI) has already raised $1.2 billion in capital investments from five long-term investors and four private foundations. The funds will finance innovative efforts in energy, agriculture, waste, and water. "Major institutional investors are ready to put much more funding behind climate change solutions," said Peter Davidson, AI’s CEO. So far, the University of California Regents has put the most money toward the initiative, with a pledge of $500 million.

    For more information see:

    Philanthropy News Digest, MarketWired

    Secretary Kerry Urges World to Agree to Deal on Climate Change

    On October 17, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the “Feeding the World, Energy for Life” Milan Expo, exhorting world leaders to put aside their differences and agree to a climate change deal during the upcoming United Nations climate negotiations in Paris this December. Kerry said climate change is "perhaps the most significant threat to global food security," and will make it more difficult to catch fish, raise livestock, and grow crops. Kerry noted this is especially troubling as global population is increasing, so that by 2050 the world will need 60 percent more food. “The hard truth is that unless the global community comes together to address climate change, every one of these challenges – droughts, floods, extreme weather, ocean acidification, hunger, malnutrition – all of them will only become more pronounced,” Kerry said.

    For more information see: Reuters, Politico, U.S. Department of State


    Sen. Bernie Sanders Calls for DOJ Investigation into ExxonMobil

    On October 20, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is running for the presidency, wrote a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the Department of Justice (DOJ), asking the agency to form a taskforce by December 19, 2015, to determine whether ExxonMobil committed corporate fraud. This request comes after investigative reporting by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times found that ExxonMobil may have fraudulently represented climate science as unsettled, when it had in fact uncovered links between carbon emissions and climate change as early as 1977. ExxonMobil denies the claims, stating there was no scientific consensus on the impacts of climate change at that time. Sen. Sanders's letter follows a letter from California Democratic Congressmen Ted Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier sent last week to DOJ, also requesting that the agency investigate ExxonMobil (see CCN for more information).

    For more information see:

    United States Senate, ExxonMobil


    Clean Power Plan Published in Federal Register; Lawsuits Begin

    On October 23, the Federal Register published three Environmental Protection Agency regulations: a final rule to limit carbon emissions from existing power plants (the Clean Power Plan); a final rule limiting carbon emissions from new and modified power plants; and a draft Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) to implement the Clean Power Plan. Now that the rules have been officially published, opposing parties have a 60-day window to file suit. Two dozen states led by West Virginia filed suit this morning with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, kicking off a legal fight that is likely to make it to the Supreme Court. Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) are also moving to stop the Clean Power Plan by introducing two resolutions under the Congressional Review Act, a rarely used law that enables Congress to overturn an executive branch regulation within 60 legislative days of its official publication. However, the senators' move is mainly symbolic, since they are unlikely to pass the resolutions with a veto-proof majority.

    For more information see:

    Federal Register 111(d), 111(b), FIP, The New York Times, E&E Publishing, The Hill


    EPA Releases More Guidance on Clean Energy Incentive Program in Clean Power Plan

    On October 21, just two days before the Clean Power Plan was published in the Federal Register, the Environmental Protection Agency released a document with "next steps" for the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), a component of the Clean Power Plan that encourages states to take early action on solar, wind and energy efficiency measures in low-income communities. CEIP is optional and offers only a limited amount of credits for early action. The document outlines specific parts of the CEIP which EPA is seeking comments on, solicits input from a diverse group of stakeholders, and announces a series of meetings EPA is planning with interested parties such as tribes and industry.

    For more information see:

    Scientific America, EPA

    Canada Elects Liberal Prime Minister in Upset, With Climate Implications

    On October 19, Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party took 184 of the 338 seats in the Canadian Parliament, defeating Prime Minister Stephen Harper from the Conservative Party after nine years in office. Trudeau, who has called for a more ambitious climate pledge than the one submitted by the Conservative government in May, promised to meet with provincial leaders within 90 days of taking office to talk about climate change. As the Paris climate conference fast approaches, “the world is expecting a change of tone, of priorities and of what [Canada] says on climate change,” said Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, who added there is still time for Trudeau to set a stronger emissions reduction target for Canada. Trudeau also agreed to work with President Obama to achieve a climate agreement in Paris.

    For more information see:

    The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, Politico, The Guardian, Reuters


    Nations Make Additions to Draft Paris Agreement

    On October 19, parties to the United Nations Forum Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) made over 50 additions to the draft U.N. climate agreement, expanding the 20-page document to 63 pages. The draft, whittled down to 20 pages on October 5, was seen by many developing nations as biased in favor of developed nations. Most of the additions were submitted by developing nations in the G77+ China and the African Group, who called for greater inclusion of issues such as loss and damage, adaptation, finance, and equity. G77+ China Representative and South African Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko stated that the previous, 20-page draft had jeopardized “the interests of developing countries.”

    For more information see:

    Climate Home (1, 2), BusinessGreen


    Study Links Increasing Costs of U.S. Hurricane Damage with Climate Change

    On October 19, a study published in Nature Geoscience stated that $2-$14 billion of the increasing cost of hurricane damage is attributable to climate change. Lead author Francisco Estrada, a Mexican economist, and two of his colleagues analyzed economic loss data from 1900 to 2005, finding a correlation between greater economic losses from hurricanes and the increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes, which are linked to climate change. While human population and wealth have increased since 1900, the authors state that socioeconomic factors alone "cannot account for the observed trend in hurricane losses." Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado, who was not part of the study, commented that the dataset should have also included data from 2006-2015, as the number of U.S. hurricanes during that period, and the damage they caused, "has been well below average."

    For more information see:

    USA Today, Nature Geoscience


    Climate Change Could Reduce Global Income 23 Percent by 2100, Study Finds

    On October 21, a study published in Nature found that unmitigated increases in the average global temperature will reduce average global incomes about 23 percent by 2100. The study, conducted by Marshall Burke, Solomon Hsiang, and Edward Miguel, found that optimal economic productivity occurs at an average annual temperature of 13 degrees Celsius (55.4 degrees F), with sharp declines occurring at warmer temperatures. As temperatures rise, fewer countries will be in or near the ideal 13-degree zone, leading to global productivity losses. Such a large impact on global GDP, according to co-author Hsiang, has long been considered “a low-probability catastrophe,” but their study indicates “it’s more like the middle-of-the-road forecast.” The study notes that the poorest 40 percent of the global community may suffer an economic hit of 75 percent.

    For more information see:

    National Journal, Nature, UC Berkeley


    Cutting HFCs Makes Top Ten Strategies to Meet 2 Degrees C Target

    On October 22, New Climate Economy released a paper recommending that parties to the Montreal Protocol approve an amendment to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) during their November meeting in the United Arab Emirates. According to the report, phasing down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol is one of the top ten strategies to keep climate warming below 2 degrees Celsius. HFCs are coolants found primarily in refrigerators and air conditioners. They can warm the atmosphere up to 12,000 times more than a comparable amount of carbon dioxide, and are increasing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent per year. To date, 95 countries have submitted formal proposals to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol. “An HFC victory is possible this year,” said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development.

    For more information see:

    New Climate Economy Report, Press Release, IGSD Primer on HFCs, Press Release



    Fire Experts Say Governor Brown’s Connection Between Climate and Wildfire is Unsupported

    Vatican Calls on Bishops to Support Climate Action Before Negotiations

    California Exploring Ecological Impacts of Solar Power

    France Launches Diplomatic Push for Deal on Climate Change

    Americans Never Been So Sure About Climate Change, Especially Republicans


    Authors: Michael Martina, Gabriela Zayas and James Richmond

    Editor: Laura Small