Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. April 22, 2013.
Drought is a natural hazard with often significant societal, economic, and environmental consequences. Public policy issues related to drought range from how to identify and measure drought to how best to prepare for, mitigate, and respond to drought impacts, and who should bear associated costs. Severe drought in 2011 and 2012 fueled congressional interest in near-term issues, such as current (and recently expired) federal programs and their funding, and long-term issues, such as drought forecasting and various federal drought relief and mitigation actions. Continuing drought conditions throughout the country contribute to ongoing interest in federal drought policies and responses.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34580.pdf [PDF format, 36 pages].
Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. April 16, 2013.
Over the past several decades, the United States has delivered financial and technical assistance for climate change activities in the developing world through a variety of bilateral and multilateral programs. One potential mechanism for mobilizing a share of the proposed international climate financing is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Green Climate Fund (GCF), proposed in the Cancun Agreements and accepted by Parties during the December 2011 conference in Durban, South Africa. The fund aims to assist developing countries in their efforts to combat climate change through the provision of grants and other concessional financing for mitigation and adaptation projects, programs, policies, and activities. The U.S. Congress—through its role in authorizations, appropriations, and oversight—would have significant input on U.S. participation in the GCF.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41889.pdf [PDF format, 16 pages].
Environment America Research & Policy Center. March 26, 2013.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a central strategy in the Northeastern states’ efforts to protect the region from global warming. The program, which took effect in 2009, has succeeded in cutting carbon dioxide emissions and demonstrating the effectiveness of cap-and-trade as a global warming solution while helping to sustain a growing regional economy. Now, nine Northeastern states are considering strengthening RGGI to drive additional reductions in global warming pollution. Strengthening RGGI would be a “win-win” for the Northeast, making an important contribution toward protecting the region from global warming while speeding the transition to a clean energy future. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
YaleGlobal. March 8, 2013.
Innovation in renewable energies is taking many directions, though implementation of best practices and policies is naturally slow to follow. It may be unrealistic to expect a global treaty on climate before innovation plays out. “Worldwide implementation may require getting comfortable with many different culturally appropriate approaches,” writes the author. “There are many ways to encourage carbon mitigation, but perhaps no single panacea.” Cost comparisons of renewables with fossil fuels are unfair as long as the latter receives the lion’s share of subsidies – by one report, the wealthiest countries pay five times as much in subsides for fossil fuels than they do for climate aid. Coal may appear as the least expensive source of energy as long as many governments disregard health and environmental costs. Individual countries and cities are developing an array of programs for climate protection, including carbon taxes – a good backup plan until the world reaches agreement on a fair and effective climate treaty. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Center for American Progress. March 7, 2013.
In the past several years, small groups of some of the world’s largest carbon polluters have joined forces to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as part of their overall efforts to slow the pace of dangerous global warming. These efforts include the G20 leaders’ 2009 pledge to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies; the launch of a number of efforts on clean energy cooperation through the global Clean Energy Ministerial starting in 2010; and the creation of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants a year ago, which started with six nations and has now grown to 27 countries plus the European Union. The report propose that the 17 parties in the Major Economies Forum, the U.S.-led coalition of the world’s largest carbon emitters, set a target of generating 40 percent of their electricity from zero-carbon sources by 2035, the “40×35″ target. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/40x35ZeroCarbonBrief-2.pdf [PDF format, 19 pages].