Current Yale F&ES Students with Dean Tony La Viña of the Ateneo School of Government and F&ES Professor Ben Cashore.

Amidst all the madness at this year’s climate negotiations, the friendly faces of Yale delegates and F&ES alumni in the hallways of the Warsaw National Stadium are a welcome relief.  As tradition dictates, we held a TGIF (Thank God I’m a Forester) reception last Saturday to bring together Yalies and friends of Yale to share stories over drinks.

Speaking as a key note at the Yale TGIF reception, Tony La Viña (LL.M. ’92, J.S.D. ’95), dean of the Ateneo School of Government in Manila, reminisced about his time at Yale and his pathway through the climate change negotiations. La Viña has attended 15 out of 19 UNFCCC Conference of the Parties. And, the four years he took a break was during the middle of the Bush Administration, when…

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(Reposted from IUFRO Blog: Posted November 16, 2013 by IUFRO in Global Landscape Forum – Social Reporting.)

Over the last 30 years practitioners and scholars have been dealing with a range of interventions designed to improve global forest management. These included criteria and indicators (C&I), forest certification and, more recently, legality verification and REDD+, to name but a few.

Editor of the Series Benjamin Cashore, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Despite these well intended efforts, frustration exists about their impacts on the ground when addressing deforestation, forest degradation, carbon emissions, and improving the livelihoods of forest dependent people.

Often, potentially transformative interventions are “abandoned” prematurely and replaced…

16 Yale students have joined hundreds of others in the symbolic Fast for the Climate

“We have entered a new era that demands global solidarity in order to fight climate change and ensure that pursuit of sustainable human development remains at the fore of the global community’s efforts.”

- Yeb Sano, Lead Negotiator for the Philippines at the UNFCCC

This year’s international UN climate negotiation started off with an extraordinary personal and heroic action. The lead climate negotiator for the Philippines declared a fast for the duration of the two-week COP19. The fast is a symbolic display of empathy for the thousands of Filipinos struggling to survive in the deadly aftermath of Typhoon Hyain, the thousands who did not survive, and the future generations who will suffer the consequences of our failure to act.

The decision to fast makes this issue…

Ending this Climate Madness

Even before the climate negotiations began this week, Typhoon Haiyan sent a message to the world – a message that is still making waves. The strength and trajectory of Typhoon Haiyan was unprecedented, even for the Philippines, an island nation that experiences more disasters than most. In response, the lead Filipino negotiator declared a fast for the duration of the climate negotiations until progress has been made to “stop this madness.”

I spent last summer in Manila, Philippines researching the policy dimension of climate change and cities, so this plea for action hits home. For decades, climate scientists have predicted an increase in storm intensity and weather extremes due to anthropogenic climate change. Yet, when this prediction becomes reality, people run to the scientists asking for the…

Bringing the fossil fuel divestment conversation to the UN climate talks

Thanks to the support of the YCEI COP Fellowship, I am representing Fossil Free Yale at an international Fossil Free gathering at the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) 19th annual Conference of the Parties (COP 19) in Warsaw. Fossil Free is a movement born in response to international inaction on meaningful climate agreements. Thus, Fossil Free has come to COP 19 to bring our message to the international negotiations. Together with youth-led NGOs, SustainUS and the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC), we are leading a side event on Friday, November 15 on The Potential of Divestment: Changing the Landscape of Climate Politics and Its Relevance to 2015.

Divestment uses the power of investing to change the world. It is a tried and true tactic…

REDD-y... Set... Finance!

As international negotiations on REDD+ get underway this week at the UNFCCC’s 19th Conference of the Parties, it’s important to ask, what could COP-19 mean for the world’s forests and climate? What needs to come together over the next week or so in Warsaw to push REDD+ closer to becoming a reality? As the negative impacts of climate change become more and more palpable, REDD+ needs to take off and start its race against a warming world.

On Your Mark… Global Importance of REDD+

Greenhouse gas emissions from forests contribute ~17% of global anthropogenic emissions (IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, 2007). Because of this, forests must play a big role in efforts to address climate change.

REDD+ has enormous potential as a strategy to reduce emissions from the…

As I await the start of the 19th Conference of Parties (COP19) on Climate Change tomorrow to be held here in Warsaw, I try to reflect on its significance for me. Throughout the course I am taking at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) on “International Organizations and Conferences”, outstanding experts, ambassadors and people who have made it their life’s work to be involved in climate change negotiations have not pinned their hopes on the outcome in Warsaw. Seriously, for them, Warsaw will not be a game-changer. I don’t like to bet. However, as far as the Philippines is concerned, typhoon Haiyan raised the stakes here.

As I write this, I am literally going through so many updates from different news agencies that have painted a…