A typical backyard in Patillas

At Yale, I am a joint masters student between the schools of Forestry and Public Health interested in the relationships between ecology, environmental health, and human health outcomes.  My internship, as groundwork for the thesis that I will write next year, hastaken me to Patillas, Puerto Rico.  In Patillas, the Center for Disease Control Dengue Branch has ongoing research on the mosquitoes that transmit the dengue viruses. The story of dengue, how it has emerged and how it is propagated as an urban disease, provides a powerful illustration of how many of the feats of modernization can lead to the spread of disease.

The trap we use to catch the adult mosquitoes

By Andy Barnett.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune published this essay online. It is from the heart:

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentary/79644972.html

Note that the comments fall into two categories:

1) Vitriolic climate skeptics who sound VERY similar to Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and the rest of the right-wing noise machine.
2) People who think climate change is an urgent problem that requires global response.

When the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy sponsored “Global Warming’s Six Americas” they suggested that Americans fall into these categories

“Alarmed (18%),
Concerned (33%),
Cautious (19%),
Disengaged (12%),
Doubtful (11%), and
Dismissive (7%).”

I’m fascinated by the Op-Ed comments on the Star Tribune site. Seems like the “Dismissive” group was fired up as soon as they read the essay. While they…

There is little encouraging news from inside the Bella Center today. Last night some drafting groups continued but with little progress. In parallel sessions at the high level, heads of state met from 24 countries with broad regional representation and there was consensus that some sort of deal should be possible. Working off of the Danish text, technical drafters worked through the night, hoping to arrive at a deal to present to regional constituencies for this morning. Unfortunately they were unable to come to any agreement and stopped work at paragraph 3 of 13.

Rumors are that another high-level group based on the so-called “Copenhagen Commitment Circle” convened by Australia and the UK have also come up with a text. The problem is that the process for producing this…

By Andrew K. Barnett

Dear friends,
After many sleepness nights at Copenhagen’s climate talks, I write to you with an urgent sense of hope. Not the ‘bury your head in the sand’ kind of hope. I’m talking about the ‘roll up your sleeves, put on a rally cap, batting in the bottom of the ninth’ kind of hope. Ultimately we must acknowledge that important work happens before, during, and after these talks. And it is this forward work that Minnesota can engage. If you’re following the news and wondering what you can do, here are some ideas.

First, global warming is undeniable, unforgiving, and urgent- and you can have this conversation. Distinct and multiple data sets indicate that human emissions are trapping heat in the atmosphere at unprecedented…

Currently ‘near-term mitigation’, still bracketed, crops up at the end of paragraph 1 of an obscure LCA text on “Various Approaches, Including Opportunities for Using Markets, to Enhance the Cost-Effectiveness of, and to Promote Mitigation Actions”, proceeding under paragraph 1b5 of the Bali Action Plan. This language is the final result of a long and heated debate over a proposal, originally submitted by Micronesia, on fast-track mitigation options. This proposal drew attention to a number of mitigation opportunities not currently covered by the international climate regime, specifically biochar, *black carbon*, and HFC abatement. The idea is that these could result in for more rapid reductions in radiative forcing then “classic” mitigation efforts (such as reducing CO2 emissions). This paragraph would establish a work programme to explore voluntary implementation of…

By Angel Hsu and Andrew Barnett, part of ‘Team China’ tracking the Chinese delegation a the Copenhagen climate negotiations. These posts are originally being featured on Green Leap Forward and also cross-posted on Climateprogress.org and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy blog.

As we predicted from the beginning, the negotiations in Copenhagen are coming down to two countries that could make or break a deal – China and the United States. As we mentioned in our post on Day 9, the crux of this deadlock seems to be centered around a few critical issues. The United States’ Congress won’t pass domestic legislation without key developing countries like China, which

It has been a strange day in the Bella centre… eerily quiet. The main hall is now a sea of unbroken black suits and subdued whispers, where previously it was dominated by the noise and colour brought by civil society. After yesterday’s protests, only 300 NGO passes were made available for today’s activities. This was an improvement on yesterday’s plan, which was that no NGOs would be admitted. Yvo de Boer is well aware that this means there is now essentially no civil oversight of COP activities, which makes a mockery of the UNFCCC’s objectives of transparency and civil society oversight, but says his hands are tied. Apparently he was told by his head of security that this was the only way to ensure the safety of the insane number…

Once again Parties are waiting for what seems like forever in Plenary 2 for the COP to begin. It should be working on the texts forwarded from the LCA, which finally held its closing session between 4 and 7am this morning after an all night session. Texts from the LCA were officially finalized and forwarded to be taken up by the COP.

The main hold up last night appeared to revolve around US objections to paragraph 12 of the Chair’s text which read:
“Developed country Parties shall undertake, individually or jointly, legally-binding nationally appropriate mitigation commitments or actions, [including] [expressed as] quantified economy-wide emissions reduction objectives with a view to reducing the collective greenhouse gas emissions of developed country Parties by at least [25-40] [in the order of 30]…