Photo: Mariusz Patalan/Climate Centre

On Saturday November 16th was the first day of Development and Climate Days (D&C) at COP19. D&C Days, an extremely participatory event, was hosted by the GEFJICARed Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre (RCCC), IIED and ICCCADI, along with my team partners at Yale, Verner Wilson and Rex Barrer,co-facilitated climate change games at D&C Days. We interned with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre as a component of the International Organizations and Conference Class that we are taking at at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In this post I want to share my reflections on how D&C Days, with an innovative conference approach, positively inspired participants to take action on climate change.

At D&C Days the first session of talks was about a diverse range…

Apples branded with the COP 19 logo that were distributed widely at COP-19 by Poland’s Ministry of Environment

From the first day I arrived in Warsaw for the UNFCCC’s 19th Conference of the Parties, there was an atmosphere of cautious excitement surrounding the negotiations on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). A week of negotiating had already taken place, resulting in consensus on two contentious technical issues, one of which had led to the breakdown of the REDD+ negotiations at last year’s COP. Agreement on these issues was an enormous accomplishment and, if adopted, would mean that the five major technical elements of the REDD+ framework would be complete. Enthusiasm was reined in, however, by the understanding that these technical elements would be held hostage for a decision on long-term REDD+ finance. It was an all-or-nothing deal: either the package of both technical and finance…

Giving #ClimateThanks This Week

When it comes to the state of the climate, there are plenty of reasons for concern. But there are also reasons for gratitude, the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication says.

This Thanksgiving week, the F&ES-based group is using Twitter to call attention to the people and organizations making a difference in the climate fight – and asking others to do the same.

They’re calling it #ClimateThanks.

“With friends and colleagues across the climate community, we are taking a moment to tweet or post who or what we are thankful for in the fight for a safe climate,” the group wrote on its website. “Please Tweet #ClimateThanks and help us raise awareness about the amazing things people are doing and build a stronger…

“The Professional Degrees”

The Master of Environmental Management
The “MEM” is by far the most common degree in F&ES. About twice as many students do the MEM than the other degrees. It has 10 specializations, which you may or may not choose to participate in; business and the environment; climate science, adaptation and mitigation; ecosystem conservation and management; energy and the environment; environmental policy analysis; human dimensions of environmental management; sustainable land management; sustainable urban and industrial systems; urban ecology; water resources management. Specializations can be helpful to carve a path through a master’s degree, especially at Yale where the opportunities, events, and groups can be incredibly overwhelming. Employers see a specialization and have a clearer picture of your skills and knowledge areas. MEM students have some recommended coursework…

Winter is Coming to Westeros

Game of Thrones fans, take note.

Winter is coming to Westeros but we may very well be facing another reality.

Winter. We looked forward to it as kids as we counted down the days to school vacation. It’s what cheers us on as adults as we dive into mountain-loads of work  — the promise of December, crisp air and powder snow. The thrill of skiing, snowboarding, sledding down slopes.  The patience required to build a snowman. What if we can’t share these childhood memories of winter with the next generation? 

Warmer temperatures – caused by the build up of heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere – have significant effects on ice and snow. Athletes Jeremy Jones and Gretchen Bleiler summed it up best when they wrote: …

Multi-hazard mapping in Metro Manila (Rappler.com).

“Stand up if you live in a city. Stay standing and I want you to hold this image of the destruction wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in your mind. Now, imagine that the early warning sirens go off. When you hear the sirens, what do you do? How do you know what to do, where to go?”

This was the interactive exercise I used to start off my talk at the COP19 side event on “Implementing Article 6” of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Article 6 — which pertains to Education, Training, and Public Awareness — commits countries to “promote and facilitate… public access to information on climate change and its effects” and “public participation in addressing climate change and its effects and developing adequate…

Welcome to Judges Cave!

When I arrived on campus as a Yale freshman, I couldn’t believe how much history was all around me. It was crazy to think about how much younger my home state is than my university. When California was admitted to the union in 1850, Yale University had already existed for over a hundred years. Walking on the New Haven Green wasn’t a typical stroll in the park. That space had served as the main burial ground for the residents of New Haven for the city’s first 150 years. Last October, a tree on the Green fell during the peak of Hurricane Sandy, unearthing a skull that dates back to the late 1700s.

If the Green used to be a cemetery, what other common features within the city held…

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…

You’ve got an issue? We’ve got options.

(Reposted from IUFRO Blog: http://theiufroblog.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/youve-got-an-issue-weve-got-options/. 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…