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Renewable Resources Report

COP25 Climate Talks: What Just Happened, and What Lies Ahead?

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By Teresa Hartmann, Programme Specialist, Environment and Development, World Economic Forum Geneva

Climate change was one of the most-discussed topics at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Prior to the forum, published a piece titled COP25 climate talks: What just happened, and what lies ahead? The article summarized December’s UN climate change meeting in Madrid, which was characterized by the “divide between optimism and outrage.” While global leaders did not achieve many of the outcomes they were hoping for at the meeting, young people and businesses are pushing for change more than ever before.

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How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong


The New York Times recently published an opinion essay by Eugene Linden titled How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong. The author described how climate scientists consistently underestimated the impacts of climate change. He cites reports of the National Academy of Sciences, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and United Nations. As a result of these miscalculations climate change impacts are occurring much sooner and more intensely than predicted.

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Harvard University's Environmental Policy Initiative is tracking the Trump Administration's environmental rollbacks.  Click here to learn more.


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RNRF & Member News

RNRF Congressional Forum:
Can EPA Fulfill Its Statutory Mandate?

On October 15, the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation (RNRF) conducted a congressional forum on the impacts of recent administrative and regulatory changes at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology hosted the meeting on Capitol Hill. Speakers were Chris Zarba, formerly with EPA, and Gretchen Goldman, with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Both speakers discussed the changes in the context of EPA’s ability to fulfill its mission to protect human health and the environment.

Advisory Panels

ZarbaChris Zarba is former director of the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) staff office with nearly 40 years of experience with the agency. He shared his knowledge of the value of high-quality independent reviews, and how they influence, support and challenge agency actions. He also described how recent changes to SAB operations have negatively impacted EPA’s ability to accomplish its mission.

High quality independent scientific reviews are essential for EPA to ensure that its efforts are based on the best available science. The SAB staff office facilitates and supports this process.

SAB staff are housed within the EPA Administrator’s office and manage two major committees—SAB and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). SAB provides vital science advice to the EPA Administrator to ensure that agency actions are based on sound data and analyses. CASAC provides independent technical advice to the EPA Administrator on national ambient air quality standards. CASAC oversees panels on environmental science topics related to its mission including particulate matter (PM) and ozone pollution standards. SAB covers a more diverse environmental portfolio.

Zarba explained the importance of SAB by detailing his experiences with it throughout his career. His first professional interaction with SAB was the process of establishing criteria standards for pollutants contained in sediments. There were none at the time. This was a pressing issue because many Superfund sites around the country needed to be cleaned but there were no set criteria for measuring contamination levels.

Zarba assembled a team to develop a strategy to establish these criteria. In this process he recognized the importance that SAB should prepare a comprehensive review of the report. The SAB review provided Zarba’s team with credibility and set a high bar for their report. The SAB review also added the benefit of transparency through public meetings. Zarba noted that a SAB review provided the credibility necessary to move the project forward. After this positive experience, Zarba became an ardent advocate for SAB and helped other EPA programs prepare for the SAB review process...

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What's new . . .


Nominations for RNRF's 2020 Awards Program are now being accepted. Click here for more information.


Mississippi Bridge

Charting a New Course for the Mississippi River Watershed



LATEST ISSUE - Renewable Resources Journal - National Climate Assessment and Management of the Colorado River.
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