The Chinese government has in recent months focused its efforts on environmental issues, but what does this mean for the prospects of a new global deal tackling climate change in 2015?

China has made positive advances on the environmental front this year, with climate policies that demonstrate a sharper focus and new level of ambition not seen before publicly.  Key amongst these are recent indications that China will set a carbon dioxide emissions peak: Its chief climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, signalled in July that China may set the timetable for a “peaking year” for its greenhouse gas emissions in the first half of 2015.  By March next year there could be a formal proposal following agreement at the annual National People’s Congress.

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The time is now for businesses to commit to action against climate change

In just over a month, governments, business leaders and civil society groups from around the world will pour into New York City to join in the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, convening on September 23.  Participants are expected to make public commitments on how they plan to respond to climate change, building up a drumbeat of consensus and catalyzing action toward a global deal next year at the UN climate change negotiations in Paris.  Ahead of September’s summit, CDP is working to ensure that the business voice is heard in these crucial conversations.

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CDP is piloting this year a new scoring system to help companies benchmark their progress towards water stewardship.   

It is not long until exam results day in the UK and teenagers and their parents are anxiously waiting.  I can remember the panicky anticipation that my school exam results would define the rest of my life: I would find out if I was going to be a success or a failure.  Things have turned out pretty well despite some mediocre grades along the way.  And with hindsight, some of the failures were actually quite valuable learning experiences.

Scoring and grading may not always provide perfect results but can serve a useful purpose.  While judging a teenager’s ability based solely on their exam results may not give an accurate picture, scores are a useful standardized and comparable way of measuring skills, knowledge and actions.  Students in turn put a value on the outcome and feel incentivized to try harder.  And most importantly, by reviewing the outcomes and understanding the failures, they can take steps to put things right and improve their performance in the future.

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As the debate shifts in the US, there’s a whiff of optimism  that policies will form and the economy will react

Climate change is much in the news in the US lately, and there is a whiff of optimism about evolving policy — a real sea change from the past few years.  Many households and business have been unsettled by extremes of weather such as Hurricane Sandy and California’s historic drought.  On the policy front, growing momentum has been triggered by President Obama’s announcement of new federal rules to limit greenhouse gases, and the prospect of a global climate agreement coming from the United Nations process by 2015.

Anticipating this pivotal moment, CDP’s North America office prepared a series of reports in recent months to inject some “here and now” evidence into a debate that has been too long dominated by theoretical models and projections far into the future.  The reports show vividly just how much American corporations are already feeling climate change disruption, trying to prepare for the risks, and the degree to which climate change issues are already affecting the American people, even if they do not yet realize the extensive ripple effect.

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Are companies underestimating the regulatory risks around palm oil?

Indonesians went to the polls this month in what is one of the tightest presidential elections in its modern history.  While economic and domestic issues have featured heavily in the campaign, companies far removed from the politics in South-East Asia may need to pay closer attention to how these elections could impact the region’s hottest commodity, palm oil.

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The world is nearly five times more disaster prone than it was four decades ago due to climate change, according to the latest study from the World Meteorological Organization. In cities, where the United Nations says climate change risks are increasing, officials have not only been scrutinizing the growing frequency and intensity of such natural disasters, they have been working to build resilience against them.

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The world’s leading authority on climate change science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has issued in recent weeks its strongest warnings yet on just how serious a test climate change presents to us all. While intergovernmental agreement on how best to respond has been slow, many businesses have been compelled to tackle climate challenges.

This corporate action comes in direct response to the growing evidence that rising temperatures, coupled with other drivers, are putting our natural resources at risk. The price tag for these risks is already high: severe flooding in the UK earlier this year cost small businesses £830m and counting.

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