Ideas + Practice

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Environment

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Q&A with Jonathan Pershing: Can the U.S. still be a climate leader? 

Jonathan Pershing, former Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State and lead U.S. negotiator to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, joined the Hewlett Foundation as environment program director in January. Five months into the job, we sat down with him to discuss the impact of U.S. exit from the Paris climate accord, climate…
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Statement on President Trump’s announcement on Paris accord 

MENLO PARK, Calif.— Statement of Environment Program Director Jonathan Pershing, former Special Envoy for Climate Change at the U.S. Department of State, on behalf of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement: “This decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement is a grave mistake that will harm ...
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Closing in on a clean energy future 

Recently, ClimateWorks Foundation and the Climate Action Tracker published a report, “Faster and Cleaner 2: Kick-starting Global Decarbonization,” that summarized progress in three major sectors of the economy — power, transportation and buildings. The good news is that renewable energy is transforming electricity in ways that have exceeded expectations. Likewise, the rise of electric vehicles…
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Why philanthropy must do more on climate change 

History is replete with examples of societies that vanished when the local climate changed. But the threat we face from climate change today is much greater than that, because it’s not local, it’s global. Human activity is changing the climate of the entire world, and the impact will be felt everywhere and by everyone—particularly those…
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On the new administration and climate change 

For those who care about the future of our planet, last week offered an unexpected glimmer of hope from the president-elect. For the first time, Donald Trump indicated he was open to fulfilling our international commitments on climate change, and he said that clean air and water are “vitally important.” Or maybe not. Days later, ...
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New ‘Open Rivers Fund’ to restore waterways, remove aging dams 

Fifty years ago, the United States was at the height of a long era of dam construction. Since the first days of the United States, Americans have been building dams and putting rivers to work for mills, to generate electricity and to store water for cities, farms and towns. Dams were considered a symbol of American…
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What environmental justice means to me 

The first time I became aware of the concept of environmental justice, I was in Jamaica as a Peace Corps volunteer. A neighboring oil plant contaminated the water supply of the community I was staying at. People woke up to their tap water being brownish in color and having odd metallic taste. They felt nausea ...
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Bears Ears, a land of culture and mystery 

Update: On December 28, President Obama has designated Bears Ears as a national monument. This historic action to protect an unique and culturally important land is part of our nation’s legacy to honor Native Americans and our shared history.   In southeast Utah, five sovereign Native American nations have come together as the Bears Ears Inter-tribal…
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