Turning Down the Heat

Progress in the Fight Against Climate Change

People ride motorcycles as haze shrouds the street in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan province, Indonesia, October, 2015. Jessica Helena Wuysang/Antara Foto/Reuters

This week, at a meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, the United States, Japan, and several other nations reached an agreement that will restrict financing for overseas coal projects. The deal will limit investment in the dirtiest, coal-fired power plants but will allow some continued investment in more efficient coal technology. Japan is one of the major sources of finance for the coal industry, so the agreement is an important moment in the effort to reduce global emissions.

This move, along with recent bilateral agreements the United States has reached with China and India, signals a significant strategic development in the process of tackling climate change, a process that has so far made only glacial progress. Until recently, countries mostly focused their efforts on cooperating within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The sheer number of issues before the UNFCCC, however, and the

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