Environment & Climate

Canadian Leaders Have Given Up on Trump—So Now They’re Going Around Him

by Hunter  – Donald Trump is not fit for office. He’s not stable, he has little to no interest in the nation itself, and is so self-absorbed as to judge every international interaction solely through the lens of his own momentary needs. This has turned our relationships with our allies immediately sour as each leader Trump meets with, dictators aside, finds it impossible to hold a coherent conversation with the man. When German leader Angela Merkel came to the public conclusion that the world could no longer count on a United States led by Trump, it was a dramatic policy shift by a key ally. After only a few interactions with Trump, the Canadian government likewise decided that attempting to communicate substantively with Team Trump was a lost cause. Their workaround is now to largely ignore him, instead focusing on working with individual states and cities. It’s been more effective,...

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EPA Dismisses the People in Charge of Scientific Integrity

by BEN ADLER – Pruitt has now gotten rid of most of the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors. In the latest blow to the integrity of the science used by government agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dismissed nearly all of the members of its Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) this week. The board, which reviews and advises EPA’s internal research departments on their scientific methodology, was already understaffed. On Tuesday, E&E News, an environmental news outlet, obtained an email from Robert Kavlock, acting head of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, saying that BOSC members whose three-year appointments expire in August will not get renewed. Environmental advocates had been concerned about the fate of the BOSC for some time. This week’s highly unusual action comes on the heels of EPA’s decision in May not to renew the appointments of nine of the BOSC executive committee’s 18 members. (Historically, BOSC members have been renewed for a...

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West Virginians are Realistic About Coal’s Demise, Even if Politicians Aren’t

by Mark Hand – Lawmaker praises Scott Pruitt for creating “sense of hope” in state. A West Virginia congressman on Thursday praised Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt for supporting the state’s coal industry and helping to bring a sense of optimism back to the state, even as the Trump administration plans major cuts to programs that help West Virginians. U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV), in comments at a House Appropriations Committee hearing on President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget for the EPA, accused former President Barack Obama of putting “so many people on the unemployment line” in his state. With Trump as president, coal jobs are returning to West Virginia, Jenkins said. “We have got people going back to work to create a sense of hope and opportunity in their lives. So, I want to thank you for that,” he told Pruitt. The coal industry nationwide accounted for a total of 51,000 jobs...

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Energy Department Turns Off the Lights at Overseas Climate Office

The Office of International Climate and Technology worked on clean energy with other countries. As if withdrawing from the Paris Accords wasn’t enough, the Trump administration just went one better and closed an office dedicated to international cooperation on climate change and clean energy tech. The Office of International Climate and Clean Energy might have been small — all of its 11 employees have been given pink slips — but it had an important function. According to its still extant website, the office was “the focal point for international climate change and clean energy activities.” The site goes on to say that the office “also develops and implements international climate and clean energy initiatives consistent with administration policy objectives.” Secretary of Energy Rick Perry was at a premiere event, The Clean Energy Ministerial, when the president announced the decision to drop the Paris agreement. Brad Plumer has the full...

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“Coal is Dead” Declares the World’s Largest Investment Group. Suck it Donald!

by Idontknowwhy –  And nothing the orange idiot does is going to change this. This is truly good news. “Coal is dead,” Jim Barry, the global head of BlackRock’s infrastructure investment group, explained in a recent interview. BlackRock, the world’s largest investment group, with $5 trillion in assets — more than the world’s largest banks — has begun to bet on clean energy. Why? “The thing that has changed fundamentally the whole picture is that renewables have gotten so cheap,” said Barry. Meanwhile: Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has a message for the new president: You are not going to bring coal back. Snip, In a new analysis, leading independent energy experts at BNEF dismantle these claims. “Whatever President Trump may say, U.S. coal’s main problem has been cheap natural gas and renewable power, not a politically driven ‘war on coal,’” explain BNEF chair Michael Liebreich and chief editor Angus McCrone. Therefore “it will continue being pushed out of the...

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South Korea to Invest $36 Billion in Renewable Energy by 2020

by Amanda Froelich – The country is taking a swift U-turn away from coal and nuclear power. U.S. President Donald Trump may believe that climate change is a “hoax” invented by the Chinese, but South Korea leader Moon Jae-in — in addition to dozens of other world leaders — isn’t so willing to believe that 97% of scientists are lying about the threats posed by global warming. In result, the South Korea government will be investing 42 trillion won ($36.6 billion) in developing renewable energy industries — including solar, wind and eco-friendly power plants — by the year 2020. The new energy strategy was unveiled mid-2016 but is still relevant, considering the country is working tirelessly to meet its clean energy goals. Moon Jae-in supports natural gas and renewable energy sources like hydro and solar, which is why he wants natural gas to climb from 18 percent of power to...

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D.C. Joins More than 175 Cities in Pledging to Uphold Paris Agreement Commitments

by Mark Hand – City officials want to sustain partnership with federal government on energy efficiency. The District of Columbia joined a growing list of U.S. cities vowing to continue or strengthen their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. As the nation’s capital, D.C. has a special obligation to create policies and implement programs that protect the environment, Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday at a signing ceremony near the U.S. Capitol. “Today, I’m signing a mayoral order that affirms the District’s support for the Paris climate accord,” the mayor said. More than 175 mayors, representing 51 million people, have committed to honor the Paris agreement’s goals since Trump exited from the international agreement, Bowser noted. “We know these mayors are both Democrats and Republicans. They’re from small cities and large cities and everything...

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Of Course Trump has No Moral Compass on Climate. Now It’s Up to Us

by Kristine Mattis – At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) marked the first international treaty to address the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by nation states to attempt to avert the impending disaster of global climate change. By December 1997, the UNFCC was expanded into the Kyoto Protocol which set legally binding emissions reductions targets; however the protocol was not implemented until 2005. In the meantime, the United States signed on to the protocol but never ratified it in Congress. Furthermore, many if not most nations, particularly the most-developed, including the U.S., failed to meet emission reduction goals and/or withdrew from the protocol. In December of 2015, the UN held their annual climate change conference in Paris, France to assess the progress on international greenhouse gas emission reductions, as well as update the Kyoto Protocol. During this conference, a...

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Earth to Trump: You Are On Your Own

by Lauren McCauley –  ‘We move on and we move forward, together’. The overwhelming global response to President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement was essentially, “Go jump in a lake”—or as one Germany tabloid succinctly phrased it in a widely circulated headline: J.K. Rowling  ✔@jk_rowling Very much enjoying the German press at the moment. “Earth to Trump…” 2:49 AM – 2 Jun 2017 Following Trump’s Thursday announcement, world leaders from China to Germany to the Marshall Islands and beyond promised to uphold the climate accord while citizens and civil society from across the globe vowed to “harness public outrage into meaningful on-the-ground action” to combat the crisis of climate change. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters on Friday that European leaders “will band together to take more decisive action than ever to confront and successfully surmount major challenges to humanity such as climate...

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Pulling Out of the Paris Climate Pact, Trump is Building a Wall Around Himself

by Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report – President Trump may soon find himself behind a wall, but not the kind he may have imagined when running for office. Speaking at the White House on Thursday, Trump announced he is pulling the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, a voluntary but historic international plan to curb carbon emissions enough to prevent the global temperature from rising 2 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels during this century. As one of the world’s top carbon polluters, the US took a leadership role in the agreement under President Obama, who pledged to cut the nation’s emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025. Trump’s move is expected to further isolate him in the beginning months of his unpopular and embattled presidency. In a speech steeped in isolationist nationalism, Trump said he is “reasserting America’s sovereignty” by pulling out of the Paris deal,...

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France ‘corrects’ White House Video on Paris Accord

Foreign ministry releases edited version of White House video that said Paris climate deal was bad for American jobs. The tweet includes a now-popular hashtag, “Make Our Planet Great Again” A day after Donald Trump decided to pull the United States out of the Paris climate deal, the French government has cheekily hit back by releasing a pointed fact-check of the US president’s claims about the landmark agreement. France’s finance ministry posted a tweet with an embedded link to a video that amounted to a wry but very public rebuttal of Trump’s assertions. On Thursday, the White House had tweeted, “The Paris Accord is a bad deal for Americans,” and linked to a video which said the agreement “undermines” US competitiveness and jobs, was “badly negotiated” by former president Barack Obama and “accomplishes little.” In its surprise response on Friday, France’s foreign ministry tweeted, “We’ve seen the...

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Open Letter From Pittsburgh to the President on Paris Climate Agreement

by Daniel Doubet – Mr. President, when you took our country out of the global agreement to stop climate change, you said you  “represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” As a proud native of western Pennsylvania, I strongly disagree. You do not represent Pittsburgh. Our people overwhelmingly rejected you at the ballot box, and we have seen your brand of charlatanism before. For generations, glorified highwaymen like you have come to exploit the people and land of western Pennsylvania, and gorged themselves on their spoils. These salesmen claimed gold would rain down on us, if only we let them dump toxins in our rivers. We didn’t buy it then, and we don’t buy it now. I was born and raised about 20 miles from the first American oil wells, in Titusville, PA. With the easy oil spent long before I showed up, I grew up with a front...

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Trump Yanks U.S. From Paris Climate Pact—American Exceptionalism of the Worst Kind

by Meteor Blades – Pr*sident Donald Trump—the man who lied about all the environmental awards he has received and vacillated between being a total numbskull on climate change and just another opportunist who bends with the wind as long as it doesn’t mean erecting turbines within sight of his golf courses—told the world Thursday what has been expected with trepidation since November 9: The U.S. is puling out of the Paris climate agreement. Given legal considerations, this ceding of U.S. leadership will take three years to complete. But the negative impacts have already begun. From the White House Rose Garden Trump said that the United States would withdraw from the Paris agreement for the “well-being” of the American people, but begin negotiating a new deal right away that he claimed would be fairer to the U.S. Immediately, the U.S. will end its pledge to reduce carbon emissions and no longer contribute to the fund that helps developing...

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EPA Chief Cites Flawed NYT Column to Justify Trump’s Exit From Paris Deal (VIDEO)

by Joe Romm – Scott Pruitt continues to spread misinformation on climate, but is puzzled why he’s called a “climate denier.” At the daily White House press briefing on Friday, one day after the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, Press Secretary Sean Spicer handed the podium to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Pruitt then ably provided the kind of nonstop falsehoods and misinformation the press and public have come to expect. Pruitt said he didn’t know why people call him a “climate denier,” and then proceeded to quote and misquote Bret Stephens — the New York Times’ new columnist who has been widely criticized for spreading misinformation on climate change — as a basis for denying basic climate science. Here’s the video, in which Pruitt tries to defend President Donald Trump’s catastrophic decision to exit the Paris climate deal: First, Pruitt says some people call him a “climate denier,” but adds, “I...

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Trump’s Reported Exit From Paris Climate Deal Signals End of the American Century

by Joe Romm – America’s time as leader of the free world is over. Now we’re the villain, thwarting the global effort to save humanity. President Donald Trump’s stunning words and actions to our European allies this week — culminating in reports that he will exit the historic Paris climate agreement — signal the end of the American Century. Rather than strive to maintain the United States’ position as the leader of the free world, a role we have assigned to ourselves for decades, Trump is content with America the villain — the greedy and myopic country that killed humanity’s last, best hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change. Also, by abandoning clean energy, which is the one new sector capable of actually creating millions of high wage American jobs, Trump is officially handing the economic reins over to Europe and China. Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in the Obama administration, echoed that sentiment...

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A Sad, Needy, Little Man

by joe quigley – Donald Trump has to measure up to the big boys. It is important to him. He needs it. He isn’t his father, the man he wants to be just like, and his need to compensate, or even prove himself to his dead father is palpable. His name has to be huge on his buildings. Not only must it be seen from a great distance by the living, but it has to be seen by the dead. He insisted during one Republican Candidate Debate that his penis was the biggest of the bunch. He even had to make sure that people remembered that by calling Marco Rubio ”Little Marco” so he could continually, albeit indirectly, remind people of his  own claimed endowment. He wants people to know, or at least think they know that. At the G7 Summit he needed to push his way to the front, even...

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Trump Will Reportedly Exit Paris Climate Deal, Making Us a Rogue Nation

by Joe Romm – The move could pave the way for other defectors — like Putin’s Russia. President Donald Trump has privately told “confidants” he intends to leave the Paris accord on climate change, “according to three sources with direct knowledge,” Axios reported Saturday. After persuading voters that America isn’t great anymore, Trump apparently intends to make sure of it — by having this country lead the effort to kill humanity’s last, best hope of avoiding catastrophic climate change. Quitting a unanimous agreement by 190+ nations after a two-decade negotiating process would make us a rogue nation, a global pariah, like Vladimir Putin’s Russia. And, it could make Putin happy, as we’ll see. While Trump tweeted out Saturday from Italy that “I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters after the G7 meeting, “The whole discussion about climate has been difficult, or rather very unsatisfactory.” She...

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Fossil Fuel Groups Wants to Quit Kids’ Suit For Climate Action

by JOHN LIGHT – The National Association of Manufacturers joined the government in opposing 21 kids who were suing for climate action. An industry group representing fossil fuel companies is looking to pull out of a case in which 21 young Americans, ranging in age from 9 to 21, are suing the federal government to force it to take action on climate change. The move by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) comes days before the group would have to file documents clarifying its position on climate change. The young plaintiffs, represented by the nonprofit Our Children’s Trust, had initially filed their suit against the Obama administration. In 2015, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and NAM...

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Top Trump Economic Adviser: ‘Coal doesn’t even make that much sense anymore’

by Joe Romm – Whether or not the United States will remain in the historic Paris climate agreement is a major question surrounding President Donald Trump’s trip to Italy for the G7 Summit. Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, was asked about the decision aboard Air Force One on Thursday, and had some surprising answers. Cohn told reporters that coal doesn’t “make that much sense anymore,” but that pushing renewables could make America “a manufacturing powerhouse.” The words seem off-message from a White House that has promised repeatedly to bring back coal jobs and just proposed massive cuts to federal investment in clean energy. Cohn told the press that Trump would achieve fast economic growth while preserving the environment at the same time. “We’re not going to pollute the air to do that. We’re not going to be rampant polluters,” he said. He then explained that achievement was made possible as...

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Other G7 Leaders Plow Ahead After Trump Throws ‘Tantrum’ Over Climate Accord

by Lauren McCauley – In addition to stymying action on fossil fuels, Trump also ‘forced the Italian prime minister Paulo Gentiloni to shred plans for an ambitious statement stressing the plight of migrants’. Further isolating the United States as other world powers prepare to take on the crisis of climate change, President Donald Trump refused to commit to the landmark Paris Climate Agreement as the remaining G7 leaders reaffirmed their determination to implement the accord. In what has been described as an “unusually frank statement,” the G7 Taormina Leaders’ Communiqué (pdf) released Saturday after the two-day meeting in Sicily, says that the U.S. is “in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics.” “Understanding this process,” the document continues, “the heads of state and of government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy,...

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