Despite Trump’s rhetoric, US officials are still working to stop climate change

March 16, 2018 by  
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When Trump stepped away from the historic Paris climate agreement and proposed  slashing the EPA’s climate research budget , he signaled to the world that reducing carbon emissions wasn’t a priority for the US. But what Trump says and what his government does are two different things. While Trump continues to bloviate, federal agencies and scientists continue to collaborate on international efforts to fight climate change. Despite what Trump has said, the State Department, government scientists, and federal agencies continue to work hard to fight climate change. Technically, the US is no longer part of the Paris accord . But scientists and federal employees have been helping to draft the rulebook for its implementation. The US has also quietly boosted funding for clean energy projects, and research into global warming, as well as signing a global call to action to fight climate change. Related: US states and cities say they’re sticking to the Paris Accord without Trump Leaders and researchers from international groups aimed at fighting climate change say that they don’t notice a huge change from before and after Trump took office. Aleksi Härkönen, chair of the Arctic Council advisors group, said, “We really don’t detect any change with the Americans.” Back at home, Trump allies are dismayed that the President hasn’t implemented his rhetoric. “I am concerned that much of our climate policy remains on autopilot,” said Trump’s former energy adviser Myron Ebell. Part of the reason for the lack of change is that Trump hasn’t replaced staffers or filled key positions necessary to push through his agenda. “Our U.S. colleagues know that climate change is not a hoax,” said one anonymous scientist, who helped draft the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report along with US scientists. Via Reuters Images via Unsplash and Flickr

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Despite Trump’s rhetoric, US officials are still working to stop climate change

Trump fills his wildlife protection board with big-game trophy hunters

March 16, 2018 by  
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A new federal advisory board commissioned to rewrite rules governing the import of hunted animal trophies has been packed by President Trump with big-game trophy hunters. Many of them maintain close relations to President Trump and his family and are most likely to support Interior Secretary Zinke’s agenda, which is guided by the belief that the most effective way to protect endangered animals is to facilitate their killing by American hunters. The Associated Press conducted a social media and background review of the board’s 16 members and found that their governing philosophy will echo Zinke’s. The assembly of Trump’s wildlife protection board follows news of recent rules changes that would have banned the import of big-game trophies from certain African countries, including Zimbabwe. Although Trump initially claimed he would carry out the Obama-era ban on a practice he called “a horror show,” he quietly reversed this decision in early March . The rule reversal is particularly concerning given reports of corruption in Zimbabwe that indicate that little of the money spent by big-game hunters in the country has actually gone to conservation efforts. Related: Ryan Zinke claims wind energy contributes to global warming Despite the questionable current policies, Trump’s hunter-packed advisory board has some historical precedent. President Theodore Roosevelt, an avid hunter, brought conservation to the forefront of American life through his enthusiastic advocacy for wildlife and public access to wild spaces as well as the bills he signed into law, including the Antiquities Act of 1906. It was through this law that presidents were granted the power to create national monuments through executive action. President Obama harnessed this law to create several significant national monuments , including the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine and the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. President Trump is now attempting to use the same power to dismantle Bears Ears. The Trump Administration’s policies raise concerns that the current president will fail to live up to his Republican predecessor Roosevelt’s legacy and will instead threaten the survival of all kinds of life on this planet. Via The New York Times Images via Depositphotos and Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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Trump fills his wildlife protection board with big-game trophy hunters

The US is now the only country in the world to refuse the Paris Climate Agreement

November 7, 2017 by  
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Today the war-torn country of Syria officially signed the Paris Climate Agreement , leaving the United States as the only country to refuse the landmark climate deal. Though Barack Obama entered the US into the deal during his time as president, Donald Trump quickly withdrew the nation after his inauguration. The Middle East nation made the announcement in Bonn, Germany, at the COP 23 UN climate summit. Even though Syria is facing its sixth year of a brutal civil conflict, it agreed to limit its carbon emissions in an effort to prevent climate change from worsening. It’s not clear what has changed, and Syria has yet to submit its targets for cutting greenhouse gases . In December 2015, nearly 200 countries signed the Paris Accord . Until last month, Nicaragua was also a holdout nation. However, that was because the Central American country did not think the deal went far enough in putting limits on emissions and helping lower-income nations adapt to an already-changing planet. One of Nicaragua’s complaints was that top polluters — like the US, EU, China, and India — were not keeping their emissions levels low enough to prevent sea levels from rising and global warming under 2 degrees Celsius — let alone the more ambitious goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. Eventually, parties to the deal signed – as the global climate change agreement was better than none at all. Now the US is the last country to sign. In the past, President Trump said that American workers (particularly coal miners) were being put at an “economic disadvantage” by the deal. And even though the US is the second largest emitter of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the world (second to China ), Trump remains committed to the idea that investing in coal — not renewable energy — is the way forward. Related: Edible schoolyards sprout across war-torn Syria “With Syria’s decision, the relentless commitment of the global community to deliver on Paris is more evident than ever,” Paula Caballero , director of the climate change program at the World Resources Institute, told the New York Times . “The US’s stark isolation should give Trump reason to reconsider his ill-advised announcement and join the rest of the world in tackling climate change .” The countries that have signed the Paris Agreement now seek to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Via The Independent , The Verge , BBC Images via Pixabay

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The US is now the only country in the world to refuse the Paris Climate Agreement

Trump may reverse decision on the Paris climate accord, says French President Macron

July 17, 2017 by  
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When President Trump announced plans to exit the Paris Climate Agreement , the decision drew criticism from US states and nations around the world. Now, it seems the president may be having second thoughts – according to French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump may reverse his previous decision. One of President Trump’s complaints against the Paris accord is that it is “soft” on leading polluters, such as China and India. As a result, Trump perceived it to be a threat to U.S. industry, reports Reuters . The weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD) says President Macron is now hopeful the U.S. President will change his mind, however. “(Trump) told me that he would try to find a solution in the coming months,” said Macron, referring to the meetings the two leaders had this past week. We spoke in detail about the things that could make him come back to the Paris accord,” he added. Trump has repeatedly stated that is he is “open to a better deal for the United States ,” therefore he isn’t ruling out all options. Related: Stephen Hawking says Trump’s Paris decision could induce irreversible climate change Only a handful of countries around the world have refused to partake in the Paris Climate Agreement. Otherwise, over 200 nations have agreed to limit global warming by 2 degrees by the year 2100, mainly through pledges to cut carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels . Costa Rica is one nation proving it is possible to thrive on renewable energy. In 2015, the tropical country relied on hydropower, geothermal plants, solar and wind to obtain 99 percent of its electricity . Germany, as well, recently generated 85 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Clearly, the future is green. The question now is, will the United States recognize this and re-commit itself to preserving the environment? Via Reuters Images via Pixabay , Wikimedia Commons

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Self-sufficient hydrogen boat embarks on 6-year journey around the world

July 17, 2017 by  
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The world watched in anticipation as the groundbreaking Solar Impulse 2 plane circumnavigated the globe last year. Now, the “Solar Impulse of the Seas” has set sail, aiming to demonstrate in a fresh way that clean energy can power our world. Dubbed Energy Observer , the solar- , wind- , and hydrogen -powered catamaran will sail to 50 countries over the course of six years. Solar panels line the top of the Energy Observer, and two vertical axis wind turbines harness the power of the wind, but those aren’t the only energy sources that make this vessel self-sufficient . The boat is able to generate hydrogen from seawater thanks to an electrolysis system. That hydrogen, stored in tanks, will help the Energy Observer glide through the waves emissions-free. The project was started by French offshore racer Victorien Erussard, accompanied by French explorer and filmmaker Jérôme Delafosse. Related: Energy Observer to sail around the world using only solar, wind, and hydrogen fuel The Energy Observer is equipped with technologies like electric motors, lithium-ion batteries , and a hydrogen fuel cell . It’s around 100 feet long and 42 feet wide, with solar panels covering 1,400 square feet atop the catamaran. Built in 1983, the Energy Observer has already had a long career as a racing boat, but was recently christened earlier this month by France’s environment minister Nicolas Hulot. Energy Observer left Paris this past weekend with mayor Anne Hidalgo aboard. Erussard said on the boat’s website, “There is not one miracle solution to combat climate change : there are solutions which we must learn to operate together. That’s what we are doing with Energy Observer: allowing nature’s energies, as well as those of our society, to collaborate.” And though the boat draws on different technologies than the Solar Impulse 2, it apparently has the approval of pilot Bertrand Piccard , who was present at the christening ceremony. He said, “Energy Observer, just like Solar Impulse, makes exploration work for a better quality of life. We need to lead people towards the future by showing them solutions instead of depressing them.” You can track where the Energy Observer is here and find out more here . + Energy Observer Via ScienceAlert Images via Energy Observer ( 1 , 2 )

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Self-sufficient hydrogen boat embarks on 6-year journey around the world

This is how hot it will be in your neck of the woods if we don’t slow climate change

July 11, 2017 by  
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Most of us know that the world is getting hotter – but it’s hard to put that into real perspective, especially when you are arguing with your climate-denying aunt (or, you know, your president). This map makes it easier by showing you how hot your city will be by 2100 if we don’t get emissions under control in comparison to another city. Los Angeles will feel like Belize City, and Chicago will feel like Juarez. And if that doesn’t scare you, consider the fact that many cities in the Middle East – like Baghdad – will be hotter than any current city on Earth. The map isn’t all bad news – it can also show you what will happen if we manage to meet the goals laid out in the Paris agreement instead of letting temperatures climb unchecked. Climate Central worked with the World Meteorological Organization to determine what cities would look like if temps climb 14.4 degrees F across the world by 2100 (or 7 degrees F if we begin to control emissions). Related: This map reveals which countries will survive climate change (and which countries are in big trouble) Climate Central also used to have a US-based map, but the organization said that they decided to create a world map because the conversation has moved away from the US now that Trump has pulled us out of the climate accord. They also decided to focus on urban areas because that is where the greatest number of people live, and cities experience the urban heat island effect, which can make them feel even hotter than more rural areas. + Climate Central via Fast Company image via Depositphotos

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Stephen Hawking says Trump’s Paris decision could induce irreversible climate change

July 4, 2017 by  
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Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking could very well be the world’s most famous scientist. He’s also one of the more outspoken ones, and recently talked with the BBC on his views about President Donald Trump and his potentially disastrous decision to yank America out of the 2015 Paris Agreement . Not one to mince words, Hawking warned of the consequences of such a choice: irreversible climate change . Hawking described climate change as one of the greatest dangers humanity faces today. But he said we still have time to prevent it if we take action. Trump’s utter lack of climate action is worrying for the entire planet and future generations, according to the scientist. Related: Stephen Hawking: Humans must leave Earth within 100 years to survive Hawking told the BBC, “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus , with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.” Climate change could one day transform Earth into a hothouse planet. Hawking said Trump’s denial of the phenomenon “will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet.” The BBC said the renowned scientist was pessimistic about our ability to solve our environmental dilemmas, and our future might only be safeguarded by leaving the planet. He said, “I fear evolution has inbuilt greed and aggression to the human genome. There is no sign of conflict lessening, and the development of militarized technology and weapons of mass destruction could make that disastrous. The best hope for the survival of the human race might be independent colonies in space .” Hawking recently said in the BBC documentary Expedition New Earth we have to colonize Mars within the next 100 years if we want to survive. Via the BBC Images via Lwp Kommunikáció on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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China says they’ll stay in the Paris Agreement – with or without Trump

June 1, 2017 by  
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China and the United States are two of the world’s biggest carbon polluters, and when both entered the Paris Agreement the moves were seen as a win for the rest of the world. But now as President Donald Trump considers leaving, China recently reaffirmed their commitment to the landmark 2015 deal. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the country would stick to the accord regardless of other countries’ changing stances. The news broke on the last day Trump was planning to yank America out of the agreement . He demurred, at first saying he would be making his announcement “ over the new few days ” with the addition of his campaign slogan in all capital letters. Several hours after that tweet he said he’d be announcing his decision on Thursday at 3:00 PM (no time zone given), with another all-caps slogan tacked on. Related: White House official says Trump is pulling out of the Paris Agreement But China isn’t going to wait for the United States. On Thursday they said they’ll remain in the agreement. Hua said in a daily news briefing on Thursday the Paris deal hadn’t been arrived at easily, and served as the international community’s consensus on climate change . She said, “Climate change is a global challenge. No country can place itself outside of this…We are willing to work with all sides to jointly protect the Paris Agreement process, promote the actual rules and regulations of the agreement in follow-up talks and effectively enact them, and promote global green, low carbon, sustainable development .” Hua was asked if China has been discussing the agreement with Trump’s administration and said the two countries “have close communications about a wide variety of topics,” one of which is climate change. Should the United States leave the historic deal they would be in company with Nicaragua and Syria, which are the only two countries so far to not agree to the accord. Leaving the deal would likely hurt America’s relationships with allies abroad, many already on uncertain footing thanks to Trump. Via Reuters Images via Michael Vadon on Flickr and screenshot

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How business can close climate gap, in 5 steps

June 30, 2016 by  
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If every big business committed to these actions, business could come a long way toward satisfying the Paris Accord, says a new report.

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How business can close climate gap, in 5 steps

How business can close climate gap, in 5 steps

June 30, 2016 by  
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If every big business committed to these actions, business could come a long way toward satisfying the Paris Accord, says a new report.

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How business can close climate gap, in 5 steps

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