Meeting the Paris Climate Goals Was Always Hard. Without the U.S., It Is Far Harder.


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Meeting the Paris Climate Goals Was Always Hard. Without the U.S., It Is Far Harder. By BRAD PLUMER JUNE 2, 2017. Continue reading the main story Share This Page. Continue reading the main story. Share; Tweet; Email; More; Save. Photo. A gas flare …

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/02/climate/climate-goals-paris-accord.html?_r=0

What was the Paris climate agreement — and what else do you need to know about climate politics?


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It’s official — on June 1, President Trump announced that “the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord,” but suggested that he would be open to new negotiations that are “fair” to the United States.

Here at the Monkey Cage, we’ve provided in-depth analysis over the years on the Paris accord, climate change, energy security and environmental developments. For a full listing of these posts, see below.

In our June 1 post, Joshua Busby at the University of Texas answers the big questions: What does this mean, and what’s next? He writes, “Under the normal rules of the agreement, the United States cannot withdraw until November 2020,” but “there is a nuclear option.”

Jessica F. Green, an New York University professor and frequent contributor on environmental policy topics, explains why the Trump decision would not roll back the considerable U.S. progress on environmental protection. She notes, “States, cities and many companies in the United States realize that sensible climate policy is, well, sensible.” With U.S. companies pursuing green options and U.S. utilities phasing out coal-powered plants, she points out that the U.S. government does not control — or make — many of these decisions.

ttp://www.washingtonpost.com/video/business/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-paris-agreement-on-climate-change/2016/09/30/b3d0a8c6-8747-11e6-b57d-dd49277af02f_video.html

Monkey Cage contributors have also looked closely at the Paris accord itself. Was there too much flexibility in the wording? What made the Paris accord different from other climate change negotiations? More broadly, what happens to global security if the effects of climate change force millions to migrate? And what are the nuts and bolts of energy politics, aviation emissions  and U.S. energy conservation programs? We invite you to keep reading.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/06/03/what-was-the-paris-climate-agreement-and-what-else-do-you-need-to-know-about-climate-politics/

MIT issues statement regarding research on Paris Agreement


A set of talking points circulated in support of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement included this statement:

“The [Paris] deal also accomplishes LITTLE for the climate

“According to researchers at MIT, if all member nations met their obligations, the impact on the climate would be negligible. The impacts have been estimated to be likely to reduce global temperature rise by less than 0.2 degrees Celsius in 2100.”

The researchers in MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change who led the relevant analysis find this statement to be misleading, for two reasons.

First, the 0.2 degree-figure used in the talking point reflects the incremental impact of the Paris Agreement compared with the earlier Copenhagen agreement.  If you instead compare the impact of the Paris Agreement to no climate policy, then the temperature reduction is much larger, on the order of 1 degree Celsius — 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit — by 2100. This would be a significant reduction in the global temperature rise, though much more is needed if the world is to achieve its goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less.

Second, the analysis accounts only for countries’ pledges under the Paris Agreement, assuming no further strengthening of the commitments in years after 2030. The Paris Agreement is a milestone of the ongoing UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is committed to ongoing annual meetings to regularly revisit and ratchet up nations’ climate goals, making them more ambitious over time.

The relevant MIT researchers believe that the Paris Agreement is an unprecedented and vital effort by nearly 200 countries to respond to the urgent threat of global climate change.

http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-issues-statement-research-paris-agreement-0602

What’s next in US withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement


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President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, an international pact to work to slow climate change that the U.S. entered last year under an executive order from then-President Barack Obama.

While Trump does have the power to pull the U.S. out of the agreement, it will not be able to happen overnight. Any member must wait three years before they are eligible to withdraw, which is stipulated under Article 28 of the accord.

Each member also has to wait an extra year for the formal notice of withdrawal to take effect, so the U.S. will formally be a party to the deal at least until late 2020, shortly after the next presidential election.

However, the Trump administration will be free to ignore the U.S. pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions during the time the country is still formally a part of the agreement because the commitments are not legally binding. Trump is also welcome to adjust the U.S.’s portion of the agreement without withdrawing.

There is a second route out of the agreement that the White House could have chosen to pursue: Any member that withdraws from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a 1992 environmental treaty, would be out of the deal.

Under the Paris agreement, Obama established some domestic policies like the Clean Power Plan through executive action, which bypassed the then Republican-controlled Senate.

The Trump administration’s plan to rescind that agreement stands in contrast with other major world powers that compete with the U.S., like China and India. Just this year, China agreed to invest $361 billion into renewable fuel over the next three years.

If Trump follows through on his promise, experts agree that greenhouse gas emissions and global temperatures will increase more precipitously than they would have if the U.S. remained party to the accord.

However, the Sierra Club released an estimate that 60 percent of the emissions reductions promised under the Paris agreement could be met by local initiatives were they to replace coal with clean energy. This afternoon, 61 U.S. mayors released a statement reiterating their dedication to “adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.”

Advocacy organizations are also preparing to use lawsuits as a method to delay the dismantling of climate-related programs domestically. Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, tweeted that “the law will need to play a major role in pushing back against the attempted dismantling of our environmental and health protections.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-withdrawal-paris-climate-agreement/story?id=47778917

Fox News actually acknowledged that climate change is real


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or the past decade, Fox News has been a haven for climate change denialism, shielding viewers from the evidence that humans are causing global temperatures to rise. Perhaps no other news outlet has done as much to harden the view, among conservatives, that global warming is a fiction.

But on Thursday, just a few minutes before President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States would back out of a major international climate agreement, Fox did something startling and utterly off brand.

Viewers tuning in to watch the president’s speech saw anchor Shepard Smith lecturing them that climate change was not, in fact, a hoax:

Climate change is real and our activities do contribute to it.

As the New York Times reports today, scientific studies show if the world’s carbon emissions continue unchecked, atmospheric temperatures will continue to rise. The planet will not just be hotter but also suffer from rising sea levels, more powerful storms, droughts that lead to food shortages and extreme conditions.

Supporters of the accord argue it’s the right thing to do for the environment, and for people — future generations.

On the matter of climate change, Smith has been one of the few dissenting voices at Fox News. In 2014, he stirred up a minor controversy when he declared, on air: “Climate change — it is real. The science is true.”

Trump’s Paris speech Thursday fell squarely in the middle of Smith’s 3 pm show, which gave the anchor a chance to remind his conservative viewers about the scientific consensus on climate change.

Smith’s forceful acknowledgement of the science is startling only in the context of Fox News, a channel that has long been blamed for perpetuating right-wing ignorance of the science on global warming. In 2011, researchers from American, George Mason, and Yale universities found that Fox News programs overwhelmingly rejected or ignored the scientific evidence on climate change, and promoted a false sense of balance by favoring guests who denied the planet was heating up.

“Notably, Fox also provided substantially more coverage on climate change than the other two networks, thereby amplifying doubt about global warming within the cable news landscape,” the researchers write.

People who already doubt climate change are much more likely to watch Fox News, of course, but there’s evidence that Fox News, in turn, has suppressed public recognition of global warming.

Studies have shown that many climate deniers are not incorrigible, but in fact are surprisingly open to new viewpoints. A recent experiment from Yale University researchers Sander van der Linden and Anthony Leiserowitz, and George Mason’s Edward Maibach found that simply telling people “97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening” is enough to increase their confidence that climate change is real.

What’s more, both liberals and conservatives shifted their views equally after learning this fact. Even people who were avid watchers of Fox News became more receptive to the idea of man-made global warming, suggesting that at least some climate skeptics are simply misinformed, not willfully oblivious.

Part of the problem is that the American media has done a bad job of explaining climate science. According to the survey, only a quarter of liberals and only 5 percent of conservatives were aware that more than 90 percent of climate scientists believe climate change is real and that it is caused by people. The widespread “public confusion and doubt about the state of scientific agreement has limited action on global warming for decades,” the researchers argue.

As this issue becomes more and more politicized, one fear is that it will be harder to change people’s minds. Over the past 20 years, Democrats have become more confident that humans are causing global warming, while Republicans have become more skeptical. This reflects, in part, how politicians and pundits have increasingly turned climate skepticism into a matter of political identity.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/2/15727170/fox-news-acknowledged-climate-change-real

 

AP-Times Square Alliance Poll: Mass Shootings, Terror Attacks Gave Americans Bleak Outlook On 2015


Tags: ISIS, Mass Shootings, Paris Attacks, Times Square Alliance

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Was 2015 worse for the world than last year?

A new Associated Press-Times Square Alliance poll mass shootings and terror attacks weighed heavily on the minds of Americans in 2015, revealing that most polled believe this year was worse than 2014.

According to the poll, the most important events to Americans in the past year were the shootings in San Bernardino, California, as well as shootings in South Carolina, Oregon and Tennessee.

AP-Times Square Alliance Poll: Mass Shootings, Terror Attacks Gave Americans Bleak Outlook On 2015

PARIS AGREEMENT DEALS BLOW TO FOSSIL FUELS, AMERICAN ECONOMY


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The wheel of climate action turns slowly, but in Paris it has turned. This deal puts the fossil fuel industry on the wrong side of history,” Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said.

Greenpeace, major green groups and climate change researchers gave a mixed report card on the many details in the planned accord, which still needs to be endorsed by ministers from 195 nations at the talks.

Paris Agreement Deals Blow to Fossil Fuels, American Economy