Category Archives: Policy & Politics

Is Putin Keeping Trump Out of Paris?

It seems the only obstacle stopping Trump from staying in Paris – is Russia.

By Nancy Skinner

As this article describes; it’s not Big Oil, Big Business, his own Secretary of State, Chief Economic Adviser, Secretary of Defense, the G-20 and the G-7, his “actual voters polled on it” or even his own daughter, who all support staying in Paris, yet he seems so stumped and has kicked the can several times now.

That leaves one powerful voice: yes, Russia.

The question is: Does he play Checkers or Chess?

By playing Checkers, I mean that he is still mad at how the NATO meeting went down, tweeting at Angela Merkel, mad at CNN for “all this Russia stuff”, mad at his staff for not communicating better, mad at crumbling poll numbers. This is when he usually trips up. This is when he retreats back into Breightbart mode, and listens to a small group of advisers, like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, to fire up his base. He could fight back by taking all his marbles, pulling out of Paris, and say something lame like he was “keeping a campaign pledge” (which is crapshoot from all the Pledges he made and reversed).

The problem there is that even his base has changed its views on climate change radically. According to a joint study by George Mason University and Yale’s Center for Climate Communication in the late November of 2016 entitled Trump Voters and Global Warming, had some startling key findings:

  • Nearly three in four Trump voters (73%) say that, the US should use more renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal). One in three (33%) say we should use less fossil fuels in the future.
  • Almost half of Trump voters (47%) also say the US should participate in the international agreement to limit global warming. By contrast, only 28% think the US should not participate.
  • More than 6 in 10 voters (62%), support taxing and/or regulating the pollution that causes global warming, 3 in 10 (31%) support both approaches, and by contrast, only 2 in 10 (21%) support doing neither.

So these people, who voted for Donald Trump, do not want him to pull out of Paris. So what about the coal miner’s jobs? It’s no secret that market forces (mostly natural gas) have made coal obsolete as it’s cheaper and cleaner. On Thursday, even Trump’s Director of the US Economic Council, Gary Cohn, briefed reporters on Air Force One, about the reality of coal in a new cleaner energy economy, according to CNBC.

The president’s chief economic advisor is casting doubt on the future of U.S. coal, saying it “doesn’t really make that much sense anymore as a feedstock,” directly contradicting President Donald Trump’s repeated promises to revive the struggling coal industry.

Cohn singled out natural gas as “such a cleaner fuel.” By exporting more natural gas and investing in wind and solar energy, the U.S. “can be a manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly,” Cohn said.

Ok so his own base doesn’t want him to withdraw. His top economic advisor doesn’t want him to withdraw. Big Businesses has made numerous pleas directly to Trump, to remain in the Paris Agreement, including Exxon and Chevron.

CNN’s Money piece, Big Business Wants Trump to Stick with Paris, includes an extensive list of companies from every sector who have reached out the President. Manufacturing giants like GM, Ford, Dow, BASF are also among the 195 Companies that signed the US Business Climate Pledge.

NBC News reported thirteen of America’s best-known companies — including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Walmart and Bank of America — have pledged $140 billion toward efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Big business and small businesses alike have much to gain economically (or lose economically if we don’t act).

The World Economic Forum cited tremendous economic opportunity implementing Paris:

In the next 15 years alone, around $90 trillion will go into urbanisation. This gives us a tremendous business opportunity to build low-carbon, more resilient cities that can generate stronger growth and improve our quality of life. This means developing public, non-motorised and low-emission transport, and putting in place renewable energy and efficient waste management.”

And the CEO’s who attend the World Economic Forum issued a powerful Open Letter:

We are CEOs from 79 companies and 20 economic sectors. With operations in over 150 countries and territories, together we generated over $2.1 trillion of revenue in 2014.

In the spirit of the World Economic Forum to foster public-private cooperation, we affirm that the private sector has a responsibility to engage actively in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to help the world move to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.

We call upon governments to take bold action at the Paris climate conference (COP 21) in December 2015 to secure a more prosperous world for all of us. We are already taking action, and we stand ready to work together with the international community to help deliver practical climate solutions.

Up to $44 trillion could be going up in smoke if the world does not act on climate change, according to research from U.S. banking giant Citigroup.

They looked at two scenarios: if we act or if we do not act. The conclusion was clear: inaction would cost the world $44 trillion by 2060.

So it’s not Big Business, Wall Street, his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary General Mattis, Chief Economic Advisor, Gary Cohn, his own voters or even his own daughter who want him to withdraw from the 195 nation agreement, that would leave the US, alone with Nicaragua and Syria as the only two nations to sign the accord. Even North Korea signed the Paris Agreement.

His G-20 and G-7 Trips were filled with world leaders strongly making their case to stay part of this historic world agreement.

Yet, he’s undecided. Who could possibly be making the case for staying in Paris so perilous to him, that he keeps punting the ball. Can anyone say it, Russia?

A great piece by Climate Home outlines Russia’s tortured relationship with the Paris Agreement, and Putin has pushed back ratification until his re-election in 2018. (That will be a nail biter).

Donald Trump pushes the United States toward inaction on climate change, he is likely to find an ally in Russia.

Russia is the fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Yet the plan it submitted under the Paris agreement to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 is one of the weakest of any government and actually permits Russia to increase carbon pollution over time. The Paris agreement went into effect last November, but Russia is the only major emitter that has not ratified it. Instead, it has laid out a timetable that would delay ratification for almost three years.

“Russia will not artificially accelerate the process of ratification of the Paris climate agreement,” Russia’s special presidential representative on climate, Alexander Bedritsky, said last September

Of course, oil and natural gas are the lifeblood of Russia’s economy. They have constructed an extraordinary Arctic base hoping to exploit the melting sea ice and allowing their rigs to move in on what is estimated to be an enormous amount of deep-sea oil.

The implications of methane release that results from such drilling would eviscerate the Climate.

So is he playing Chess actually, basically pissing off the world, knowing that his withdrawal would be perceived as his normal petulant, vindictive, and childish Donald Trump behavior?

If he is playing Chess, possibly fearing Putin’s next move, Donald Trump may have just check-mated the planet’s fate.

Global Science Friction – We Marched!

Scientists Take To The Streets

The March for Science started as a spark of an idea from the bonfire that was the Women’s March, immediately following Trump’s shocking victory. According to Vox,

Who started the March for Science, and why?

On the day of the Women’s March on Washington, Jonathan Berman, a biology postdoc at the University of Texas Health Science Center, was reading a Reddit thread about an article headlined “All References to Climate Change Have Been Deleted From the White House Website.” One comment caught his eye: “There needs to be a Scientists’ March on Washington.”

“The only way to make things happen is to do them,” Berman told me in February. So he purchased the web domain MarchForScience.com, and set up a Facebook and Twitter account. The march will “send the message that we need to have decisions being made based on a thoughtful evaluation of evidence,” he says. And all of a sudden, he had a movement. (Some 521,000 had “liked” the march on Facebook as of Tuesday.)

And with that it went viral.  A post-doc lit the match that created this map of satellite marches across the US alone and 600 events across the world on Six Continents!

Source: Vox Media

Most media covered the event as a response to Donald Trump’s threatened budget cuts to science agencies and especially to climate change programs and that scientists felt threatened by the repudiation of science by policymakers altogether in the Trump administration.

While that is all true, I believe it goes much deeper. It’s been brewing for a couple decades as climate scientists have had to come to terms with the political implications of their research findings that the climate is warming, and we humans are responsible. Unlike the Ozone problem, and the Montreal Protocol, where Ronald Reagan cited “the global scientific consensus” and praised international cooperation at his signing of the agreement, the oil industry congealed fast and ferociously to fight them. It was no match.

The largest and most powerful industry in the world set out to change, challenge and confuse the facts long enough, while funding the politicians, think tanks, and forcing (somehow) the media to cover the issue of climate as two equally opposing views (in the name of balance) for far too long, instead of objectivity, that would rely on the vast consensus of scientists to guide its reporting.

All scientists watched as Climate Scientists were on the front lines of the “war on science”, being attacked professionally and personally, watching on as the bogus “Climate E-Mail Gate” was taken up as a genuine controversy in most outlets, and in outlets like Fox News, called “a purge and deletion of all climate data” as I experienced personally as a guest in this segment. I was forced to do something very uncomfortable and unusual in my many years on national TV, call them “liars” on the air.  It was just too much. I had debated deniers for years on TV and Radio and presented facts and logic in debates against pundits whose talking points came straight from the every-changing alt-fact set of think tanks like Heritage and Heartland Institutes and the American Petroleum Institute. I was just mad as hell and couldn’t take it anymore as they say.

It was no surprise to see Michael Mann, Director of Penn State University’s  Earth System Science Center (ESSC), (and Climate Talk Radio Contributor) leading the march as he reluctantly became the poster scientist for abuse, lawsuits and personal attacks after releasing the iconic “Hockey-Stick Graph”, but what did surprise me was to see the sheer diversity of the scientific community that came out on Earth Day, from every discipline in a non-partisan almost primordial scream at the establishments of government and media that should hold them accountable, to defend the underpinning of American progress: evidence-based peer-reviewed science.

Nerdy signs and slogans abound, “What do we want? Evidence-Based Science! When do we want it? After Peer-Review!”

But make no mistake, scientists are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore!

Trump: “I’m Keeping an Open Mind on Climate”

A Ray of Hope?

This just in from Reuters:

“U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Tuesday he thinks there is some connection between climate change and human activity and “clean air is vitally important,” a New York Times reporter said in a tweet.

Trump, who met Times reporters and editors in New York, “says he is keeping ‘an open mind'” on the issue, the Times’ reporter wrote on Twitter.

Trump has previously called man-made global warming a hoax. “I think there is some connectivity” between humans and climate change, Trump said in the Times interview.”

This was reporters at the New York Times after Trump emerged from an on-again off-again on-again meeting with the Editorial Board.

I suspected that like many positions that have changed, Climate Change may be a big one.  I tweeted this out just a few hours ago.

He also has heard by now from world leaders that if the US is preparing to pull out of the Paris Agreement, other countries may impose a carbon tariff on US Exports. The world was at Defcon5 about a Trump’s Presidency for Climate Change at the recent COP22 Talk in Marrakesh Morocco.

I also find it hard to believe that Ivanka, as a mother of young children and whose husband Jared Kushner is playing a major role in the transition would appoint hardcore deniers to key offices.

Most conservative economists (including Reagans’s own Chief Economist, Arthur Laffer- of the Laffer Curve fame), believe that a Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax, which really means “Tax the oil companies, give 100% of revenues back to consumers and provide the private sector the incentive to create millions of clean energy jobs” is the best way forward.

Bob Inglis, @BobInglis – a Former Republican Congressmen from South Carolina, (and Climate Talk Radio Show Contributor) has been a champion of this plan while making it border-adjustable. That means, if the other countries didn’t have the same tax, we would collect it at the Ports, and would have to enact the same plan.

So maybe, just maybe, in the strangest of ways, Republicans will be the Climate Champions. Fine by me…just get it done.

 

Last Call for the Climate – Three Years UN Says

Seriously People, if Trump wins the Climate is Toast!

“The next three years provide the “last chance” to limit global warming to safe limits in this century, the United Nations said.”

The UN Produces an Annual Emissions Gap and the 2016 Report is scary. Scientists analyze the goals of the Paris Agreement, which went into for November 4th, to the Pledges of the Countries. They go into lots of detail, and it’s now how scientists usually talk, but let me translate:

If you Elect that Climate Denying, Pulling out of Paris, EPA Abolishing, Slashing all Climate-Funding – know nothing, Donald Trump, then it’s game over. His idea of drilling even more oil, and killing off renewable energy, is planetary suicide. Vote Hillary. Don’t be crazy.

I’ve had a huge number of guests on the show nearing the election. Perhaps the most famous climate scientist, Michael Mann told us that point blank. So did Bill McKibben.  Glen Peters, Lead Researcher on Carbon Capture & Storage for the International Center on Climate Research in Oslo, Norway said we have to elect a President that will rapidly deploy existing Renewable Energy technologies and invest in promising new technologies, but it can’t wait. We’re already overshooting the targets the world agreed to. We joked that there is no Bruce Willis who is going to be able to shoot down the asteroid with a nuclear weapon in space at the exact right time to save the planet. That was a movie. Trump is a real threat to the planet.

Even former conservative Republican Congressman, Bob Inglis, called Trump a “Moron” on the show, and said what a threat he poses to finding Climate Solutions that he says many Republicans in Congress secretly wish to do but feel so much pressure from Trump activists.

Read more at Inside Climate News,

‘Last Chance’ to Limit Global Warming to Safe Levels, UN Scientists Warn
New study says that unless nations ramp up their carbon-reduction pledges before 2020, it will be nearly impossible to keep warming to 2 degrees.

AND THEN FOR GOD’S SAKE (AS IN THE PLANET HE OR SHE CREATED), GO VOTE!!!!

 

Trump Would ‘Cancel’ Historic Paris Agreement

That’s How the BBC Reported  it and the Whole World is Mad!

The BBC News was all over the pledge by Trump to “cancel” the Paris Agreement of 2015 (which is that plan to save the planet that the whole world signed onto).

It took over twenty years in the making for the world to come together, and especially after a terror attack in Paris, to finally agree on a plan to address the greatest threat to humanity. Donald Trump said “It was bad for US Business”, according the BBC.

He happens to be dead wrong.  More than 175 Businesses have signed the American Businesses Climate PledgeAccording to The Financial Times, CEO’s like “Alex Gorsky, chief executive of Johnson & Johnson, said having a large number of companies join the pledge would have a “very significant impact” on pushing for a deal. “We’re excited that it does seem to be picking up momentum,” Mr Gorsky told the FT.

“The more large companies work together … it will create significant momentum around the world.”

That is, if it isn’t President Trump. Bad for Businesses, Mr. Trump? These Companies don’t agree.

21ST CENTURY FOX

365 RETAIL MARKETS

ACER AMERICA

ADOBE

AGILE SOURCING PARTNERS

AIRBNB

AKAMAI

ALL STAR SERVICES

AMAZON

AMD

AMERICAN HONDA MOTOR COMPANY

AVERY DENNISON

BEN & JERRY’S

BHPBILLITON

BIO-AMBER

BMW NA

BNY MELLON

BURNS & MCDONNELL

CANTALOUPE SYSTEMS

CANTEEN & COMPASS GROUP

CH2M

CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.

CRAIG COMMUNICATIONS

DANFOSS

DUPONT

EDP RENEWABLES NORTH AMERICA

ENEL GREEN POWER NORTH AMERICA

EQUINIX

FRHAM

GAMESA

GENENTECH

GOURMET COFFEE SERVICE

GREENWOOD ENERGY

IHG

INTERFACE

INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS & FRAGRANCES

JETBLUE

JM HUBER CORPORATION

KAISER PERMANENTE

KELLY SERVICES

KIMBALL ELECTRONICS

KOHL’S DEPARTMENT STORES

KPMG

LEGRAND NA

LENOVO

LINKEDIN

MESA ASSOCIATES

MGM RESORTS

MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL

NATIONAL GRID

NEWS CORP

NOVARTIS

NRG

ORMAT TECHNOLOGIES

PATHEON

PROLOGIS

RIO TINTO

RM2

ROYAL VENDING

SKYONIC

STAPLES

SWITCH COMMUNICATIONS

SYMANTEC

TESLA MOTORS

TRI-ALPHA ENERGY

UNDERGROUND CONSTRUCTION

UNITED TECHNOLOGIES

VALLEY ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS

VF CORPORATION

VOLVO GROUP NORTH AMERICA

THE WITTERN GROUP

XYLEM

The following companies have previously joined the American Business Act on Climate pledge:

ABENGOA BIOENERGY US

AEMETIS

ALCOA

AMERICAN EXPRESS

APPLE

AT&T

AUTODESK

BANK OF AMERICA

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY ENERGY

BEST BUY

BIOGEN

BLOOMBERG

CA TECHNOLOGIES

CALPINE

CAMPOS BROTHERS FARMS

CARGILL

COCA-COLA

COX

DELL

DISNEY

DSM NORTH AMERICA

EMC CORPORATION

ENER-G RUDOX

ENERGY OPTIMIZERS

FACEBOOK

FULCRUM BIOENERGY

GE

GENERAL MILLS

GENERAL MOTORS

GOLDMAN SACHS

GOOGLE

HERSHEY’S

HP

IBERDROLA USA

IBM

IKEA USA

INGERSOLL RAND

INTEL

INTEX SOLUTIONS

INTREN

INVENERGY

JOHNSON & JOHNSON

JOHNSON CONTROLS

KELLOGGS

KEYSTONE ELECTRICAL MANUFACTURING

KINGSPAN INSULATED PANELS INC

LAKESHORE LEARNING

LAM RESEARCH

LEVI STRAUSS & CO.

L’OREAL USA

MARS

MCDONALDS

MICROSOFT

MONSANTO

NATIONAL LABEL

NESTLE USA

NIKE

NOVOZYMES

ONE3LED

PACIFIC ETHANOL

PEPSI

PG&E

POET

PORTLAND GENERAL ELECTRIC

PROCTOR & GAMBLE

PWC US

QUALCOMM

RICOH USA

SALESFORCE.COM

SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC

SIEMENS USA

SONY USA

STARBUCKS

SYNGENTA/QCCP

TARGET

TRIGLOBAL ENERGY

UNILEVER

UPS

WAL-MART

XEROX