Tag Archives: Climate Change

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.

The Adam Smith Plan for Climate Finance

The Adam Smith Plan for Climate Finance: Because the Climate is Too Big to Fail!

This is PDF of my PowerPoint Presentation, and “a big bold plan” to rethink Climate Finance altogether: It’s a much larger fund ($6.7 Trillion Annually), it’s easier to administer, it’s run by Private Banks so no need for Presidential or Congressional obstruction, and the wealthiest in the world, who taxpayers bailed out in 2008, will be the only ones to pay it (and it’s so minuscule, they won’t even notice). The best part is that it will unleash investments worldwide in new industries and jobs and boost Global GDP and reduce income inequality that threatens economies and national security. The “Invisible Hand” that Adam Smith envisioned.

Thoughts welcome. Just register free to comment!

Nancy

 

My Response to the Climate Change “Puzzle” Q

Green Biz Asks: Can we really solve the million-piece climate puzzle?

Great Question.

The Chief Climatologer at GreenBiz.com, Mark Trexler @ClimateRoulette posed an excellent question about just how complex the Climate Change solution is, and queries about how we can solve a puzzle with so many millions of pieces to it. A great think-piece that deserves responses. Here’s mine:

I like the puzzle analogy because there are so many pieces to it, but those pieces (different ecosystem effects, predictions & modeling, technologies at economies of scale, public opinion, etc.) are pretty much solved. It’s more like climbing Mt. Everest, only to be stopped before the peak by a powerful few who think they own Mt. Everest, and because of their power (and money), they’ve succeeded in keeping their narrow self-interest above the collective interest of survival itself (Putin, Big Oil, US Politicians, OPEC). But no one owns the Earth. The Paris Agreement was witness to that.

As with all historical struggles between the Powerful Few and the People, the People eventually prevail. From the tyranny of religions, Kingdoms, Gilded Ages & Dictators, people prevail (albeit it through blood and strife usually). With climate change, we are seeing the people rise in peaceful protest across the world. The People’s Climate March in 2014 shocked the UN with 400k in DC (I was there and it was powerful). Seeing the Scientists themselves this past weekend motivate 600 marches in the US and on 6 Continents was a crucial step. As a doctor doesn’t simply tell a patient they have cancer and leave it at that, scientists have spelled out what needs to happen and began aggressive advocacy for their patient, the Earth, by taking to the streets. On the 29th, yet a larger People’s Climate will take place as well.

Back to the analogy, there are defectors from the wealthiest atop Mt. Everest, and more and more politicians hear the people, the polls, the marches and know they can’t maintain their thrones without addressing those calls. Republican legendary leaders like Secretaries of State George Schultz and James Baker along with huge businesses are vocally supporting a carbon tax and dividend. The necessity of invention providing renewables to the masses in the developing world is driving markets positively for clean tech and negatively for fossil fuels, faced with oversupply and competition with OPEC and non-OPEC suppliers driving oil futures into insolvency.

Like every good movie thriller, there will be a denouement, a tipping point, and the good guys will prevail. Just how, when and where, I’m as unsure as most on this crazy rollercoaster. But just as we know the movie will somehow turn out, I believe with so many younger people coming of age knowing nothing but the truth about the climate challenge and heirs to the result, that it will happen.

The current wave of populism that propelled Brexit and Trump, has already hit speed bumps as the world sees that recoiling in narrow self-interest and blaming the World, isn’t working out so well. The French Election points to smoother sailing as the centrist Macron is consolidating support against the nationalist Le Pen. Donald Trump, and his administration of deniers is facing the worst approval ever and almost no accomplishments in its first 100 days. In other words, people may be mobilized by Fear in the short run, but Hope is far more powerful in the Big Picture (or Puzzle).

Lots of deep breaths, marches and plain ‘ole “Keep Calm and Carry On” is the charge. The pieces will fall into place.

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.

 

US LAUNCHES WEATHER SATELLITE (In the Nick of Time)

NASA and NOAA got GOES-R up in Space Before Inauguration

President Obama may or may not have a chance to Appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court during a Senate Recess, or because many Constitutional Scholars are saying that the Senate had its “Advice and Consent” chance and ignored it, but NASA succeeded in launching a multi-billion multi-year advanced technology weather Satellite, GOES-R up on Saturday, November 19th at Cape Canaveral.

The old weather satellites are nearing the end of their lives, and as climate extremes become more common, our need for accurate, detailed and timely weather info like hurricanes, wildfires, even tornadoes becomes more important.

GOES -R uses sophisticated mapping technology that can span the Western Hemisphere in 5 minutes with 4 times the resolution and transmit the info to the entire network of the world’s weather networks.

The Washington Post did an excellent piece on the technology but what I found most fascinating is that almost all nations with satellite technology have been cooperating for years by sharing weather data freely amongst each other, mainly through the World Meteorological Society, WMO. They realized they needed to cooperate for the sake of the planet and have even covered each other’s asses when one country goes dark for some reason, another will move a satellite over to cover them.

According to Richard Rood, a Professor at the University of Michigan now, but also a longtime NOAA researcher, at times a nation would threaten to pull out. But they just did an analysis of what that meant for accurate predictions and everyone just stuck together.

It’s the closest model of cooperation to the Paris Agreement that I have seen. Even Russia is part of the effort. They know their joint cooperation saves lives. Weather extremes don’t have flags or national anthems, they just strike.

It will be active in 2017, just as our new President is deciding whether the US should cooperate on saving the planet from even more of the ravages that GOES-R is set to better prepare us for.

 

 

World To Trump: Too Late, “We Will Move Ahead”

Marrakesh “Blues” Change to “Bullish” following Trump’s Win

For those of us in the Climate Community, a Trump win was our worst nightmare. As a candidate, he called it “Hoax” made up by the Chinese, which is really funny in some ways because the China has lapped the US on investment in renewable energy and has shuttled plans for new coal-fired power plants as well as shutting down existing plants, so the joke is on the US when they become the world’s largest exporter of clean technology.

He also threatened to cancel the $100 billions of funding the US gives to the UN for Climate Change, even though he doesn’t understand what that number is. The $100 billion was a goal set in the Paris Agreement in 2015 that by 2020 will be the target for all the nations to reach to help with adaptation and mitigation. The original goal is $10 billion, of that the US promised $3 billion and has yet to even make that first $500 million installment due to a science denying US Congress.

Even as 2016 smashed all heat records, the rest of the world was in shock and horror that the US had elected a Climate Denier as President. What would this mean for Paris (he promised “to cancel” the Paris Agreement), he vowed to eliminate the EPA and kill off the Clean Power Plan, the major US contribution to the world’s pledged emission’s targets?

Personally, I felt nothing but despair. I had a very deep and aching fear that right when we needed a Climate Champion in the White House, like Bruce Willis was the guy who had to head to space to shoot down the asteroid on its way to destroy the earth with a nuclear weapon at precisely the right moment, we got Darth Vader instead.

The first meeting since Paris COP22 just wrapped up in Marrakesh Morocco, and the climate went from despair to determination.  Over 200 countries reiterated their commitments to achieving their targeted reductions of CO2, and even pushed for more ambitious plans. They joined together for a Selfie of Sorts to Donald. “We Will Move Ahead”.

The momentum of an agreement crafted over 20 years, along with the amazing reinforcement from countries like China and even oil giant Saudi Arabia, to transition to clean energy is too great now for even the combined efforts of Trump “Big Oil” forces in Congress and his “really awful on climate” administration appointments.

Big Business and Industry left the station a long time ago and joined hands with the international community and scientists to speed the transition. The Big Three Automakers even said that a Trump Presidency will not slow down their production of Electric Vehicles, according to the Detroit Free Press.

As Trump speaks with world leaders, I do believe that the seriousness of climate change will factor into his decisions. I don’t thinks he will be a Bruce Willis, the heavy lifting still is on us all, but he won’t be Darth Vader. Why do I think that? Because I think from all the documentaries and from his own behavior Donald Trump is first and foremost concerned about what people think of him. Like,  to the point of demanding equal time on SNL parodying of him and demanding an apology from the cast of Hamilton for a message of unity they read to VP-Elect Mike Pence, that Trump considered harassment.

To be the Pariah among “the liberal media” in the US is one thing. To go down in history as having destroyed the last best hope for the planet’s survival? Well, that’s another thing.

Whatever you think of the man, he does love his children after all.

 

Michael Mann on Election 2016: Climate is on the Ballot!

Special Election Edition: What Michael E. Mann really thinks about the choices on the ballot (all of them) and what it means for the planet!

Nancy Skinner interviews Michael Mann on October 17th! Listen Up Millennials!

Get your copy on Amazon here now before you vote!

madhouseffront

madhouseback

 

Climate Talk TV: The Climate Debate We Deserve!

Stay tuned: At 6:00 Eastern, 350.org will host the debate that Americans should have heard about Climate Change that the Media has ignored.  To ask a question just Tweet it Using #ClimateCheckForum Join Bill McKibben and global leaders in the most important issue on the ballot this year: The Climate.