A quick update on oceans, oxygen, and fish habitat


Not only does warm water hold less dissolved oxygen than cool water, it also tends to divide into layers that don’t readily mix. According to one recent study, the ocean has been losing oxygen since the mid-1980s, likely because rising temperatures have impeded circulation

 “When oxygen goes way down, it’s effectively habitat loss,” Levin says. “They might move north, they might move upslope into shallower water.” Species that can’t easily relocate, like muck-dwelling invertebrates, may perish.

The cruel corollary to deoxygenation is that warmer waters also drive up animals’ metabolic rates, forcing them to use more oxygen to breathe. As Curtis Deutsch,  a chemical oceanographer at the University of Washington, puts it, “They need more, at the same time that they have less.”

Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies



 “The factor that best explained variation in extinction risk was the level of future climate change. The future global extinction risk from climate change is predicted not only to increase but to accelerate as global temperatures rise (regression coefficient = 0.53; CIs, 0.46 and 0.61) (Fig. 2).”

Mark C. Urban

Accelerating extinction risk from climate change.

SCIENCE 1 MAY 2015 • VOL 348 ISSUE 6234


“Between 1C and 2C increases in global mean temperatures most species, ecosystems and landscapes will be impacted and adaptive capacity will become limited.”

Rik Leemans and Bas Eickhout. Another reason for concern: regional and global impacts on ecosystems for different levels of climate change. Global Environmental Change 14 (2004) 219-228

Meet Jane, a climate scientist who fled Trump’s government


Worries about science censorship drove her from her post at the Energy Department.

The day after President Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, Jane Zelikova was “crying her eyes out” in her office at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. As a scientist researching how big fossil-fuel industries can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, she feared that her work would be stymied because of the new president’s skepticism about climate change. As a Jewish refugee who came to the United States as a teen, she felt threatened by Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric during the campaign. The election also created a rift in her family: Her father voted for Trump; her mother sat out the election. “Every part of me that I identify with felt fear and anger combined into outrage,” Zelikova said.

She texted furiously with three close friends — other women scientists she had known since they went to graduate school at the University of Colorado, Boulder. At first, they simply shared their alarm. But by the second day, they wondered what they could do about it.  “We moved into an email thread and added women scientists we knew,” Zelikova recalled. “It grew very quickly — from five people to 20 to 50 to 100 — within a matter of a couple of days.”

Representatives of a new activist group, created after President Donald Trump’s election, participate in the March for Science in Washington, D.C., on Earth Day. The group, 500 Women Scientists, co-founded by Jane Zelikova (blue scarf in the center) has gathered nearly 20,000 signatures from women scientists, calling for scientific integrity in government policy as well as inclusivity and diversity in science.
Sophia Roberts

They drafted an open letter from women scientists. “We fear that the scientific progress and momentum in tackling our biggest challenges, including staving off the worst impacts of climate change, will be severely hindered under this next U.S. administration,” they wrote.  The letter rejects the “hateful rhetoric” of the campaign and commits to overcoming discrimination against women and minorities in science. Then they built a website and gathered signatures. Thousands signed on, and a new activist group was born: 500 Women Scientists.

Zelikova’s experience mirrors a broader phenomenon. Many scientists felt threatened enough by Trump’s victory to abandon their usual detached objectivity. They wrote members of Congress to defend science funding and scientific advisory panels and used their knowledge of government research to protect data they feared could be erased from websites. They set up alternative Twitter sites for government agencies and planned and participated in protests. “The election mobilized scientists in a way we’ve never seen before,” said Gretchen Goldman, who leads research on science in public policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, an activist group. “I’ve personally been blown away by the scientists who want to be engaged in a new way.”

Previously, Zelikova, a 39-year-old Ph.D. soil ecologist, had envisioned a future as a research scientist, working in academia or in government. But Trump’s election, she said, is changing her in ways she never could have imagined. Her whirlwind metamorphosis provides a glimpse into just how disruptive the last six months have been for some in federal government. Zelikova — who is intense, articulate and has an engaging smile — doesn’t have a permanent federal job. She took a leave from the University of Wyoming, where she’s a research scientist, for a two-year fellowship at the Energy Department. She had less to lose than career civil servants with mortgages and government pensions, so she felt freer to speak out.

The Trump administration has proposed deep staff and budget cuts for the Energy Department, Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies whose mission involves safeguarding the environment. Many federal workers committed to protecting the environment share Zelikova’s angst but won’t say so publicly for fear of retribution.

For weeks after the election, Zelikova barely slept, working late into the night on her new group. “I am a Jewish, refugee, immigrant, woman scientist. At some level, this felt really personally offensive to me, and like an attack on all the parts of me that make me a complete human,” Zelikova recalled. She had always been skeptical of political protests. She grew up in Eastern Ukraine, where Communist leaders used to orchestrate demonstrations in the 1980s. But Trump’s election moved her to join protests. Her first was the Women’s March the day after the Inauguration in Washington, D.C. After that, she frequently joined demonstrations, protesting Trump’s travel ban and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Meanwhile, things were changing in Zelikova’s day job at the Department of Energy. In early December, Trump’s transition team sent out a questionnaire that attempted to identify employees who worked on climate change. Staffers feared the new administration would target people who had worked on former President Barack Obama’s climate change agenda. The day after the inauguration, with the Obama team gone, Zelikova attended a staff meeting at which, she said, only white men talked. “The backslide was immediate,” she said. Trump’s budget proposal, which came out in March, slashed funding for science and research. The morale at the agency was low and dropping.

Still, Zelikova kept working on her research. She was part of a team responding to Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s request that the Energy Department analyze options for keeping the state’s largest coal-fired power plant, Colstrip, in business. Zelikova’s team came up with scenarios for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent or more by installing equipment to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

Capturing carbon takes a lot of energy, however. So Zelikova went to Colstrip last fall to talk about using renewable energy — wind or solar — to power the carbon-capture process and thereby cut emissions even further. “Wouldn’t it be cool if instead of sucking that parasitic load off the plant, you powered it with renewable energy?” she said. She thinks the idea holds great promise for other fossil-fuel plants. “We went to national labs and universities, and we talked to people about how do we make this happen,” Zelikova said. “And then the election happened, and it felt like this isn’t going to happen.” Trump is determined to eliminate Obama’s Clean Power Plan, removing a major incentive for plants like Colstrip to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. His budget proposal recommends slashing funding for the Energy Department’s renewable energy and fossil fuel research programs. “I’m seeing all that work become really threatened,” Zelikova said. “It feels like betrayal, because I got so personally invested.”

Her boss at the time, David Mohler, recalls her reaction: “She was distraught clearly and for understandable reasons; the Trump team is really not appreciative of science, and certainly they don’t believe in climate science.” Before becoming deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Clean Coal and Carbon Management, Mohler was chief technology officer for the country’s biggest electric utility, Duke Energy. Trump will probably slow reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, Mohler says. But even Trump can’t stop progress on climate change: Utilities won’t reopen closed coal-fired power plants, and low-priced natural gas will keep replacing coal. And Mohler believes that wind and solar will continue to expand because of declining costs, state mandates and tax incentives, which have bipartisan support in Congress.

Mohler, an Obama appointee, left government on Jan. 20, and moved back to South Carolina. Zelikova started thinking about leaving Washington, too. “Resistance as daily existence was starting to diminish my ability to function,” Zelikova recalled. She talked her supervisor into letting her move to Colorado in February for the rest of her fellowship. She continued to work for the Energy Department at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden. In her spare time, she kept building 500 Women Scientists. The group grew quickly, spawning nearly 150 local branches around the globe in just a few months.

One branch was founded in Seattle by Sarah Myhre, a 34-year-old climate change scientist at the University of Washington’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences. The group gave Myhre the courage to stand up to a prominent professor, Cliff Mass, from her own department.

In January, at a state legislative committee hearing, Myhre criticized Mass for stressing uncertainties about how much human-caused climate change is affecting wildfires and ocean acidification in the Pacific Northwest. Myhre described Mass as an “outlier” in the department whose views did not represent the broad scientific consensus. In online comments to a Seattle Times opinion piece Myhre wrote in February with Zelikova and another woman scientist, Mass called them three idealistic young scientists (none of them really are climate scientists, by the way).” When Myhre traveled to Washington, D.C., at the end of April for the People’s Climate March, one of the women she marched with carried a sign that read: “Idealistic Young Real Scientists.”

A week earlier, on Earth Day, Zelikova joined other members of 500 Women Scientists for the March for Science in Washington, D.C., waiting for hours in a chilly rain to get through security screening for the rally at the Washington National Monument. Shivering in her watermelon-red ski shell, Zelikova reflected on the ways her life would be different if Trump had not been elected. “I would have never founded a big group — ever,” she said. “I would have never been a loud advocate for things. I would have never protested. These are now the hugest part of my life.”

At the end of May, Zelikova quit her fellowship at the Energy Department. In July, she will start a new job for a tiny nonprofit called the Center for Carbon Removal, based in Berkeley, California. She hopes to help states move forward on capturing carbon from fossil fuel plants. “Western states are perfectly poised to lead on climate action,” she said. “In terms of federal action, there’s going to be very little, so we need to work with states, so that when the political climate changes and there can be federal action, we can be ready to go.”

Correspondent Elizabeth Shogren writes HCN’s DC Dispatches from Washington.

Al Gore: Trump’s Paris decision ‘indefensible’

Gore: Trump ‘reckless’ on climate change 00:58

Story highlights

  • Gore said he thought Trump would “come to his senses” on the Paris agreement
  • He cast Trump’s decision as an abdication of leadership

Washington (CNN)Former Vice President Al Gore expressed disappointment Sunday over his failure to persuade President Donald Trump to keep the US in the Paris climate agreement.

Gore said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump’s decision was a threat to humanity and bad for the US position in global politics. “I think it was reckless,” Gore said. “I think it was indefensible. It undermines America’s standing in the world. It threatens the ability of humanity to solve the climate crisis in time.”
Trump announced on Thursday his decision to initiate the nation’s withdrawal from the landmark agreement of which nearly every country on earth is a member. His speech came after weeks of internal White House debate.
Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka, was among those who supported the US remaining in the agreement.
Gore met with both Trumps in December at Trump Tower in New York. At the time, he called their discussion “lengthy and very productive.”
In his CNN interview Sunday, Gore said he had spoken with Ivanka Trump several times since that meeting but that they had not spoken since Trump’s announcement.
“I thought that he would come to his senses on it, but he didn’t,” Gore said.
Gore also said the trend of the future would be toward clean energy and away from carbon-emitting fuels. He said there was progress happening “all over the world.”
“The direction to move in the future is very clear,” he said.
“We’re now seeing governors and mayors and businesses and civic leaders really beginning to move regardless of what the White House says. … The American people are going to provide leadership, even if President Trump will not.”




Over the years, Jethro Tull has explored issues relating to the environment, including climate change.
My interest in climate change goes back to about 1974. There was a track released on the War Child album called “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day,” which was a piece talking about climate change. Albeit in the 1970s, it was thought that we were possibly heading towards another age of global cooling—a mini ice age. In fact, scientists then had got it wrong because when the ice core samples started to kick in in the ’80s, and the reality began to emerge, of gradual incremental change, then global heating became the likely prediction, and of course that, for the last 10, 15 years, has been the agreed likely future of the planet aggravated in part, I’m sure, with what we would call natural change in climate but certainly by the effects of human activity. If it wasn’t for the fact that many Chinese cities have absolutely been deviled by smog and terrible atmospheric conditions, I doubt the Chinese would be doing what they’re beginning to do now, which is to, in some cases, lead the charge towards more environmentally conscious ways of producing energy. But I’m afraid the trend is in the opposite direction in your country right now. It should be scaring the proverbial out of you.

It is.
And in other ways it isn’t because you always find ways to unfortunately excuse the dependency that you have on fossil fuels. And the dependency you have on personal transport, for example. And the dependency that you have or you think you have on eating vast amounts of meat, which is very expensive to produce, very energy intensive, very damaging to the environment. In South America and North America, there is a culture of eating really, really a lot of meat. I’m not a vegetarian, I mean I eat meat, I should be having some meat tonight in a pie. But I don’t eat meat every day. I enjoy it when I eat it but I’m very conscious of placing some restriction on the amount that I eat. And I choose not to drive a car. I choose not to be dependent on transport, which is very inefficient in terms of its impact on the environment and its costs. I use public transport. I travel in the back of the airplane; on short and medium journeys I travel in the train. I should be on the train tomorrow traveling into London. I use the underground, the tube, the subway system, or a bus, or I walk. But I’ve never been interested in owning a motorcar. Being a passenger in a car, and gas-guzzling my way 200 miles to go to London and back—I think it a little inefficient.

What happens when you have to get somewhere in a pinch and you can’t get there by bike, walking or public transport?
I change my plans usually. Like everybody else, I think the answer you’re looking for is, “I get out my smartphone and I ask Mr. Uber to to send me a car.” But these “What do you do when?” circumstances are exceptions. When you have the choice, when you can make the choice about traveling more economically, and more consciously, then I use public transport out of preference. I know there’s a lot of people who can’t do that because there isn’t any public transport. Of course that does apply in much of America, where it is a car-based society; there aren’t too many options. You have Greyhound buses but not much of a train network compared to Europe and other countries. You can argue that you don’t really have those options, but it’s time they were there.

In April, you traveled to Australia to perform, and made the trip by plane.
Being in the company of 300 other passengers, on a very large airplane, is the most economic way to do that. If I were to do that in private jet, then I think you could accuse me of the same hypocrisy as we might apply to certain other people who do that. On the one hand, to espouse concerns about the environment and then on the other hand jump into their private jet to go to the next climate change conference—plenty of hypocrites like that around.

Continued: http://www.newsweek.com/ian-anderson-jethro-tull-climate-change-prog-rock-eagles-619848


The historic scale of Donald Trump’s mistake

US President Donald Trump has announced that the United States will no longer participate in the 2015 Paris climate agreement, the landmark United Nations treaty that many of us worked so hard to achieve. Trump is making a mistake that will have grave repercussions for his own country, and for the world.

Trump claims that he will try to renegotiate the deal reached in Paris, or craft a new one. But leaders from around the world have already hailed the agreement as a breakthrough for the fight against climate change, a victory for international cooperation, and a boon to the global economy. That remains true today.

Among the many challenges we face today, climate change is unique in its global scale. It affects every element of life on this planet – from ecosystems and food production to cities and industrial supply chains. Viewing climate change as strictly an “environmental” problem misses the point entirely.

We might charitably assume that Trump simply does not understand the implications of his decision. And yet, regardless of what Trump thinks, we know that he is surrounded by advisers who know very well what is at stake.

On the campaign trail, Trump promised to create jobs and protect American workers from the ravages of the world. And he signed off his tweet announcing that he had made a decision on the Paris accord with the words, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

But Trump’s decision undermines every one of these goals, and it goes against the wishes of a vast majority of Americans, including many of his own supporters. By turning his back on the Paris agreement, he is increasing Americans’ exposure to the devastating effects of climate change – many of which they are already experiencing. Moreover, he is undercutting jobs in the thriving renewable-energy and electric-vehicle sectors, which are increasingly employing the very workers he purports to represent.

More broadly, Trump has diminished America itself, and abdicated its global leadership role. When I was a member of the French government participating in a global tour to build consensus for climate action – an effort that eventually culminated in the Paris agreement – I experienced firsthand what American leadership can achieve. It is tragic to watch that force for good be subverted by denial and myopia.

By burying their heads in the sand, Trump and his advisers must be hoping that reality will simply go away. They have somehow concluded that America will be spared from the droughts already destroying farms in California’s Central Valley, the rising sea levels already flooding coastal cities, the storms and wildfires routinely ravaging vast swathes of the American countryside, and the water- and food-supply disruptions that threaten us all.

Other parties to the Paris agreement have responded to Trump’s decision with strength, thus proving the resilience of the agreement itself. The rest of the world will be sad to see an America that has been left behind, owing to Trump’s decision. But we will not wait; in fact, we are already moving on.

The world’s response will be clear at the G20 meeting in Germany this July. Already, Europe, China, India, Canada, and Pacific Rim and South American countries have recommitted to the goals of the Paris agreement. These countries understand the dangers of climate change, as do ExxonMobil’s global shareholders, who, just this week, rejected that company’s attempts to ignore the impact of climate change on its business.

By placing America in the company of the only two countries that have not joined the Paris agreement – Syria and Nicaragua – Trump’s decision is completely at odds with the current global atmosphere of cooperation. The world’s major economies are reaching new agreements every day to collaborate on research and development, infrastructure investment, and industrial strategy. They are working together to achieve a low-carbon economy, and to make 2020 the year that global greenhouse-gas emissions will have peaked.

European leaders are already meeting with their Indian and Chinese counterparts to find areas where they can cooperate on developing clean energy and green infrastructure. Massive investments will be made in these areas, and the European Central Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and many other institutions are devising mechanisms to finance them. Likewise, sovereign wealth funds with immense clout in the global financial system are redirecting their investments toward the green economy.

Even the most optimistic among us did not predict that the old fossil-fuel paradigm would change so quickly. But Europe is phasing out coal-fueled energy production. And India, China, and South Korea are rapidly shifting their investments away from coal, and toward renewable-energy sources.

Worldwide, the competition is about “who can go green the fastest.” New industries are springing up, at scale, in areas ranging from electrification and smart-grid design to electric vehicles, green construction and recycling technologies, and organic chemicals. The renewable-energy revolution, now spreading at an unprecedented rate, is already transforming entire sectors, not least transportation. In all of these sectors around the world, the excitement and growth potential is palpable.

It is a shame that Trump has decided to shirk America’s global responsibility and turn his back on these developments. His decision is a blow to so many people – including a great many Americans – who have worked hard to be a successful part of the new economy.

Still, Trump cannot take all of America with him. State- and city-level climate action is sweeping across the US, increasing in scale and ambition. Trump’s historic mistake represents an obstacle to that collective action; but it can hardly stop it. Just as Chinese companies are now training US coal workers to build wind farms, the rest of the world will continue to work together, and build the markets and workforce of the future.


Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’ Sequel to Include Trump’s Exit From Paris Accord




JUNE 1, 2017 | 06:53PM PT

Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” will get a last-minute edit to incorporate President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

“An Inconvenient Sequel” is slated for release July 28. Paramount said the filmmakers will revise the movie to include Trump’s controversial move, announced Thursday.

“The final film will address today’s news,” Paramount spokesperson Katie Martin Kelley told Variety.


Al Gore

Al Gore: Exit From Paris Deal Is ‘Reckless and Indefensible’

Gore stars in the film, which shows how the landmark 2015 Paris agreement came together. The documentary, produced by Participant Media, kicked off this year’s Sundance Film Festival, on the day before Trump was inaugurated. The film was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews.

The movie includes footage of then-candidate Donald Trump joking about global warming. Trump issued a sweeping executive order in March rescinding many of the climate change regulations introduced by former President Barack Obama, including reducing carbon emissions and lifting the moratorium of mining coal on federal lands.

“Inconvenient Sequel” is a follow-up to Davis Guggenheim’s Oscar-winning 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth,” which followed Gore’s efforts to convince legislators and the public of the devastating effects of climate change. Bonnie Cohen and Jon Shenk directed the sequel.

Gore joined a growing chorus of national, international, and local leaders Thursday in condemning Trump’s action, which had been expected but nonetheless threw into question how efforts to reduce countries’ national footprint will be affected by the exit of the U.S.

“Removing the United States from the Paris Agreement is a reckless and indefensible action,” Gore said in a statement. “It undermines America’s standing in the world and threatens to damage humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis in time. But make no mistake: if President Trump won’t lead, the American people will.”

David Linde, chief executive of Participant Media, called Trump’s move “a blow to our collective ability to fight the climate crisis in time.”

Linde also said, “No matter what happens, our job is to keep the momentum moving forward as quickly as we can, regardless of what stands in our path.”

Cohen and Schenk said in a statement, “We were shocked and disappointed to hear President Trump’s announcement today regarding withdrawing the U.S. from the historic international deal reached in Paris. In our new film, ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,’ we filmed behind-the-scenes in Paris to show the hard work, finesse, and passion that went into making the agreement happen.

“We hope that the hard work of those who made the deal happen will not be in vain. The good news is that there is a great deal to be hopeful about. The technology exists to create enough clean energy for the world economy and to avoid total climate catastrophe. Now that President Trump is pledging to do less to keep America’s commitment to the world, we must all step up to do more to ensure the health of our planet.”

Fact-checking President Trump’s claims on the Paris climate change deal


June 1 at 7:58 PM
Play Video 2:38
Fact Check: President Trump’s remarks on leaving the Paris climate accord
Fact Checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Lee examine several of President Trump’s claims from his speech announcing the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord on Thursday.(Video: Meg Kelly/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

In his speech announcing his decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord on climate change, President Trump frequently relied on dubious facts and unbalanced claims to make his case that the agreement would hurt the U.S. economy. Notably, he only looked at one side of the scale — claiming the agreement left the United States at a competitive disadvantage, harming U.S. industries. But he often ignored the benefits that could come from tackling climate change, including potential green jobs.

Trump also suggested that the United States was treated unfairly under the agreement. But each of the nations signing the agreement agreed to help lower emissions, based on plans they submitted. So the U.S. target was set by the Obama administration.

The plans are not legally binding, but developing and developed countries are treated differently because developed countries, on a per capita basis, often produce more greenhouse gases than developing countries. For instance, on a per capita basis, the United States in 2015 produced more than double the carbon dioxide emissions of China — and eight times more than India.

Here’s a roundup of various statements made by the president during his Rose Garden address. As is our practice, we do not award Pinocchios in roundups of speeches.

“We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair.”

Each country set its own commitments under the Paris Accord, so Trump’s comment is puzzling. He could unilaterally change the commitments offered by President Barack Obama, which is technically allowed under the Accord. But there is no appetite to renegotiate the entire agreement, as made clear by various statements from world leaders after his announcement.

“China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020.”

This is false. The agreement is nonbinding and each nation sets its own targets. There is nothing in the agreement that stops the United States from building coal plants or gives the permission to China or India to build coal plants. In fact, market forces, primarily reduced costs for natural gas, have forced the closure of coal plants. China announced this year that it would cancel plans to build more than 100 coal-fired plants.

Gary Cohn, chairman of Trump’s National Economic Council, recently told reporters that “coal doesn’t even make that much sense anymore as a feedstock. Natural gas, which we have become an abundant producer, which we’re going to become a major exporter of, is such a cleaner fuel.”

“Compliance with the terms of the Paris accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates. This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs — not what we need.”

Trump cited a slew of statistics from a study that was funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council for Capital Formation, foes of the Paris Accord. So the figures must be viewed with a jaundiced eye. Moreover, the study assumed a scenario that no policy analyst expects — that the United States takes drastic steps to meet the Obama pledge of a 26 to 28 percent reduction in emissions by 2025.

Moreover, the study did not consider possible benefits from reducing climate change. A footnote says: The study “does not take into account potential benefits from avoided emissions. … The model does not take into consideration yet-to-be developed technologies that might influence the long-term cost.”

Trump also cited the impact by 2040, including a “cost to the economy” of nearly $3 trillion in lost gross domestic product. But in addition to an unrealistic scenario, that number must be viewed in context over more than two decades, so “$3 trillion” amounts to a reduction of 6 percent. The study concludes coal usage would almost disappear, but innovation in clean energy sources would slow considerably, which also raises the cost of complying with the commitments.

Environmentalists say greater investment in clean energy will lower costs and spur innovation. That may not be correct either, but it demonstrates how the outcomes in models of economic activity decades from now depend on the assumptions.

“Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree — think of that, this much — Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount.”

Trump is referring to research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a 2015 report. Researchers found that proposed emissions cuts in the Paris plan would result in about 0.2 degrees (Celsius) less warming by 2100, if the cuts were not extended further.

John Reilly, lead author of the report, said he “disagrees completely” with Trump’s characterization that the 0.2 degree cut is a “tiny, tiny” amount that is not worth pursuing. As a part of the deal, countries reexamine their commitments and can exceed or extend their pledges beyond 2030. The intent of the research was to say the Paris deal was a small step, and that more incremental steps need to be taken in the long run.

“The logic that, ‘This isn’t making much progress on a serious problem, therefore we’re going to do nothing,’ just doesn’t make sense to me. The conclusion should be — and our intended implication for people was — not to overly celebrate Paris, because you still have a long journey in front of you. So carb up for the rest of the trip,” Reilly said.

“The green fund would likely obligate the United States to commit potentially tens of billions of dollars of which the United States has already handed over $1 billion. Nobody else is even close. Most of them haven’t even paid anything — including funds raided out of America’s budget for the war against terrorism. That’s where they came.”

It is incorrect that other countries have not contributed to the Green Climate Fund. In fact, 43 governments have pledged money to the fund, including nine developing countries. The countries have pledged to pay $10.13 billion collectively, and the U.S. share is $3 billion. As of May 2017, the United States has contributed $1 billion of the $3 billion it pledged.

Trump implies that the money was taken out of U.S. defense monies. But the U.S. contributions were paid out of the State Department’s Economic Support Fund, one of the foreign assistance programs to promote economic or political stability based on U.S. strategic interests. Republican lawmakers have criticized the use of this fund, saying Congress designated the money to prioritize security, human rights and other efforts unrelated to climate change. However, the payments were made with congressional notification and meetings with congressional staff.

Trump also claimed in the speech that the Green Climate Fund “calls for developed countries to send $100 billion to developing countries.” But, as we noted, it’s actually $10 billion.

“China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years, 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.”

China, in its Paris Accord commitment, said that, compared to 2005 levels, it would seek to cut its carbon emissions by 60 to 65 percent per unit of GDP by 2030. India said it would reduce its emissions per unit of economic output by 33 to 35 percent below 2005 by 2030; the submission does seek foreign aid to meet its goals and mitigate the costs.

Both countries pledge to reach these goals by 2030, meaning they are taking steps now to meet their commitments. India, for instance, seeks to have renewable power make up 40 percent of its power base by 2030, so it is investing heavily in solar energy. The country is now on track to become the world’s third-largest solar power market in 2018, after China and the United States. China is also investing heavily in renewable energy.

“Believe me, we have massive legal liability if we stay in.”

Trump is referring to concerns raised by White House counsel Don McGahnthat staying in the Paris agreement would bolster legal arguments of climate advocates challenging Trump’s decision to roll back the Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Power Plan is a flagship environmental regulatory rule of the Obama administration, and proposes to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. It is crucial to the United States meeting its carbon emissions reductions pledge in the Paris agreement. But it has been placed on hold while under litigation.

According to Politico, McGahn raised concerns that the Paris agreement “could be cited in court challenges to Trump’s efforts to kill Obama’s climate rules. McGahn’s comments shocked State Department lawyers, who strongly reject both of those contentions, the sources said.”

“As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States, which is what it does.”

For years, Trump has touted his strong record on the environment. But the evidence is quite slim. We awarded Four Pinocchios to his claim that he is a “very big person when it comes to the environment,” who has “received awards on the environment.”

Environmentalists have criticized many of Trump’s projects, particularly for his plans to build a golf course on protected sand dunes and chopping down hundreds of trees for a golf course renovation. As a businessman, Trump or his property did win two environmental awards. In 2007, the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., received an award for “environmental stewardship through golf course maintenance, construction, education and research.” Three years later, the golf course was cited for a series of environmental violations.

In 2007, Trump won a “Green Space Award” for donating 435 acres of land to the state of New York. He had purchased the land to build a golf course, but withdrew plans after opposition from local residents and environmental restrictions. The land was never developed into a park, and New York closed it after budget cuts in 2010.


James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks ‘a fraud’


The former Nasa scientist criticizes the talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020, as ‘no action, just promises’

James Hansen climate change Paris COP21 global warming Nasa
‘Many of the conservatives know climate change is not a hoax,’ James Hansen says. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian

Mere mention of the Paris climate talks is enough to make James Hansengrumpy. The former Nasa scientist, considered the father of global awareness of climate change, is a soft-spoken, almost diffident Iowan. But when he talks about the gathering of nearly 200 nations, his demeanour changes.

“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”

The talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020, have spent much time and energy on two major issues: whether the world should aim to contain the temperature rise to 1.5C or 2C above preindustrial levels, and how much funding should be doled out by wealthy countries to developing nations that risk being swamped by rising seas and bashed by escalating extreme weather events.

But, according to Hansen, the international jamboree is pointless unless greenhouse gas emissions are taxed across the board. He argues that only this will force down emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst ravages of climate change.

Paris talks overlooking immediate threats, say climate change activists

Hansen, 74, has just returned from Paris where he again called for a price to be placed on each tonne of carbon from major emitters (he’s suggested a “fee” – because “taxes scare people off” – of $15 a tonne that would rise $10 a year and bring in $600bn in the US alone). There aren’t many takers, even among “big green” as Hansen labels environment groups.

Hansen has been a nagging yet respected voice on climate change since he shot to prominence in the summer of 1988. The Nasa scientists, who had been analyzing changes in the Earth’s climate since the 1970s, told a congressional committee that something called the “greenhouse effect” where heat-trapped gases are released into the atmosphere was causing global warming with a 99% certainty.

A New York Times report of the 1988 testimony includes the radical suggestion that there should be a “sharp reduction in the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide”, a plea familiar to those who have watched politicians who have traipsed up to the lectern or interviewer’s microphone in Paris over the past two weeks.

After that, things started to get a little difficult for Hansen. He claims the White House altered subsequent testimony, given in 1989, and that Nasa appointed a media overseer who vetted what he said to the press. They held practice press conferences where any suggestion that fossil fuels be reduced was considered political and unscientific, and therefore should not be uttered.

“Scientists are trained to be objective,” Hansen says. “I don’t think we should be prevented for talking about the the implications of science.” He retired from Nasa in 2013. “That was a source of friction. I held on longer than I wanted, by a year or two. I was in my 70s, it was time for someone else to take over. Now I feel a lot better.”

A man rides his bicycle on yellow paint poured on the street during a protest by activists from environmental group Greenpeace on the Champs-Elysee in Paris, ON Friday.
A man rides his bicycle on yellow paint poured on the street during a protest by activists from environmental group Greenpeace on the Champs-Elysee in Paris. Photograph: Christophe Ena/AP

From being possibly America’s most celebrated scientist, Hansen is now probably its most prominent climate activist. He’s been arrested several times in protests outside the White House over mining and the controversial Keystone pipeline extension.

He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University. When he’s in New York, he lives near the campus, surrounded by books piled on groaning shelves. Hansen’s not slowing down – he’s involved in a climate lobbying group and still undertakes the sort of scientific endeavor which helps maintain his gravitas.

One particular paper, released in July, painted a particularly bleak future for just about anyone living near the coast. Hansen and 16 colleagues found that Earth’s huge ice sheets, such as those found in Greenland, are melting faster than expected, meaning that even the 2C warming limit is “highly dangerous”.

The sea level could soon be up to five meters higher than it is today by the latter part of this century, unless greenhouse gases aren’t radically slashed, the paper states. This would inundate many of the world’s cities, including London, New York, Miami and Shanghai.

“More than half of the world’s cities of the world are at risk,” Hansen says. “If you talk to glaciologists privately they will tell you they are very concerned we are locking in much more significant sea level rises than the ice sheet models are telling us.

“The economic cost of a business as usual approach to emissions is incalculable. It will become questionable whether global governance will break down. You’re talking about hundreds of million of climate refugees from places such as Pakistan and China. We just can’t let that happen. Civilization was set up and developed with a stable, constant coastline.”

The paper has yet to be fully peer reviewed and some of Hansen’s colleagues, including his protege at Nasa, Gavin Schmidt, have voiced their doubts whether sea level rise will be quite this bad, with the IPCC projecting up to a meter by 2100.

Brickbats are thrown in a bipartisan way. Hansen feels Obama, who has made climate change a legacy issue in his final year in office, has botched the opportunity to tackle the issue.

“We all foolishly had such high hopes for Obama, to articulate things, to be like Roosevelt and have fireside chats to explain to the public why we need to have a rising fee on carbon in order to move to clean energy,” he says. “But he’s not particularly good at that. He didn’t make it a priority and now it’s too late for him.”

Hansen is just as scathing of leading Republicans who have embraced climate science denialism to the chagrin of some party elders.

Leading presidential candidates Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson have all derided evidence that the world is warming due to human activity while Ted Cruz, another contender, has taken time out from his campaign to to sit on an inquiry into climate science that has heard testimony from a rightwing radio host who has no scientific background.


“It’s all embarrassing really,” Hansen says. “After a while you realise as a scientist that politicians don’t act rationally.

“Many of the conservatives know climate change is not a hoax. But those running for president are hamstrung by the fact they think they can’t get the nomination if they say this is an issue. They wouldn’t get money from the fossil fuel industry.”

There is a positive note to end on, however. Global emissions have somewhat stalled and Hansen believes China, the world’s largest emitter, will now step up to provide the leadership lacking from the US. A submerged Fifth Avenue and deadly heatwaves aren’t an inevitability.

“I think we will get there because China is rational,” Hansen says. “Their leaders are mostly trained in engineering and such things, they don’t deny climate change and they have a huge incentive, which is air pollution. It’s so bad in their cities they need to move to clean energies. They realise it’s not a hoax. But they will need co-operation.”

 This article was amended on 14 December 2015 to clarify that Hansen believes taxes on greenhouse gas emissions are essential to the Paris climate talks.

World Awaits Trump Decision on U.S. Future in Paris Accord


by Stephen Capra
We have entered a time when the psychological deformity of this President is coming into clear focus.  The reincarnation of Andrew Jackson is creating a modern version of the “Trail of Tears” through his vicious, demented vision of ego driven power. His personal corruption and self-enrichment is at the core of every decision, his cruelty to staff and the American people is part of his deluded vision of power and control.

Today he has pulled us out of the Paris Climate accords. This move is designed for one purpose, to continue to create false hope for his followers and coal miners in particular, that “he” has their backs, while he moves to destroy their social safety net and any real promise of a future of jobs for the people he privately calls “stupid”, as his legislative agenda continues to stumble.

What makes this a very dangerous time aside from his personal insanity, is that Republicans continue a decades long desire to destroy government as we know it. They understand the potential danger that is mounting, but believe they can continue to fan the flames of racism, hate for government and the so-called liberal media long enough to ram through an agenda that will leave America decimated. While continuing to call it “freedom.”

From health care to student vouchers, eliminating Planned Parenthood and now targeting birth control, after school programs for low-income students, ending Medicare and declaring that “not all people deserve food.” We have entered a time when a group of white men have declared war on America.

This takes me to the environment, because the endless cycle of fraud and corruption that feeds the millions of dollars that elects this reprobating group, is now putting us on course I am afraid, towards a new destiny unless things change and change quickly.

The President is facing the power of a Special Prosecutor and it seems clear there is much to hide. Now he must push Republicans to obfuscate and defend him. While a few have broken ranks, the party as a whole is standing firm and engaging in their version of “fake news.” This is why this is a very dangerous time. As the pressure mounts, the President will continue as he has, to make radical, unprecedented decisions, which will have long-term consequences for America and the world.
Paris is the beginning, look for him to destroy our Monuments, this despite huge public outcry, but he needs the support of the Utah delegation and if destroying our conservation legacy is the question, the answer will be self-preservation, that remains the focal point of his selfish existence and he does not understand, nor care about the value of these magnificent lands that all Americans own. I pray I am wrong on this, but his whole Presidency thus far has been cruel and audacious in its willingness to remove the foundations of our democracy.

Democrats for their part continue to shout from the mountain top, but also falter thanks to the DNC in achieving the most important goal, which remains winning a special election or two or five to begin putting the fear of God into Republican legislators in 2018. No town hall, no protest is going to have the impact of losing two or three special elections. In politics, “I “always comes before “we.” In order to create this fear, the old guard at the DNC must invest quicker and more freely in races that are not simply urban, coastal seats, but aggressively challenge every seat.
Today, American joined Syria and Nicaragua in rejecting the most important pact to save the world we have ever witnessed. This, as the polar caps are melting, species are dying off and our oceans are reaching the breaking point. This is, as I have mentioned before represents, “treason against the earth.”

No matter what else this man has done, and it has been plenty, this should be first and foremost an impeachable offense. If not it should be added, for we cannot continue to abuse that which provides us life.

Ignorance has been emboldened with the election of this President. In less than 140 days his impact to the planet has equaled that of generations of misguided and deluded legislation. In 140 days he has moved to dismantle the EPA and is moving forward with buyouts of staff that will decimate its effectiveness. We are now going to kill bears and wolves in their dens, he has his sights on destroying the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil at a time when their remains a world-wide glut. Dumping coal waste into rivers, cutting funding to protect our largest body of clean water the Great Lakes and insuring our air is fouled by utilities and what remains most amazing, is the level of support he receives by these continued moves.
These moves reflect insanity, Trump is our modern day Kamikaze pilot, and he has been placed on earth to destroy or awaken the comfort zone that has befallen our nation.

These are dangerous times, but we have been here before. The smug smile of Paul Ryan and the boorish rhetoric and behavior of this President, seem designed to appease a solid 40 percent of our population and find joy in the schadenfreude of others. Fox news and radical radio jocks are there to cement that number.  Every move of this President seems dedicated to angering someone or some nation, to appear to strong when his every action cries out as insecure and out of place.

But make no mistake, for Republicans, they have a man willing to do anything, harm anyone and destroy whatever historical norms to create a vision for America that rewards the wealthy and creates a Sinclair Lewis portrait for the rest of us.
It remains vital to understand in these times, there remain so many good people, people who want to help and respect one another (two men in Portland showed this so vividly) and our natural environment.

Despite these hard times we have progressed as a society and will continue to do so despite the hard hand of these oppressors of spirit. But we must be strong, loving and vigilant.

It remains vital to remember the words of abolitionist minister Theodore Parker, who said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Justice you see will be ours.

This President will endure the karma of his actions.