FAIRBANKS, ALASKA – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Alaska to play host to the eight nations of the Arctic Council on Thursday, trailed by burning questions about Russia and climate change.
The policy forum for the countries of the great white north got underway in the former gold prospecting town of Fairbanks, far away from the political frenzy gripping Washington.
But two of the questions hanging over President Donald Trump’s White House were also on envoy’s minds in Alaska.
Can Washington mend ties with Russia, represented in Fairbanks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and will Trump honor the U.S. pledges in the 2017 Paris climate change accord?
“We’ve got a lot to do tomorrow,” Tillerson warned guests at a dinner on the eve of the forum late Wednesday.
Climate Change: We keep hearing the “science is settled,” yet once again data emerge showing that there has been no appreciable warming now for 19 years. Memo to global warming advocates: People are starting to notice.
Of course, it is pretty clear from the record that temperatures have risen in the past 150 years or so. But that should hardly be surprising, given that the period lasting into the early 19th century was known as the “Little Ice Age.”
But more recently, alarms were sounded over the rise in 2015 and 2016 of global temperatures, even though the rise was a result of a temporary phenomenon — the “El Nino” effect of warming seawaters in the Pacific that create higher temperatures and weather disruptions around the world.
As Christopher Booker of the Sunday Telegraph in Britain noted this week, after being repeatedly warned about 2016 being “the hottest year on record,” we now have arrived at this: “In recent months global temperatures have plummeted by more than 0.6 degrees: just as happened 17 years ago after a similarly strong El Nino.”
By the way, those temperature readings are courtesy of satellites, which provide the most comprehensive and accurate temperature readings of all. Many of the scariest headlines come from far more limited, and localized, temperature readings, which can be deceptive.
Scare headlines about disappearing arctic ice are similarly being shown as overblown if not outright false. The Danish Meteorological Institute reports that since December Arctic temperatures have pretty much been below -20 degrees Celsius. Arctic ice and the Greenland ice cap are both expanding, not shrinking.
By Robert Bradley Jr. — May 9, 2017
“Watch what happens in Paris carefully to see if all that the leaders do is sign off on the pap that UN bureaucrats are putting together, indulgences and promises to reduce future emissions, and then clap each other on the back and declare success.”
“Big Green consists of several ‘environmental’ organizations, including Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), each with $100+M budgets, each springing from high-minded useful beginnings, each with more high-priced lawyers than you can shake a stick at. EDF …was chief architect of the disastrous Kyoto lemon. NRDC proudly claims credit for Obama’s EPA strategy and foolishly allows it to migrate to Paris.”
– James Hansen, “Isolation of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Part I,” November 27, 2015.
“[The Paris agreement] is a fraud really, a fake. 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.”
– James Hansen, quoted in Oliver Milman, “James Hansen, Father of Climate Change Awareness, Calls Paris ‘A Fraud’.” The Guardian, December 12, 2015.
James Hansen has weighted in the Paris agreement, which is now on the firing line with the U.S. threating to set into motion a pullout. Hansen’s disfavor of this global climate agreement, setting voluntary targets for greenhouse gas reductions globally, might rival that of President Trump, but for contrary reasons.
The good news is that the father of climate alarmism has repeatedly spoken truth to power when it comes to the politics of energy and climate.
By Michael Bastasch / @MikeBastasch /
Former Vice President Al Gore personally asked President Donald Trump not to withdraw the U.S. from a United Nations agreement aimed at limiting global warming, a source revealed.
Gore called Trump Tuesday morning to discuss the Paris Agreement that the Obama administration joined in 2016, the source told Axios. “Mr. Gore made the case for why the U.S. should stay in the agreement and meet our commitments,” a source close to Gore said.
Gore praised the Paris Agreement when it was first announced in 2015, calling it “a bold and historic agreement.”
The agreement requires countries to voluntarily submit plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and those plans are supposed to be ratcheted up every five years. White House officials are split on whether or not the U.S. should remain in the agreement. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner favor staying, while chief strategist Steve Bannon favors keeping the president’s pledge to withdraw.
Ivanka Trump and Kushner have been backed by State Department career staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Multinational corporations from Starbucks to Exxon Mobil Corp. favor staying in Paris as well. Some Republicans have argued the U.S. can stay in the Paris Agreement with a weakened pledge to cut emissions. That argument has been supported by former Obama administration climate diplomats who have an interest in not seeing their work thrown out.…
President to first meet with G-7 leaders in Italy before rendering final verdict President Donald Trump won’t make a decision on whether to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change until after he meets with G-7 leaders later this month, the White House’s top spokesman said Tuesday.
By Chris Mooney
The United States government has sent just seven registered participants to a key United Nations meeting on the Paris climate agreement — a smaller delegation than Zimbabwe — underscoring the Trump administration’s deep ambivalence about the historic agreement.
White House officials are expected to huddle on Tuesday to discuss the fate of the agreement — with business leaders and the international community pressing the U.S. to stay in the agreement, and Trump’s conservative allies urging an exit.
The meeting in Bonn, Germany, represents the first of two gatherings this week where international partners will pressure the increasingly recalcitrant U.S. to affirm its role in the agreement of more than 190 nations.
Other industrialized nations such as China, France, and Germany each sent dozens of officials — the French delegation alone had 42 official participants. The U.S. sent 44 official participants just last year.…
President Donald Trump has promised to make a “big decision” in the next two weeks on the Paris climate accord after promising to “cancel” the agreement during the campaign last year.
Fundamentally, the Paris Agreement is a costly and ineffective approach to addressing global warming. There are compelling economic, environmental, and legal reasons for Trump to make good on his campaign promise, and the commonly heard arguments for remaining in the agreement do not pass muster.
The Paris Agreement, signed by more than 170 countries, aims to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The means of accomplishing this goal largely center on reducing carbon dioxide emissions by transitioning the global energy economy away from affordable, dependable conventional sources of energy.
The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation. We’ll respect your inbox and keep you informed.
Countries involved in the agreement each submitted nationally determined contributions, setting their respective obligations for keeping temperatures in check.
As a member nation, the U.S. also submitted its goals under the Obama administration. The domestic regulations listed by the Obama administration aimed to reduce greenhouse gas levels across the entire economy by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025.
The U.S. regulations alone would increase energy costs for U.S. families and businesses, causing an overall average shortfall of nearly 400,000 jobs and total income loss of more than $20,000 for a family of four by the year 2035.
Compliance with the Paris Agreement will cost the global economy trillions of dollars over the next 80 years. Yet the results will be almost zero reduction in projected warming, even if every country met their respective carbon dioxide reduction targets as promised under the agreement.…
OSLO (Reuters) – Nations around the world have adopted more than 1,200 laws to curb climate change, up from about 60 two decades ago, which is a sign of widening efforts to limit rising temperatures, a study showed on Tuesday.
“Most countries have a legal basis on which future action can be built,” Patricia Espinosa, the U.N.’s climate change chief, told a webcast news conference of the findings issued at an international meeting on climate change in Bonn, Germany.
She said the findings were “cause for optimism”, adding that laws were one yardstick for tracking action on global warming alongside others such as investment in renewable energy or backing for a 2015 climate agreement, ratified by 144 nations.
The study, by the London School of Economics (LSE), reviewed laws and executive policies in 164 nations, ranging from national cuts in greenhouse gases to curbs in emissions in sectors such as transport, power generation or industry.
Forty-seven laws had been added since world leaders adopted a Paris Agreement to combat climate change in late 2015, a slowdown from a previous peak of about 100 a year around 2009-13 when many developed nations passed laws.
U.S. President Donald Trump doubts that climate change has a human cause and is considering pulling out of the Paris Agreement but legislation is often complicated to undo.
“If you have that big body of 1,200 laws it is hard to reverse,” Samuel Fankhauser, co-director of the LSE’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, told the news conference.
The study said that developing nations were legislating more but there were many gaps. Nations including Comoros, Sudan and Somalia had no climate laws.
“We don’t want weaklings in the chain,” said Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. He urged all countries to adopt laws that help limit downpours, heatwaves and rising sea levels.
(Reporting by Alister Doyle; editing by Ken Ferris)…
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House has postponed a Tuesday meeting to discuss whether the United States should withdraw from the landmark international climate deal struck in Paris under the Obama administration.
The White House said late Monday that the meeting would be rescheduled. This is the second time a meeting of top aides on the issue has been delayed.
Donald Trump pledged during the presidential campaign to renegotiate the accord, but he has wavered on the issue since winning the presidency. His top officials have appeared divided about what to do about the deal, under which the United States pledged to significantly reduce planet-warming carbon emissions in the coming decade.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former chief executive of the oil company Exxon, said at his Senate confirmation hearing in January that he supports staying in the deal. But Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has said the Paris pact “is a bad deal for America” that will cost jobs.
Ivanka Trump, who serves as an adviser to her father, was supposed to meet separately Tuesday with Pruitt and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. That meeting is still expected to take place, according to a White House official who requested anonymity to discuss private talks.
The Paris accord, signed by nearly 200 nations in 2015, was never ratified by the Senate due to the staunch oppositions of Republicans. It therefore does not have the force of a binding treaty, and the United States could potentially withdraw from the deal without legal penalty.
A senior administration official said the president’s inclination has been to leave the pact, but Ivanka Trump set up a review process to make sure he received information from experts in the public and private sector before a making a decision. The official requested anonymity to discuss private conversations.
As speculation continues about how Trump will handle the agreement, Tillerson is set to travel to Alaska for an Arctic Summit council this week amid concerns from other nations that the Trump administration will undermine global efforts to address climate change in the Arctic, where rising temperatures are having a disproportionate effect.
David Balton, a top U.S. diplomat who works on environmental issues, said there would be “no change” in U.S. participation even if Trump ultimately decides to pull out of the Paris pact.
“The U.S. will remain engaged in
If President Donald Trump merely pulls the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, it will be like cutting the head off a dandelion. It will look good for a while until equally bad agreements quickly grow back when a Democrat occupies the White House again. Trump needs to dig up the roots of Paris — the 1992 U.N. climate treaty — if he is to keep his campaign promise to “stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.”
Trump can — and should — get the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, of course. Besides the scientifically unfounded objective of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels,” as if we had a global thermostat, the agreement lets so-called developing countries almost entirely off the hook despite the fact that non-OECD countries are now the greatest source of energy related emissions. Consider the agreement’s emission targets for the U.S. versus China, currently the world’s largest emitter, for example:
The Obama administration agreed to an economy-wide target of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas (82% of which is carbon dioxide (CO2)) emissions by 26%-28% below its 2005 level in 2025.
China agreed “to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030” and to other measures such as those designed to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption. Taking into consideration expected economic growth in China and other factors, their target translates into about a 70% increase above its 2005 level in 2025.
Yet writing in the Chicago Tribune, Paul Bodnar, a Special Assistant to former-President Obama and a key architect of the 2014 U.S.-China deal (which has the same emission targets as Paris), echoes the position of many opinion leaders when he asserted, “The Paris Agreement… puts China, India, and other emerging markets on equal footing with the United States.”
Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth. It will not even be necessary for developing nations to meet their weak Paris emission targets anyway. They have an out-clause, one not applicable to developed countries.
The Paris Agreement starts:
“The Parties to this Agreement, being Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [FCCC], hereinafter referred to as ‘the Convention’…”.