Daily Archives: May 31, 2017

Paris Accord Doesn’t Go Far Enough — but Trump’s Pullout Will Endanger Life on Earth

President Donald Trump speaks to US troops at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, May 27, 2017. Trump is expected to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement. (Photo: Stephen Crowley / The New York Times)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report

A large number of climate experts believe the Paris Climate Accord does not go nearly far enough in addressing the crisis of abrupt anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD).

Nevertheless, in what is clearly both a symbolic move and a nod to his fossil fuel backers, Donald Trump will be pulling the US out of the agreement, according to several reports today.

The US, along with nearly 200 other countries, agreed to voluntarily reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in 2015. Interestingly, given the ongoing Russia scandal that is plaguing the White House on a daily basis now, withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement will make the US and Russia the only industrialized countries that reject taking action to mitigate ACD.

Trump has claimed that ACD is a “hoax,” despite the fact that 97 percent of the global scientific community agrees that humans are the cause of our warming planet. The majority of the remaining 3 percent of the scientific community has been shown to be taking funding from the fossil fuel industry.

Trump’s move displays a callous disregard for the future of life on Earth. A recently published study showed that the depletion of dissolved oxygen in Earth’s oceans is occurring much faster than previously believed. Hence, ACD is now recreating the conditions that caused the worst mass extinction event on Earth, the Permian mass extinction that took place approximately 250 million years ago and annihilated 90 percent of life. Dramatic oceanic warming and acidification were key components of this extinction event, and these conditions align with what we are seeing today.

In the US, a recent report states that it is “inevitable” that the contiguous US will lose all of its glaciers by 2050, a mere 33 years from now. Data from a January US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report show that the federal government has increased its worst-case scenario for sea-level rise to up to an average of more than eight feet by 2100. That amount of sea level rise will render large parts of many global coastal cities, including several in the US, uninhabitable.

As Trump geared up to pull out from the Paris agreement, scientists have stated the obvious: The Earth is likely to reach dangerous levels of warming even sooner if Trump withdraws the US from its promise to cut CO2 emissions.

Scientists have said that the US withdrawal could add up to 3 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere on an annual basis. Over time, that will be enough to melt ice sheets faster, trigger more extreme weather events and raise sea levels even more quickly.

To see more stories like this, visit “Planet or Profit?”

One group ran a worst-case computer simulation showing what will happen if the US does not curb its emissions, and found that it would add up to half a degree of warming on its own by 2100.

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WFP: More efforts needed to save millions from starvation

CGTN Africa

Published on May 31, 2017

Despite massive efforts that have helped improve the hunger situation in Somalia, more is needed. According to the Executive Director of the Word Food Programme , David Beasley- over 2.3 Million people in the Horn of Africa nation still need food assistance. He adds that the organisation needs 297 Million Dollars to alleviate the situation. Conflict and poor rains have been blamed for the current food shortage. Apart from distributing food, World Food Programme has also been issuing electronic cash vouchers for locals to diversify diets, as a way of improving nutrition.

LIVE: Trump poised to pull the U.S. out of Paris climate deal

CGTN Africa

Published on May 31, 2017

Reports from the United States indicate that President Donald Trump’s administration is poised to announce the country’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate agreement. Various US media, quoting senior officials, say the White House will make the announcement, once details of the withdrawal process have been worked out. Trump tweeted about an hour ago that he will announce his decision over the next few days. The decision will put the US in a league with Syria and Nicaragua as the world’s only non-participants in the landmark Paris Climate Agreement.

Antarctic ice crack takes major turn – BBC News

By Jonathan Amos BBC Science Correspondent

There has been an important development in the big crack cutting across the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

The fissure, which threatens to spawn one of the biggest bergs ever seen, has dramatically changed direction.

“The rift has propagated a further 16km, with a significant apparent right turn towards the end, moving the tip 13km from the ice edge,” said Swansea University’s Prof Adrian Luckman.

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Exxon shareholders back ‘historic vote on climate – BBC News

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

Shareholders in Exxon Mobil have backed a motion requiring the company to assess the risks from climate change.

The plan, proposed by investors including the Church of England, was supported by over 62% of those eligible to vote.

The vote comes as US media reports that President Trump is poised to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

Exxon will now have to consider how global efforts to mitigate climate change will impact their business.

Did Exxon know?

Long seen as the last bastion of opposition to action on rising temperatures, Exxon Mobil is the world’s largest publicly traded oil company.

They’ve recently been under investigation by some state authorities in the US.

They’ve been accused of allegedly concealing information from shareholders on when the company first realised that human emissions of carbon were driving up global temperatures.

Previous attempts by activists to force the company to take the impact of climate change into account failed. Last year, the motion gained just over 38% of shareholder support.

The resolution, filed by the Church Commissioners for England and New York State Comptroller Thomas P DiNapoli, asked Exxon to report on how its business model will be affected by global efforts to limit the average rise in temperatures to below 2C.

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Trump ‘poised to quit Paris climate deal’ – BBC News

US President Donald Trump is poised to pull the country out of the Paris climate accord, US media report, quoting senior officials.

The 2015 accord for the first time united most of the world in a single agreement to mitigate climate change.

It was signed by 195 countries out of 197 in a UN group on climate change, with Syria and Nicaragua abstaining.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Mr Trump said he would announce his decision within the “next few days”.

What was agreed in Paris?

Climate change, or global warming, refers to the damaging effect of gases, or emissions, released from industry and agriculture on the atmosphere.

The Paris accord is meant to limit the global rise in temperature attributed to emissions.

Countries agreed to:

  • Keep global temperatures “well below” the level of 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and “endeavour to limit” them even more, to 1.5C
  • Limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100
  • Review each country’s contribution to cutting emissions every five years so they scale up to the challenge
  • Enable rich countries to help poorer nations by providing “climate finance” to adapt to climate change and switch to renewable energy

To date, 147 out of the 197 countries have ratified the accord, including the US, where the accord entered into force last November.

Why does Trump object?

Mr Trump has previously called climate change “a hoax” devised by the Chinese government.

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Without Slavery, Would The U.S. Be The Leading Economic Power? | Here & Now

November 19, 2014 During

the middle of the 1800s, cotton became the world’s largest commodity. The cheapest and best cotton came from the southern United States.

History professor Edward Baptist is author of “The Half Has Not Been Told.” (Cornell University)

Edward Baptist
argues in his new book, “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism,” that the forced migration and subsequent harsh treatment of slaves in the cotton fields was integral to establishing the United States as a world economic power.

“Slavery continues to have an impact on America in the most basic economic sense,” Baptist told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson. “We don’t want to hear that at its root, the economic growth depends to a large extent on slavery.”

Book Excerpt: ‘The Half Has Never Been Told’

By Edward E. Baptist

Introduction: The Heart

A Refrain As Louisiana’s Coast Washes Away: We’re ‘Water People. We Can’t Leave’ | Here & Now

Locals put the crisis into a perspective that’s easy to understand.

Louisiana loses a football field of land every hour of the day.

“Even my customers are starting to recognize it now,” says charter boat captain Ripp Blank. “And it don’t come back once it leaves.”

Blank has been fishing the waters around Bayou Barataria — 30 miles or so north of the Gulf of Mexico — his entire life. If you’re a newcomer, it can be hard to discern where the water ends and the land begins.

Charter boat captain Ripp Blank at Joe’s Landing Marina in Barataria, La. (Virginia Hanusik for Here & Now)

“It washes through little cuts and then before you know it a boat might go through it, two boats might go through it and then it just keeps getting bigger and bigger, deeper and deeper,” Blank says of the vanishing land. “And before you know it, it’s gone.”

The Mississippi River Delta is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The river carries tons of sediment hundreds of miles to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico. Natural flooding over thousands of years has built up the land. But modern flood control has stopped the natural cycle, and now the land is sinking.

The delta is also rich with wildlife. The shrimpers at Joe’s Landing, where Blank launches his boat into the bayou, are part of a $350 million commercial fishing industry that is under threat in Louisiana.

It’s been throttled in recent years by powerful hurricanes and the 2010 oil spill that killed fish, and the region’s reputation for fresh seafood. But coastal erosion is a slower-moving crisis, changing the environment that Blank and others have relied on for years.

Water levels around Barataria will rise nearly 3 feet in the next 50 years if nothing is done to restore the marshland, according to the state’s 2017 Coastal Master Plan, which is set for approval in the legislature this week.

“We water people. We can’t leave,” says Blank, when considering predictions that routine flooding will make daily life next to impossible in the next half century. “This is all we know. You get water. Water goes away you come back. Start all over again.”

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In Dominican Republic, Rising Sea Levels Force Relocations | Here & Now

May 31, 2017
By Mariana Dale, KJZZ


Maria Isabel Reyes watched workers pack up her life. “I feel nervous,” she said. (Mariana Dale/KJZZ)

The World Bank estimates the Dominican Republic will be one of the countries most affected by climate change in the coming decades. Rising sea levels could wash away the Caribbean nation’s tropical beaches and the homes of its most vulnerable citizens.

Mariana Dale (@mariana_dale) of Here & Now contributor KJZZ went to the capital Santo Domingo, and found that moving an entire community out of harm’s way is a complicated endeavor.

This segment aired on May 31, 2017.

The Economic Cost Of Leaving The Paris Climate Agreement | Here & Now

May 31, 2017Updated 5/31/2017 11:26 AM

President Trump addresses U.S. military troops and their families at the Sigonella Naval Air Station, in Sigonella, Italy, Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Luca Bruno/AP)

President Trump will reportedly pull the United States out of the 195-country Paris Agreement on climate change. Trump has argued that the agreement would cost the country trillions and put factories at risk.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson explores the economic impact of both staying in and leaving the accord with Roberton Williams (@Roberton3Will), director of academic programs for Resources for the Future, a nonpartisan group that studied the deal.

This segment aired on May 31, 2017. Audio will be available soon.