Trump Bans Climate Change from G7 Agenda

October 21st, 2019 - by Emily Holden / Guardian & Angelique Chrisafis / The Guardian & Emily Holden / The Guardian

Trump Bans Climate Change from G7 Agenda! Climate Crisis Will Not Be Discussed at G7 Next Year, Says Trump Official

Emily Holden / Guardian UK

LONDON (October 20, 2019) — The climate crisis will not be formally discussed at the G7 summit in June next year, Donald Trump’s acting White House chief of staff said on Thursday.

“Climate change will not be on the agenda,” Mick Mulvaney told reporters, without elaborating.

Mulvaney announced that the 2020 summit of seven of the world’s most powerful industrialised countries will take place at the National Doral Miami, one of the president’s golf resorts in Florida, despite widespread ethics concerns and an ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump’s conduct.

From weakening regulation on vehicle emissions to blocking warnings about how coastal parks could flood and withdrawing funding for conservation programs, the Trump administration is accused of consistently ignoring, burying and undermining climate science.

The White House’s stance is likely to be widely criticized, possibly even by members of the president’s own party. Florida is on the frontline of the climate crisis, facing ever stronger hurricanes and rising sea levels. While the state’s elected leaders had long denied climate science, they have recently started to change their tune. In August, the Republican senator Marco Rubio wrote that “climate change is a real problem”.

The state’s recently elected Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has hired the ex-hostage negotiator Dr Julia Nesheiwat as the state’s first chief resilience officer in charge of preparing Florida “for the environmental, physical and economic impacts of climate change, especially sea-level rise”.

Gabriel Filippelli, a climate scientist who advised the state department under the Obama administration, criticized the administration for ignoring the crisis.

“It means that irony is definitely NOT on the agenda!” Filippelli said on Twitter, referring to the decision to ignore the source of rising temperatures and sea-level rise at an international meeting outside of one of the country’s most climate-vulnerable cities.

Paul Bledsoe, a climate adviser to Bill Clinton, said Trump won’t be able to prevent other countries from discussing the crisis anyway.

“The other nations will no doubt bring up climate change in both an economic and security context,” Bledsoe said. “The issue is going to come up frequently because it is increasingly a matter of public safety, national security and the economic costs of impacts.”

But even if climate were on the agenda, Bledsoe said: “It’s not like under Trump there were going to be any big breakthroughs anyway.”

“It’s deeply ironic that the US state most vulnerable immediately to climate change impacts will host a meeting at which global leaders will be forced by the US to largely ignore the topic,” Bledsoe added.

No seat at the table: Trump skips G7 talks on climate crisis and Amazon fires

US President Misses Key G7 Meeting as Summit Agrees €20m Fund to Fight Wildfires

Angelique Chrisafis / The Guardian

BIARRITZ (August 26, 2019) — Donald Trump did not attend Monday’s crucial discussion on climate and biodiversity at the G7 meeting of international leaders in Biarritz, missing talks on how to deal with the Amazon rainforest fires as well as new ways to cut carbon emissions.

Reporters noticed at the start of the session that the US president’s chair was empty.

Trump was later asked by reporters covering a meeting with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, whether he had attended the climate session. He replied: “We’re having it in a little while.” He did not appear to hear when a reporter told him it had just taken place.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, confirmed Trump had not personally attended the climate session but that Trump’s team had been present.

He said he had held long and in-depth talks with Trump on the Amazon fires and that the US president “shares our objectives” and was “fully engaged” in the joint G7 effort to help Brazil put out the fires and reforest.

Macron had placed the climate emergency and protection of biodiversity at the heart of the summit, even before the Amazon rainforest fires.

But just before the session began on Saturday, it appeared that Trump’s entourage felt discussing climate was of little importance, compared with the economy. Reports in the US said senior Trump aides felt Macron was seeking to embarrass his US counterpart by making the summit focus on “niche issues” such as climate change or gender equality.

In 2017, Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord.

Macron announced that the G7 had agreed to an immediate fund of at least $20m (£16m) to help Amazon countries fight wildfires and launch a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest.

He said the Amazon was the “lungs” of the planet and leaders were studying the possibility of similar support in Africa, also suffering from fires in its rainforests.

All G7 countries — the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Britain and Canada — would give technical and financial help to fight the Amazon fires.

Macron had shunted the Amazon fires to the top of the summit agenda after declaring them a global emergency, and kicked off discussions about the disaster at a welcome dinner for fellow leaders on Saturday.

Trump has ditched Obama-era climate rules that aimed to reduce coal plant pollution.

Administration to Roll back Obama-era Clean Power Plan. Trump’s EPA Chief Says He’s ‘Leveling the Playing Field’

Emily Holden / The Guardian

WASHINGTON (June 19. 2019) — Donald Trump’s administration is finalizing plans to roll back the US government’s only direct efforts to curb coal-fired power plant pollution that is heating the planet.

Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency will replace an Obama-era climate change rule with a regulation that experts warn could help some of America’s oldest and dirtiest coal plants to keep running.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan would have pushed power companies to shift away from coal and toward natural gasand renewable power. Trump’s rule instead sets out ways for states to direct coal plants to increase their efficiency, with hardware fixes or operational changes.

Trump’s rule will not significantly tackle the heat-trapping gases entering the atmosphere that cause extreme heatwaves, floods and other disasters. And it will lead to higher levels of air pollution, compared with the Clean Power Plan.

“I believe this is the first rule in EPA’s history that acknowledges the existential threat of climate change but by the agency’s own admission does absolutely nothing to stop it,” said Obama’s EPA chief Gina McCarthy. “The Trump administration has made painfully clear that they are incapable of rising to the challenge and tackling this crisis. They have shown a callous disregard for EPA’s mission, a pattern of climate science denial, and an inexcusable indifference to the consequences of climate change.”

But the Trump administration is defending the change, arguing it is limited by law in how it can regulate the emissions that cause rising temperatures.

The EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, on Wednesday said the Obama rule would have raised electricity costs for poorer Americans. But even without that rule taking effect, power companies have been shutting down coal plants, which are more expensive than their cleaner competitors natural gas and renewable energy.

Wheeler argued EPA is “leveling the playing field” for coal, although the rule is not expected to significantly boost the US coal industry, which has been in decline for years. The National Mining Association, which represents coal companies, praised the rule, saying it preserves “the rightful authority of the states to manage their own unique energy infrastructure and electric grids”.

Wheeler positioned the policy as Republicans’ alternative to the Green New Deal proposed by progressives.

Wheeler said: “Rather than Washington telling Americans what type of energy they can use or how they can travel or even what they can eat, we are working cooperatively with the states to provide an affordable, dependable and diverse supply of energy that continues to get cleaner and more efficient.”

Joe Goffman, a Harvard professor and former EPA general counsel, called EPA’s legal arguments “tortured” and “deceptive”.

Goffman said the rule “demonstrates the Trump administration’s determination not only to avoid taking action to address climate change but also to obstruct current and future efforts by states and successors to cut greenhouse gas pollution”.

Democratic-led states and environment advocates are expected to challenge the rule in lawsuits. Attorneys general in New York and Connecticut on Wednesday quickly announced their intent to sue, and many more states are expected to join them. Trump’s agency argues it does not have legal authority to regulate climate change. If the courts agree, future US climate efforts could be in jeopardy.

Coal plant air pollution — from tiny particles that enter the lungs — cause breathing problems and early deaths. According to an earlier estimate from EPA, the new rule could lead to 1,400 more deaths each year.

One academic analysis estimates that over a decade the repeal could lead to 36,000 deaths, and that other Trump environment rollbacks could lead to a total to 80,000 deaths.

Paul Billings, executive director of the American Lung Association, said: “If certain changes are made, we could see the oldest, dirtiest plants run more and that will increase the overall burden caused by the pollution.”

Trump and many of his officials have questioned the science that shows rapid global action is needed to limit heat-trapping gases and protect people against a mounting crisis.

His agencies have slashed programs designed to limit carbon dioxide from power plants, cars and trucks, and encouraged oil drilling and coal mining.

The US has sent more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other country. It is currently the world’s second largest emitter.

America’s electricity sector has been rapidly decreasing its climate pollution, even though the Clean Power Plan was stalled by the supreme court and never took effect. Natural gas and renewable power have proved to be cheaper than coal.

Power plants are responsible for less than a third of US emissions. And data shows the US saw a rise in overall carbon levels last year.

Trump’s rule includes help for states to improve coal plant efficiency. That list does not include technologies to capture the carbon dioxide produced by a coal plant.

Although Trump has said he will withdraw from the Paris pact to fight the climate crisis, other countries have stayed in. Still, their efforts are far behind what scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst of the climate emergency.

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