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After President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement to limit global warming to well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels, more than 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, businesses and universities pledged to make greenhouse gas emissions reductions that would nevertheless move the U.S. towards meeting its original Paris goals.
"The actions of cities, companies and states aren't insignificant but they can't do it by themselves," Data-Driven Yale director Dr. Angel Hsu told The Guardian.
The report, co-authored by researchers at Data-Driven Yale, NewClimate Institute and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, in partnership with CDP, is the first to assess the potential impact of individual, quantifiable commitments from almost 6,000 cities, states and regions and more than 2,000 companies on global greenhouse gas emissions in 2030.
They found that regional, local and corporate commitments in the U.S. could move the country at least halfway towards meeting its Paris goals, but not enough to close the gap entirely.
However, if the goals of all international cooperative agreements, such as the Global Covenant of Mayors, are met, the U.S. could actually meet or exceed its Paris commitment.
Globally, individual commitments would reduce emissions by 1.5 to 2.2 gigatons of equivalent carbon dioxide (GtCO2e) per year more by 2030 than if only existing national policies were implemented.
"The initial results presented in this report suggest that individual city, state, region and business commitments represent a significant step forward in bringing the world closer to meeting the long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, but it is still not nearly enough to hold global temperature increase to 'well below 2°C' and work 'towards limiting it to 1.5° C.,'" the report authors found.
The regional and local initiatives studied cover seven percent of the world's population, and the companies involved have, at more than $21 trillion, a total revenue close to the size of the U.S. economy.
Researchers focused on nine high-carbon-emitting countries: Brazil, China, the U.S., Russia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and South Africa, as well as the EU.
They found that individual initiatives could reduce the EU's emissions by 230 to 445 metric tons (Mt) of CO2e per year and China's by as much as 155 MtCO2e.
The report was designed to help inform participants in the Global Climate Action Summit upcoming in San Francisco this September, which will gather regional, local and corporate leaders to discuss their contributions to fighting climate change.
For participants, the report should hammer home the importance of honoring their commitments.
"The potential of these commitments to help the world avoid dangerous climate change is clear—the key is now to ensure that these commitments are really implemented," Hsu said in the Data-Driven Yale press release.
- Global Climate Action Summit 2018 | The Global Climate Action ... ›
- Local and global effects of climate change ›
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.