World Leaders Call on Trump to 'Drop His Campaign Pledge to Cancel the Paris Agreement'
By Lauren McCauley
Underscoring the "climate pariah" that the U.S. is expected to become under a President-elect Donald Trump, world leaders concluded the United Nations climate talks on Friday by re-committing to the goals of the Paris accord and vowing to take swift action to reduce global emissions.
196 Countries Reaffirm Commitment to Paris Climate Deal, Isolating Trump Even More https://t.co/5DoaGqXY9c @beyondzeronews @ZeroCarbonWorld— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1479559809.0
"We call for the highest political commitment to combat climate change, as a matter of urgent priority," reads the Marrakech Action Proclamation (pdf), which was signed by 196 countries.
"Indeed, this year, we have seen extraordinary momentum on climate change worldwide," it states. "This momentum is irreversible—it is being driven not only by governments, but by science, business, and global action of all types at all levels."
The declaration calls for "strong solidarity with those countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change," as well as efforts to "eradicate poverty" and "ensure food security" as global warming takes its toll on agriculture, particularly in the Global South. The document further calls on "all non-state actors to join us for immediate and ambitious action and mobilization" to reduce emissions and transition to sustainable development and energy sources.
Holding up the pledge from the Climate Vulnerable Forum as "demonstrat[ing] what government leadership needs to look like," Payal Parekh, 350.org global program director, said: "The world is finally seeing the urgency for collective climate action."
And there is good reason for the urgency. Delegates wrapped up the conference in Marrakech amid another warning about the "climate emergency" upon us, as record-breaking temperatures continued for the third year in a row.
Further, the widespread show of solidarity occurred in the face of the recent election of Trump, who denies the reality of man-made global warming and has pledged to pull the United States from the Paris agreement.
Benjamin Schreiber of Friends of the Earth U.S. said at the conclusion of the talks, "Climate change is not going to wait for U.S. action and the rest of the world is clear it is moving forward. Trump's election must unify the world in treating the U.S. as a climate pariah, and respond to his Presidency by redoubling ambition."
And it seems it has. In an op-ed this week, environmental representatives from Ethiopia, the Philippines, and Costa Rica wrote that "the recent outcome of the U.S. elections cannot stop those of us dedicated to battling climate change."
"No country has said it will walk away from global action," said Ethiopia's minister of environment and climate Gemedo Dalle; Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Philippine senate's Permanent Committee on Climate Change; and Edgar Gutierrez, Costa Rican minister of Environment and Energy.
"To the contrary," they continued:
Countries including China, members of the European Union, Japan and Saudi Arabia have all reconfirmed their commitment to implement the Paris Agreement. Others, such as Australia, Pakistan and Italy, have even joined the agreement in the days since the U.S. elections. French President Francois Hollande and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have called on President-elect Trump to drop his campaign pledge to cancel the Paris Agreement; Ban called the Paris Agreement "unstoppable."
Together they send a resounding message: The countries of the world will forge on. Those that do will be better off by skipping all the downsides of a 19th century development model characterized by the burning of fossil fuels to achieve economic growth, while cashing in on more jobs, more growth and a higher quality of work and life.
"While the U.S. election could have derailed the negotiations, what's happened in Marrakech has given hope that global action on climate change will not be deterred by isolated politicians," said David Turnbull, campaigns director for Oil Change International.
However, Turnbull and others noted that, given that studies have shown that the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC will be far surpassed under nations' current reduction targets, the negotiations still "failed to meet the urgency of the climate crisis."
But, Turnbull added, "Countries and social movements came together to keep pushing forward at a time when resolve is essential."
"The lessons of Marrakech are clear," he continued. "Don't look to bureaucrats or climate-denying Presidents to take the lead on global climate action. Look to the people in the streets and in communities around the world. These are the people-powered movements resisting fossil fuels and building a renewable energy future, and this is the path to victory."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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