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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By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.