8 Hilarious John Oliver Rants Blasting Trump on Quitting Paris Agreement
By Joe McCarthy
Oliver explains the agreement, skewers the rationale for leaving it and gives a good description of the threat of climate change.
Here are eight essential takeaways from the episode:
1. The Paris Agreement Was Voluntary
Trump said that he left the agreement because it was too demanding. In reality, it was entirely voluntary—there was no enforcement mechanism. Each country determined its own goals and was expected—but not required–to hit those goals.
"[This is] Trump's most ludicrous misunderstanding of the agreement … for a man who cites the agreement's strict, onerous and draconian terms," Oliver said. "What he does not seem to comprehend, is each nation sets its own goals, remember, and more importantly, the whole thing is fucking voluntary."
2. The Agreement Wasn't Overly Burdensome on the U.S.
When Trump announced that he was withdrawing from the Paris agreement, he said it was because it required the U.S. to close down job-creating industries like coal, while other countries were allowed to expand those industries.
"India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020," Trump said during his announcement. "We're supposed to get rid of ours."
Oliver noted that the agreement doesn't even mention coal and places no mandate on the U.S. to close any factories—or do anything for that matter. Trump may have been thinking about the Obama-era U.S. regulation known as the Clean Power Plan, which would have retired many coal plants because of high emissions. This regulation was never even implemented and is now being dismantled by the EPA's new director Scott Pruitt.
"Trump's description is so flamboyantly deceptive," Oliver said. "It would have been equally accurate for him to say compliance with the Paris agreement would likely require all ducks to wear jean shorts and it would cost each American five fish and a dumptruck full of hamsters."
3. The U.S. Economy Would Thrive Under Paris Agreement
"If the agreement was a scheme to hurt American businesses, you know who that might be news to?" Oliver asked. "The American businesses."
More than 650 companies have committed to the Paris Agreement, more than half of the fortune 500 companies have plans to reduce their emissions—including Walmart, Bank of America and Phillip Morris—and 25 massive companies such as Microsoft and Intel even made a last-ditch effort to change the president's mind by taking out advertisements supporting the agreement.
The Paris agreement aims to get countries to switch to renewable energy. Far from crippling the U.S. economy, renewable energy can be an engine of prosperity. Already, the renewable industry is hiring people at 12 times the rate of the rest of the economy. As advances in technology are made and prices go down, even more economic growth will follow.
China gets this. The country that Trump often casts as a nemesis, is investing $360 billion into renewables by 2020, which will create 13 million jobs.
4. Leaving the Agreement Hurts U.S. Reputation
The Paris agreement was a monumental global achievement that took years of work and marked a pinnacle of science and diplomacy.
Trump spurned all of that by leaving.
"Pulling out of Paris would be the worst thing for brand America since Abu Ghraib," Nigel Purvis, an environmental negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations told The New York Times.
The Vatican said: "If he really does [pull out], it would be a huge slap in the face for us," a Vatican spokesman said before Trump's announcement, according to Reuters. "It will be a disaster for everyone."
5. The Green Climate Fund Doesn't Burden the U.S.
The Green Climate Fund is a fund set up to help poor countries adapt to climate change and transition to renewable economies, leapfrogging fossil fuel-intensive industries.
Trump portrayed the fund as a burden that would cost the U.S. tens of billions of dollars. In fact, the U.S. committed $3 billion to the fund, and has so far committed $1 billion.
"If you rank contributions as a percentage of GDP, we are 32nd," Oliver pointed out.
6. The U.S. has a Unique Responsibility to Help
The U.S. is the bigger emitter in history and the average U.S. citizens is responsible for far more emissions than the average citizen anywhere else in the world.
Because the U.S. is largely responsible for the current climate crisis, it has a responsibility to find a solution.
7. Time Is Running Out
The Paris agreement declared that global temperatures should not rise more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. For that to happen, emissions have to be dramatically curbed right away. But if business as usual continues, then the world will blow past that threshold point in as little as 20 years.
And if that happens, "Things get very bad and potentially irreversible," Oliver said.
By leaving the agreement, Trump makes it much harder to stay under the two-degree ceiling.
8. The Silver Lining: Political Action
In the aftermath of Trump's withdrawal, an unnamed group led by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg of at least 30 mayors, three governors, 80 university presidents, and more than 100 businesses are going to spearhead a movement to uphold the Paris agreement.
For Oliver, that's where the path forward lies—political action.
"The problem with climate change is it's always felt abstract impersonal, and far off into the future, and the usual [examples] that we use don't do much to fix or help," Oliver said. "It's either a graph that's difficult to understand, or a sad polar bear on a piece of ice, and it's hard to get get emotionally fired up over that."
"But finally, this week, the climate change movement may have gotten a symbol to rally around," he said.
To that end, Oliver called on his viewers to find out where their local, state, and federal representatives stand on climate change. If those legislators doubt the science and oppose action, then Oliver called on his fans to organize, rally and unseat them in the election.
There's no time to waste.
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
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Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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