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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Ng Han Guan / EPA

World Doubles Down on Climate Action, Prepares to Lead Without U.S.

In a statement to be released Friday, the EU and China will reaffirm support for the accords and present a joint strategy to reduce global emissions and lead the energy transition. At a joint press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel this morning ahead of a two-day EU-China summit, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said climate change was "not invented by China" and that China will "shoulder [its] international responsibility."


Russia also reaffirmed support for the Paris accords ahead of President Donald Trump's decision, saying that the Kremlin "attaches great significance" to the deal. Should the U.S. exit the deal, it would be in lonely company: only Syria and Nicaragua have not signed on to the deal. While the overwhelming reaction has been critical of the enormous geopolitical, environmental, public health, national security, environmental justice and economic implications of Trump's exiting the agreement, some analysts argue that a U.S. exit could ultimately be beneficial for the accord's survival and success globally.

As reported by Politico, Trump could roll back U.S. climate policy and quit the non-binding goals of the agreement. However, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker emphasized that leaving the agreement entirely would not be easy.

"The climate deal says: It takes three, four years after the treaty took effect last November to exit the agreement," Juncker said. "That means the idea that you can simply disappear into thin air—that won't happen."

"The law is the law, and everyone has to stick to it," Juncker added. "Not everything which is law, and not everything which is written in international treaties, is fake news. You got to stick to that."

As the Washington Post's Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis reported Wednesday, 147 nations that have formally joined the agreement account for more than 80 percent of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions.

They said:

A U.S. withdrawal would remove the world's second-largest emitter and nearly 18 percent of the globe's present-day emissions from the agreement, presenting a severe challenge to its structure and raising questions about whether it would weaken the commitments of other nations.

China and the EU are planning not only to work together, but to lead the world as the U.S. steps down, The Guardian reported.

"No one should be left behind, but the EU and China have decided to move forward," EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete told The Guardian. "Our successful cooperation on issues like emissions trading and clean technologies are bearing fruit. Now is the time to further strengthen these ties to keep the wheels turning for ambitious global climate action."

For a deeper dive:

General global reaction: Washington Post, The Guardian, WSJ, The Atlantic, Boston Globe.

International emissions infographic: New York Times.

EU and China: Reuters, Bloomberg, The Guardian, Politico, FT. China: Reuters. Russia: CNBC, Reuters, The Independent. Nicaragua and Syria: Washington Post, CNN, The Guardian, USA Today, Washington Post (renewables).

International legal implications: Reuters.

Is the deal better off? Slate, Susan Matthews analysis, Washington Post, Chelsea Harvey analysis, Reuters, Richard Beales column, The New Republic, Emily Atkin analysis, Politico, Sara Stefanini analysis, The Hill, Ken Ward op-ed, Quartz, Akshat Rathi analysis.

Commentary: Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor analysis, Newsweek, Andrew Hammond op-ed

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

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Desperate for water, Puerto Ricans are resorting to any available sources, such as this stream in Cayey. Angel Valentin / NPR

Desperate Puerto Ricans Are Drinking Water From Hazardous Waste Sites

The ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee called for an investigation into the availability of potable water in Puerto Rico following reports Friday that residents are scrounging for water from hazardous waste sites.

After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed residents were trying to access water from three Superfund sites, and following a CNN story Friday featuring Puerto Ricans taking water from a fourth site, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote a letter to acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke asking if she knew about the situation and calling the reports "beyond disturbing."

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Groups Slam Zinke's 'Backroom Deals' to Build Road Through Alaskan Wildlife Refuge

Ryan Zinke's Interior Department is working behind the scenes to build a controversial and long-contested road through the heart of Alaska's Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, documents show.

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On World Food Day, Pope Francis Says Link Between Climate Change and Hunger Is Undeniable

By Andrew McMaster

Speaking at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on World Food Day, Pope Francis addressed the need for governments around the world to acknowledge that climate change and migration were leading to increases in world hunger.

Francis received a standing ovation after a stirring speech in which he said all three issues were interrelated and require immediate attention.

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Why Are America's Bats Disappearing?

By John R. Platt

It's Friday evening in Pittsburgh, and the mosquitoes are out in force. One bites at my arm and I try to slap it away. Another takes the opportunity to land on my neck. I manage to shoo this one off before it tastes blood.

I'm at Carrie Furnaces, a massive historic ironworks on the banks of Pennsylvania's Monongahela River. Stories-tall rusting structures loom all around me, as do the occasional trees poking their way out of the ground. A tour guide, leading a group from the Society of Environmental Journalists conference, tells me the soil here is full of heavy metals and other pollutants from the factory, which operated for nearly a century before closing in 1982.

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The Amur tiger is the extinct Caspian tiger's closest living relative. Mathias Appel / Flickr

After a Half-Century, Tigers May Return to Kazakhstan

Wild tigers may be on their way back to Kazakhstan.

This news is surprising for a few reasons. First, most people associate tigers with the jungles of India or Sumatra, even the snowy slopes of eastern Russia—not the dry landscapes of Central Asia. But Iran, Turkey and Kazakhstan were once home to thriving populations of Caspian tigers. Unfortunately, sometime between the 1940s and '70s, this subspecies went extinct due to widespread trapping, hunting, poisoning and habitat degradation.

Second, Kazakhstan isn't a nation that often comes up in conversations about conservation. In fact, if Americans recognize the world's largest landlocked nation for anything, it's probably the movie Borat.

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California Wildfires: One of 'Greatest Tragedies' State Has Ever Faced

With aid from easing winds, the 11,000 firefighters beating back the Northern California wildfires are making "good progress," as the number of major blazes dropped to 15, the state's fire agency Cal Fire announced Sunday.

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Bonn Climate Change Conference, June 4 2015. UNclimatechange / Flickr.

UN Urges World Leaders to Heed Climate Risk, Warns of More Severe Disasters

By Paul Brown

The hurricanes and wildfires that have severely damaged large areas of the U.S. in recent weeks have had no impact on President Donald Trump's determination to ignore the perils of climate change and support the coal industry.

In a deliberate denial of mainstream science, the Trump administration has issued a strategic four-year plan for the U.S. Environment Protection Agency that does not once mention "greenhouse gas emissions," "carbon dioxide" or "climate change" in its 48 pages.

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Oil Rig Explodes in Louisiana: 7 Injured, 1 Missing

An oil rig exploded on Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana Sunday night, injuring seven crew members, with an eighth believed to be missing, authorities said.

The explosion was reported at 7:18 p.m. near St. Charles Parish and the city of Kenner. The platform, located in unincorporated Jefferson Parish, is owned by New Orleans-based Clovelly Oil Company.

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