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EPA Chief Ducks Out of G7 Climate Meeting More Than a Day Early

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EPA Chief Ducks Out of G7 Climate Meeting More Than a Day Early

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt ducked out of a meeting of Group of Seven environment ministers in Italy early on Sunday, leaving after only a few hours to return to Washington, DC.

The Trump administration's decision to pull out of Paris earlier this month created a significant rift between the U.S. and its allies in the G7, and other environment ministers and diplomats were strong in voicing disappointment of and resistance to the U.S. position.


The ministers are expected to issue a communique today, and German environment minister Barbara Hendricks emphasized it will "differentiate opinions" between the U.S. and the G6. World leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are grappling with how best to handle Trump's rejection of the Paris agreement ahead of the G20 summit next month.

As reported by Bloomberg, Erik Solheim, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, commented in Bologna:

"We are all looking for American leadership. We need American leadership on climate, trade and peace. If the White House is not providing that leadership, we will find that leadership in other places. Europe is now more united than ever."

For a deeper dive:

Pruitt: AP, Reuters, The Hill, Bloomberg, Politico Pro. Communique: Bloomberg. G20: Reuters

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The Forest Vixen's CC Photo Stream. Flickr / CC BY 2.0


Spring is coming. And soon, tree swallows will start building nests. But as the climate changes, the birds are nesting earlier in the spring.


"It's getting warmer overall. They're thinking, OK, it's a good time to breed, to lay my eggs," says Lily Twining of the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Germany.

She says that despite recent warming, late-season cold snaps remain common. Those cold snaps can harm newborn chicks.

Hatchlings cannot regulate their body temperature, so they are vulnerable to hypothermia. And the insects they eat stop flying in cold weather, potentially leaving the chicks to starve.

"These chicks are growing very, very fast," Twining says. "They have very high energy demands, so… if they don't get a lot of that good high-quality food during this pretty specific time… that's when these cold weather events seem to be most devastating."

For example, data from Ithaca, New York, shows that a single cold snap in 2016 killed more than 70% of baby tree swallows.

"And there have been more and more of these severe cold weather die-off events for these tree swallows as they've been breeding earlier and earlier over the past 40 or so years," Twining says.

So for these songbirds, earlier springs can come with devastating consequences.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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