The Real Drivers of a Low Carbon Future: China and India
Even the normally cautious Guardian enthused about the signal of global seriousness about climate change evidenced by a record 170 nations signing the Paris accord on a single day and emerging hopes that enough nations might ratify by the end of this year to bring the accord into legal effect four years earlier than originally anticipated. The paper summed up that the signatories had "declared an end to the fossil fuel era," quoting French President Francois Hollande's pledge that "there is no turning back." But the paper ran a simultaneous article signaling the remaining gap between Paris pledges and climate sustainability.
What has not been fully appreciated is the uneven patchiness of global progress in the wake of Paris. The EU, historically the leader globally, was the one major emitter uncertain if it could ratify by the end of 2016, citing its complex multi-national processes, while the U.S., China and India all signaled their commitment to ratification by December. (One of the cited reasons for the urgency, to prevent a possible President Trump from backing out of the Paris agreement, is sadly risible. Trump has signaled his intention of walking away from far more deeply ingrained treaty obligations than those imposed in Paris and in the unlikely event he takes the White House, the impact on the global economy will, in the short term, likely drive emissions down drastically. Meanwhile the major drivers of U.S. compliance with Paris, collapsing U.S. reliance on coal electricity and steadily stronger fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, will be almost impossible for even Trump to reverse).
But the real drivers of a low carbon future appear to be China and India. In the barely three months since Paris both countries have launched a staggering set of initiatives to cut their emission trajectories. China has imposed a floor price of $40/barrel on oil, signaled an intent to cancel 90 percent of the new coal plants awaiting approval, suspended approvals of new coal mines and mandated phase outs of 500 million tons of existing mining operations, cut coal consumption and emissions for the second year in a row. It has now committed to cutting the carbon dependence of its 2020 economy 50 percent below 2005 levels. Its State Grid company has floated a plan for a global renewable energy grid to phase out reliance on fossil fuels, connecting wind power from the North Pole with solar arrays in the Sahara to power human communities in the latitudes in between.
India too has moved aggressively, accelerating vehicle emission standards, assigning next steps on its aggressive renewable energy targets, increasing the tax on coal carbon eight fold and setting tough standards for pollution from coal power plants.
But sweltering in Delhi's hottest April in 5 years, after a national heat wave which has killed hundreds of people across the country with temperatures peaking at 117 degrees a full month before the arrival of the hot season, it's clear that there is no stand-alone climate solution—or conversation—in the developing world.
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At the same time that heat kills, air pollution remains at staggeringly dangerous levels. Delhi has imposed odd-even restrictions permitting each car to be driven every other day. To replace the lost mobility app driven, Uber style private buses are being pressed into service, along with electric three wheeler rickshaws, but these meet only a fraction of the need. Car owners are rapidly learning to make more intense use of those vehicles which are on the road each day, so the benefits of the odd-even system are eroding rapidly, as they have when other nations have tried the tactic. India has accelerated the requirements for tougher emission standards for vehicles as part of its Post-Paris action plan, but the clean fuel that would enable further progress is not expected to be nationally available until 2020, so there is no quick fix.
Water is running out all over the country, with the city of Latur becoming a poster-child. Pictures of women climbing down into wells to fill buckets emblemize the crisis. But Latur's problem is only partly drought caused—the city shut off its municipal supply months ago because half of the water was leaking out of the pipes Lack of investment in infrastructure by cities that lack taxing authority is the other piece. India can't cope with climate without urban home rule—nowhere on the horizon (although constitutionally mandated).
The Modi government's Paris pledge—175 GW of renewable power by 2022—was staggeringly ambitious and the government has taken rapid steps to try to accelerate deployment and meet the goal. 2016 set a record for new renewable power brought on line, but the bankruptcy of Sun Edison, a U.S. solar developer that was a major player in the Indian market, has cast a shadow on the flow of investment dollars into the sector. The 40 percent of India's solar development that needs to occur on roof-tops—because there is not enough vacant land for utility scale solar farms—is not growing nearly rapidly enough to meet the targets. Nor has the international community provided the kind of lending liquidity that will be required for India—and other emerging economies—to build clean energy at the scale they promised in Paris.
Meanwhile, President Obama has credibly moved forward on the primary elements of his Paris pledge—cleaning up emissions from the power sector, mandating better performance from cars and trucks and now, in partnership with Canada, confronting methane emissions from oil and gas extraction. But there is no viable U.S. vision of how to move from the 28 percent emission cuts pledged in Paris to the 80 percent 2050 cuts promised by Obama at the beginning of his term. The EU seems largely, frozen by its other crises. Even in the wake of the VW crisis it is reluctant to give up its dependence on the diesel as a half-way climate solution. And Japan is falling back on more coal, defying global trends toward cleaner energy. So three months after Paris we have ambitious but very difficult transformational efforts in China and India, inadequate incrementalism at best in the advanced economies and a lack of global mechanisms to help the rest of the emerging world find a low carbon development pathway.
This is all still staggeringly more hopeful than things looked two years ago—but I suspect that we are only beginning to uncover the complexity of global sustainability in a world of 7 billion aspiring consumers, even as that world grasps that there is opportunity, not just sacrifice, at stake.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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