Trump Isolates U.S. on Climate, Ocean Plastics and Trade Following Contentious G7 Summit
After declining to attend the Group of Seven (G7) meeting on climate change, clean energy and oceans Saturday, President Donald Trump pulled out of the summit's official communique, which saw the other countries renew their commitments to the Paris agreement, Inside Climate News reported Sunday.
The communique, which summarized the meeting of major world democracies in Charlevoix, Quebec June 8 and 9, had already included separate statements from the U.S. and the rest of the participants. Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom and the European Union all recommitted to the Paris agreement. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the EU all also endorsed the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, which sets goals towards reducing the use of unnecessary plastics and improving recycling. The U.S., meanwhile, wrote a statement focusing on the importance of "affordable and reliable energy resources."
But despite already diverging from the rest of the group on environmental issues, Trump announced via Tweet on Saturday that he had instructed U.S. representatives not to endorse the communique at all after he was angered by remarks made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a press conference.
Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to… https://t.co/8GTCnRTTEG— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1528585396.0
Trump's most vocal disagreement with Trudeau and other world leaders focused on trade, not climate. The week before the summit, Trump had placed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, the EU and Mexico and at the summit said he would end trade with countries whose policies with the U.S. he deemed unfair, The Guardian reported.
In the press conference that prompted Trump's tweet, Trudeau had said he would not approve a change to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) sought by Trump that would allow a member country to leave the agreement after five years, according to The Guardian.
The other G7 nations stood by the communique.
"Let's be serious and worthy of our people," the French presidency said in a statement quoted by AFP. and reported by Inside Climate News. "International co-operation cannot be dictated by fits of anger and throwaway remarks."
"President Trump's wrecking ball approach to international diplomacy left him utterly isolated at the G7 summit. Leaders from the other six countries didn't even try to paper over their strong disagreements with Trump on trade, climate change and other important issues. On climate change, they made clear their determination to meet their national commitments under the Paris Agreement, and to continue efforts to decarbonize the global economy," Union of Concerned Scientists director of strategy and policy Alden Meyer said in a statement about the summit reported by Inside Climate News.
"As communities across the U.S. confront the costly and harmful impacts of climate change, it's these leaders—not President Trump—who are acting in the true economic, environmental and national security interests of the American people," Meyer concluded.
These other leaders promised, in a more comprehensive climate statement than 2017's, to reduce water pollution, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions to achieve a carbon-neutral economy in the second half of the 21st century. They also pledged to work with local governments, indigenous communities, impacted coastal or island nations and the private sector to meet their climate goals.
The summit coincided with World Oceans Day and Saturday's March for the Ocean, so it was fitting that G7 leaders also endorsed the Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities, which calls for promoting oceans research, improving the sustainability of fisheries, helping coastal communities be resilient to climate change and reducing marine litter.
Every G7 nation besides the U.S. and Japan endorsed the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter, which sets specific goals of working with industry towards 100 percent reusable or recoverable plastics by 2030 and recycling 55 percent of plastic packaging by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040, among others.
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Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.
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It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.
Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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<div id="1a097" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3be1f37aee62477983e577219c84d7a9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281182404116385792" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">https://t.co/3sNdmN8mCz New study covered by @guardiannews, we look at CO2 levels in the Late Pliocene (~3 million… https://t.co/xRhhLcpdJ5</div> — Tom Chalk (@Tom Chalk)<a href="https://twitter.com/ChalkyOceans/statuses/1281182404116385792">1594292663.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="23d44" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a800573625ce69a53bedfe537b572116"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281123005695959040" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Annual mean global temperature likely to be at least 1° C above pre-industrial levels in each of coming 5 years (20… https://t.co/WOBeEOhbCe</div> — World Meteorological Organization (@World Meteorological Organization)<a href="https://twitter.com/WMO/statuses/1281123005695959040">1594278501.0</a></blockquote></div>
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