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.
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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