Trump to Declare 'National Emergency' to Fund Wall Threatening Borderland Communities and Wildlife
Trump made the announcement minutes before the House and Senate began voting on a bipartisan spending package that would keep the federal government open without allocating money for the wall, avoiding another government shutdown. The measure passed both houses, and Trump said he would sign it, but not without also declaring an emergency to secure around $8 billion in wall funding, something he could do as early as Friday, The New York Times reported.
"President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action—including a national emergency—to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, according to The New York Times.
[email protected]: President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take o… https://t.co/N0Bx1LZnOQ— The White House (@The White House)1550177083.0
Trump plans to make the declaration at 10 a.m. Friday. Since it would reallocate money already earmarked by Congress for other purposes, CNN's Stephen Collinson called it "Trump's most striking assault yet on the system of constitutional order that he is sworn to preserve, protect and defend." If the emergency declaration is not blocked by the courts, it would also establish a precedent by which future presidents could bypass Congress. The move could backfire on Republicans, granting a future Democratic president the ability to run around Congress on issues like gun control or climate change, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned.
"If the President can declare an emergency on something that he has created as an emergency, an illusion that he wants to convey, just think of what a president with different values can present to the American people," she said Thursday, as CNN reported.
🔥👇🔥👇@speakerpelosi says that if Trump declares a national emergency over a manufactured crisis imagine what a futur… https://t.co/0nBaZsyaEr— Clara Jeffery (@Clara Jeffery)1550183178.0
Democrats, some Republicans and leading environmental groups have criticized the president's decision and promised legislative and legal opposition.
"Donald Trump's illegal national emergency declaration is one of the most shocking, dangerous, and damaging abuses of power by any president in our country's history," Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a statement. "It's a blatant violation of the Constitution's separation of powers—and all for an unnecessary, unwanted, and racially motivated border wall. This is one of the lowest lows for the institution of the presidency. The Sierra Club will take swift legal action against Trump's declaration."
Tonight, Trump will declare an unlawful state of emergency, as well as signing a budget that includes more than 55… https://t.co/td0AYZThxA— Sierra Club (@Sierra Club)1550186130.0
Environmental organizations also criticized the bipartisan spending package, which does allocate around $1.4 billion for around 55 miles of fencing in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) reported. While this falls far short of the $5.7 Trump sought for a barrier, it still puts borderland wildlife and communities at risk.
"This despicable deal will wall off the Rio Grande Valley. It will permanently destroy spectacular ecosystems and wildlife habitat, and seize private land from Texas families," CBD public lands policy specialist Paulo Lopes said. "Trump and Republicans have doubled down on their racist agenda to build a monument to hate and fear. Anyone who votes for this is voting for Trump's border wall, no matter what euphemism they try to hide behind. This is an enormous waste of taxpayer money that will do nothing to stop illegal drugs or human trafficking."
Trump just announced he's planning to declare a national emergency to build his border wall. Share to say… https://t.co/AmhAGLZOnL— Center for Bio Div (@Center for Bio Div)1550199608.0
The emphasis on a border wall also sets a troubling precedent in an era of climate change, which will likely force more and more people in the global South to migrate north as conditions deteriorate. Many of the immigrants traveling from Central America towards the U.S. border are driven partially by a prolonged drought that could be related to climate change, and the region is expected to suffer increased climate impacts in future years.
"A quasi-fascist policy of fear-mongering about immigration and corresponding militarization of the border is clearly the major thrust of Trump's response to the mounting impacts of climate chaos," Ashley Dawson, author of Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change, told the Huffington Post in October 2018.
The Pentagon has stated that #climatechange is real and is a national security issue. @repadamsmith https://t.co/raOF17aOuC— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1547848090.0
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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