It's Official: Trump Sends Formal Notice to UN to Pull America Out of Paris Agreement
We know Trump is walking the wrong way into the history books on this. For all his policy failures and the continuing chaos around the West Wing and the White House, his total disregard for the future of this planet and for future generations is beyond comprehension to anyone but his fossil fuel cronies.
There is no doubt that the decision by the U.S. to pull out of the Paris agreement is what Ed Crooks, the energy correspondent in the Financial Times, called "at one level momentous."
It is staggering to say the least that, as Crooks noted, "The world's largest economy and second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases is quitting a deal that the governments of leading European countries have described as 'a vital instrument for our planet.'"
However, here comes the important part: "In terms of the consequences for the global energy industry, however, its impact has so far been negligible."
He added, "The most important reason for that is that moves towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions are going with the grain of energy markets, regardless of political decisions."
As I have written before, Trump may have wanted the world to follow in ripping up the Paris agreement, in a collected suicide for future generations, but the opposite has happened.
Indeed, former Vice President Al Gore said on television Friday, "When he made his speech pulling out of Paris, I really was concerned that some other countries might use that as an excuse to pull out themselves. But the very next day, the entire rest of the world redoubled their commitment to the Paris agreement, as if to say, 'We'll show you, Mr. Trump.'"
Gore is not alone in thinking this. As one solar bog noted Monday, "A number of political figures and businesses around the U.S. have committed to meeting the Paris accord greenhouse gas targets, despite the withdrawal of the Trump administration from the agreement."
It is not just politicians but the market, too. The market has moved on without Trump. Renewables are overtaking fossil fuels in electricity generation. As I noted on Friday, according to a new analysis of data, last year solar was the "star performer" in terms of new electricity generation, as renewables once again outstripped fossil fuels.
Not only are renewables rapidly changing the energy market, but the need to act over climate is changing the oil market. Oil companies are now suddenly worried about "stranded assets," the reserves of oil and gas that we can no longer afford to burn.
Andrew Grant from Carbon Tracker Initiative, which has worked with Oil Change International and others to put forward the concept, told the Financial Times that suddenly oil companies, after years of resistance, are listening. They are now "pushing at an open door."
Just as fossil fuel assets are becoming stranded, so too Trump has become a stranded politician. The New York Times editorial board summed it up nicely last month in a strong editorial, when they said Trump is a "climate change loner." And after Friday's formal withdrawal he has even fewer friends, even less respect and even less relevance.
- 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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