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The Trump Factor Heats up Climate Debate
The Trump Factor Heats up Climate Debate
By Chelsea Harvey
The Washington Post
Sunday September 25, 2016
Buenos Aires Herald
A shorter URL for the above link:
WASHINGTON Earlier this year, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sparked the ire of scientists and climate activists when he vowed to cancel the Paris climate agreement once in office. Now, hundreds of US scientists have addressed this threat in an open letter warning of the perils of such action.
Signed by 375 members of the National Academy of Sciences, the letter explicitly refers to the Republican nominee for President and notes that such a decision would make it far more difficult to develop effective global strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change. The consequences of opting out of the global community would be severe and long-lasting for our planets climate and for the international credibility of the United States.
During his opening address to the general assembly, in fact, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon reiterated the importance of bringing the Paris Agreement into full force this year. In order to take effect, the agreement must be ratified by at least 55 countries representing 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, 60 countries representing 48 percent of global emissions, including the US, have signed on. Thirtyone of these joined en masse Wednesday.
The US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement would really set back all of our efforts to deal with climate problems, said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at MIT and one of the letters organizers. American leadership is such an essential thing trying to solve climate problems.
He added that if the administration that withdraws from the Paris Agreement is also going to withdraw from efforts to develop clean energy, then the US will lose its leadership position in developing clean energy, and thats perhaps one of the worst things that will happen.
Prior to the Paris Agreement, the international community had focused on a goal of keeping temperatures within two degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels. At Paris, the threshold was narrowed to well below two degrees, and the agreement also explicitly mentioned 1.5 degrees as an aspiration.
The US is the second largest global emitter of global warming gases but its actions still rank first in terms of influence on the course of action taken by other countries,said Michael Oppenheimer, a climate expert at Princeton University, in an email to The Washington Post. If we withdraw, or even slow our implementation of the EPA regulations, other countries will take note and their own ambition in tackling climate change will likely decrease. Then the prospect of attaining 1.5 or two degrees or even three degrees would fade like a pipe dream.
The complete article may be read at the URL above.
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