2017 WAS COSTLIEST YEAR FOR NATURAL DISASTERS IN THE US

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Natural disasters cost the United States $306 billion in 2017 says the country’s scientific agency National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), making it the costliest year for natural disasters in US history.

2017 has been a year of extreme weather events in the US, including hurricanes, wildfires, floods, tornadoes, drought and freezes and the wildfire season is expected to continue in 2018 as well.

The assessment released by NOAA for 2017 says the US experienced 16 weather and climate disasters, with each of them costing more than $1 billion.

The disasters included 1 freeze, 1 drought (affected multiple areas), 1 wildfire (affected multiple areas), 2 floods, 3 major hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Maria) and 8 severe storms and took at least 362 lives.


Following graphic shows natural disasters that cost the US 16 billion dollars. (Photo courtesy: NOAA)

The ongoing wildfire season in many western US states has caused dozens of wildfires in the country and their smoke has been visible from the space. They so far have cost $18 billion in damages.


This satellite image shows the wildfires that took place in US in 2017. (Photocourtesy: NASA)

But the three hurricanes cost the US most in damages, totalling around $265 billion with Hurricane Harvey becoming the costliest hurricane in US history in terms of the destruction it wreaked.

Hurricane Harvey lashed many states of the US in August, caused widespread flooding and displaced thousands.

NOAA estimates say the hurricane cost $125 billion, $17 billion more than the cost of estimated damage by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that had inundated 80 per cent of New Orleans.

Hurricane Maria that made landfall in September cost US $90 billion, becoming the third costliest hurricane in US history.

Hurricane Irma, that just followed Hurricane Harvey, cost the US $50 billion, the fifth costliest in US history of natural disasters, the NOAA assessment says.

Like 2017, the 2005 hurricane season including Katrina had left huge destruction behind killing over 1,000 people.

Information from the US National Hurricane Centre shows Dennis, Cindy, Ophelia, Rita, Wilma were other hurricanes of the season that cost US $211.2 billion.

But the deadliest hurricane season in US history has been 1,900 when Galveston killed 8,000 people and caused damage worth $104.3 billion.

Since then, advances made in predicting hurricanes and in fact, other weather phenomenon, have been able to reduce loss of lives to a greater extent as evident from the 2017 hurricane season, which though caused second most widespread damage in US history, the human cost was limited to 103 deaths.

©SantoshChaubey

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‘SEVERE HEALTH IMPACTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE’: UN STUDY ON E-WASTE CRISIS IN INDIA

A new United Nations study has painted a grim picture for India on e-waste management. The study, Global E-Waste Monitor 2017, by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN University (UNU) and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), says as India’s e-waste recycling operations are mostly in the informal sector, it is beset with severe health impacts and causes widespread environmental damage.

India’s formal e-waste recycling industry is still non-existent and the country is dotted with manual recycling operations in the informal sector. Over a million employed here are basically poor people with either no or very low literacy levels. They are either unaware of the hazardous consequences of the work they do or are forced to do their job because they have no other option, the study says.

India’s electronics industry is among the fastest growing in the world and is expected to become a $400 Billion industry by 2020 with a CAGR of 41 per cent during 2017-2020 says a study by ASSOCHAM and NEC Technologies.

That makes India one of the largest producers of e-waste. A 2016 study by ASSOCHAM-KPMG says India’s is the world’s fifth largest e-waste producer generating 18.5 lakh tonnes of discarded electronic waste annually. In Asia, India is third behind China and Japan. According to the UN study, China is Asia’s and the world’s top e-waste generating country producing 7.2 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 2016. Japan was second in Asia producing 2.1 MMT of e-waste while India came a close third with 2 MMT e-waste generated in 2016, an assessment that is in sync with the ASSOCHAM-KPMG study.

And it is mostly driven by advances made in telecommunication as around 54 per cent households globally have internet access now. Couple this with the 7.7 billion mobile wireless subscriptions as tallied by Statista, an online research and business intelligence firm and the problem looks critical. The figure tells there are more mobile phones today than the overall global population of 7.44 Billion at the moment. Another assessment by eMarketer says the smartphone penetration globally is to reach to 2.39 Billion this year. All this is going to produce heaps of e-waste as we move to a more digitally connected world.

Due toeEver declining technology and hardware prices, mainly in the telecommunication sector like the mobile phones, computers, computer peripherals and other IT equipment, coupled with decrease in price of services, in voice and internet, the e-waste is expected to increase manifold in India and the world in years ahead. This is in addition to other e-waste from discarded products like televisions, refrigerators, air-conditioners and electronic toys. Such electronic waste, with a battery or plug, is a major health hazard and environment threat the UN warns. They have high levels of poisonous elements like lead, cadmium and mercury.

Reflecting India’s position as the world second largest telecom market which is also the fastest growing one, almost 70 per cent of the country’s electronic waste comes from discarded computer equipment whereas the telecom equipment constitutes 12 per cent of our annual electronic waste. But mobile phones and smartphones are a fast growing category here as almost 25 crore of mobile handsets, or 25 per cent of over 100 crore user base, end up in e-waste each year. Overall, India’s electronic waste is growing 30 per cent annually.

Though India had enacted law to regulate e-waste management in the country in 2011 and made further amendments in it in 2015 to cover producers, it is still a long way to go before a well-laid out mechanism can be put in place given the fact that almost 95 per cent of e-waste collection and handling in the country is done by the informal sector. For the record, the amended e-waste management rule requires producers to collect 30 per cent e-waste generated initially and it will subsequently go up to the level of 70 per cent by the seventh year.

In addition to this, India also imports e-waste from other countries and it makes the crisis even more serious. According to another ASSOCHAM report, India has become a dumping ground for e-waste from developed countries and what should be eye-opening is the fact that 85 per cent of this hazardous waste ends up in the country’s capital and its adjoining areas, Delhi-NCR. The study projected Delhi’s annual e-waste to increase by a whopping 40,000 MT in a year, from 68,000 MT in 2016 to 1,07,000 MT in 2017.

Globally, e-waste generated increased by 8 per cent or 3.3 MMT to 44.7 MMT from its 2014 level and with a more digitally connected and ICT dependent world, the UN study projects it to increase by 17 per cent to reach to the level of 52.2 MMT by 2021.

And only 20 per cent of it or 8.9 MMT of it could be recycled in 2016. But the situation is horrible in India where, according to an ASSOCHAM-cKinetics study released on the World Environment Day last year, just 1.5 per cent of e-waste generated could be recycled. The study cited poor infrastructure and inefficient regulatory framework as the main reasons behind this poor state of affairs that is fast emerging as an health and environmental crisis in the country.

©SantoshChaubey

SUPREME COURT: SHUTTING DOWN INDUSTRIES A PRICE TO PAY FOR RIGHT TO LIVE IN HEATHY ENVIRONMENT

The killer smog of Delhi has again forced us think where are we heading with rapid industrialisation of our country and its reflection in the society, especially when the governments have failed to take effective corrective measures to check the worsening situation and we are looking again to our courts, the custodians of our Constitution and thus the guarantor of our lives, for relief.

While the National Green Tribunal (NGT) today rapped the Delhi Government again as it failed to come up with a concrete plan to deal with Delhi pollution in spite of the smog continuing for over a week, the Supreme Court of India agreed to hear later today a plea on alarming level of pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). While accepting the pea filed by Supreme Court lawyer RK Kapoor, Chief Justice Dipak Misra observed that the problem had reached to such levels that it could no longer be ignored.

The higher courts, led by the Supreme Court of India, have, from time to time, worked as environmental watchdogs reminding the government and the industry where to draw the line whenever pollution reaches to alarming levels threatening the ecological balance. The Supreme Court, in fact, way back in 1988 had clearly laid out that if pollution by industries reached to an alarming level, they must be shut down irrespective of the investment made in them and their importance for making products useful for society.

RURAL LITIGATION & ENTITLEMENT KENDRA VS STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH – AUGUST 30, 1988
(DEHRADUN QUARRYING CASE)

This case was a first where the Supreme Court, concerned by environmental degradation and ecological imbalance it could have caused, passed a landmark order to stop illegal mining. Through this judgement, the apex court tried to define the limit up to which natural resources (here forest) could be exploited to meet the demands of industry and development.

The case goes back to 1980s. Decades of mining in limestone quarries of the Dehradun Valley stripped the Himalayan Mountains of green vegetation in the state of Uttar Pradesh (now Uttarakhand) against which the Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, an NGO, wrote a letter to the Supreme Court in 1983.

The court treated the letter as a writ-petition starting thus a series of hearings which finally ended in a verdict that for the first time dealt comprehensively with environment review, assessment of national needs from mining activities and reforestation of the affected area.

While delivering the verdict, the court came down heavily on the mining industry of the area, closed their operations and said it was a price that had to be paid to ensure the right to healthy environment, “The consequence of this Order made by us would be that the lessees of lime stone quarries which have been directed to be closed down permanently under this Order or which may be directed to be closed down permanently after consideration of the report, would be thrown out of business in which they have invested large sums of money and expanded considerable time and effort. This would undoubtedly cause hardship to them but it is a price that has to be paid for protecting and safeguarding the right of the people to live in healthy environment with minimal disturbance of ecological balance and without avoidable hazard to them and to their cattle, homes and agricultural land and undue affectation of air, water and environment. “

The apex court also put the government’s responsibility in clear terms while passing the order under the recently enacted Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, “Maintenance of the environment and ecological balance was the obligation of the State and the Central Governments.”

©SantoshChaubey

RIGHT TO HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT: SHRIRAM GAS LEAK CASE

M.C. MEHTA VS UNION OF INDIA & OTHERS – DECEMBER 20, 1986
(THE SHRIRAM GAS LEAK CASE)

Shri Ram Food and Fertilizers (SFF) was a DCM subsidiary, in fact one of its most profitable ventures. It had various units housed in single complex producing Chlorine and other chemicals. The facility was surrounded by thickly populated localities like West Patel Nagar, Punjabi Bagh, Tri Nagar, Shastri Nagar, Ashok Vihar and Karampura.

In December 1985, oleum gas, that was used in making DDT, leaked from a tank of the SFF factory and soon spread to the populated areas around the factory. The aftermath saw around 700 people being hospitalised for eye irritation and respiratory symptoms and death of a lawyer seven Kms away from the factory, at the Tis Hazari court complex.

The Supreme Court, taking a tough stand in the case, for the first time laid down the principal of absolute liability holding the SFF responsible for putting people’s life at risk by compromising environment. The court observed,

“….gas is admittedly dangerous to life and health. If the gas escapes either from the storage tank or from the filled cylinders or from any other point in the course of production, the health and wellbeing of the people living in the vicinity can be seriously affected. Thus Shriram is engaged in an activity which has the potential to invade the right to life of large sections of people.”

Refuting all the contentions made by the DCM that since it was a private corporation, it could not come under the ambit of activities affecting the Article 21, the apex court went on to enlarge its scope including the right to healthy environment as it directly affected the quality of human life. While accepting the compensation claims made in the case, it said the “applications for compensation were for enforcement of the fundamental right to life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution and while dealing with such applications, the court could not adopt a hypertechnical approach which would defeat the ends of justice.”

©SantoshChaubey

POLLUTION DEATHS: NO SURPRISE INDIA HAS WORST INDICATORS HERE

If India has been found as the country with highest number of pollution related deaths or simply say pollution deaths, there are valid reasons behind it, the easily visible valid reasons.

We are lagging on most of the social indicators. The Global Hunger Index released last week placed India at 97th among the 118 countries ranked. The latest Human Development Index puts India at 131. We are home to the largest population of illiterate, poor, malnourished and hungry people in the world.

And so the natural corollary of it is – we are expected to top every ranking on social indicators if turned upside down – ranked highest among the worst performers – like this study on pollution deaths – done meticulously by The Lancet, the world’s most familiar and reputed medical journal.

The study done by The Lancet’s “Commission on Pollution and Health” estimates 9 million people lost their lives in 2015 due to different types of pollution and India, with 2.51 million deaths or 28 per cent of the total, tops the charts.

The study finds pollution deaths or deaths caused by the diseases due to environmental causes is now the largest global killer of humans, three times more than HIV-AIDS, Malaria and TB deaths combined and is neck to neck when deaths due to obesity (4 million), alcohol consumption (2.3 million), road accidents (1.4 million) and malnutrition and hunger (1.4 million) put together.

One in six deaths globally and one in four deaths in India in 2015 was due to some sort of environmental pollution – air pollution, water pollution, occupational pollution, soil pollution, workplace related pollution, chemical pollution and so on – the study findings say.

92 per cent of all pollution deaths are reported from rapidly industrialising nations like China, India and Brazil or low or middle-income countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya, Congo and The Philippines among others. After India, the other countries with most number of pollution deaths include China (1.83 million), Pakistan (0.31 million), Nigeria (0.25 million), Indonesia (0.21 million), Russia (0.17 million), USA (0.15 million), Congo (0.12 million), Brazil (0.1 million) and The Philippines (0.09 million).

Air pollution is the largest killer of all with 6.5 million worldwide deaths in 2015 while it killed 1.81 million people in India. India is followed by China (1.58 million), Pakistan (0.22 million), Bangladesh (0.21 million) and Russia (0.14 million) in maximum number of air pollution deaths.

Water pollution is the second largest killer with 1.8 million deaths. India is at top with 0.64 million water pollution deaths followed by Nigeria (0.16 million). Workplace pollutants killed 0.8 million in 2015, emerging as the third largest human killers. Occupational exposure (0.17 million deaths) and lead pollution (95000 deaths) are other major pollution death categories in India.

Five Indians contributed to the study including Congress leader and former Environment Minister of the country Jairam Ramesh Mukesh Khare, a civil engineering professor at IIT, Delhi. The other three, Prof Niladri Basu, Bindu L Lohani and Gautam Yadama are based out of India.

©SantoshChaubey

MAKE IN INDIA DIWALI? REPORT SAYS SALE OF CHINESE PRODUCTS MAY DECLINE BY 45%

The article originally appeared on India Today on October 9.

An Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) survey has found that the prevailing anti-China sentiment in the country can result in 40-45 per cent decline in the sale of Chinese products this Diwali when compared to their sale last year.

A quick survey by ASSOCHAM-Social Development Foundation (ASDF) has said that be it decorative items like lights, gift items, lamps, Ganesha and Laxmi idols, rangolis, wall hangings crackers or even the electronic products like mobile phones, the decline is visible across all the sectors.

The ASSOCHAM survey that was conducted across multiple cities, i.e., Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Chennai, Dehradun, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Mumbai, found that people were preferring Indian goods over Chinese products and were demanding Indian lights and earthen diyas and shopkeepers were stacking products this festive season accordingly.

According to the ASSOCHAM release, the share of Chinese products during Diwali festivities last year was estimated to be 30 per cent or around Rs 6500 crore and Rs 4500 crore of it came from only Diwali related items like toys, fancy lights, gift items, plastic ware, decorative goods etc.

The ASSOCHAM paper also found that the demand of electronic items like LCDs, mobile phones and others items made in China has also declined by 15-20%.

India-China relations are going through a rough patch especially after the 73-day long Doklam standoff, the border row between the countries in the Doklam region of the Sikkim sector that saw an abrupt end in the last week of August. Though India claims a status quo has been maintained in the region ever since then, there are conflicting reports emerging in the media that China is again scaling up its operations in the disputed border territory.

Also, some reports in August had claimed that the Doklam standoff had adversely affected business of Oppo and Vivo in India, two major mobile manufactures from China. A report in the Economic Times had said that 400 expat Chinese workers were being sent back after the sale of smartphones of these companies fell sharply in July and August months owing to the ‘anti-Beijing sentiment’.

©SantoshChaubey

CLEANING THE GANGA: GANGA ACTION PLAN PHASE 1

STATALES

14 JUNE 1985: LAUNCHED
MARCH 31, 2000: DECLARED CLOSED

INITIAL OBJECTIVE IN 1985: IMPROVING THE GANGA WATER QUALITY TO ACCEPTABLE STANDARDS (VAGUE)

REVISED AND CLEAR OBJECTIVE – IN 1987: RESTORING THE GANGA WATER QUALITY TO BATHING STANDARD

COST

  • RS. 256.26 CRORE: ORIGINAL SANCTIONED COST
    RS. 462.04 CRORE: REVISED SANCTIONED COST, APPROVED IN AUGUST 1994

AREA COVERED
25 CLASS-I TOWNS SPREAD ACROSS FOUR STATES

  • 6 TOWNS: UTTAR PRADESH
  • 4 TOWNS: BIHAR
  • 15 TOWNS: WEST BENGAL

STATUS OF SCHEMES

  • WEST BENGAL: 110 SCHEMES SANCTIONED – ALL COMPLETED
  • UTTAR PRADESH: 106 SCHEMES SANCTIONED – ALL COMPLETED
  • BIHAR: 45 SCHEMES SANCTIONED – 44 COMPLETED

WASTEWATER TREATMENT CAPACITY CREATED

  • 1340 MLD: TOTAL ESTIMATED WASTEWATER IN 25 TOWNS COVERED UNDER PHASE-I
  • 868.69 MLD: SEWAGE TREATMENT CAPACITY CREATED UNDER PHASE-I
  • 882.19 MLD: SEWAGE CAPACITY CREATION TARGET OF GANGA ACTION PLAN PHASE-I
  • WEST BENGAL: 371.06 MLD – 15 PROJECTS
  • UTTAR PRADESH: 375.09 MLD – 13 PROJECTS
  • BIHAR: 122 MLD – 6 PROJECTS (TARGET – 7 PROJECTS)

©SantoshChaubey

FRENCH PRESIDENT MACRON LAUNCHES WEBSITE AND INVITES US CLIMATE SCIENTISTS TO MAKE FRANCE THEIR HOMELAND

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

Taking his criticism of US President Donald Trump’s stand on climate change to the next level, French President Emmanuel Macron has launched a website inviting US scientists and research scholars to live in France and do research there on climate change. Earlier this month, after the US exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, he had assured the US scientists that France was like a second homeland for them.

The website ‘Make Our Planet Great Again’ (www.makeourplanetgreatagain.fr), an apparent dig at Donald Trump’s favourite slogan ‘Make America Great Again (#MAGA), says it is an initiative of President of France Emmanuel Macron who launched it to invite American scientists to “come work in France after facing the climatic skepticism of the new government of the United States.”

Macron says “he wants to make our planet great again” and appeals to the scientists that “the planet needs their innovative skills” and asks “if they you IN to change (literally) our daily lives and make our planet great again?” While terming the US decision unfortunate, he says “it has only reinforced our determination. Don’t let it weaken yours. We are ONE planet and together, we can make a difference.”

On June 1, US President Donald Trump had pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, a global climate pact to deal with emission of greenhouse gases. 195 countries signed the agreement document in December 2015 and 147 countries have ratified it so far and the agreement came into effect on November 4, 2016. Trump has been a vocal critic of the Paris climate deal and he had promised to cancel the deal if he became the US President.

After Trump’s announcement, according to France 24*, while slamming Trump for making a historic mistake, Macron said the US scientists and entrepreneurs “disappointed” by Trump’s decision “will find in France a second homeland: I call on them, come and work here with us.”

It was unprecedented when he chose to address the world in English from Elysee Place, the official residence of the French president, after Trump’s no to Paris Accord. It was, in fact, a first for a French president, The Telegraph** said. Also, the press release sent to French journalists from the Elysee Palace on the website launch was in English, again “an unprecedented move by a French president”, the France 24 report said.

Macron, in fact, had released a video statement in English on Twitter on February 10, while he was campaigning for the French presidential polls, calling the US scientists and entrepreneurs working on climate change to relocate to France after Trump had decided to curtail the climate change research budget.

US withdrawing from the Paris Accord is certainly a bad news as the country is the second largest emitter of the greenhouse gases. China, the European Union and the US account for more than half of the global greenhouse gas emissions, an analysis from the World Resources Institute says. The US exit is bound to affect the norms and goals of the Paris Accord even if other large emitters including India, Russia, European Union and China have reiterated their commitment.

©SantoshChaubey

SCIENTIST ACCUSES TRUMP OF MISUSING MIT STUDY TO JUSTIFY US EXIT FROM PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

The article originally appeared on India Today.

An MIT scientist has accused US President Donald Trump of manipulation and misuse of an MIT study he co-authored to justify the decision of pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the first global climate pact with worldwide representation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The agreement signed by 195 countries in Paris in December 2015 has been ratified by 147 countries so far.

While Trump blasted the Paris Accord of being unfair to the US, at the same time, he tried to downplay the global agreement as ineffective in combating the climate change by quoting an MIT finding, though without naming it, “It is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount.” But soon it emerged that Trump had picked up selective information to justify the rationale behind his decision.

According to an article in the MIT Technology Review, Donald Trump and his team quoted figures from an earlier MIT study which was done a year before the Paris Climate Agreement was signed and therefore could not factor in the emission pledges of all the signatories to the accord.

Erwan Monier, co-author of the study, “How much of a difference will the Paris Agreement make?”, and principal research scientist at MIT’s department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences says “It appears that the White House cherry picked the lowest number they could find among studies that explored the impact of the climate accord”. And as per Monier, the Trump administration didn’t contact the MIT team before quoting its findings.

The 2016 MIT study which took into account emission pledges of all the participating nations came to the conclusion that the Paris Agreement was the first step in the right direction and if the participating countries followed their pledges, it could “reduce the surface air temperature in 2100 between 0.6 and 1.1 C relative to the no climate policy case” and thus could slow down the global warming process.

The 2016 study also emphasized that tacking climate change and global warming needed much more. Monier says, “The Paris agreement is certainly a step in the right direction, but it is only a step. It puts us on the right path to keep warming under 3 C, but even under the same level of commitment of the Paris agreement after 2030, our study indicates a 95 percent probability that the world will warm by more than 2 C by 2100”. And in absence of any global climate control framework, the earth may warm up to 5 C or more, a Time report said quoting co-director of the MIT program John Reilly.

©SantoshChaubey

DONALD TRUMP TO ANNOUNCE TONIGHT HIS DECISION ON PARIS CLIMATE DEAL

US President Donald Trump will announce today his decision on the Paris Climate Deal. He tweeted that he will make public his decision at 3 PM Thursday local time (12:30 AM Friday India time).

The whole world is embracing for a Donald Trump decision on the most ambitious climate control pact of our recent times. US withdrawing from it will be bad news as the country is the second largest emitter of the greenhouse gases and its exit is bound to affect the norms and goals of the accord even if other larger emitters including India, Russia, European Union and China has reiterated their commitment. During his recent visit to European countries and to the Vatican, European leaders and Pope Francis urged him stay with the climate pact.

But reports in the US media are almost unanimous that Trump will withdraw the US from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord even if he is facing backlash back at home. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is on the Business Advisory Council of the White House has said that he will quit the advisory board in case Trump withdraws from the Paris Climate Accord.

ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods has written a letter to Donald Trump requesting him to stay in the Paris Accord. Even Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have been trying to convince Trump to go for dilution of commitments instead of complete withdrawal, a CNN report said. Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democrat rival in the last year’s presidential election and former US Secretary of State, has said it would be “incredibly foolish” and “totally incomprehensible” to pull out of the agreement”.

A CNN report Wednesday said, based on its interaction with two senior US officials, that Trump is expected to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and a formal announcement can be made as early as this week.

Fox News wrote, quoting the Associated Press, that though Trump is expected to withdraw from the agreement, “but officials cautioned that there may be “caveats in the language,” leaving open the possibility that the decision is not final” while a Time report said that “Trump has told aides he intends to pull out of the agreement but has not decided exactly how to do it”.

Axios, a new media company, wrote on the development that “President Trump has made his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the decision.” The Axios report says that modalities of withdrawal are being worked out by a team led US Environment Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who believes Paris Climate Agreement is a “bad business deal” and has called for an exit from it. The exit route can be “a full, formal withdrawal” that may take up to three years or the “exiting the United Nations Climate Change Treaty, a faster but more extreme process”, the Axios report further wrote.

Another report in Politico says that “President Donald Trump is planning to pull the United States out of the Paris climate change agreement, according to a White House official”. The Politico report states that it would be second such development when the US has rejected a global climate treaty after endorsing it. In 2001, then US President George W Bush, a Republican, had withdrawn from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, that was accepted by his Democrat predecessor Bill Clinton. This time also, it is a Republican president who is going to overturn a decision by his Democrat predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump has been a vocal critic of the Paris climate deal and he had promised to cancel the deal if he became the US President. During the recently held G7 Summit in Sicily, he behaved on the issue like he was acting unilaterally. While six G7 members, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Japan and Canada reiterated their commitment for the 2015 Paris climate deal, Trump remained non-committal saying he needed more time to think over it. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was blunt in her criticism over Trump’s stand saying the developments say the US will not stay with the climate deal.

©SantoshChaubey