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 SECOND US PRESIDENT TO WITHDRAW FROM A GLOBAL CLIMATE DEAL

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

As it was widely expected, US President Donald Trump has pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, a global climate pact to deal with emission of greenhouse gases under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 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, days before the US presidential election on November 8, 2016.

US withdrawing from it 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 glbal greenhouse gas emissions, an analysis from the World Resources Institute says. And the US exit is bound to affect the norms and goals of the Paris accord even if other larger emitters including India, Russia, European Union and China has reiterated their commitment.

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. Trump and his associates would refer to the Paris deal “a bad idea” that would be detrimental for the US economy and therefore for the US jobs. During the recently held G7 Summit in Sicily, Trump 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.

During his recent visit to European countries and to the Vatican, European leaders and Pope Francis urged him stay with the climate pact. During the G7 Summit, 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. But his final decision says he had already made up his mind.

It is the second occasion when the United States has walked out of a global climate deal after endorsing it and on both occasions, it was a decision by a Democrat president that was overturned by his Republican successor.

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. The agreement document was signed by former US vice-president Al Gore but could not be ratified by the US Senate. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was also aimed at reducing emission of greenhouse gases that are chiefly responsible for global warming. Like Trump says about the Paris Accord, Bush would say the same about the Kyoto Protocol that it “would have wrecked the US economy”.

This time also, it is a Republican president who has overturned a decision by his Democrat predecessor Barack Obama. The Republican controlled US Senate would never ratify the deal and therefore the agreement document signed by Barack Obama is considered an executive agreement as a traditional international treaty would require ratification by the US Senate, media reports in the US said. Under the Obama curated deal, the US had agreed to cut its 2005 emission levels by 26 to 28 per cent by 2025. Since the Paris Agreement was not ratified by the US Senate, its many provisions were not binding on the US. And since it is an “executive agreement”, Trump is well within his authority to withdraw from it.

©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

DONALD TRUMP TO PULL US OUT OF PARIS CLIMATE DEAL?

Reports in the US media say US President Donald Trump has decided to pull the US out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement which came into force on November 4, 2016, news agency AFP has tweeted.

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.

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

A NON-COMMITTAL DONALD TRUMP MAY PUSH CHINA TO WORK WITH INDIA IN FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Global Times, one of the mouthpieces of China’s People’s Daily, the official newspaper and mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist party, has once again come up with a report appealing that India and China should work together to fight the climate change, especially after the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States.

The report says, “US President-elect Donald Trump said earlier in 2016 that climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax” and has suggested that he is disinclined to commit to the Paris Climate Agreement. In light of this, China and India should play a much stronger leading role in the international effort against climate change.”

The report that focuses on the intense fog in Delhi and northern India and likens it to Chinese pollution and Beijing’s smog alerts, says that both, India and China, are the world’s top polluters and it is “meaningless to debate whose air quality is better”.

China is the world’s largest polluter and India ranks at number three behind America in emitting the greenhouse gases contributing to the global warming. In the world’s 20 most polluted cities, 10 are in India and four in China.

So, that makes sense, even if India and China differ on many issues and even if this official mouthpiece, Global Times, regularly comes up with articles and opinions suggesting why India should not be given the NSG membership or why India’s efforts towards a permanent membership of the UN Security Council are futile or why India should control anti-China content in its media or how the Chinese goods are being victimised by boycott calls in India.

Because climate change and the subsequent global warming will affect all, irrespective of who is the biggest culprit, America, the world’s most industrialised nation whose per capita emission at 19.86 tons is almost eight times to that of India’s 2.44 tons, or China, the largest emitter currently with over 25 per cent share of global emission while India is still at 7 per cent. Even China’s per capita emission is more than three times of India’s as per the figures of the World Resources Institute (WRI).

And because now there is a very real possibility that the world’s second largest emitter can walk away the landmark agreement. Donald Trump, during the campaign phase, had said in unequivocal terms that if elected, he would withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, adopted in December 2015 and came into effect the last month. Though, after his election, he had said in an interview that he had now an open mind about the Paris Climate Agreement, his stand is still viewed as being non-committal on the agreement that many believe is humanity’s last chance before environmental destruction becomes irreversible.

Most emitters in the top-10 list are advanced societies with less population like the US, Japan, Russia and the EU countries. They have technological superiority in the environmental protection techniques and can afford them, certainly a problem area when it comes to India and China, the world’s two economies in top three with over 36 per cent share of the world’s population. According to an estimate, 70 per cent of sewage generated by urban India goes untreated and advanced waste water treatment technologies are prohibitively expensive for the developing economies.

The Global Times report recognises this saying “China and India should encourage scientific institutions, environmental groups and firms to cooperate on research to develop environmentally friendly techniques that are tailored for both countries”.

Here are two burgeoning economies, buzzing with manufacturing, construction and energy industries, catering to an ever increasing demand of masses, and now they have to retain their emission levels and control pollution. And a collaboration in this area can show the way ahead like the “clean energy vehicle technologies and electric cars” as this article proposes. We all know that the vehicular pollution is the biggest contributor to the deadly smog that every now and then blankets our cities.

©SantoshChaubey

COP21 AGREEMENT: IT IS GOOD THAT IT IS FLAWED.

It is good that it is flawed.

That sums the essence of why the Paris climate accord is an achievement – after 23 years of bickering, dissents, disagreements, debates on terms like ‘carbon budget, climate justice, differentiation between developed and developing countries, carbon credit, transparency, accountability, historical emissions, emission targets’ and so on – the world has, at least, agreed to a common paper to map the further roadmap.

The world, with all its participating countries in such events, that include almost the whole planet – right from the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro – has, so far, consistently failed to reach at this elusive common draft that the 195 participating countries could reach at in Paris.

Why they had failed so far?

Because there were very few global polluters and the most were the silent victims.

Because the victim lot was rightly demanding to be compensated for the legacy of historical loss (historical emission) they had been burdened with.

Because the polluters were not ready for it in unequivocal, transparent terms.

Because, over the years, the polluters, too, in turn, had become victims of their continued exploitation of nature.

Because, developing clean technologies to keep fossil fuels away was too costly and a privilege of the rich nations.

Because, the developing block of the countries was putting forward the logic that why they should pay for the deeds of the rich, industrialized world at the cost of impeding their growth that was going to be heavily dependent on energy supplied by fossil fuels.

Even if both blocks were now equivalent in facing the wrath of nature – global warming, glaciers melting, rising sea levels, irregular rainfall patterns and floods, recurring drought spells and other unpredictable weather parameters and so on.

Because, if the low lying coastal areas and cities have to submerge (rising sea levels with increasing temperature due to global warming), it will be across the world and not just in America, Europe, China or other industrialized nations.

Because, if the world is increasingly facing erratic weather behaviour and freakish weather patterns and problems thereof, it is not just in India, but it is across the world – in Gulf countries, in America, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa and elsewhere.

The global agreement (Framework Convention on Climate Change – Adoption of the Paris Agreement) that the world reached at in Paris cannot be a perfect document because it has tried to take in concerns of as much groups as possible – and it is good for this reason.

An agreement that accommodates concerns of 195 nations or so, divided in multiple blocks, is bound to have some ‘flaws or imperfections’ for every block on the go – and the world leaders have accepted it while lauding the development. Here, everyone has something to question for, but everyone is attached to this ‘legally binding agreement’ by a common goal for a larger good that affects everyone.

The world community has honestly accepted it – after an honest effort this time with a ‘do or die’ proposition – after 23 years of the Earth Summit – giving us the first document that will be legally binding on every nation – and that is the best thing about COP21 or Paris Climate Summit.

We need to rush to save out habitations and our habitats and this ‘flawed agreement’ reached at in Paris may well be that elusive perfect beginning that we all need.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/