The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the historic Paris climate agreement and turn his back on the other 194 countries that signed it leaves him isolated on the world stage. But Trump is also isolated from the very Americans he purports to lead, and here lies hope.
Across America, families, businesses, churches, institutions and governments are busy building a clean energy future. And no president can stop that.
The global effort to confront climate change was hobbled for many years by the mistaken idea that only national governments and international rules could solve the problem. The Paris agreement, which recognizes and supports voluntary carbon-reduction efforts by cities, regions and businesses, was an important step in the right direction. Ironically, no one has done more to demonstrate the agreement’s strengths than its most prominent critic: Donald Trump.
Last week, the Trump administration formally notified the UN of its intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement. It was an empty gesture, because no party can actually withdraw until November 2020 (right after the next US presidential election). What matters is this: the US is on pace to reach the commitment we made under the agreement – and there is nothing Washington can do to stop us.
Over the past decade, the US has led the world in reducing carbon emissions. In that time, the US Congress has never passed a single law directly aimed at climate change.
The central climate-related regulation adopted by the Obama administration – a carbon emission standard for power plants – was put on hold by the courts and never even went into effect. And yet we are already about halfway to our Paris goal of reducing carbon emissions by at least 26% by 2025.
Developing countries, tired of waiting for help from rich countries to arrive and already facing mounting climate crises, are starting their own funds to deal with an uncertain future.
Despite agreeing to shift $100bn each year in climate finance by 2020 under the Paris climate deal, wealthy countries have quibbled and delayed. As of June, 43 developed countries and nine of their developing counterparts had pledged just $10.13 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Under the direction of president Donald Trump, the US is set to renege on the majority of its $3bn pledge and looks certain to send no more money to help with climate change until there is a change in the Oval Office.
Depletion of dissolved oxygen in our oceans, which can cause dead zones, is occurring much faster than expected, a new study finds.
And by combining oxygen loss with ever-worsening ocean warming and acidification, humans are re-creating the conditions that led to the worst-ever extinction, which killed over 90 percent of marine life 252 million years ago.
Climate change has had a significant impact on the timing of river floods across Europe over the past 50 years, according to a new study.
In some regions, such as southern England, floods are now occurring 15 days earlier than they did half a century ago.
But the changes aren’t uniform, with rivers around the North Sea seeing floods delayed by around eight days.
In the 1970’s and eighties, only about five to ten turtles would wash up on the beaches of Cape Cod each fall. But in recent years, the numbers of turtles that strand have risen. After 2000, Prescott says, it was typical for 100 to 200 turtles to strand. Then, in 2014, a shocking 1,200 sea turtles were found on the beaches of Cape Cod Bay.
The rise in turtle strandings may be related to the fact that the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than almost any other ocean waters on Earth. Already, cod and northern shrimp are leaving for cooler waters.
Declines in Colorado River reservoirs can only partly be blamed by a lack of precipitation. Research shows that higher temperatures also played a role, write scientists Brad Udall and Jonathan Overpeck.
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