The aligning interests between Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s choice for U.S. president (Donald Trump), and Big Oil represents the gravest threat to humanity (and democracy) since the rise of the Axis powers in the 1930s.
That’s because while Trump may not be able to destroy global climate action and the landmark 2105 Paris climate deal all by himself — as he pledged to do during the campaign — he probably could do that with help from Russia and the trillion-dollar oil industry.
Seemingly little connects a community in India plagued by toxic water, a looming air pollution crisis in South Africa and a new fracking boom that is pockmarking Australia. And yet there is a common thread: American taxpayer money.
Donald Trump’s being elected the 45th President of the US has sent shock waves through the climate change community worldwide. Examining some recent energy and emission trends in the US would contribute to our understanding of what Trump might or might not undo. And while our initial shock and dismay is totally warranted, it would be short-sighted of us to ignore deeper drivers of global warming that will persist even after Trump comes and goes.
Taxing the meat and dairy industries for their impact on climate would lead to lower emissions and save about half a million lives per year, according to the first global study of the issue, published Tuesday.
Hawaii’s legislature voted yesterday to stake the state’s future on renewable energy. According to House Bill 623, the archipelago’s power grids must deliver 100 percent renewable electricity by the end of 2045. If the compromise bill is signed by the governor as expected, Hawaii will become the first U.S. state to set a date for the total decarbonization of its power supply.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is one of the most recent of the neoliberal trade agreements being proposed. The final proposal was signed off in February 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand by 12 countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the USA, and Vietnam, after 7 years of negotiation. It awaits ratification in each country.
This year’s annual Energy Information Administration conference started off on a somewhat positive note with a presentation by Dr. John Holdren, the Obama administration director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Holdren was clear in his presentation that the risks of climate change are real and deserve urgent action.
Undoubtedly the Paris agreement was an historic event, justly celebrated by its convenors and participants. But it was a strange victory with a remarkably polarised response from thoughtful and engaged people all over the world. Experienced observers and participants have been trying to understand what really happened ever since it concluded in December 2015. Perhaps no one captured this enigmatic quality better than George Monbiot shortly afterwards:
The billion residents of Africa are amongst the most vulnerable to climate change in coming decades, and of special concern are high-density sites of geopolitical and resource-related conflicts: the copper belt of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and mineral-rich African Great Lakes stretching into northern Uganda, western Ethiopia (bordering the Sudanese war zone), Madagascar and smaller Indian Ocean islands, and the northern-most strip of Africa and West Africa including Liberia and Sierra Leone (recent sites of diamond-related civil war and then Ebola epidemics).