Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

The US election is a vote on climate change for the whole world

For some nations, like Australia, the outcome of the US election could determine in which direction they move on their own climate policy.
“What Washington says and wants reverberates very closely in Canberra,” said Frank Jotzo, director of the Centre for Climate and Energy Policy at Australian National University. “If Trump has a second term then we will see a hardening of Australia’s position not to do much, not to take on a stronger targets, not to declare a net zero target for middle of the century,” Jotzo said.
A Biden presidency, he said, would “put pressure for positive climate change policy on all its allies.”
Australia has seen extreme droughts and water shortages provide the fuel for a devastating bushfire season last year. “For Australia it is really quite fundamental, it’s a question about the viability of our cities and agriculture,” Jotzo said……….

The US election is a vote on climate change for the whole world, By Helen ReganIvana Kottasová and Drew Kann, CNN November 2, 2020   The climate crisis has become a key issue not just for American voters in this US election — but people across the world.

What the next president does or doesn’t do over the next four years will have a profound impact on the whether the world is able to avert the worst effects of climate change, scientists, policy makers and activists say.
They say the world needs a US president who cares about climate change, for two main reasons. First, many nations take their cue from US policy, particularly on issues such as the climate crisis, meaning Washington has a unique opportunity to influence. Second, the US is the world’s second-biggest polluter after China, meaning it has a moral obligation to act.
President Donald Trump, during his current administration, has gutted domestic environmental regulations and policies designed to limit global warming. Internationally, he has pulled the US out of the landmark Paris climate accord, the only global pact that seeks to avoid dangerous heating of the planet. And he’s doubted the reasons for climate change. During the final presidential debate on Friday, Trump falsely claimed said the US has “the cleanest air” and “the cleanest water,” and called India and China “filthy,” a skewered rendition of reality.
His Democratic challenger former Vice President Joe Biden, said at the same debate that “global warming is an existential threat to humanity. We have a moral obligation to deal with it.”
Biden’s comments echo what the scientists are saying. Global carbon dioxide concentrations — the main culprit warming the planet — are at higher levels than at any time in human history.
It’s too late to stop all the impacts of climate change. They are already happening. Wildfires have torched homes across the Western US this year, unprecedented floods have inundated large swathes of Asia, and the past decade — — featuring deadly heatwaves and droughts — was the hottest ever recorded. The ice caps that bookend our planet are also seeing rapid loss and glacial melt.
Under a US president who pushes for climate policies, however, the world could work toward “marginal, incremental damages” rather than catastrophic ones, said Jonathan Pershing, program director of environment at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, who was the former special envoy for climate change at the US Department of State during the second term of the Obama administration.
Pershing added: “Every succeeding election becomes more and more urgent because the time is shorter to manage those really grievous damages.”
The coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 230,000 and infected 9.1 million people in the US, has exposed that Trump’s administration is hostile to science and decades of research. That endangers lives and livelihoods, according to Kim Cobb, a professor and researcher of paleoclimate and climate change at Georgia Tech.
“It’s not really the planet anymore. It’s really about people. And that’s something that we all have to wake up to. It’s not about saving polar bears and coral reefs, it’s about us,” Cobb said. “We can simply not afford to put our heads in the sand about this other lasting global challenge which is a direct threat to our country.”

Why Paris matters

The Paris Agreement, a pact signed into effect in 2016 by almost all the world’s countries, seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. To do so, countries need to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
When Trump announced in June 2017 that the US would be withdrawing from the agreement, it signaled that America would no longer lead the global fight against climate change. Studies have shown the so-called “Trump Effect” has made it easier for other countries to renege on their climate commitments.
“It’s critically important for the entire movement that the US be a part of it,” said Lois Young, Belize’s ambassador to the United Nations. “Other countries that are big emitters are saying, Well if the United States is not accountable, why should I be?”
At UN climate talks in Madrid last year, Young, who is also head of the Alliance of Small Island States, accused big polluters like the US of “ecocide.” She said the Trump administration’s policies on climate have been “a total disaster.” ………..
For some nations, like Australia, the outcome of the US election could determine in which direction they move on their own climate policy.
“What Washington says and wants reverberates very closely in Canberra,” said Frank Jotzo, director of the Centre for Climate and Energy Policy at Australian National University. “If Trump has a second term then we will see a hardening of Australia’s position not to do much, not to take on a stronger targets, not to declare a net zero target for middle of the century,” Jotzo said.
A Biden presidency, he said, would “put pressure for positive climate change policy on all its allies.”
Australia has seen extreme droughts and water shortages provide the fuel for a devastating bushfire season last year. “For Australia it is really quite fundamental, it’s a question about the viability of our cities and agriculture,” Jotzo said……….
Global momentum
The US being part of the Paris Agreement doesn’t ensure the world will avoid dangerous climate change.
Many countries that have signed up are behind on their climate goals, few have updated their commitments in 2020, and many big polluters such as the EU need to set more ambitious goals if they want to comply with the accord, according to Climate Action Tracker.
Indeed, if governments stick to their current targets submitted under the Paris Agreement, the world is set to warm by 2.7°C by the end of the century, according to CAT, bringing more extreme storms, heatwaves, greater sea level rise, and, for many parts of the world, worse droughts and rainfall extremes.
Jotzo said what is likely to make the biggest difference is investment and innovations in clean energy from the private sector.
The price of renewable forms of energy, such as solar power, are now cheaper than the price of coal, and electric vehicles are becoming more affordable. Innovations in green tech are finding other ways to deal with other planet-warming gases like methane and refrigerants, and there has been innovation around zero-carbon steel.
“The long term trajectory is clearly towards very substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” Jotzo said. Zero emission technologies are now cost competitive with polluting technologies and “this creates an incentive for many corporates in many countries to actually push in that direction.”
Trump may be seen as being pro-business but backing the fossil fuel industry has not created the jobs he promised. There is now an increasing awareness that the choice for policy makers, politicians and businesses is not between solving climate change or having a strong economy. You can have both.
Keeping fossil fuels in the ground, reducing emissions and stopping subsidies for coal and oil, as well as ramping up use of renewables is vital for limiting climate disasters and avoiding economic impacts worse than the coronavirus pandemic has wrought, Young said.
To achieve this, the US needs to be accountable, according to Young: “Covid will be overcome, the climate crisis cannot be overcome unless we have American leadership.”  https://edition.cnn.com/2020/11/01/world/us-election-climate-crisis-intl-dst-hnk/index.html?utm_source=Energy+News+Network+daily+email+digests&utm_campaign=276e411cd4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_05_11_11_46_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_724b1f01f5-276e411cd4-89260599

 

November 3, 2020 - Posted by | General News

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