White House scrambles to defend Trump’s use of climate data, disputed by the authors themselves

White House scrambles to defend Trump’s use of climate data, disputed by the authors themselvesMIT scientists say that Trump has “badly misunderstood” their study, but EPA administrator Scott Pruitt says other studies back up the president’s position.



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Statue of Liberty, other world sites threatened by climate change, says U.N.

Statue of Liberty, other world sites threatened by climate change, says U.N.The Statue of Liberty is seen in New York harbor. Climate change might dampen Lady Liberty’s glow, according to experts. The United Nations released a report Thursday saying 31 natural and cultural World Heritage sites in 29 countries are vulnerable to the effects of climate change: rising temperatures, rising sea levels, intensifying storms, longer droughts and so on.



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The Science Behind the Paris Climate Accords

Lasrick writes: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists offers a pretty thorough run-down of the pros and cons of the Paris climate accords. William Sweet examines not only the political machinations behind the agreement but much of what the agreement entails and how it got there after 21 years of COP meetings. “As for the tighter 1.5-degree standard, this is a complicated issue that the Paris accords fudge a bit. The difference between impacts expected from a 1.5-degree world and a 2-degree world are not trivial. The Greenland ice sheet, for example, is expected to melt in its entirely in the 2-degree scenario, while in a 1.5-degree world the odds of a complete melt are only 70 percent… But at the same time the scientific consensus is that it would be virtually impossible to meet the 1.5-degree goal because on top of the 0.8–0.9 degrees of warming that already has occurred, another half-degree is already in the pipeline, ‘hidden away in the oceans,’ as Schellnhuber put it.” In an additional audio recording of a teleconference briefing given to the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board and other leading scientists and policy makers, Sivan Kartha and Richard Somerville (both on the S & S Board) explain what was accomplished (and not accomplished).

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Researcher: The US Owes the World $4 Trillion For Trashing the Climate

merbs writes: Climate change wasn’t created equal. Rich, industrialized nations have contributed most of the pollution and gone way over their carbon budgets—while smaller, poorer, and more agrarian countries are little to blame. The subsequent warming will, naturally, impact everyone, often hitting the poorer countries harder. So should rich countries pay up? Researcher Damon Matthews has quantified how much historically polluting nations owe their global neighbors—and it’s a lot.

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Role Model Bhutan Takes Zen Approach To Climate Change

HughPickens.com writes: Matt McGrath writes at BBC that Bhutan, the strongly Buddhist country where up to three-quarters of the population follow the religion, is the only country in the world considered a role model by the Climate Action Tracking organization. Bhutan has put forward the concept of “Gross National Happiness”, that represents a commitment to building an economy that would serve Bhutan’s culture based on Buddhist spiritual values instead of western material development gauged by gross domestic product (GDP). Bhutan’s Constitution mandates its territory to be at least 60% covered by forest – the vast carbon sink a boon for its balancing of humanity and nature. Right now over 70% is under trees, and so great are the forests, that the country absorbs far more carbon than its 750,000 population can produce. As well as inhaling all that CO2, the Bhutanese are pushing out large amounts of electricity to India, generated by hydropower from their fast flowing rivers. The prime minister says that their waters hold the potential to offset 100 million tonnes of Indian emissions every year. That’s around a fifth of Britain’s current annual outpourings.

Bhutan has embraced electric vehicles and the government envisages the capital city Thimpu, as a “clean-electric” city with green taxis for its 100,000 citizens — Bold plans for a city that at present doesn’t have any traffic lights! “We see ourselves on the one hand being able to use electric cars for our own purposes, to protect our environment, to improve our economy, but also to show in a small measure that sustainable transport works and that electric vehicles are a reality,” says Tshering Tobgay. “”In Bhutan the distances are short, electricity is very cheap and because of the mountains you can’t drive exceedingly fast, so all these combined to provide us with the opportunity for the investment.”

According to Dr Marcia Rocha, it’s not just a question of Bhutan being spectacularly endowed with natural advantages. “I think they are a country that culturally are very connected to nature, in every document that they submit it’s there, it’s just a very important focus of their politics.” “We may be small, our impact not huge, but we always try many conservation projects,” says Kinlay Dorjee, mayor of capital Thimphu. However the modest Bhutanese Prime Minister rejects the idea that his country is the leader of the climate pack. “I feel that calling Bhutan a role model is not appropriate, every country has their own sets of challenges and their own sets opportunities.”

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The Paris Climate Talks: Negotiating With the Atmosphere

Lasrick writes: The Paris climate change talks are in December, but what negotiators plan to propose will only be part of non-legally-binding pledges—and they represent only what is achievable without too much difficulty. 2009’s Copenhagen Accord say 114 countries agree that global temperature increases should be held below 2 degrees Celsius. “Paradoxically, an accord that should have spurred the world to immediate action instead seemed to offer some breathing room. Two degrees was meant to be a ceiling, but repeated references to an internationally agreed-upon “threshold” led many people to believe that nothing really bad could happen below 2 degrees—or worse yet, that the number itself was negotiable.” Dawn Stover writes about alternatives to the meaningless numbers and endless talks: ‘The very idea that the Paris conference is a negotiation is ridiculous. You can’t negotiate with the atmosphere.”

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Congressional Testimony: A Surprising Consensus On Climate

Lasrick writes: Many legislators regularly deny that there is a scientific consensus, or even broad scientific support, for government action to address climate change. Researchers recently assessed the content of congressional testimony related to either global warming or climate change from 1969 to 2007. For each piece of testimony, they recorded several characteristics about how the testimony discussed climate. For instance, noting whether the testimony indicated that global warming or climate change was happening and whether any climate change was attributable (in part) to anthropogenic sources. The results: Testimony to Congress—even under Republican reign—reflects the scientific consensus that humans are changing our planet’s climate.

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New Tool Allows Scientists To Annotate Media Coverage of Climate Change

Layzej writes: Have you ever been skeptical of a climate change story presented by a major media outlet? A new tool holds journalists to account for the veracity of their stories. “Using the Climate Feedback tool, scientists have started to diligently add detailed annotations to online content and have those notes appear alongside the story as it originally appeared. If you’re the writer, then it’s a bit like getting your homework handed back to you with the margins littered with corrections and red pen. Or smiley faces and gold stars if you’ve been good.” The project has already prompted The Telegraph to publish major corrections to their story that suggested the Earth is headed for a “‘mini ice age’ within 15 years.” The article has been modified in such a way that there is no more statement supporting the original message of an “imminent mini ice age.”

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