Skip navigation

Daily Archives: June 4th, 2017


June 1, 20173:36 PM ET
NPR Staff

The main goal of the Paris deal was to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. Beyond that point, scientists worry that catastrophic impacts of warming become irreversible.
NASA Handout/Getty Images
President Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. will leave the Paris climate deal.
Here are five things that could be affected by the decision.
1. The coal industry
Even coal companies had lobbied the Trump administration to stay in the agreement.
They said they needed a seat at the table during international climate discussions to advocate for coal’s place in the global energy mix. The industry also wants financial support for technology to capture and store carbon emissions, something that could keep coal plants operating longer even as cities, states and other countries work to address climate change.
While President Trump had promised to “cancel” the Paris deal to boost coal, the decision is not likely to create more jobs. The industry is in a long-term decline as it faces competition from cheaper natural gas and — increasingly — wind and solar. Some utilities are also responding to customer demand for renewable power, and the policies of any one administration have little impact on those decisions. “As a utility, we’re trying to plan many years out into the future,” says Ron Roberts of Puget Sound Energy.

2. The climate
The main goal of the Paris deal was to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (or, aspirationally, even 1.5 degrees). Beyond that point, scientists worry that catastrophic impacts of warming become irreversible. The various Paris pledges by each nation were not actually enough to achieve that target. And even with the environmental regulations passed under President Barack Obama, the U.S. was unlikely to meet its original commitment — to reduce carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels. Now, the U.S. may fall further from that goal.
That said, U.S. carbon emissions will still probably continue to decline, at least for a few years. Market forces are pushing utilities to switch from coal to natural gas or renewable power. “We are on a path to reduce emissions below 2005 levels by about 15 to 17 percent in 2020,” says Kate Larsen of the Rhodium Group.
But the Trump administration is rolling back a host of other climate regulations, and that impact will start to be felt in a few years. Economist Marc Hafstead of Resources for the Future says if economic growth picks up, leaving the Paris deal may mean overall U.S. emissions drop only by 10 percent.
3. U.S. global leadership
Trump’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, warned against leaving the Paris deal. It puts the U.S. in a very small camp; the only other countries not part of the agreement are Syria, which is in the midst of a civil war, and Nicaragua, which argued that the Paris accord did not go far enough to curb global emissions. Former Secretary of State John Kerry calls Trump’s decision “an irresponsible walking back of American leadership.”

Instead of putting America first, Kerry tells NPR’s Morning Edition, Trump is putting the nation last. Kerry accuses Trump of basing his decision on “alternative facts,” calling it “one of the most disastrous, shallow, untruthful decisions a president of the United States has made in my lifetime.”
The European Union’s top climate change official, Miguel Arias Canete, calls it a “sad day for the global community” but adds that the “world can continue to count on Europe for global leadership in the fight against climate change.” China, too, is poised to take a stronger role on climate diplomacy. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is counting on that and argues there are economic benefits to this. “The sustainability train has left the station,” he said earlier this week. “Those who embrace green technologies will set the gold standard for economic leadership in the 21st century.”
4. President Trump’s public support (but maybe not the part that counts)
Most Americans want the U.S. to stay in the Paris climate accord. But in bucking that broad public opinion, Trump is playing to his base.
A Washington Post poll in January found just 31 percent of those surveyed supported withdrawing from the Paris deal, while 56 percent were opposed. But conservative Republicans are far less supportive of the Paris agreement than liberal Democrats, according to the Pew Research Center.
Before taking office, Trump repeatedly dismissed climate change as a hoax and suggested that Obama-era climate regulations put the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage. Many conservative Republicans share the president’s climate skepticism. And less than a third support measures like the Clean Power Plan — Obama’s principal tool for meeting America’s Paris climate commitments.
Pulling out of the Paris accords will undoubtedly anger many Americans, but it keeps a promise to Trump’s core supporters. As small-government activist Grover Nyquist told the New York Times, “Everybody who hates Trump wants him to stay in Paris. Everybody who respects him, trusts him, voted for him, wishes for him to succeed, wants him to pull out.”
5. The U.S. economy
President Trump has repeatedly called the Paris accord a “bad deal” for the U.S. and said it will hurt the economy. One big outlay is the Green Climate Fund set up under the deal. Obama had committed the U.S. to contributing $3 billion to the fund, which aims to help developing countries adapt to climate change and develop low-emission energy technologies. Under Obama, the U.S. transferred $1 billion, but Trump’s budget proposal does not include payments for the rest.
Opponents of the Paris agreement also say imposing regulations to reduce carbon emissions is too costly. “It’d be very, very expensive,” Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, who has denied climate change is real, told WBUR’s Here & Now. “It’d constitute probably the largest tax increase in the history of America.” It’s not clear whether that is true, but the coal industry has spent many millions installing technology to curb its emissions in recent years.
That said, the White House could easily have stayed in the Paris accord even as it opted not to pay into the climate fund or impose emissions cuts.
Of course, supporters of Paris say if the U.S. withdrawal leads to more severe climate change, that would greatly harm the U.S. economy.
Nate Rott, Chris Joyce, Michele Kelemen, Scott Horsley and Jennifer Ludden contributed to this report.

Please Donate

Advertisements

JILL COLVIN and JACK GILLUM,
Associated Press 16 hours ago

President Trump’s climate agreement announcement
WASHINGTON (AP) — Does he or doesn’t he? Believe in climate change, that is.
You’d think that would be an easy enough question the day after President Donald Trump announced he was pulling the U.S. out of the landmark global accord aimed at combatting global warming.
But don’t bother asking at the White House.
“I have not had an opportunity to have that discussion” with the president, responded press secretary Sean Spicer on Friday.
“You should ask him that,” offered White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt dodged the question, too.
The president also ignored it during an unrelated bill-signing.
But his U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, answered the question in a new way this weekend.
“President Trump believes the climate is changing,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” ”And he believes pollutants are part of that equation. So that is the fact.”
If so, it’s quite a reversal for Trump, who spent years publicly bashing the idea of global warming as a “hoax” and “total con job” in books, interviews and tweets. He openly challenged the scientific consensus that the climate is changing and man-made carbon emissions are largely to blame.
“Global warming is an expensive hoax!” he tweeted in 2014.
But Trump has been largely silent on the issue since his election last fall. On Thursday, he made scarce mention of it in his lengthy remarks announcing America’s exit from the Paris accord. Instead, he framed his decision as based on economics.
Here’s what he’s said before:
___
TRUMP’S TWEETS:
The president’s twitter feed once was filled with references to “so-called” global warming being a “total con job” based on “faulty science and manipulated data.”
An Associated Press search of his twitter archives revealed at least 90 instances in which he has referred to “global warming” and “climate change” since 2011. In nearly every instance, he expressed skepticism or mockery.
“This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bulls— has got to stop,” he wrote in January 2014, spelling out the vulgarity.
Often the president has pointed to cold weather as evidence the climate scientists are wrong.
“It’s 46 (really cold) and snowing in New York on Memorial Day — tell the so-called “scientists” that we want global warming right now!” he wrote in May 2013 — one of several instances in which he said that warming would be welcome.
“Where the hell is global warming when you need it?” he asked in January 2015.
The same message was echoed in the president’s books.
In “Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America,” Trump made a reference to “the mistaken belief that global climate change is being caused by carbon emissions.”
“If you don’t buy that — and I don’t — then what we have is really just an expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves,” he wrote.
___
CANDIDATE AND SKEPTIC:
“I’m not a believer in man-made global warming,” Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in September 2015, after launching his bid for the White House. He bemoaned the fact that the U.S. was investing money and doing things “to solve a problem that I don’t think in any major fashion exists.”
“I am not a believer,” he added, “Unless somebody can prove something to me … I am not a believer and we have much bigger problems.”
By March 2016, the president appeared to allow that the climate was changing — but continued to doubt humans were to blame.
“I think there’s a change in weather. I am not a great believer in man-made climate change. I’m not a great believer,” he told The Washington Post. “There is certainly a change in weather,” he said.
Then-campaign manager, Conway explained Trump’s view this way: “He believes that global warming is naturally occurring. That there are shifts naturally occurring.”
___
EVOLVING PRESIDENT:
In an interview with The New York Times in November, after the election, Trump was asked repeatedly whether he intended to leave the Paris accord and appeared to have a new open-mindedness.
“I’m looking at it very closely,” Trump told the newspaper. “I have an open mind to it. We’re going to look very carefully.”
He went on to say that he thought “there is some connectivity” between human activity and the changing climate, but that, “It depends on how much.”
Asked about the comment several days later, Trump’s now-chief of staff Reince Priebus told Fox News that Trump “has his default position, which is that most of it is a bunch of bunk.”
“But he’ll have an open mind and listen to people,” he said.
Stay tuned.

Please Donate


Why would a liar be concerned about being truthful about campaign promises? The current and administration has a proven track record of stretching and subverting the truth on a regular basis. We have heard and seen a steady stream of untruths coming from our White House. The campaign promises that are being acted upon appeases a small group of people and are just another set of lies as those promises in reality cannot be kept or accomplished. There will be no return of lost jobs in coal and many other industries. The future of this country is in renewable energy and other related technologies, some of which require retraining. It would appear to me that the rational line to follow is education but we have Betsy De Vos instead. Trump has selected some of the worst people to serve in his cabinet. These people on the surface are not bad  people however they are ill-informed or under informed as to the issues their respective posts are facing. Mr. Trump for all of his rhetoric is no more than a child with too much power and cannot stay on topic long enough to understand or reason out a proper solution especially if it takes more than 140 characters. He is depending on the more radical ideas of his staff and that affects all of us now and in the future. The recent incidents in England caused him to push for his “muslin ban” with no information as to who committed these crimes. His withdrawal from the Paris climate accord again with no understanding of the effects of that action. These two examples are just indicative of the President’s inability or lack of desire to understand his  position (United States)  will be our burden for many years to came. He is doing what he has done in business, make thing happen because he promised and not taking the long range effects into consideration. Mr. Trump is setting us on a path of long time recovery from his administration. His base will suffer along with the rest of us but could conceivably not understand that their vote is why we are in this situation now and in the future. What we have at this time is a Presidency that cannot  succeed due to a lack of information related to the real world. This Presidency will put us more at risk than we have ever been, Why?, because it is built on lies!

Please Donate


Rick Newman
Columnist
Yahoo Finance   June 1,  2017
Coal miners and alienated workers just trumped corporate America.
By canceling America’s participation in the 2015 Paris climate agreement, President Trump snubbed many of the nation’s biggest businesses. Corporate giants including Exxon (XOM), General Electric (GE), Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) and Alphabet (GOOGL) urged Trump to stick with the agreement, which nearly every other country in the world has signed on to. Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk said he’ll quit as an informal White House adviser on account of Trump’s decision to withdraw. The only major businesses supporting Trump’s move are energy firms dependent on coal and oil.
“The Paris accord is very unfair to the United States,” Trump declared at the White House on June 1. He claimed the agreement imposes “draconian financial and economic burdens” on the United State, while linking it to the loss of nearly 3 million jobs–a claim economists strongly dispute. Trump did say he was open to re-entering the Paris agreement under different terms, leaving some wiggle room amid the criticism he is sure to get for the decision.
Withdrawing from the deal probably won’t be as catastrophic for business or the climate as overheated news coverage might suggest. The Paris deal relies on voluntary reductions in carbon emissions, according to standards each nation sets for itself. Countries can change their standards or simply not abide by them. Enforcement is weak, at best. And market incentives to adopt cleaner energy are becoming stronger, in some cases obviating the need for government incentives or mandates.
A headache for American businesses
But abstaining from a global agreement embraced by every other developed economy is a headache for American businesses all the same. Multinational companies want to sell their goods and services everywhere, which is easier when their home country is following the same agenda, more or less, as other countries they want to sell to. The Paris agreement will likely spur spending on new climate-friendly technologies, and US firms want a cut of that as well. They could lose out to foreign firms whose home governments do more to cultivate such technologies.
By appeasing America firsters and legacy industries such as coal, Trump has obviously fulfilled a campaign promise, while demonstrating solidarity with workers stuck in fading 20th century industries. But that will do nothing to increase demand for dirty coal or create jobs in industries the free market is closing the books on anyway. Natural gas burns much cleaner than coal and is nearly as cheap, thanks in large part to America’s fracking revolution. Pollution-free solar power is becoming cost-competitive without any need for government incentives. States such as California and many municipalities have their own reasons to encourage the use of renewables and cleaner-burning fuels, regardless of what Trump wants. That’s why Exxon and many other oil companies favor the Paris agreement—it helps them gain a foothold in the energy market that is slowly but surely replacing carbon.
Trump probably could have found different ways to help the beleaguered coal industry—powerful federal incentives to draw companies to coal country, say—while keeping American firms under the Paris umbrella. But he disregarded the pleas from corporate America, with no apparent concern for whether that could impede economic growth or cost American jobs. At some point business leaders must rightfully ask whether Trump represents their interests or not.
Trump rode to Washington on a pro-business platform, but his actions in office haven’t been so business-friendly. He has left health insurers and other companies in the medical industry deeply uncertain about the business climate they face, since he has vowed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without an obvious replacement. Insurers are bailing out of ACA markets where they can’t make money, a problem that existed before Trump took office but has since gotten worse.
Trump has threatened the auto industry with tariffs and other punishments (and consumers with higher car prices) if they don’t create more American jobs. He has lambasted pharmaceutical firms for their high prices. His threat to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement would roil thousands of business that rely on those trading relationships. He may still seek tariffs on Chinese imports, as he has frequently threatened, which would upend supply lines for many other US companies.
Offsetting all of this, from a CEO’s perspective, is the promise of tax cuts and deregulation, two of Trump’s top priorities. Tax cuts could directly boost corporate profits and stock prices along with them. Deregulation could lower the cost of doing business, which is almost as good as a boost in net income.
But Trump obviously faces difficult challenges getting major legislation through Congress, and he’s adding to the burden with controversies such as the Russia investigation, weakening his political hand and overburdening Congress. It’s now unlikely Congress will pass any kind of tax reform in 2017, and the longer it drifts toward next year’s fall election season, the less likely it becomes. Trump has undone some minor regulations with executive orders, but major pruning would require Congressional action, and that is nowhere to be seen.
Take tax cuts and deregulation away, and Trump looks more like a self-preserving political boss playing favorites than a businessman-president. He favors downtrodden industries on their way out over ascendant industries such as technology and renewable energy, because that’s where his “base” resides. He talks up the need for stronger growth while explaining away political decisions that could impede growth. And he accepts symbolic wins that save a few endangered jobs without talking at all about how to create and secure the jobs of the future. Eventually, we’ll need them, because you can’t prop up the jobs of the past forever.
Confidential tip line: rickjnewman@yahoo.com

Please Donate


This posting indicates the results of a current trend in the White House regarding European relationships. This mindset can leave this country more vulnerable than ever as information sharing could diminish.MA.
Isolationism refers to America’s longstanding reluctance to become involved in European alliances and wars. Isolationists held the view that America’s perspective on the world was different from that of European societies and that America could advance the cause of freedom and democracy by means other than war.
American isolationism did not mean disengagement from the world stage. Isolationists were not averse to the idea that the United States should be a world player and even further its territorial, ideological and economic interests, particularly in the Western Hemisphere.
The colonial period

The isolationist perspective dates to colonial days. The colonies were populated by many people who had fled from Europe, where there was religious persecution, economic privation and war. Their new homeland was looked upon as a place to make things better than the old ways. The sheer distance and rigors of the voyage from Europe tended to accentuate the remoteness of the New World from the Old. The roots of isolationism were well established years before independence, notwithstanding the alliance with France during the War for Independence.
Thomas Paine crystallized isolationist notions in his work Common Sense, which presents numerous arguments for shunning alliances. Paine’s tract exerted so much political influence that the Continental Congress strove against striking an alliance with France and acquiesced only when it appeared probable that the war for independence could not be won without one.
George Washington in his Farewell Address placed the accent on isolationism in a manner that would be long remembered:
“The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.”
Washington was promulgating a perspective that was already venerable and accepted by many. The United States terminated its alliance with France, after which America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson, admonished in his inaugural address, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”
The 19th century
The United States remained politically isolated all through the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, an unusual feat in western history. Historians have attributed the fact to a geographical position at once separate and far removed from Europe.
During the 1800s, the United States spanned North America and commenced to piece together an empire in the Caribbean and the Pacific — without departing from the traditional perspective. It fought the War of 1812
the Mexican War, and the Spanish-American War without joining alliances or fighting in Europe.
The isolationist point of view was still viable in 1823 when President James Monroe gave voice to what would later be termed the Monroe Doctrine, “In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken part, nor does it comport with our policy, so to do.”
Nevertheless, pressures were mounting abroad that would undercut and demolish that policy near the mid-20th century. The advent of German and Japanese expansionism would threaten and later nearly snuff out the contented aloofness enjoyed by the United States. The United States’ occupation of the Philippines during the Spanish-American War thrust U.S. interests into the far western Pacific Ocean — Imperial Japan’s sphere of interest. Such improved transportation and communication as steamships, undersea cable, and radio linked the two continents. The growth of shipping and foreign trade slowly enhanced America’s world role.
There also were basic changes at home. The historic ascendancy of urban-based business, industry, and finance, and the sidelining of rural and small-town America — the bastion of isolationism — contributed to its eventual demise.
World War I
Germany’s unfettered submarine warfare against American ships during World War I provoked the U.S. into abandoning the neutrality it had upheld for so many years. The country’s resultant participation in World War I against the Central Powers marked its first major departure from isolationist policy. When the war ended, however, the United States was quick to leave behind its European commitment. Regardless of President Woodrow Wilson’s efforts, the Senate repudiated the Treaty of Versailles that ended the war, and the United States failed to become a member of the League of Nations.
Indeed, isolationism would persist for a few more decades. During the 1920s, American foreign affairs took a back seat. In addition, America tended to insulate itself in terms of trade. Tariffs were imposed on foreign goods to shield U.S. manufacturers.
America turned its back on Europe by restricting the number of immigrants permitted into the country. Until World War I, millions of people, mostly from Europe, had come to America to seek their fortune and perhaps flee poverty and persecution. Britons and Irishmen, Germans and Jews constituted the biggest groups. In 1921 the relatively liberal policy ended and quotas were introduced. By 1929 only 150,000 immigrants per year were allowed in.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the preponderance of Americans remained opposed to enmeshment in Europe’s alliances and wars. Isolationism was solid in hinterland and small-town America in the Midwest and Great Plains states, and among Republicans. It claimed numerous sympathizers among Irish- and German-Americans. William Jennings Bryan of Nebraska, Robert M. La Follette of Wisconsin, and George W. Norris of Nebraska were among western agrarian progressives who argued fervently against involvement. Assuming an us-versus-them stance, they castigated various eastern, urban elites for their engagement in European affairs.
World War II
The year 1940 signaled a final turning point for isolationism. German military successes in Europe and the Battle of Britain prompted nationwide American rethinking about its posture toward the war. If Germany and Italy established hegemony in Europe and Africa, and Japan swept East Asia, many believed that the Western Hemisphere might be next. Even if America managed to repel invasions, its way of life might wither if it were forced to become a garrison state. By the autumn of 1940, many Americans believed it was necessary to help defeat the Axis — even if it meant open hostilities.

Many others still backed the noninterventionist America First Committee in 1940 and 1941, but isolationists failed to derail the Roosevelt administration’s plans to aid targets of Axis aggression with means short of war. Most Americans opposed any actual declaration of war on the Axis countries, but everything abruptly changed when Japan naval forces sneak-attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Germany and Italy declared war on the United States four days later. America galvanized itself for full-blown war against the Axis powers.
The demise of isolationism
The isolationist point of view did not completely disappear from American discourse, but never again did it figure prominently in American policies and affairs. Countervailing tendencies that would outlast the war were at work. During the war, the Roosevelt administration and other leaders inspired Americans to favor the establishment of the United Nations (1945), and following the war, the threat embodied by the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin dampened any comeback of isolationism.
The postwar world environment, in which the United States played a leading role, would change with the triumph of urban industry and finance, expanded education and information systems, advanced military technology, and leadership by internationalists. A few leaders would rise to speak of a return to America’s traditional policies of nonintervention, but in reality, traditional American isolationism was obsolete.
– – – Books You May Like Include: —-
FDR and Chief Justice Hughes: The President, the Supreme Court, and the Epic Battle Over the New Deal by James F. Simon.
The author of acclaimed books on the bitter clashes between presidents and chief justices—Jefferson and Marshall, Lincoln and Taney.

Please Donate

%d bloggers like this: