Tag Archives: #climatechange

As Trump Signs EOs Overturning Obama Climate Actions, Thousands Mobilize for People’s Climate March, April 29

A taste of what is to come during People’s Climate March, April 29: Long Island activists protest to protect the planet © 2017 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features

Here’s the backdrop for the People’s Climate March, which took place April 29, on the 100th day of Trump’s occupation of the Oval Office: the administration withdrew its challenge in the court paving the way for Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan, regulating coal-powered plants and the essence for how the US would meet its commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement, to be overturned by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma AG, was one of the states challenging the plan in court.

And, two days before the climate march, Trump signed an Executive Order, effectively opening up all the protected marine sanctuaries through to the Continental shelf to new oil and gas drilling and exploitation. What is more, Trump’s goal is not just under the banner of American First Energy Independence, he sees the US as the major new supplier of fossil fuel energy to “allies”, which would necessitate building and converting infrastructure designed for import to export.

Most of the so-called “accomplishments” Trump has touted for his first 100 days have been reflexively overturning and reversing President Obama’s climate actions and environmental protections (with anti-women’s health and reproductive rights thrown in). It’s now okay for mining companies to throw their toxic waste into streams.

At the signing “ceremony” for the “Executive Order on an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” Trump declared,This is a great day for American workers and families, and today we’re unleashing American energy and clearing the way for thousands and thousands of high-paying American energy jobs.  Our country is blessed with incredible natural resources, including abundant offshore oil and natural gas reserves.  But the federal government has kept 94 percent of these offshore areas closed for exploration and production.  And when they say closed, they mean closed.

“This deprives our country of potentially thousands and thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wealth.  I pledged to take action, and today I am keeping that promise.

“This executive order starts the process of opening offshore areas to job-creating energy exploration.  It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban.  So hear that:  It reverses the previous administration’s Arctic leasing ban, and directs Secretary Zinke to allow responsible development of offshore areas that will bring revenue to our Treasury and jobs to our workers.  (Applause.)  In addition, Secretary Zinke will be reconsidering burdensome regulations that slow job creation.

“Finally, this order will enable better scientific study of our offshore resources and research that has blocked everything from happening for far too long.  You notice it doesn’t get blocked for other nations.  It only gets blocked for our nation.

“Renewed offshore energy production will reduce the cost of energy, create countless good jobs, and make America more secure and far more energy independent.  This action is another historic step toward future development and future — with a future — a real future.  And I have to say that’s a real future with greater prosperity and security for all Americans, which is what we want,” Trump said during the signing ceremony.”

The day before, at a press availability, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said, “94% of outer continental shelf is off limits for possible development – as of Mar 1 2007, only 16 million acres on the outer continental shelf out of 1.7 billion acres were under lease for oil & gas development; more than 97% of current leases are in Gulf of Mexico.”

In 2008, revenues of $18 billion came from offshore; in 2016, that amount dropped $15 billion to $2.8 billion, he noted.

Zinke added, “We like export to other countries – energy security is not only to provide for ourselves but supply allies – oil and gas exports to Asian basin is all part of it. A lot requires infrastructure – this country set up for importing energy, looking at ways to reverse that – a lot is infrastructure, we are behind. We want to supply our allies with affordable energy.”

Asked whether melting ice caps in the Arctic Circle has made for new opportunities (and have any companies specifically asked for leases), he said he had not thought about climate change shifting geographical requirements.

EarthJustice greeted the EO with promises of a lawsuit: “We won’t let this administration destroy these essential protections at a time when they’re so critically needed. In response, we’re preparing to file a lawsuit immediately to challenge this order,” writes Trip Van Noppen, President.

“Tomorrow, people from Washington, D.C., to Oakland, CA, will march in the streets to show this new administration that if the next four years are anything like the first 100 days, we’ll be here, fighting back every step of the way.”

The Peoples Climate March on Saturday, April 29 will begin near the Capitol, travel up Pennsylvania Avenue, and then surround the entire White House Grounds from 15th Street in the East to 17th Street in the West, and Pennsylvania Avenue in the North to Constitution Avenue in the South. The march will close with a post march rally, concert and gathering at the Washington Monument.

Events also are being held in hundreds of communities around the country.

For more information on the April 29th Peoples Climate Mobilization, visit peoplesclimate.org
Follow us on Twitter @Peoples_Climate and
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/peoplesclimate

Here is the White House Fact Sheet touting their America First Energy Independence Plan:

President Donald J. Trump to Open Up America’s Energy Potential

“I am going to lift the restrictions on American energy, and allow this wealth to pour into our communities.” – Donald J. Trump

AMERICA’S ENERGY RESOURCES ARE LOCKED AWAY: Under the previous administrations, America’s offshore resources were blocked from responsible development.

  • Ninety-four percent of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf’s (OCS’s) 1.7 billion acres are either off-limits to or not considered for oil and gas exploration and development under the current (2017-2022) leasing program.

o   Days before leaving office on January 17, 2017, the Obama Administration approved the latest schedule for oil and gas lease sales that would last for five years until 2022.

o   There are hundreds of millions of acres of federal waters in the Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico.

  • The OCS is expected to contain 90 billion barrels of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered technically recoverable natural gas.
  • In FY 2016, Federal revenues from the OCS were $2.8 billion; the actual sales value of the oil and gas resources was $26 billion and generated $55 billion in total spending in the economy.  These expenditures supported approximately 315,000 American jobs.
  • Alaska has seen a number of nearby OCS areas closed off to development and now has the second highest unemployment in the country, as its resource sectors, particularly oil and gas, have lost thousands of jobs.

o   At least one energy company has announced it would withdraw from all but one of its OCS leases in Alaska because of uncertain federal regulations.

  • Revenue to the Federal Government from leasing the OCS has fallen by over 80 percent, from $18 billion in 2008 to $2.8 billion in 2016. On average, OCS energy development generates $10-12 billion annually.

FREEING AMERICA’S ENERGY POTENTIAL: President Donald J. Trump is removing restrictions on the OCS that locked away America’s energy potential.

  • President Trump signed an Executive Order today to direct the Secretary of Interior and Secretary of Commerce to take action on OCS restrictions.
  • The Secretary of the Interior will review areas closed off by the current five-year plan for sale of oil and gas leases in the OCS, without disrupting scheduled lease sales. These planning areas include:

o   Western and Central Gulf of Mexico

o   Chukchi Sea

o   Beaufort Sea

o   Cook Inlet

o   Mid and South Atlantic

  • The Secretary of the Interior will review four rules and regulations put in place last year that could reduce exploration and development in the OCS. These include:

o   Notice to Lessees and Operators of Federal Oil and Gas, and Sulfur Leases, and Holders of Pipeline Right-of-Way and Right-of-Use and Easement Grants in the Outer Continental Shelf

o   Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf-Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control

o   Air Quality Control, Reporting, and Compliance

o   Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf—Requirements for Exploratory Drilling on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf

  • The Secretary of Commerce is directed to refrain from designating or expanding National Marine Sanctuaries unless the proposal includes “a timely, full accounting from the Department of the Interior of any energy or mineral resource potential”—including offshore energy from wind, oil, natural gas, and other sources—within the designated area and the potential impact the proposed designation or expansion will have on the development of those resources.
  • The Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of the Interior will work together to develop a streamlined permitting approach for privately funded seismic data research and collection to expeditiously determine the offshore resource potential of the United States.

FOLLOWING THROUGH ON HIS PROMISE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: President Trump is following through on the energy development policies he promised to the American people.

  • Then-Candidate Trump:

o   “We need an America-First energy plan. This means opening Federal lands for oil and gas production; opening offshore areas; and revoking policies that are imposing unnecessary restrictions on innovative new exploration technologies.”


© 2017 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email editor@news-photos-features.com. Blogging at  www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures.  ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

Climate Action: 200 Countries Agree to Phase-Out Major Greenhouse Gas, With Aim to Avoid Half Degree of Global Warming


President Obama: The Montreal Protocol, phasing out hydrofluorocarbons together with the Paris Climate Agreement “show that, while diplomacy is never easy, we can work together to leave our children a planet that is safer, more prosperous, more secure, and more free than the one that was left for us.” © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Obama: The Montreal Protocol, phasing out hydrofluorocarbons together with the Paris Climate Agreement “show that, while diplomacy is never easy, we can work together to leave our children a planet that is safer, more prosperous, more secure, and more free than the one that was left for us.” © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With all the focus on the circus the Donald Trump campaign has made of the Presidential Election, people are likely unaware that important things are being accomplished by President Obama who is very much not a lameduck. Today, nearly 200 countries signed on to the Montreal Protocol, which furthers the crucial climate action goal of not just stemming global warming, but has the potential to reduce warming by a half-degree through phasing out the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons, a super polluting greenhouse gas.

Here is the President’s statement and a White House Fact Sheet:

Statement by the President on the Montreal Protocol

For several years, the United States has worked tirelessly to find a global solution to phasing down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). This super polluting greenhouse gas, used in air conditioners and refrigeration, can be hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide, and represents a rapidly growing threat to the health of our planet.

Today in Kigali, Rwanda, nearly 200 countries adopted an ambitious and far reaching solution to this looming crisis. Through the Montreal Protocol, a proven forum for solving environmental challenges like protecting the ozone layer, the world community has agreed to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs and avoid up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century – making a significant contribution towards achieving the goals we set in Paris. The plan provides financing to countries in need, so that new air conditioning and refrigeration technology can be available for their citizens. It shows that we can take action to protect our planet in a way that helps all countries improve the lives and livelihoods of their citizens.

Today’s agreement caps off a critical ten days in our global efforts to combat climate change. In addition to today’s amendment, countries last week crossed the threshold for the Paris Agreement to enter into force and reached a deal to constrain international aviation emissions. Together, these steps show that, while diplomacy is never easy, we can work together to leave our children a planet that is safer, more prosperous, more secure, and more free than the one that was left for us.

FACT SHEET: Nearly 200 Countries Reach Global Deal to Phase Down Potent Greenhouse Gases and Avoid Up to 0.5°C of Warming

Today, in another major milestone for international climate action, nearly 200 countries reached an agreement to phase down the potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). At the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda, countries adopted an amendment to phase down HFCs, committing to cut the production and consumption of HFCs by more than 80 percent over the next 30 years.  This global deal will avoid more than 80 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050 – equivalent to more than a decade of emissions from the entire U.S. economy – and could avoid up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century.  It reflects a significant contribution towards achieving the Paris Agreement goal to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C.  Today’s accomplishment follows years of engagement and leadership by the Obama Administration and our partners towards adopting an amendment and provides further momentum to global efforts to address climate change.

The Montreal Protocol is the international agreement designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion, many of which are also potent greenhouse gases, and it is considered by many to be the most successful environmental treaty in history.  While the Montreal Protocol successfully phased out ozone-depleting substances and put the ozone layer on the path to a full recovery, it led to a shift towards HFCs.  Like the substances they replaced, HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that can be hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change.  HFCs are used in numerous applications, including refrigeration and air conditioning.  As safer chemicals continue to be developed, they can replace HFCs in these uses.  If left unchecked, global HFC emissions could grow to be equivalent to 19 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions in 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario.  However, today’s amendment will prevent that from happening by ensuring that countries begin to phase down HFCs starting in 2019, with subsequent reductions on a clear timeline that will lead to more than an 80 percent reduction in HFCs globally by 2047.

Key Elements of the Montreal Protocol Amendment to Address HFCs 

  • Innovative and Flexible Structure:  The amendment will lead to strong near-term action, with phase-down obligations for all countries: starting with a 2024 freeze for the vast majority of Article 5 Parties (i.e., developing countries that meet certain criteria, including China) and a first reduction in 2019 for most Article 2 Parties (i.e., all other countries, including the United States). 
  • Ambitious Phasedown Schedule:  The amendment establishes a rapid pathway for the phasedown, with most Article 2 Parties reducing HFCs by 10 percent by 2019 and by 85 percent by 2036 relative to production and consumption levels in 2011-2013.  The vast majority of Article 5 Parties – including China and Latin American, African, and island nations – will follow soon after on a similar trajectory, with a freeze by 2024 and then ultimately a reduction of 80 percent by 2045 relative to production and consumption levels in 2020-2022.  In addition, Parties came together to accommodate the national circumstances of a small number of countries by agreeing to flexibilities to meet the demands of a global HFC phase-down.  This small group of countries will freeze their consumption by 2028. 
  • Incentive for Earlier Action:  A group of donor countries and philanthropists announced last month their intent to provide $80 million in support to help Article 5 countries take early action to implement an ambitious amendment and improve energy efficiency.  These funds will be provided to Article 5 countries that have chosen the freeze date of 2024. 
  • Broad Participation:  The Montreal Protocol was the first treaty in the history of the United Nations to achieve universal ratification, and we expect such broad participation to continue under the amendment to address HFCs.  Today’s agreement was reached by consensus, and its provisions that restrict trade in HFCs with non-Parties will act as a powerful incentive for all countries to join. 
  • Enforcement and Accountability:  The Montreal Protocol’s accountability processes ensure regular reporting and robust review, and its efforts to help countries facing implementation problems come into compliance has historically enabled all countries to achieve the reductions agreed.
  • Multiple Opportunities to Increase Ambition:  The amendment calls for periodic reviews every five years, during which a technical panel will assess the pace of technology development and adoption in affected sectors in order to allow countries to consider phase-down commitments and any needed adjustments.  Such periodic reviews represent opportunities to ratchet up ambition.  Indeed, the Montreal Protocol has been adjusted several times to accelerate the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances.  In addition, experience shows that once the world begins a transition away from polluting substances, many countries are actually able to go faster relative to the originally scheduled reductions.

Today’s amendment builds on strong action on HFCs that the United States has already taken domestically.  Notably, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized two rules under its Significant New Alternatives Policy program to prohibit the use of certain HFCs where safer and more climate-friendly alternatives are available.  In parallel, EPA has also listed as acceptable additional climate-friendly alternatives to expand the options for businesses to use, and has finalized a rule that strengthens existing refrigerant management rules for ozone-depleting refrigerants and applies those same requirements to HFCs.  In addition, the White House has held two summits at which private-sector commitments to reduce the use and emissions of HFCs were announced.  Taken together, the private-sector commitments and executive actions announced to date will slash U.S. reliance on HFCs and reduce cumulative global consumption of these greenhouse gases by the equivalent of more than 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent through 2025.