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Trump's 'America First' Policy Increases Risk of Climate Change, War

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#1 grog

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 06:09 PM

Trump's 'America First' Policy Increases Risk of Climate Change, War
 
 
 
 
 
17.01.2018
 
 
 
 
 
The charismatic strongman politics of US President Donald Trump and other national leaders threatens the world's ability to cope with climate change and increases the risk of geopolitical conflict, according to an annual survey of international leaders published by the Swiss-based World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday.
 
"Identity politics could fuel geopolitical as well as domestic risks," the report said. "In addition to the 'America First' platform of President Trump, variations on this theme can be seen in numerous countries from China to Japan, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and elsewhere."
 
The annual survey of some 1,000 experts and decision-makers from around the world showed that 93 percent expect a worsening of political or economic confrontations between major powers, while nearly 80 percent believe that risks of state-on-state military conflict will be higher in 2018 than in 2017.
 
The experts also see an increased risk of nuclear war in 2018 as a result of the public feud between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the report said.
 
"The volatile clash between the strong-state instincts of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un during 2017 has created uncertainty about the strength of the norms created by decades of work to prevent nuclear conflict," it said.
 
The report also warned that nation-state unilateralism may make it more difficult to sustain the long-term, multilateral responses that are required to counter the degradation of the global environment.
 
The experts predicted continued increases in the disruptive potential of cybersecurity attacks, protectionist national policies and threats of job losses from new technologies.
 
The report was released ahead of the WEF foundation's meeting in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos, where more than 2,000 political leaders, economists and celebrity entertainers will gather next week for four days of speeches and panel discussion.
 
The White House announced earlier this month that Trump plans to attend this year's conference, where he is scheduled to deliver the closing address, according to organizers.
 
 
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#2 Ivan88

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 12:18 AM

Current US policy is for America to be fully subordinate to anti-Christs pretending to be Biblical Israel.

This is why current regime has invaded and stolen part of Syria and occupying it aggressively pretending to be "righteous" just like it's beloved anti-Christs S.W. of Syria.

905ac887-c0ab-4f5a-9cf4-113d97694694.jpg

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has announced that US military will remain in Syria indefinitely, spelled out a US plan to advance a political transition in the country, and also called for closer cooperation with Russia to avoid conflict in “de-escalation zones.” 

 

Tillerson elaborated on a US plan to further weaken Syria, already shattered by almost seven years of war, to push for a faster political transition in the country. “We will discourage economic relationships between the Assad regime and any other country... Once Assad is gone from power, the United States will gladly encourage the normalization of economic relationships between Syria and other nations.” 

http://www.presstv.c...syria-Tillerson

 

What he means is for Russia to stand aside and let anti-Christ US regime continue it's invasion of Syria for Greater Khazaria.

And help Greater Khazaria to rule Syria and of course cut throats of any opposition to slavery under anti-Christs.


Edited by Ivan88, 18 January 2018 - 12:21 AM.

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#3 grog

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 09:29 AM

'Make or break': UN environment head Erik Solheim warns against coal projects
 
 
 
 
January 18, 2018
 
 
 
 
The world's coral reefs are at a "make or break point" and every nation should think twice about developing new coal mines, including those planned for Queensland, the United Nations environment chief Erik Solheim said.
 
Mr Solheim, in Australia on a whirlwind trip to meet coral experts and visit the Great Barrier Reef, said coral reefs were one of the planet's most important ecosystems, home to a quarter of the oceans' biodiversity in just 1 per cent of the area.
 
Play Video
 
Warming temperatures threatening reef turtles: study
 
Up to 99 per cent of juvenile and subadult green sea turtles are female in the northern Great Barrier Reef and warmer temperatures are to blame.
 
However, recent severe coral bleaching caused by warming waters was among their leading threats.
 
"Reefs are in peril," Mr Solheim told Fairfax Media at the start of the International Year of the Reef, aimed at lifting awareness of their plight.
 
 
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#4 grog

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 10:15 AM

A new weapon in the carbon fight
 
 
 
 
 
JANUARY 15, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
The ability of soils to sequester carbon as a win-win strategy must be recognised by policymakers
 
It is not usual to think of soils in the context of climate change. Policy is usually focussed on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the electricity sector, transport and industry. There has, however, been a renewed interest in understanding how soils can serve as a sink for carbon dioxide since atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have crossed 410 parts per million and oceans are already turning acidic. Besides, increasing soil carbon offers a range of co-benefits and this would buy us time before other technologies can help us transition to a zero-carbon lifestyle.
 
Significant carbon pools on earth are found in the earth's crust, oceans, atmosphere and land-based ecosystems. Soils contain roughly 2,344 Gt (1 gigatonne = 1 billion tonnes) of organic carbon, making this the largest terrestrial pool. Soil organic carbon (SOC) comes from plants, animals, microbes, leaves and wood, mostly found in the first metre or so. There are many conditions and processes that determine changes to SOC content including temperature, rainfall, vegetation, soil management and land-use change.
 
Many benefits
 
Increasing SOC through various methods can improve soil health, agricultural yield, food security, water quality, and reduce the need for chemicals. Changing agricultural practices to make them more sustainable would not just address carbon mitigation but also improve other planetary boundaries in peril such as fresh water, biodiversity, land use and nitrogen use.
 
Currently, the world is on a path to be about 3ºC warmer than pre-Industrial times even if there was follow through on all the commitments made at the Paris climate conference in 2015. The aim of the global community is to try and stay below 1.5ºC, which is a very tall order since current average temperatures are already about a degree higher.
 
Approaches to increase SOC include reducing soil erosion, no-till-farming, use of cover crops, nutrient management, applying manure and sludge, water harvesting and conservation, and agroforestry practices. Rattan Lal from Ohio State University estimates that an increase of just 1 tonne of soil carbon pool of degraded cropland soils can increase crop yield by several kilograms per hectare. Moreover, carbon sequestration in soils has the potential to offset GHG emissions from fossil fuels by up to 15% annually. In contrast, it has been estimated that SOC in India has reduced from 30% to 60% in cultivated soils compared with soils that are not disturbed.
 
Soil and agriculture
 
After the changes undertaken as part of the Green Revolution, crop yields increased for several decades, but there has also been a dramatic increase in the use of chemicals - pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Still, agricultural yields have begun to drop in many places for a variety of reasons primarily related to degraded soils. Industrial changes to agriculture have led to a range of adverse effects: loss of biodiversity, elimination of beneficial microbes and insects, reduction in yield, contamination of water bodies and soils, and increasing toxicity and deaths from chemical use in farm households.
 
India has a large number of successful sustainable agricultural practices that are consistent with ecological principles. These include natural farming (or as the Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka calls it, 'do-nothing farming'), permaculture and organic farming. Personal and online reports indicate that the improvements to soil health and profits occur rapidly. But the knowledge and innovations of farmers who have successfully experimented with these methods must be considered in research and policy.
 
The number of farmers in organic farming has been increasing steadily, but many are simply deploying regular agriculture with natural substitutes for chemicals. Up to a third of rainfed farmers simply do not have the means to add chemicals, and are organic by default. Many States have some sustainable farming, with Madhya Pradesh reportedly having the highest acreage.
 
Lessons for India
 
Many of these practices have come into their own over several decades - through the efforts of farmers and sometimes with support from local groups - and the time is long past where these are regarded as outlandish alternative methods. Given that these techniques can contribute to relieving a range of challenges, State-level policy makers need to understand better the successes on the ground in India's different agro-climatic zones
 
They also need to identify what kinds of support are needed by farmers with small holdings to transition from existing practices. Not paying attention to the successes of our own farmers has partly contributed to the agrarian crisis the country now faces.
 
India's population will continue to increase through at least the middle of the century and we need to be able to grow more food, grown in less land and in more severe weather conditions. We ignore our own farmers' successes at our own peril.
 
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture in its 2016 report in fact recommended "revision of the existing fertiliser subsidy policy and promotion of organic fertilizers". The government has been promoting a Soil Health Card scheme to measure the health of the soils in different parts of the country and in each farm. There is little policy support for natural farming and the alternatives. The fertilizer lobby, extension services, and the many agricultural scientists - unschooled in agroforestry and ecological methods - would oppose changes but these practices that integrate good management of soil, water and land provide a host of benefits. The ability of soils to sequester carbon is a win-win strategy for farmers, people and for 
 
 
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#5 grog

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 11:40 AM

One year in, Trump's environmental agenda is already taking a measurable toll
 
 
 
 
January 18, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
EPA inspectors who visited a former Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance found hazardous materials that California inspectors had not ordered removed, raising questions about whether states are equipped to pick up enforcement responsibilities the EPA is dropping.
 
 
 
 
A massive coal ash spill near Knoxville, Tenn., in 2008 forever changed life for Janie Clark's family and left her husband with crippling health problems. So Clark was astounded late last year when she heard what the Environmental Protection Agency had done.
 
In September, at the behest of power companies, the agency shelved a requirement that coal plants remove some of the most toxic chemicals from their wastewater. The infamous Kingston power plant that released millions of cubic yards of toxic coal ash into area rivers was among some 50 plants given a reprieve.
 
After the EPA's action, the plant's owners delayed new wastewater treatment technology for at least two years.
 
"I couldn't believe it," Clark said. "It is like a slap in the face. It is like everything that has happened is just being ignored."
 
One year into the Trump administration's unrelenting push to dilute and disable clean air and water policies, the impact is being felt in communities across the country. Power plants have been given expanded license to pollute, the dirtiest trucks are being allowed to remain on the roads and punishment of the biggest environmental scofflaws is on the decline.
 
The real-time impact of the most industry-friendly regulatory regime in decades is at times overshadowed by policy battles that are years from resolution. President Trump's moves to shrink national monuments, return drilling to the waters off the West Coast and allow natural gas companies to release more methane into the air are destined to be tied up in court for the foreseeable future. The contentious Keystone XL pipeline may never get built as volatile oil prices threaten its profitability.
 
Yet the air and the water are already being affected as the administration tinkers with programs obscure to most Americans, with names like "Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for Steam Electric Power Plants" and "Air Quality Designations for Ozone."
 
The numbers emerging from the federal government's database of enforcement actions against polluters show that from the time EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt took the helm early last year through November, the dollar amount of pollution-control equipment and cleanup activity the EPA demanded environmental scofflaws install dropped by more than 85%. Even compared with the dollar amount required during the same period of the George W. Bush administration, there is a dropoff of more than 50%.
 
"It is one thing to say we have a change of administration and a different level of emphasis and focus," said Cynthia Giles, who led the EPA's enforcement office during the Obama administration and has analyzed the recent data. "But this kind of drop is not a change of emphasis. That is abandonment. That is a very, very big deal."
 
The EPA strenuously objects to the characterization. The agency says holding polluters accountable remains a priority, that a nine-month snapshot of the data does not tell a complete story and that in many cases the EPA has shifted enforcement of environmental violations to state agencies.
 
Yet those state agencies often lack the resources and sophistication to handle them.
 
Even in California, where state leaders defiantly assert that their agencies will hold polluters accountable where the EPA retreats, a case involving large amounts of toxic material at the former Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance highlights how ill-equipped the state can be for enforcement responsibilities.
 
When EPA inspectors arrived at the refinery in December 2016, they found 265 tons of toxic material had sat illegally at the site, in unsuitable tanks, for 26 years, according to a copy of their report provided to The Times by the Washington-based Environmental Integrity Project. Such material is supposed to be moved to a hazardous waste facility within a year, according to Kandice Bellamy, a retired EPA inspector in California who was part of the team.
 
State inspectors had earlier been to the site while the many tons of toxic material sat there, Bellamy said, but apparently had not done anything about it.
 
State officials refused to comment, saying the refinery remained subject to investigation.
 
"One of the alarming things with this facility is that not too far in the past there had been an explosion there, and they had to evacuate a sizable chunk of the area," Bellamy said, referring to an incident in 2015 which the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, which investigates accidents at plants, called a "serious near miss" that could have resulted in a "potentially catastrophic release" into surrounding communities.
 
"And we still found things that were of concern."
 
Bellamy said the federal team was dismayed EPA higher-ups did not pursue the long list of potential violations they drew up, many of them serious. Instead, the case was turned back over to the state.
 
"We had the sense that they [EPA] had decided not to take on any of these challenging type cases because any refinery operator and their attorney could just appeal directly to the administrator in Washington," Bellamy said. "And their pleas would most likely be seen favorably by this administration."
 
An EPA spokeswoman in Southern California declined to discuss the case, writing in an email that "EPA's policy is not to comment on investigations nor potential investigations."
 
In another case, in southwestern Michigan, the Trump administration abandoned a years-long push to require a coal-fired electrical plant operated by DTE Energy to update its pollution controls.
 
A federal appeals court had twice upheld the EPA's position. But the administration changed direction and put the company in the clear. That decision relaxed restrictions on harmful emissions that owners of other coal-fired power plants will be subject to when they expand facilities.
 
Pruitt announced the new policy in a December memo, writing that it is not the EPA's place to investigate whether plant operators are lowballing the emissions that renovated facilities will generate.
 
The move is expected to slow the pace at which plants install state of the art pollution controls, just as the EPA decision that so upset Janie Clark in Knoxville is moving utilities to slow down plans to remove some of the most toxic materials from coal plant wastewater.
 
The EPA delay of the wastewater rule, made after power companies protested it would cost jobs and undermine Trump's energy agenda, is having ripple effects across the country.
 
Coal plants that were poised to start installing the new technology as soon as this year are now balking.
 
"We were working with a good number of utilities who immediately said we are putting this on hold," said Jamie Peterson, CEO of San Diego-based Frontier Water Systems, a company that installs the treatment technology.
 
"If this rule had not been changed, there would be a significant amount of work being done right now," said Peterson. "The market has dropped by 80 or 90%." Regulatory documents obtained by the Southern Environmental Law Center confirm that plants are changing their plans.
 
As the market for high-tech equipment meant to keep some of the most harmful toxins from migrating into drinking water craters during the Trump administration, the market for the highest-polluting trucks is looking up.
 
The attorneys general of California and 11 other states call the trucks a "pollution menace" that produce 20 to 40 times the harmful emissions of new trucks their size, but the industry that makes "gliders" - trucks built using a new chassis and an old, refurbished diesel engine - has been given a big gift by the administration.
 
Federal officials are racing to block a rule taking effect this month that aims to keep gliders off the road. The regulation limits the number of new gliders not meeting emission standards to roughly 1,500 each year, nationwide, and eventually bans them altogether. The EPA is moving to change the rule to allow unlimited gliders.
 
Pruitt pilloried the cap as an attempt by the Obama administration to "bend the rule of law and expand the reach of the federal government in a way that threatened to put an entire industry of specialized truck manufacturers out of business."
 
The California Air Resources Board warns the about-face threatens to completely offset all the clean-air gains it has made through the state's aggressive regulation of heavy diesel trucks and "have a profoundly harmful impact on public health."
 
The trucks would continue to roll onto the roads at the same time California and many other states are scrambling to deal with another blow the EPA delivered to their efforts to clean the air. The agency has delayed for at least six months its deadline for declaring which parts of the country are plagued with smog levels that violate new, stricter limits guided by the Clean Air Act.
 
The EPA's delay inhibits state and regional air regulators from taking actions to confront the pollution. In California alone, the ozone standards are projected to save as many as 218 lives and prevent 120,000 missed days of school each year.
 
The EPA says it will have new rules ready by April, but Janet McCabe, who headed the agency's clean air efforts during the Obama administration, said even so, the delay has consequences.
 
"If you are an asthmatic exposed to high levels of air pollution, it can mean a lot of missed school days in that six months," McCabe said.
 
 
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#6 grog

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 09:42 AM

Our polluted air costs us both personally and as a society
 
 
 
 
19 Jan, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
Air pollution is a true invisible killer. We take the air around us for granted, but just as fish depend on clean water, clean air is obviously vital for our health and the health of our wider environment. 
 
Back in the 1950s, smog was all too visible, and the deaths from it were front page news. The notorious Great Smog of London, even though it lasted just five days, is now believed to have killed as many as 12,000 people, and it led to the 1956 Clean Air Act.
 
While that legislation brought about significant improvements, mostly restricting the burning of coal in urban areas, the problem has not gone away. Government figures suggest that more than 2000 adults each year die in Scotland because of particulates in the atmosphere, particulates which are primarily a result of vehicle emissions. 
 
It's a grim way of looking at it, but that same research estimates that more than 22,000 "life years" are lost as a result to adults alone. If something this lethal was more visible, it would surely be at the very top of our public health debate.
 
While the elderly are most at risk, children and young people are also seriously affected. The simple fact is that children in pushchairs are closer to the source of exhaust fumes. Similarly, people on lower incomes bear the brunt of this problem, as they are more likely to live nearer busy roads and further from green spaces. 
 
Constituents of mine in western Edinburgh have raised concerns about this, especially around traffic lights, where air quality monitoring regularly shows pollution above the level which is seen as safe for children walking to school. It's a widespread problem across Scotland, with Friends of the Earth recently reporting that 38 areas breached safety limits last year, up from 33 the year before.
 
These figures should be enough to persuade the Government to act, but the ill health our polluted atmosphere causes costs us both personally and as a society. Treatment for avoidable illness and days off work make up the bulk of the financial costs, estimated at £20 billion across the UK.
 
The primary cause remains petrol and diesel engines, but in some areas, such as western Edinburgh, flights are part of the problem too. Flight numbers from Edinburgh airport last year were up by a million, which is great for their bottom line, but local residents (and the wider climate) are paying the price.
 
Airport expansion is too often seen in the narrowest terms: more bums on seats means more profits. These profits are made at our collective expense, though, both in terms of climate change and local air quality, and increased car journeys to and from our airports aggravate both problems too. Especially for domestic and short-haul flights, we need to see an end to runway expansion and more efficient and affordable rail network.
 
In 2015 the Scottish Government published a document sharing some of these concerns, but offering little practical action. More recently their focus has been on introducing Low Emission Zones for Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow by 2020. This would keep the most polluting vehicles off our most polluted streets, which is welcome, but do nothing to improve air quality in areas where the problem is less acute but still significant.
 
Instead we need a radical rethink of how we plan communities and how we travel. Most European cities have increased pedestrian areas, and their roads include kerbed-off cycle lanes and clear routes for public transport. Planning policy can put an end to the dependence on out-of-town shopping and start to support places where people can live and work without long commutes. Communities designed this way, for homes, work and play, bring all sorts of tangible and intangible benefits, including fresh clean air for us all.
 
Electric cars are no panacea: shifting away from petrol and diesel is worthwhile, but we also need to reduce the volume of traffic so our roads are safer for pedestrians and cyclists. In urban areas car-share services already work well for occasional drivers: government should be supporting access to services of this sort in our smaller towns too. Publicly-owned electric buses, running on renewable energy: these must be part of our future here too. Low emission zones must not just mean shifting dirtier old buses away to parts of the country that currently have better air quality.
 
 
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#7 grog

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 11:17 AM

Trump missed (or ignored) deadline to release critical CO2 emissions data
 
The biennial report was scheduled for Jan. 1. It didn't happen.
 
 
 
 
January 18, 2018
 
 
 
 
 
Last week, 39 percent of Americans gave Donald Trump a grade of 'F' for his first year in office. And that was before they learned he didn't turn in one of the biggest reports of his presidency.
 
The Hill notes that on Jan. 1, Trump was due to deliver a biennial update on the country's progress in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions related to climate change, which presidents of both parties have done since George H.W. Bush administration. It never happened.
 
The omission marks the end of American leadership toward transparency in reducing emissions. "Over three decades, we have worked to persuade and cajole other countries without a tradition of open government, including China, to monitor, verify and publicly account for their emissions and climate actions," write Nate Hultman and Paul Bodnar in "The Hill." "U.S. leadership has been successful: strong reporting and transparency provisions are now an essential feature of global climate agreements, with all countries required to report on progress every two years."
 
"Unfortunately, the Trump administration has now failed to meet its legal obligation to deliver its biennial report on behalf of the United States on time. The Trump administration's inaction - and failure to explain such inaction - undermines U.S. credibility and risks eroding the global consensus on transparency that previous presidents of both parties have long fought to establish and uphold."
 
It's unclear when or if Trump's report will be rescheduled.
 
A climate-change denier, Trump has reversed U.S. protocol toward global warming since inauguration day, when mentions of climate change disappeared from the official White House website. In May, he announced he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, in which every other nation save two has committed to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gases. He has worked to unwind environmental-protection legislation and has appointed people connected to the oil and gas industries to the Environmental Protection Agency. On Wednesday, NBC News reported that the EPA has cut back the safety-review process for hazardous chemicals.
 
A study released last week showed that the federal government has deleted or replaced references to climate change and renewable energy across several government websites. "Removing information regarding climate change from federal websites does not affect the reality of climate change, but may serve to obfuscate the subject and inject doubt regarding the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and that it is caused by human activity," said the report from the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative.
 
 
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#8 Ivan88

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 11:12 PM

There is no America First policy, even if it were a valid idea.

What is first in minds of US politicians and officials is the doctrines and traditions that make the Perfect Word/Logic of God of none effect, and the will of devils to be supreme policy.

If you want to see what they have in mind for America, just watch what they did in Ukraine:


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