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CLIMATE SCIENCE
Cheaper to invest in climate change fight than to rebuild; EPA chief rolls back US plans
by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Oct 10, 2017


US environment chief signs draft rollback on Obama climate plan
Washington (AFP) Oct 10, 2017 - The head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency signed on Tuesday a draft decision to roll back Obama-era measures to counter climate change.

Repealing the Clean Power Plan (CPP) was a campaign promise by President Donald Trump and follows his decision in June to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement by nearly 200 countries to cap global warming.

"After reviewing the CPP, EPA has proposed to determine that the Obama-era regulation exceeds the Agency's statutory authority," an EPA statement said.

"Repealing the CPP will also facilitate the development of US energy resources and reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens associated with the development of those resources."

To the anger of environmentalists, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced to Kentucky coal miners on Monday that the US would pull out of president Barack Obama's plan, which had sought for the first time to reduce carbon emissions in the United States from power plants.

It aimed to reduce national electricity sector emissions an estimated 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, leading to the closure of the oldest and most polluting coal-fired power stations.

The goal was in line with commitments made by Obama's administration under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Obama's EPA said his climate plan would provide billions of dollars' worth of health benefits and reduce consumers' long-term power bills.

President Trump issued an executive order in March to block the Clean Power Plan. It called on the EPA to review whether it overstepped the authority of government when it called for stricter emissions limits.

Several Republican-dominated states launched judicial challenges to the legislation and the US Supreme Court in February last year halted its implementation until courts could rule on its legality.

"We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate," Pruitt said in the EPA statement.

Pruitt, 49, is a Republican and known fossil-fuel ally who repeatedly sued the EPA when he was Oklahoma's state attorney general.

He is also a skeptic of climate change.

His department says repealing the CPP will save $33 billion by 2030.

The public has 60 days to submit comments before the adoption of a final text.

Coal-fired energy accounted for no more than 21 percent of US power generation in 2015, behind 32 percent for natural gas and 28 percent for petroleum products, the Energy Information Administration says.

The US is the world's second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China.

Investments necessary to reduce climate change risks may be less than what's needed to rebuild after related disasters, U.N. leaders said from Tehran.

Achim Steiner, the administrator at the U.N. Development Program, Patricia Espinosa, the climate chief at the United Nations, and Robert Glasser, the head of the U.N.'s office for disaster risk reduction, wrote for the U.N. Information Center in Tehran that climate risks would linger even if the measures outlined in the multilateral Paris climate agreement hold.

"While carbon emissions are expected to drop as countries meet their self-declared targets, the impacts of climate change may be felt for some time, leaving the world with little choice but to invest, simultaneously, in efforts to adapt to climate change and reduce disaster risk," they wrote. "The benefits of doing so make economic sense when compared to the cost of rebuilding."

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello sent a letter to the U.S. Congress this week seeking additional support in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Rossello said that on top of the devastation from the storm, his territory was facing a liquidity crisis and may need tens of billions of dollars to rebuild.

The U.S. Defense Department said last week "the island commonwealth was devastated."

For Miami, which was hit last month by Hurricane Irma, the U.N. leaders said around $400 million were earmarked for hurricane protection, a level of investment out of reach for low- and middle-income countries.

Speaking at Harvard University, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said last week that cooperation on climate change is critical.

"Climate change is a threat to every economy and every citizen," she said.

The U.N. leaders said, meanwhile, the deaths of 4.2 million people they said die prematurely each year from ambient pollution is "mostly related to the use of fossil fuels."

The message from U.N. leaders, published Tuesday, came one day after Scott Pruitt, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the government would repeal former President Barack Obama administration's landmark Clean Power Plan. Though never enforced, and contentious for some state planners, the measure aimed to cut 32 percent of the carbon emissions from the nation's power sector. The repeal is part of a broader effort by U.S. President Donald Trump to back the coal industry in fulfillment of campaign promises.

U.S. state governors and foreign leaders have pledged to take up the mantle on efforts to combat climate change. In his State of the Union address last month, European Union President Claude-Juncker vowed to make Europe the world leader in "the fight against climate change."

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Ninety-eight scientists launch a 2,000-year global temperature database
Montreal, Canada (SPX) Oct 05, 2017
A team of 98 scientists from 22 countries has compiled the most comprehensive database of past global temperature records to date, spanning 1 CE to the present. "This is a shining example of large-scale cooperative science," says Jeannine-Marie St-Jacques, assistant professor in Concordia's Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, who contributed to the publication. "Togeth ... read more

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