I Told You So: US withdrawal from Paris climate scheme unlikely to impact emissions

LONDON (Reuters) – The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate pact is unlikely to have a direct impact on the expected decline in global carbon emissions, BP’s chief economist said on Tuesday.

“Nearly all the improvement in (carbon reduction) comes from the developing world, it isn’t coming from OECD or America,” Spencer Dale said during a presentation of BP’s annual Statistical Review of World Energy.

The reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in recent years has been a result of cheaper natural gas pushing out more polluting coal rather than regulations, he said.

 

(Reporting by Ron Bousso; editing by David Clarke)

 

Exxon calls NY prosecutor’s climate change probe ‘harassment’ in filing

By Ernest Scheyder and Emily Flitter

(Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp asked a New York court on Friday to reject another subpoena request from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, arguing the prosecutor’s recent claim to have found evidence Exxon misled investors was false and that he was abusing his investigative powers.

The company said Schneiderman’s allegation it had neglected to estimate the impact of future environmental regulation on new deals was “frivolous” and that no “legitimate law enforcement need” would be served by giving his office more documents.

“For a prosecutor proceeding in good faith, the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing is grounds for closing an investigation, not expanding it,” Exxon wrote in its filing with the court.

Schneiderman’s office denied the allegations.

“As detailed in our filing last week, the Attorney General’s office has a substantial basis to suspect that Exxon’s proxy cost analysis may have been a sham,” said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for the New York attorney general. “This office takes potential misrepresentations to investors very seriously and will vigorously seek to enforce this subpoena. We look forward to next week’s hearing.”

Schneiderman sought more materials from the oil producer as part of an ongoing probe that has already reviewed nearly 3 million documents. He is examining whether Exxon misled the public about its understanding of the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the earth’s climate.

The probe has already revealed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who until December was chief executive of Exxon, used a separate email address and an alias, “Wayne Tracker,” to discuss climate change-related issues while at the company.

Testimony Schneiderman made public on June 2 offered more details about how the company handled the “Wayne Tracker” account, which was first created in 2007. Exxon employee Connie Feinstein, an information technology manager for the oil company, told prosecutors changes in the email program Exxon used, along with an automatic process that deleted internal emails after 13 months, may have erased years’ worth of “Wayne Tracker” emails.

“We realized that the automated file sweeper had not been disabled for a period of time as it should have been,” Feinstein said in the April 26 interview.

Exxon has been fighting Schneiderman’s requests for information about its climate change policies in both state and federal court, claiming it should not have to turn over records because the New York prosecutor’s probe is politically motivated.

The case is People of the State of New York v PricewaterhouseCoopers and Exxon Mobil Corporation, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 451962/2016.

 

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder in Houston; Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

 

Germany teaming up with California to impose global climate taxes

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is teaming up with California to cooperate on tackling climate change following the U.S. government’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement.

Europe’s largest economy and the biggest U.S. state in economic terms will back the work of the “Under 2 Coalition,” which includes cities, regional governments and states, German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said on Saturday.

“We cannot achieve our climate goals without the engagement of local and regional communities. That has become even clearer after the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement,” Hendricks said after agreeing on the joint approach with California Governor Edmund Brown in San Francisco.

“California and Germany unite the world leaders in the fight against climate change, the existential threat of our time,” Brown said in a statement released by the German ministry.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States from the landmark 2015 Paris agreement drew anger and condemnation from world leaders and industry.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week pledged her country’s continued commitment to the agreement, calling the U.S. decision “very regrettable.”

Hendricks said the German government would ensure that cities, communities and regions played an important role in the U.N. climate change conference in Bonn in November.

 

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Alexander Smith)

 

Trump admin says it is still committed to global climate controls

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said on Monday the United States was committed to the environment despite President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 2015 global agreement to fight climate change.

Trump’s decision last week prompted criticism from allies and environmentalists alike but Perry, in Tokyo to discuss energy issues, said the United States would continue to work to cut emissions.

“The United States is not backing down from its role as a leader on cleaning up the climate,” Perry told reporters, adding he hoped that China would take this as “an opportunity to step forward and be real leader”.

China is the world’s biggest emitter of carbon emissions blamed for causing atmospheric temperatures to rise.

Perry spoke after meeting Japanese Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko, who told him that Japan was sorry the United States had decided to pull out of the Paris accord, a ministry official said. Seko was reassured the U.S. remained committed to reducing emissions, the official said.

Perry said the two nations would continue working together in decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, wrecked by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, which he visited on Sunday.

The two countries agreed to share information on Toshiba Corp and Perry said that issues involving the bankruptcy of Toshiba’s U.S. unit Westinghouse Electric Co should not affect their cooperation in the nuclear sector.

 

(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick and Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Nick Macfie)

 

‘President Trump believes the climate is changing’: Ambassador Haley

Contact the White House!  Tell President Trump to DROP his belief in liberal hoaxes! – Donald Ferguson

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump “believes the climate is changing,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Saturday after Trump’s decision to take the United States out of the Paris climate accord sparked dismay across the world.

“President Trump believes the climate is changing and he believes pollutants are part of the equation,” Haley said during an excerpt of a CNN interview released on Saturday. The interview will be broadcast on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Trump “knows that it’s changing and that the U.S. has to be responsible for it and that’s what we’re going to do,” Haley said.

On Thursday, Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate change pact, tapping into his “America First” campaign theme. He said participating in the pact would undermine the U.S. economy, wipe out jobs, weaken national sovereignty and put his country at a permanent disadvantage.

“Just because the U.S. got out of a club doesn’t mean we aren’t going to care about the environment,” Haley said.

Later on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence said that remaining in the accord would have proved costly to U.S. economic growth and to the working-class Americans at the core of Trump’s political base.

“By withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, President Donald Trump chose to put the forgotten men and women of America first. And he always will,” Pence told a political rally in Iowa.

On Friday, nobody at the White House was able to say whether Trump believed in climate change. In recent years, he has expressed skepticism about whether climate change is real, sometimes calling it a hoax. But since becoming president, he has not offered an opinion.

The decision to take the United States out of the pact prompted a negative reaction around the world, and world leaders redoubled their commitment to an accord agreed to by every country on the planet save Nicaragua and Syria.

China and Europe on Friday pledged to unite to save what German Chancellor Angela Merkel called “our Mother Earth,” standing firmly against Trump’s decision.

The vast majority of scientists believe global warming is mainly the result of human activities, including power generation, transportation, agriculture and industry.

A small group of skeptics, some of them in the White House, believe the Paris pact threatened business.

 

(Reporting by Mike Stone; additional reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

 

BetterEconomy.org: ‘Paris withdrawal good start, but we want more’

WASHINGTON — Americans for a Better Economy President Donald Ferguson released the following statement Thursday:

We hope today’s announcement is a total and immediate withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations’ Paris climate agreement as a participant, funder and signatory. The U.S. must have no involvement whatsoever with this agreement, starting immediately.

Thousands of Americans for a Better Economy supporters signed our petition at BetterEconomy.org demanding total and immediate withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations’ Paris climate agreement. We hope today’s announcement by President Trump fulfills that demand made by thousands of voting conservatives.

The U.N.’s own figures show the agreement has virtually no impact on global temperatures.  it would, however, cost 400,000 Americans their jobs and send electric bills skyrocketing by between 13 and 20 percent.

In fact, the existential threat posed by U.N. climate agreements requires even further steps.

Total and immediate withdrawal from the Paris agreement is only the first step.  So long as the U.S. remains in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, these threats to our jobs, our economy and our personal freedoms will always loom over us.

President Trump and the United States Senate must fully withdraw the U.S. from the U.N.F.C.C.

We urge President Trump submit this request for the Senate’s consideration and vote.

-30-

Americans for a Better Economy (http://www.BetterEconomy.org) is the nation’s most effective grassroots opponent of liberal environmentalism. 

Urban ‘heat islands’ seen doubling city costs for climate change

By Alister Doyle

OSLO (Reuters) – Heat trapped by dark-colored roads and buildings will more than double cities’ costs for tackling global warming this century by driving up energy demand to keep citizens cool and by aggravating pollution, scientists said on Monday.

The “urban heat island effect”, under which cities are often several degrees warmer than nearby rural areas, adds to air and water pollution and can make sweltering workers less productive, it said.

“The focus has been so long on global climate change that we forgot about the local effects,” co-author Richard Tol, economics professor at the University of Sussex, England, said.

“Ignoring the urban heat island effect leads to a fairly drastic under-estimate of the total impact of climate change,” he said. About 54 percent of the world’s population lives in cities, which cover just one percent of the Earth’s surface.

Overall, costs for cities to limit climate change including the local heat impacts could be 2.6 times higher than without the urban heat island effect, the survey in the Nature Climate Change journal said.

For the worst-off city, accumulated losses could be up to 10.9 percent of a city’s gross domestic product by 2100, they wrote of the survey of 1,962 cities including Tokyo, New York, Beijing, Lagos, Sao Paulo, London and Moscow.

The study did not try to identify cities most at risk but lead author Francisco Estrada of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, told Reuters they were likely to be “close to the tropics and with the large populations”.

Some past studies have said cities in colder climates, such as Stockholm or Anchorage, could have net benefits from warming because of lower winter heating bills. But Estrada said such effects were likely to be short-lived as temperatures climb.

The report said that cities, which often set more ambitious goals for themselves than governments to tackle climate change, could limit much of the damage themselves with measures such as lighter-coloured asphalt or more trees.

New York, for instance, has a “cool roofs” plan to coat rooftops with a white reflective surface. It says black rooftops can reach temperatures of up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit (88° Celsius) on days when air temperatures are 100F (38C).

The new study estimated that changing a fifth of a city’s roofs and half the pavements to cooler versions would make economic sense and reduce city air temperatures by 1.4F (0.8C).

(Editing by Louise Ireland)