U.S. Formally Exits Paris Climate Agreement As Election Rumbles On, Biden Promises To Rejoin If Elected

On Wednesday, as he waits to see whether he will serve a second term as president, Donald Trump made good on his long-standing promise to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, making it the only country to withdraw from the international treaty designed to curb global warming, while Democratic rival Joe Biden has promised to rejoin the agreement and spend big on green technologies if elected president.  

Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

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Key Facts

While Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the agreement in 2017, the pact’s wording means it only came into force on Wednesday, which happens to fall the day after a tight election that is still yet to declare a winner.

The withdrawal makes the U.S. the first, and so far only, country of 197 signatories to leave the agreement, a huge blow given the U.S.’ status as the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter. 

The agreement, drafted in 2015, is intended to curb human-driven increases in global temperature, which could lead to devastating droughts, fires, floods, storms, and famine. 

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U.S. Formally Exits Paris Climate Agreement As Election Rumbles On, Biden Promises To Rejoin If Elected

On Wednesday, as he waits to see whether he will serve a second term as president, Donald Trump made good on his long-standing promise to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, making it the only country to withdraw from the international treaty designed to curb global warming, while Democratic rival Joe Biden has promised to rejoin the agreement and spend big on green technologies if elected president.  

Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

getty

Key Facts

While Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the agreement in 2017, the pact’s wording means it only came into force on Wednesday, which happens to fall the day after a tight election that is still yet to declare a winner.

The withdrawal makes the U.S. the first, and so far only, country of 197 signatories to leave the agreement, a huge blow given the U.S.’ status as the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter. 

The agreement, drafted in 2015, is intended to curb human-driven increases in global temperature, which could lead to devastating droughts, fires, floods, storms, and famine. 

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Spore's the pity: how Fantastic Fungi flags up man's abuse of nature

Watching the anemone stinkhorn sprout from the soil is a wondrous – and terrifying – thing. Emerging from a pod that looks like a truffle, the mushroom unfurls half a dozen arms, all a throbbing scarlet, like a collection of tongues. Each of these is forked and, across their stems, a series of black sticky lumps pop up like rotting barbecue. It’s supposed to smell something awful too.

The uncanny blooming of the Aseroe rubra is one of many transfixing moments in Fantastic Fungi, a crowdfunded US documentary made by Louie Schwartzberg, an affable old hippie and pioneer of time-lapse photography. It stars Paul Stamets, a trailblazer in the popularisation of mycology, the study of fungi, and bursts with footage revealing the secret life of mushrooms. It also seeks to usher the viewer into a seductive world where fungi are the answer to some of mankind’s biggest questions.

Schwartzberg has shot time-lapse footage for blockbusters (The Bourne Ultimatum) avant garde movies (Koyaanisqatsi), and for Pope Francis (projected on to the Vatican walls in support of the Paris climate agreement). Time-lapse has been his specialism for four decades.He began soon after graduation, unable to afford regular 35mm. “It was $100 per minute for film and processing. If you shoot time-lapse, you only shoot one frame every 10 minutes, and that means you’re not burning much film. I shoot about two seconds of screen time every 24 hours. From 40 years, I’ve got 20 hours.

‘I love the idea of my camera as a time machine’ … Fantastic Fungi

“Plants are moving, but we can’t see it. But that doesn’t mean they’re not alive. I love the idea of using my camera as a time machine to be able to look at the world from the point of view of other living things. That’s how you become more open-minded.” Contemplation of the world of fungi, he believes, can in turn offer insights into how human society might learn from the natural world.

The key to this understanding is the role of mycelia. The stuff that forms the fuzz on your iffy apple, mycelia are networks of fungal filaments. With the ability to extend to kilometres in length, they play a complex and powerful role in natural ecosystems. Among other things, they are ardent recyclers, working through dead natural material (and unnatural, species of fungi have been shown capable of breaking down plastics and crude oil) to create nutrients that are ploughed back into the soil or the roots of plants.

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Fate of climate crisis hangs on election as US exits Paris agreement

The United States on Wednesday officially became the only country in the world refusing to participate in global climate efforts, with the fate of the crisis hanging on the still uncalled presidential election.

Donald Trump as of Wednesday has withdrawn the US from the Paris climate agreement, an international pact to try to avert dangerous temperature increases that are already leading to more extreme weather and threaten to shrink world food supplies, force millions to flee their homes and deprive many of basic human rights. Trump’s administration set the US exit in motion a year ago, but it didn’t automatically take effect until 4 November.

The deal was meant to keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5C to 2C above the average before industrialization. Already, the Earth is more than 1C hotter than it was before industrialization, largely because of humans burning fossil fuels. This last year in the US alone has demonstrated how the climate crisis will touch the lives of every American, with more heatwaves, intense wildfires, record hurricanes, rising seas, floods and droughts.

Trump’s challenger, Joe Biden, would immediately rejoin the agreement and push lawmakers to spend big on green infrastructure to try to reverse the economic downturn from the pandemic.

Trump would intensify his quest to expand fossil fuels, undermine climate science and rescind environmental protections. A second Trump term would be a stunning loss to the climate movement and would reverberate around the world.

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“As Ohio Goes, So Goes The Nation” – From Ohio to Iowa to Idaho, New University Partnerships Bolster Finances and Sustainability

University of Idaho Administration Building. (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via ... [+] Getty Images)

Universal Images Group via Getty Images

University of Idaho Announces New Energy Partnership — Modeled on Ohio State and University of Iowa — to Boost Endowment and Resilience

Colleges and universities are turning to public-private partnerships (P3s) to upgrade campus energy systems, bolstering schools’ financial and environmental resilience. Higher education institutions face pressures to stabilize budgets, boost endowments, and optimize facilities usage. Many public universities also face shrinking state financial support, aging infrastructure, and projected declines in enrollment due to changing demographics. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges. In response, some universities are trying creative ways to unlock the value embedded in their existing utility systems and enlisting private partners to make their physical operations and energy use more sustainable and efficient.

The “Big Ten” Model

The latest public university to embrace this emerging P3 trend is the University of Idaho, which on November 2, 2020 announced a 50-year concession with a private company to take over the university’s centralized district energy system. The new concession shows how budget-strapped universities and colleges can optimize critical utility systems and access significant funds for endowments and other purposes without incurring new debt or losing control of capital improvement programs.

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UK health professions call for climate tax on meat

A powerful coalition of the UK’s health professions has called for a climate tax to be imposed on food with a heavy environmental impact by 2025, unless the industry takes voluntary action on the impact of their products.

The group says the climate crisis cannot be solved without action to cut the consumption of food that causes high emissions, such as red meat and dairy products. But it says that more sustainable diets are also healthier and would reduce illness.

The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change (UKHACC) includes 10 Royal Colleges of medicine and nursing, the British Medical Association and the Lancet, representing the doctors, nurses and other professionals entrusted with caring for the country’s health.

The alliance’s new report makes a series of recommendations including a swift end to buy-one-get-one-free offers for food that is bad for health and the environment, and for perishable foods that are often wasted.

It also calls for public information campaigns on diet to include climate messages, for labels on food to reveal its environmental impact, and for the £2bn spent every year on catering in schools, hospitals, care homes and prisons to meet minimum environmental standards.

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Country diary: abiding beauty amid the bareness

A dense conifer plantation beside this steep road into the forest, which hid a magnificent vista across the valley for half a human lifetime, has been felled. The bare hillside will be reforested but, before the next timber crop blocks the view again, the decaying stumps of its predecessor will become a niche for plants that first evolved half a billion years ago.

Mosses and liverworts, arriving by air as invisible spores, thrive on these flat, porous surfaces left by chainsaws, free from the shade cast by surrounding brambles and ferns. Some recently cut stumps are already showing signs of colonisation; deeper in the forest I found others, felled a decade ago, that have become luxuriant moss gardens.

Ground-hugging mosses and liverworts were early land colonisers but never acquired the capacity to make woody stems and grow tall. The rest of the plant kingdom did, leading to the evolution of forests that relegated these diminutive plants to life in the shadows. Crouching down here to examine the tree-stump mossy microcosms, I could imagine what a treeless planet, clad only in ankle-high vegetation, might once have looked like.

There were delicate, ground-hugging shoots of bifid crestwort. Leafy liverworts like this are evolution’s early experiment in producing leaves – just one cell thick, translucent as stained glass. You need a hand lens to appreciate their delicate beauty; then their teeming microfauna, of nematode worms, springtails and mites, comes into focus too.

On another rotting pine stump, I found juniper haircap moss, just three inches tall, its spirals of pointed leaves glistening with dewdrops. On another, emerald cushions of mosses slowly engulfing grey-green encrustations of pixie-cup lichen, a strange amalgam of fungus and alga with inch-tall spore cups, shaped like golf tees.

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Biden as president would pursue climate ‘cheaters’ – and Australia could be among them | Richie Merzian

Whether Donald Trump loses or wins the presidential election, the US will officially withdraw from the Paris agreement on Wednesday. The US intention to withdraw was announced in mid-2017 and, exactly one year ago, formal notification was sent to the United Nations. It caps off four years of winding back climate action and the systematic dismantling of pollution safeguards across the country.

The US is the second largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world and played a crucial role securing the 2015 Paris agreement by finally reaching compromise with the world’s largest polluter, China. More than 10 years of negotiations among 195 countries, where every word and every comma was debated and agreed to by consensus, culminated in their joint commitment. That is right – consensus among every nation of the world. The US is now the only country to pull out.

But there is hope for the climate, and the landmark agreement.

If Joe Biden takes the Oval Office, on the day of his inauguration, 20 January 2021, he can formally ask to rejoin the Paris agreement. It takes one year to pull out but only 30 days to sign up. However, regaining membership to the agreement is just the beginning. The divergence on climate policy between the Democratic and Republican candidates is huge – possibly the widest divide between the two platforms – and while Trump questions global warming, Biden has the most ambitious climate policies of any presidential candidate (exceeding those of Barack Obama).

First, Biden will lock the US into net zero emissions by 2050. Not an ill-defined target some time in the second half of the century, like the Australian government’s, but a 30-year target. A target that means putting coal, oil and gas on a downward trajectory, and bringing total global CO2 emissions under a net-zero target to over 60%, including major importers of Australian coal and gas – China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

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Terrawatch: dust is speeding up melting of Himalayan snow

Human activities are increasing wind-blown dust, depleting crucial freshwater supply

The Gokyo valley glacial lake in the Himalayas. Photograph: Goncalo Diniz/Alamy Stock Photo

Himalayan snow and ice is diminishing fast. Global heating is certainly playing a significant role, but now a recent study in Nature Climate Change reveals that wind-blown dust is worsening the melting effect.

Winter snowfall and spring snowmelt provide more than half of the annual freshwater needs of around 700 million people in south Asia, but over the last 30 years the overall snow mass on the high mountains of Asia, which include the Himalayas, the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram, has decreased.

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Seven Businesses Helping Britain ‘Build Back Greener’

Katrina Borissova – Founder, Little Danube

Little Danube

In a speech to the CBI yesterday, the U.K.’s Business Secretary Alok Sharma calls on businesses to “build back greener”. To be fair to politicians, this is one area where the U.K. has done quite well over the last few decades. As he says: “Over the last 30 years, the U.K. economy grew by 75%, and yet we also cut our emissions by 43%. We were the first major economy to legislate for achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050.”

In the same speech, Sharma expressed his hope that businesses “take advantage of the immediate opportunities this green agenda brings, as we recover from the COVID pandemic.” But what more can the Government itself do to support this aspiration? 

As luck would have it, we have a report just out with the Enterprise Trust with twenty policy ideas of how it could do just that. It approaches the problem through the lens of economics, making the case that we need to better align incentives to overcome market failures. In essence, making polluters bear more of the responsibility for the full costs of their actions, while rewarding those who develop solutions to environmental challenges. The ideas wouldn’t cost the earth, but would go some way to helping save it.

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First, the good news. Green Entrepreneurship finds that U.K. business owners are on board with the green agenda. Over three-fifths think that the move to a greener economy presents positive opportunities for businesses, with only eight per cent disagreeing. The Opinium polling also finds that most business owners report their customers and employees are demanding more action to protect the environment.

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We need to talk to our kids about the climate crisis. But courage fails me when I look at my son | Tim Flannery

Being a bearer of bad news is never easy. I’ve been writing and talking about climate change for decades now. Constant exposure hardens one to even the most horrific reality, and I’ve coped by acting like a jolly hangman – or at least not giving in publicly to the helplessness I sometimes feel as I relate the latest findings.

But as the news darkens, I’m having difficulty talking to young people about it. I can tell an optimistic story about developing technologies and the role they can play in helping avert the worst of the crisis. But we have now left action so late that some very severe climate impacts seem unavoidable. When I try to imagine how I, as a young person, would react to such news, I find it hard to continue my work.

I was recently asked to speak to a group of around 40 emerging leaders, all in their 30s and 40s. The meeting was conducted early in the morning, via Zoom. I began with an overview of the impacts of climate change as it’s emerging, as outlined in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth assessment report. The report, which is still being drafted, is filled with terrifying news of melting ice caps, burning forests and climate tipping points being closer than we previously thought. Because I deal with such matters every day, I’m somewhat numbed to them. But I could see that they were having a profound effect on my audience.

The group of emerging leaders I spoke to included a young executive from the fossil fuel industry. During the discussion that followed, he commented that most of the younger people in his industry, himself included, felt as I did about the emerging climate crisis. But while some have left to establish renewable energy companies, many more have stayed on, regardless of their personal feelings. Changing one’s career, especially if you’ve been successful, is not easy. Perhaps those who remain fear that they will plunge their families into poverty if they try to re-skill and seek work elsewhere.

Tim Flannery’s The Climate Cure. ‘We have now left action so late that some very severe climate impacts seem unavoidable,’ he says. Photograph: Text Publishing

The young executive then told us what it’s like to drive with his family in his branded work vehicle. Abuse is frequently hurled at him by those who despise what his company is doing, and that experience is shared by his children. I watched the faces of the Zoom participants as the distress of the executive grew. As parents we could all picture the scenario: the children locked into place for a journey they can’t escape from, as tension between adults explodes.

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How The Data Revolution Is Driving Change At Electric Utilities

Power lines in Brazil.

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It was about 40 years ago, and I was taking Amtrak back to Washington after visiting Bell Labs in New Jersey. My head was exploding, so to speak, over the wondrous things I’d seen at the facility.

Particularly, optical fiber fascinated me; that a conduit thinner than a human hair could carry far more voice and data than a great coaxial cable was a thing of awe. “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper,” as W.B. Yeats wrote.

On the train, I thought about the three industries that had enthralled me since childhood: railroads, newspapers, and electricity. What struck me was that they were all rooted in the 19th century. While they were all tentatively glomming onto computing and the new technologies, they remained rooted in technology of another time. These big and beautiful cats hadn’t changed their spots.

Railroads and passenger trains haven’t progressed well, retaining their 19th-century business concepts. Hundreds of newspapers are dying, having failed to adjust to the digital age.

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Shell’s climate poll on Twitter backfires spectacularly

Oil giant accused of gaslighting after asking users: ‘What are you willing to change?’

A Shell refinery in Texas. The company was accused of ‘endless greenwash’ as Twitter users pointed out its contribution to the climate crisis. Photograph: Gregory Bull/AP

A climate poll on Twitter posted by Shell has backfired spectacularly, with the oil company accused of gaslighting the public.

The survey, posted on Tuesday morning, asked: “What are you willing to change to help reduce emissions?”

Though it received a modest 199 votes the tweet still went viral – but not for the reasons the company would have hoped. The US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one high-profile respondent, posting a tweet that was liked 350,000 times.

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This election isn't about the next four years. It's about the next four millennia | Bill McKibben

All American elections determine the character of the country for the next four years. And they have a lot to say about what the world will feel like too – that’s what it means to be a superpower.

But this election may determine the flavor of the next four millennia – maybe the next 40.

That’s because time is the one thing we can’t recover, and time is the one thing we’ve just about run out of in the climate fight. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its 2018 report made it clear that we had until 2030 to make fundamental transformations in our energy system – which they defined as cutting by half the amount of carbon that we pour into the atmosphere.

Read that sentence again. Because it carries deep political implications. Very few of the problems that government deals with are time limited in quite the same fashion. Issues like housing or education or healthcare last throughout our lifetimes, and we take bites out of them when we can, hopefully moving two steps forward for every one we retreat.


But climate change isn’t like that. If we don’t solve it soon, we will not solve it because we will move past tipping points from which we have no retreat. Some we’ve passed already: the news that Greenland is now in an irreversible process of melt should remind us that the biggest things on our planet can shift in the course of a very few human years.

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No leader should undermine 'precious' democracy, Anthony Albanese warns on eve of US election

With Americans braced for civil unrest on election eve, the Australian Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, has warned that democratic processes should be respected in the looming presidential vote in the US.

Albanese did not criticise Donald Trump explicitly and he said the outcome of the election between the Republican incumbent and the former vice-president Joe Biden was “in the hands of the American people”.

But with Trump intensifying demands for the vote count in the battleground state of Pennsylvania to end on election night in a tweet that foreshadowed “violence on the streets”, the Australian Labor leader said no leader should undermine democratic values.

“I say this, that democratic processes should be respected,” Albanese said on Tuesday in Australia. “Our partnership between the United States is an alliance between our peoples based upon our common democratic values, and I am concerned of any questioning that occurs about democratic values and democratic processes.

“They are precious. They should not be undermined by any leader, and I await the result tomorrow.”

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Scott Morrison pressured by Britain, France and Italy to announce 'bold' climate action

Britain and France are leading a group of countries calling on the Australian government to make ambitious new commitments to combat the climate crisis by next month if Scott Morrison is to speak at a global summit on the issue.

A letter sent to Morrison and other national leaders on 22 October called on countries to rebuild economies after the coronavirus “in a way that charts a greener, more resilient, sustainable path” that puts the world on track to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

It said this required all countries to increase their commitments to meet the goals of the Paris agreement, in line with the pledge made five years ago to ratchet up policies and targets over time. In this context, the co-hosts of the summit, which also include Chile, Italy and the United Nations, were inviting leaders to an online “climate ambition summit” on 12 December.

Speaking slots will be given only to leaders who set stronger targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade, announce a long-term strategy to reach net zero emissions, commit new finance for developing countries or have ambitious plans and policies to adapt to locked-in climate change impacts.

The letter – signed by Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Chilean president Sebastián Piñera, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte and the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres – said “we hope to see you in December with a bold new commitment”.

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A Human Tragedy Could Unfold With Hurricane Eta In Central America

Photo of the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch

AFP via Getty Images

Hurricane Eta is already an unprecedented storm. It represents the first time that we have used the Greek letter “Eta” in a storm name. Hurricane Eta is the fifth major hurricane (category 3 or greater) of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season and the third major hurricane to form since October 1st. According to Colorado State University hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach on Twitter, “This is the first time on record that the Atlantic has had 3 major hurricane formations (e.g., storm first reached major hurricane strength) in October-November.” However, there is something more ominous than climatological records that worries me about Eta. A human tragedy could unfold as it makes landfall.

Hurricane Eta on Monday afternoon (November 2nd, 2020).

NOAA and TropicalTidbits.com

Eta, which rapidly intensified to a Category 4 storm on Monday afternoon, is expected to make landfall on Tuesday. The National Hurricane Center is sounding the alarms for a multi-hazard event, which includes potentially catastrophic winds and excessive rainfall. I want to specifically focus on the rainfall amounts. National Hurricane Center estimates are as follows:

Nicaragua and Honduras: 15 to 25 inches with isolated amounts of 35 inches.Eastern Guatemala and Belize: 10 to 20 inches with isolated amounts of 25 inches.Panama and Costa Rica: 10 to 15 inches with isolated amounts of 25 inches.
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One particular concern about Hurricane Eta is the forward speed. The forecast map below illustrates that the storm will not move significantly after landfall. Between now and Wednesday, the storm is still sitting over regions of Nicaragua and Honduras. Even by Thursday, the weakened storm is projected to be over the region before moving back out over water by late Friday. Eta is just one more storm in what Weather Channel expert Rick Knabb calls Category “Slow” hurricanes like Harvey (2017), Florence (2018), or Sally (2020).

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Latino Leaders Are Fighting California’s ‘Unbelievably Regressive’ Climate Policies

Installing solar in Malibu.

Universal Images Group via Getty Images

California has some of America’s most aggressive climate change policies. But those policies are facing fierce opposition – not from big business or the oil and gas sector – but from the state’s Latino community. 

Over the past two years, California’s Latino leaders have filed lawsuits that aim to halt several climate-focused regulations due to their negative effect on low- and middle-income Californians. Those same leaders are also calling out the Sierra Club and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for their support of regulations that are increasing the cost of energy, transportation, and housing in California, which has the highest poverty rate in America.

The Latino backlash against California’s climate policies — which has largely been ignored by state and national media outlets — exposes the growing chasm between the state’s powerful bureaucracy, which is closely aligned with California’s entrenched environmental groups, and the Latino and demographic realities of America’s most-populous state. It also presages a potential clash at the national level if federal policymakers attempt to implement California’s stringent climate measures throughout the rest of the country. 

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In a recent episode of the Power Hungry Podcast, Robert Apodaca, a longtime Latino activist and the executive director of United Latinos Vote, told me that climate change is “a big issue and it needs to be addressed.” But he added that California’s regulations are coming “at the expense of poor people.” He continued, saying that the California’s regulatory agencies and the Sierra Club are promoting policies that will make it “more difficult to buy a home and more difficult to not be driven into poverty because of a higher cost of living and energy.”

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Weatherwatch: conditions ripe in US for more dust bowl years

A chilling reminder of the 1930s dust bowl years may come back to haunt the US. Across the Great Plains, dust levels in the atmosphere are steadily increasing each year.

Much of this is driven by farmers expanding their soya bean and maize production. Researchers at the University of Utah found that the rising dust levels matched the planting and harvesting seasons of these crops, exposing the soil to winds. And with the growing threat of drought from the climate crisis, the ingredients are in place for another dust bowl.

Although climate change was not a factor in the 1930s dust bowl, farmers had ploughed up vast tracts of natural grassland that had kept the soil intact. When a great drought took grip, it was driven by a natural lurch in the climate and was catastrophic. Crops withered and the fragile soil blew away, creating dust storms stretching up to 1,000 miles long. Towns and cities were engulfed in dust, thousands of people died in the heat and dust, and 2 million homeless farmers and their families fled to the cities in what was already the Great Depression. Even now, the soil has not fully recovered in some places.

Original author: Jeremy Plester
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Could The U.S. Elections Shift Momentum On Climate Action?

The presidential election will decide the country's response to climate change

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The United States is at a crossroads that will shape its response to climate change, and could put on a path to cooperate, or collide, with the EU and other nations across the world that are linking their economic recovery from the pandemic with climate action. When it comes to climate change policies, the EU and the U.S. seem to be miles apart. The EU has set out the overly ambitious goal to become the world's first carbon-neutral continent by 2050, while the Trump administration has in the last 4 years weakened or wiped out, over 125 rules and policies aimed at protecting the environment. 

It hadn't always been like this. The EU and the United States worked closely to negotiate the 2015 Paris Agreement in which 195 signatories set voluntary limits on greenhouse gas emission. Now, Trump aims to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement –the withdrawal is scheduled to take effect this week. "The Paris Agreement relies on Nationally Determined Contributions from parties, meaning enhanced ambition and implementation relies largely on state-level policy," says Jale Tosun professor of political science at the Institute of Political Science at the Heidelberg University. "Most EU heads of government find it difficult to understand why the United States want to pull out of something that is already less ambitious than the previous regime [the Kyoto Protocol]," Tosun adds. 

A demonstrator holds a placard depicting a caricature of US President Donald Trump during a mass ... [+] climate march to demand urgent action on the climate crisis from world leaders that attended the COP25 summit, in Madrid, on December 6, 2019. - (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP) (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks are severe. He has “made a concerted effort to dismantle or roll back domestic federal policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says Laura Diaz Anadon, professor of climate change at the University of Cambridge. “Some of the most important actions [apart from the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement] are replacing the Clean Power Plan by the Affordable Clean Energy Rule -which weakened the expected emission reductions from the power sector-, reducing the stringency of vehicle fuel efficiency standards and weakening rules on methane flaring,” she says. In contrast, the EU, the UK and recently Japan and China, have set net-zero targets and “are crafting COVID recovery packages with a strong Green Recovery component,” says Anadon. 

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