We are Enraged about the Federal Government's Bizarre Actions on Climate Change!

From November 6 - 17, 2017, delegates from every country on the planet gathered in Bonn, Germany for the 23rd Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

While the USA attended, we were not full participants because the government has begun the process of withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Judith G. Garber, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, representing the US State Department at COP 23, made a statement attempting to explain the position of the US Government:

"President Trump has made clear the U.S. position with respect to the Paris Agreement. Although he indicated that the United States intends to withdraw at the earliest opportunity, we remain open to the possibility of rejoining at a later date under terms more favorable to the American people.

Irrespective of our views on the Paris Agreement, the United States will continue to be a leader in clean energy and innovation, and we understand the need for transforming energy systems."

She continued, "President Trump made this clear when the United States joined other G-20 countries in the G-20 Leaders' Declaration in stating that we remain collectively committed to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through, among other things, increased innovation on sustainable energy and energy efficiency, and working towards low greenhouse gas emissions energy systems."

Continuing, she listed several initiatives in which the USA is engaged around the world and proudly stated that the U.S. has succeeded in reducing total greenhouse gas emissions while growing the economy during the Obama Administration, of course.

What is BIZARRE is that with these declarations that the US has and will continue to move forward with efforts to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions,

1. What's the point of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement?
As we have pointed out, the agreement enables each party (nation) to determine its own the greenhouse gas reduction target or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and each party may change its NDC at any time. Therefore, there is no need to withdraw. Mr. Trump could change the NDC of the United States rather than withdrawing, allowing the U.S. to retain a seat at the table.

2. With there being little need to withdraw, why would the President choose to isolate us outside this world community of every other country?
If the President were serious about reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, wouldn't it make more sense to maintain this country's leadership role, rather than walking away?

3. What are the "terms more favorable to the American people" that the President talks about?
To our knowledge, none have been expressed.

As the President has chosen to back away from the Paris Agreement, it is very important to note that many Americans strongly disagree with his actions. A large number of American Cities, Counties, States, Businesses, Universities, and Individuals - over 1 million in all - have declared We Are Still In! And, indeed, throughout this country, these entities are undertaking a wide range of initiatives to enable us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the changing climate, and comply with the promises made in the Paris Climate Agreement.

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Trump's Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement is Another Blow to Fighting Climate Change - June 2017

By now it is crystal clear that Mr. Trump has little regard for the global agreements that maintain the order of the global community. Perhaps the concept of a global community has no importance in Trump's world view. So, we were not surprised or amazed when he announced the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Climate agreement. Still, we experienced a visceral reaction of outrage when the withdrawal was announced on French TV during a broadcast of a major football (soccer) match on the evening of June 1.

In the next several days, a firestorm of anger and disappointment ensued. We urge everyone who has not already done so to spend some time reading and listening to the statements of leaders, climate scientists, opinion makers, economists, and many others around the world. Trump did not offer additional clarifications of his announcement and spokespeople could not or would not clarify either. When asked if Mr. Trump believed that humans were responsible for the climate's obvious changes, his staff could not offer any clarification.

Perhaps the Trump administration believes that the American people really don't care about the Paris Climate Agreement and will also believe Trump's rhetoric about the impacts of compliance on the US economy. Yet, a report, "Politics and Global Warming" on a survey carried out by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication in 2016, found that "seven in ten registered voters (69%) say the US should participate in the international agreement to limit climate change (the Paris COP21 agreement), compared with only 13% who say the US should not. For more, click here

Furthermore, the agreement enables each party (nation) to determine its own the greenhouse gas reduction target or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and each party may change its NDC at any time. Therefore, there is no need to withdraw. Mr. Trump could change the NDC of the United States rather than withdrawing, allowing the U.S. to retain a seat at the table.

As the federal government has abdicated the leadership role on climate protection established during the Obama Administration, President Obama expressed confidence that "our states, cities and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we've got." President Barack Obama, June 1, 2017

The concept that the United States will be able to take significant actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions gives us hope that we will still have an important role to play to protect the planet!

Michael Bloomberg, the United Nations Envoy on Cities and Climate, announced his intention to gather representatives of American cities, states and companies to prepare and submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet the United States' greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate accord, despite President Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement. In a draft letter to the United Nations, he wrote,

"While the executive branch of the US government speaks on behalf of our nation in matters of foreign affairs, it does not determine many aspects of whether and how the United States takes action on climate change."

He further stated

"The bulk of the decisions which drive US climate action in the aggregate are made by cities, states, businesses, and civil society. Collectively, these actors remain committed to the Paris accord."

We believe that President Obama and Michael Bloomberg are maintaining an excellent perspective on the situation! There are many ways for the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and states, cities, businesses and civil society have great and important roles to play to protect our planet! In fact, each of us has a role to play! We can all take actions to reduce our own emissions on a daily basis. Just a few lifestyle changes can make a large difference. For example, we can drive less, take the bus, ride a bike or walk, eat more veggies and less meat, use low energy lighting, add energy efficient elements to our homes. For more ideas, just search the Internet!

Susan E. Rice, former Ambassador to the United Nations suggested in an Op-ed in the New York Times, June 2, 2017,

"In the absence of US leadership, the American people should act as informal ambassadors, via contacts through tourism, study-abroad programs and cultural exchanges."

This is an intriguing concept for Nomads like us who are striving to become Global Citizens! We'll give that more thought!

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Trump's Proposed Budget Is a Blow to Fighting Climate Change
March 2017

If we had any doubts about the Trump Administration's support for taking action on Climate Change, those doubts have evaporated! The 2018 budget proposal just released includes cuts to the funding for all of the programs that would enable the US to take meaningful action and fulfill our commitments to the global community as agreed in the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Environmental Protection Agency would take a 31% cut from its current budget, resulting in the loss of over 3 thousand jobs. Dozens of programs that address Climate Change plus others that enable pollution cleanups and promote energy efficiency would be wiped out of the Trump administration budget proposal. This stripped down budget also removes funding for the Clean Power Plan, that is reducing power plant emissions, and scraps Climate Change research and measurement programs.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, confirmed that the Trump administration wants a smaller EPA and the budget reflects that. He confirmed that the new administration had no interest in funding to combat Climate Change. "We consider that to be a waste of money", Mulvaney told reporters. Additional reductions at the Energy, State, and Treasury Departments would also damage the ability of the federal government to combat climate change.

Trump and his cabinet don't consider Climate Change an urgent threat and they (conveniently) believe the question of human responsibility is still debatable even though the question is more than settled in the scientific community and largely acknowledged by the general public.

Therefore, it is up to us to make our voices heard if we want to prevent the administration from ignoring science and allowing our planet to burn!

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Trump's Election Creates Climate Uncertainty! - November 25, 2016

On November 4, 2016, we celebrated as the Paris Climate Change Agreement came into force! We were feeling pretty good about the determination of the world to address climate change. Then on November 8, the US election was held and to our amazement and shock, Donald Trump was elected to be the next president!

Meanwhile, in Marrakech, Morocco, world leaders were meeting for the first UN Climate Change Conference, following the Climate Agreement coming into force. This Conference emphasized the strong support for the Agreement throughout the world and made it clear that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is underway Most all the Countries of the world have supported the Agreement because they realize their national interest is best secured by pursuing the common good. Now the difficult work begins as each country must develop and implement a long term strategy to meet its targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions and development of climate resilience. Four countries have already submitted such a long term strategy: Mexico, United States, Germany, and Canada.

And yet, President-elect Trump has made statements indicating he will withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement. While it is too soon to know what actions he will actually take, it seems clear that he will likely do all that he can to weaken or eliminate US participation in the Paris Agreement.

And yet, the announcements made at the Marrakech Conference give us hope that there are limits to the damage President-elect Trump can do to the worldwide efforts. For example, China's chief climate negotiator, Minister Xie Zhenhua, said that no matter what the US does, China will remain committed to taking action.

Also, the Science Based Targets Initiative announced that 200 companies have committed to set emissions reduction targets consistent with the global effort to keep temperatures well below the 2-degree threshold. More companies are joining this initiative every week! Clearly climate action has gained tremendous momentum in the private sector.

Meanwhile, in an Op-ed in Bloomberg News, Michael Bloomberg writes, "I am confident that no matter what happens in Washington, no matter what regulations the next administration adopts or rescinds, no matter what laws the next Congress may pass, we will meet the pledges that the US made in Paris. The reason is simple: Cities, businesses and citizens will continue reducing emissions, because they have concluded -- just as China has -- that doing so is in their own self-interest."

So, we are left feeling uncertain but also feeling hopeful. Truly 2017 will bring high drama as these countervailing forces unfold. We'll attempt to follow events and share our thoughts right here!

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