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[1THING] Blog: Archive for May, 2017

[ Elon Musk Threatens to Ditch Trump’s Advisory Council Over Paris Climate Treaty Withdrawal ]


Amid news reports that President Donald Trump is preparing to pull the US out of the Paris climate treaty on Wednesday, Tesla CEO and member of Trump’s economic advisory council, Elon Musk, threatened to step down as an adviser if the president went through with the withdrawal.

Musk took to Twitter to insist he had done all he could to convince Trump to remain in the accord. When asked what he would do if his efforts went unheeded, the Tesla CEO said he would have no choice but to leave:

Musk is among a growing list of executives, Republicans, and oil industry leaders urging Trump to remain in the treaty that 195 countries have signed.

In December, Musk attracted widespread criticism for his decision to serve on Trump’s advisory team, which includes other heads of powerful companies such as Disney and Walmart. While he previously expressed reservations regarding Trump’s fitness for the Oval Office, Musk would later rationalize his decision to advise Trump as his effort to provide a “voice of reason” in the increasingly erratic administration.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer refused to confirm mounting reports of Trump’s plan to pull out of the agreement. When asked specifically about Musks’ threat, Spicer told reporters, “Let’s wait and see what the president’s decision is.”

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[ Exxon’s Shareholders Just Forced the Oil Giant’s Hand on Climate Change ]


In a landmark victory in the fight against climate change by corporations, Exxon Mobil shareholders on Wednesday voted to approve a plan that could force the oil company to release more information concerning its efforts to combat global warming.

The 62.3-to-37.7 landmark vote, which took place at Exxon’s annual meeting in Dallas, comes amid mounting investor pressure for management to be more accountable when working to prevent worldwide temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius—a goal stipulated in the Paris climate accord. The energy giant has been notoriously resistant to such calls, with some board members claiming the company already produces enough reporting on the issue.

Last year, when the same measure was called to a vote, only 38.1 percent of shareholders supported it. In the interim, several new lawsuits against Exxon, including ones from the attorney generals in New York and Massachusetts, have been launched, accusing the world’s largest oil company of knowingly misleading the public about the effects of global warming for decades. In a twist, Exxon and its former head, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, are among those urging the Trump administration to remain in the accord.

The unprecedented resolution on Wednesday was announced just hours after multiple news outlets reported President Donald Trump intends to withdraw from the historic Paris climate agreement, although the president himself remained coy on Twitter about his final decision.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently told CNN that Exxon’s defense of the Paris accord amounted to “empty words unless the company backs them up with action.” On Wednesday, DiNapoli applauded the shareholder vote as an “unprecedented victory,” noting the onus was now on Exxon to meet the demands of its investors and take climate change “seriously.”

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[ Reports: Trump Is Planning to Abandon the Paris Climate Deal ]


Multiple news outlets are reporting Wednesday morning that President Donald Trump intends to pull the United States out of the landmark Paris climate accord, citing White House officials. Trump himself continues to tease out the dramatic finish to a decision that he has put off for months:

What’s not quite clear yet is whether Trump intends to pull out of the Paris agreement itself, or the entire treaty underlining all international climate change negotiations, called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. To pull out of Paris but keep the United States involved in the broader UNFCCC process would take more than three years, but withdrawing from the entire framework would be easier—though the backlash for doing so could be even stronger. Withdrawing from the UNFCCC, formed in 1992, would be a far more extreme move to undermine climate progress.

The Paris deal, negotiated in late 2015, promised to be a new form of international cooperation to fight climate change. It didn’t promise any miracles for fighting climate change, such as keeping the world to under 2 degrees Celsius of warming or committing countries to legally binding targets, but it did rally big developing nations to promise emissions cuts for the first time in history.

The very basis for the deal, a so-called “bottoms-up” approach to greenhouse gas targets, was to avoid a legally binding treaty. Nations put forward  domestic targets and through international peer pressure can revise those targets to become stricter as time goes by. Far from imposing emissions targets on the United States, the deal just required the United States, like everyone else, to put a pledge on the table, which Trump could have then revised.

The Obama administration proposed to cut US emissions by 26 to 28 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, detailed in the Clean Power Plan, another policy Trump has begun to unwind.

Another important part of the Paris deal is the Green Climate Fund, which mobilizes billions of dollars to help developing nations fight and adapt to climate change. Trump has refused to deliver on the rest of the United States’ $3 billion pledge to the fund.

Trump argues that the United States, the world’s second-biggest greenhouse gas emitter—and historically the largest polluter, period—got the unfair end of the Paris deal. His administration is split though: His Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has echoed Trump’s anti-Paris remarks during his campaign while lobbying in TV interviews for Trump to leave. Steve Bannon is also firmly in favor of leaving.

The other side’s main advocates are Ivanka Trump and Rex Tillerson. There are also some surprising Trump allies pushing Trump to retain a seat at the table, like Exxon Mobil and Peabody Coal. And in the last week, two Florida Republican congressman, Reps. Vern Buchanan and Carlos Curbelo, have pressed Trump to stay in the deal.

It was once unthinkable in the environmental community that the next US president would take this step. But Paris isn’t dead, even if the United States withdraws. It matters as much how other countries respond.

“Should the president withdraw the US from the Paris agreement it would define his America First foreign policy as being oblivious to important global challenges that the American people and our allies care deeply about,” says Nigel Purvis, who has worked as a US climate negotiator and is now president of the consulting group Climate Advisers. “Regardless of whether the US participates in the Paris Agreement, other countries will continue to take action against climate change. They understand that most of what they need to do to reduce their climate pollution are things that make their economies more competitive and their people better off.”

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[ The Question Sean Spicer Hasn’t Asked the President ]


You’d think President Donald Trump’s opinion of climate change might inform the decision he promised to make on the Paris climate accord this week, following meetings with G7 leaders who pressured him to keep the US engaged. But it seems his team doesn’t know what his position actually is.

At a White House briefing on Tuesday, here is Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s response to a reporter’s question about whether Trump believes human activity is contributing to global warming: “Honestly, I haven’t asked him. I can get back to you.

The reporter then asked if he feels as if Trump is still trying to make up his mind. “I don’t know,” Spicer responded.

Though Spicer didn’t hint at what his boss will ultimately decide, he mentioned that Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt met on Tuesday. That might be a bad sign, as Pruitt has been leading the Trump administration’s “leave” contingent.

It’s not just Spicer who’s sent mixed signals about whether Trump still thinks global warming is a “total, and very expensive, hoax,” as he’s tweeted.

During a press briefing in late March, when Trump was rolling out his anti-climate executive orders, a reporter asked a senior White House official whether the president accepted that humans contribute to climate change. “Sure. Yes, I think the president understands the disagreement over the policy response,” he replied. But pressed further, he couldn’t fully explain Trump’s position, his advisers, or his own, for that matter. “I guess the key question is to what extent, over what period of time,” he said. “Those are the big questions that I think still we need to answer.”

His advisers have recently suggested that Trump’s views on the Paris deal and climate change were, in the words of economic adviser Gary Cohn, “evolving,” though they’ve offered little evidence of what those views now are. “I think he is learning to understand the European position,” Cohn said during the G7 meetings last week. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who acknowledges climate change as a threat, claimed Trump was “curious about why others were in the position they were” on the Paris deal, and that he was “wide open” on the issue.

Regardless what Trump thinks of the Paris agreement, he’s been clear that his policy choices won’t reflect the best available science. Our timeline of Trump’s comments on global warming should give you a better idea of the ebbs and flows of his position since 2009.

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[ 6 ways NOAA budget cuts will hurt weather reporting – and Americans ]

Trump’s proposal ignores how science protects American lives and property.

     
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[ She’s a Climate Scientist. Here’s Why She Quit Working for Trump. ]


This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The day after President Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, Jane Zelikova was “crying her eyes out” in her office at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. As a scientist researching how big fossil-fuel industries can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, she feared that her work would be stymied because of the new president’s skepticism about climate change. As a Jewish refugee who came to the United States as a teen, she felt threatened by Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric during the campaign. The election also created a rift in her family: Her father voted for Trump; her mother sat out the election. “Every part of me that I identify with felt fear and anger combined into outrage,” Zelikova said.

She texted furiously with three close friends—other women scientists she had known since they went to graduate school at the University of Colorado, Boulder. At first, they simply shared their alarm. But by the second day, they wondered what they could do about it. “We moved into an email thread and added women scientists we knew,” Zelikova recalled. “It grew very quickly—from five people to 20 to 50 to 100—within a matter of a couple of days.”

They drafted an open letter from women scientists. “We fear that the scientific progress and momentum in tackling our biggest challenges, including staving off the worst impacts of climate change, will be severely hindered under this next U.S. administration,” they wrote. The letter rejects the “hateful rhetoric” of the campaign and commits to overcoming discrimination against women and minorities in science. Then they built a website and gathered signatures. Thousands signed on, and a new activist group was born: 500 Women Scientists.

Zelikova’s experience mirrors a broader phenomenon. Many scientists felt threatened enough by Trump’s victory to abandon their usual detached objectivity. They wrote members of Congress to defend science funding and scientific advisory panels and used their knowledge of government research to protect data they feared could be erased from websites. They set up alternative Twitter sites for government agencies and planned and participated in protests. “The election mobilized scientists in a way we’ve never seen before,” said Gretchen Goldman, who leads research on science in public policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, an activist group. “I’ve personally been blown away by the scientists who want to be engaged in a new way.”

Previously, Zelikova, a 39-year-old Ph.D. soil ecologist, had envisioned a future as a research scientist, working in academia or in government. But Trump’s election, she said, is changing her in ways she never could have imagined. Her whirlwind metamorphosis provides a glimpse into just how disruptive the last six months have been for some in federal government. Zelikova—who is intense, articulate and has an engaging smile—doesn’t have a permanent federal job. She took a leave from the University of Wyoming, where she’s a research scientist, for a two-year fellowship at the Energy Department. She had less to lose than career civil servants with mortgages and government pensions, so she felt freer to speak out.

The Trump administration has proposed deep staff and budget cuts for the Energy Department, Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies whose mission involves safeguarding the environment. Many federal workers committed to protecting the environment share Zelikova’s angst but won’t say so publicly for fear of retribution.

For weeks after the election, Zelikova barely slept, working late into the night on her new group. “I am a Jewish, refugee, immigrant, woman scientist. At some level, this felt really personally offensive to me, and like an attack on all the parts of me that make me a complete human,” Zelikova recalled. She had always been skeptical of political protests. She grew up in Eastern Ukraine, where Communist leaders used to orchestrate demonstrations in the 1980s. But Trump’s election moved her to join protests. Her first was the Women’s March the day after the Inauguration in Washington, D.C. After that, she frequently joined demonstrations, protesting Trump’s travel ban and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Meanwhile, things were changing in Zelikova’s day job at the Department of Energy. In early December, Trump’s transition team sent out a questionnaire that attempted to identify employees who worked on climate change. Staffers feared the new administration would target people who had worked on former President Barack Obama’s climate change agenda. The day after the inauguration, with the Obama team gone, Zelikova attended a staff meeting at which, she said, only white men talked. “The backslide was immediate,” she said. Trump’s budget proposal, which came out in March, slashed funding for science and research. The morale at the agency was low and dropping.

Still, Zelikova kept working on her research. She was part of a team responding to Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock’s request that the Energy Department analyze options for keeping the state’s largest coal-fired power plant, Colstrip, in business. Zelikova’s team came up with scenarios for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent or more by installing equipment to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

Capturing carbon takes a lot of energy, however. So Zelikova went to Colstrip last fall to talk about using renewable energy—wind or solar—to power the carbon-capture process and thereby cut emissions even further. “Wouldn’t it be cool if instead of sucking that parasitic load off the plant, you powered it with renewable energy?” she said. She thinks the idea holds great promise for other fossil-fuel plants. “We went to national labs and universities, and we talked to people about how do we make this happen,” Zelikova said. “And then the election happened, and it felt like this isn’t going to happen.” Trump is determined to eliminate Obama’s Clean Power Plan, removing a major incentive for plants like Colstrip to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. His budget proposal recommends slashing funding for the Energy Department’s renewable energy and fossil fuel research programs. “I’m seeing all that work become really threatened,” Zelikova said. “It feels like betrayal, because I got so personally invested.”

Her boss at the time, David Mohler, recalls her reaction: “She was distraught clearly and for understandable reasons; the Trump team is really not appreciative of science, and certainly they don’t believe in climate science.” Before becoming deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Clean Coal and Carbon Management, Mohler was chief technology officer for the country’s biggest electric utility, Duke Energy. Trump will probably slow reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, Mohler says. But even Trump can’t stop progress on climate change: Utilities won’t reopen closed coal-fired power plants, and low-priced natural gas will keep replacing coal. And Mohler believes that wind and solar will continue to expand because of declining costs, state mandates and tax incentives, which have bipartisan support in Congress.

Mohler, an Obama appointee, left government on Jan. 20, and moved back to South Carolina. Zelikova started thinking about leaving Washington, too. “Resistance as daily existence was starting to diminish my ability to function,” Zelikova recalled. She talked her supervisor into letting her move to Colorado in February for the rest of her fellowship. She continued to work for the Energy Department at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden. In her spare time, she kept building 500 Women Scientists. The group grew quickly, spawning nearly 150 local branches around the globe in just a few months.

One branch was founded in Seattle by Sarah Myhre, a 34-year-old climate change scientist at the University of Washington’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences. The group gave Myhre the courage to stand up to a prominent professor, Cliff Mass, from her own department.

In January, at a state legislative committee hearing, Myhre criticized Mass for stressing uncertainties about how much human-caused climate change is affecting wildfires and ocean acidification in the Pacific Northwest. Myhre described Mass as an “outlier” in the department whose views did not represent the broad scientific consensus. In online comments to a Seattle Times opinion piece Myhre wrote in February with Zelikova and another woman scientist, Mass called them “three idealistic young scientists (none of them really are climate scientists, by the way).” When Myhre traveled to Washington, D.C., at the end of April for the People’s Climate March, one of the women she marched with carried a sign that read: “Idealistic Young Real Scientists.”

A week earlier, on Earth Day, Zelikova joined other members of 500 Women Scientists for the March for Science in Washington, D.C., waiting for hours in a chilly rain to get through security screening for the rally at the Washington National Monument. Shivering in her watermelon-red ski shell, Zelikova reflected on the ways her life would be different if Trump had not been elected. “I would have never founded a big group—ever,” she said. “I would have never been a loud advocate for things. I would have never protested. These are now the hugest part of my life.”

At the end of May, Zelikova quit her fellowship at the Energy Department. In July, she will start a new job for a tiny nonprofit called the Center for Carbon Removal, based in Berkeley, California. She hopes to help states move forward on capturing carbon from fossil fuel plants. “Western states are perfectly poised to lead on climate action,” she said. “In terms of federal action, there’s going to be very little, so we need to work with states, so that when the political climate changes and there can be federal action, we can be ready to go.”

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[ Wow. The Grand Canyon Is Being Stolen By a Sea of Fog. ]


This story was originally published by HuffPost and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

SKYGLOWPROJECT.COM: KAIBAB ELEGY from Harun Mehmedinovic on Vimeo.

A stunning time-lapse video of the Grand Canyon shows the carved formation as it may have looked millennia ago — but instead of water, it’s filled with what has the appearance of an ocean of fog.

Filmmaker Harun Mehmedinovic has set up his camera at the canyon 30 different times since 2015. During one visit, he managed to witness and film the dramatic changes of a full cloud inversion, which occurs when warm air traps cold air beneath and creates a sea of fog. The inversion lasted the entire day, allowing time for Mehmedinovic to film fog “crashing” on the “shores” of the canyon and swirling through winding passages.

The film made its debut on BBC Earth in early May and has been viewed online millions of times.

The video is part of the Skyglow Project, a crowdfunded operation to record the effects of light pollution from urban areas and contrast them with stunning vistas.

Mehmedinovic is a Bosnian-American who went into hiding in his war-wracked hometown of Sarajevo for three years when he was 9. His family stayed indoors in a cellar of their home to escape the Serbs. He moved to the U.S. when he was 13 and went to film school in Los Angeles.

Check out the Reuters video below for more information about background:

Reuters TV interviews Harun Mehmedinovic from Harun Mehmedinovic on Vimeo.

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[ How to Know If You’re a “Super Taster” ]


On our latest episode of Bite, we talked to political journalist Dylan Matthews, someone who couldn’t care less about food. Matthews opts for cheap burritos over caviar and dislikes eating certain textures. The conversation got me thinking—what about those who really enjoy the taste of food?

 

You’ve probably heard of the legendary “supertasters,” people with a higher sensitivity to taste stimuli. I always envied these people—how enjoyable it must be for them to sink their teeth into milk chocolate with a gooey caramel core, or have a leg up in identifying complexities in a glass of red wine from Bordeaux. But that’s not quite the case. Linda Bartochuk, a professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Florida’s Center for Smell and Taste, says supertasters tend to be pretty picky eaters and prefer to stick to bland food, which means they may have more in common with Dylan Matthews than with restaurant critics.

Here are some more things you may not realize about super tasters and the science of taste:

  • Supertasters aren’t inherently better at things like blind wine tastings.

Being able to recall the varietal, year, region, and make of wine with such accurate (and perhaps smug) detail isn’t due to having more taste buds. It’s often associated with practice and the ability to learn vocabulary and remember taste associations, according to Steven Munger, director of the Center for Smell and Taste. “What [wine expertise] may be doing is changing your ability to access information more efficiently and put it in a context of a memory,” Munger said. 

  • Being a supertaster has health advantages…

Supertasters tend to avoid alcohol and cigarettes because of the strong flavor and unpleasant taste.

  • …and disadvantages.

Given the bitterness or often distinct texture of certain vegetables like leafy greens, super tasters tend to dislike their strong flavors. Bartochuck says this may lead them to incorporate these healthy foods a lot less in their diets than the average eater. 

  • Supertasters tend to be women.

Bartochuck estimates that about 15 percent of Americans are supertasters, and women fall into the category more than men. She proposes this may have to do with how we evolved: A pregnant woman’s sensitivity to bitter foods (sometimes a sign of poison) would have been an advantage for her fetus.

  • Illness can have a negative affect on your taste buds—supertaster or not.

Having a lot of taste buds doesn’t mean they’ll all stay on your tongue forever. Taste nerves found in the inner ear and the back of the throat can be damaged by infections or surgeries on the middle ear or tonsils.

  • You don’t taste certain flavors on certain parts of your tongue.

When a Harvard researcher mistranslated a German scientist’s 1901 study, the idea of “tongue maps” spread and is still found in textbooks today. The concept that sweet is tasted on the tongue’s tip and bitter on the back is a taste myth scientists are still trying to dispel. We experience all five tastes—sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami (think broth or soy sauce)—on the front, sides, and back of our tongue.

Taste test: Find out if you’re a supertaster

Tongues are covered with fungiform papillae, mushroom shaped-structures that house our taste buds, and supertasters have a lot more papillae than the average taster. The best way to test if you’re a supertaster, Bartochuk says, is to take a close look at your tongue and compare it with friends’ or family members’.

Here’s an easy test you can do with a group of people: 

1. Get some Q-Tips, blue food coloring, and a magnifying glass.

2. Have everyone put a couple of drops of blue food coloring on a Q-Tip and swab their tongues. Taste buds won’t get as saturated with color as the rest of the tongue—they may remain pink or turn a lighter shade of blue.

3. Use a magnifying glass to look at the tongues. Supertasters’ tongues will be visibly covered by more fungiform papillae.

Then again, if you’d rather avoid dying your tongue bright blue, you can always order a supertaster kit online.

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[ Trump’s Behavior in Europe Has Made the World Cringe. Here’s What’s Really on the Line at the G7. ]


Update, May 27, 2017: The G7 broke with tradition to release an unusual statement where six nations reaffirmed the Paris climate agreement, without the US. “The United States of America is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics,” the communiqué reads. “Understanding this process, the Heads of State and of Government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom and the Presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement.”

Trump says he’ll be ready to make a decision on Paris “next week”:

One year ago Friday, when speaking on a campaign stop in North Dakota, Donald Trump declared he’d “cancel” the Paris climate agreement within 100 days of his presidency, framing it as a “bad deal” that undermines domestic interests. The 100 days have passed, but his unfulfilled pledge hangs over the G7 meeting in Italy.

Trump has already appeared to push a NATO leader aside in Brussels and caused a diplomatic scuffle in Italy after accusing Germany of being “very bad” on trade. But his decision on Paris is far more significant, especially in terms of the response of the 195 signers of the 2015 agreement. The question is whether the rest of the world sinks to the low bar that Trump has set, and the G7 is the first key test. On the one hand, Trump’s resistance may force the G7 to downgrade its climate ambitions and show how US denial is already taking its toll on the global stage. On the other, a G7 that reaffirms Paris goals would demonstrate that the rest of the world won’t be dragged down by America’s new president.

“I think what the other countries are concerned about is that there is not any question about the rest of the industrialized countries raising ambition over time,” says Union of Concerned Scientist’s Director of Strategy and Policy Alden Meyer, who’s followed global climate negotiations for more than 20 years. “That’s why this is so tricky to go along with the US’s minimalist demands in negotiations.”

After world leaders from Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom meet on Friday, senior officials will gather to hammer out a text to try to represent a unified front, with global warming usually ranking among the top priorities. Climate change may not be important to Trump, who’s regularly called it a hoax, but it is to leaders of the G7—and has been for a long time. Meyer, who’s followed global climate negotiations for more than 20 years, points to 2005 as when concerns began, but David Waskow, World Resources Institute’s International Climate Initiative director, says the focus extends even further back, receiving some mention in every G7 text for the last three decades.

That’s not to say there were never any disagreements. In 2015, Canada, home to carbon-intensive tar sands and then led by the conservative Stephen Harper, resisted strong climate goals but eventually agreed to a long-term decarbonization target that involved phasing out fossil fuel use by the end of the century. Japan, which has higher emissions than most countries in the G7, save for the United States, has also historically resisted stronger climate language and has become more reliant on coal ever since it mothballed nuclear plants after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Yet both these countries have changed. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is more committed on climate change than his predecessor was, and Japan has vowed to fulfill its pledges in the Paris agreement. European countries, especially Germany, are expected to take on new leadership in climate negotiations. France’s new President Emmanuel Macron urged Trump in Brussels on Thursday not to abandon the deal.

“We’re seeing a much broader set of actors playing a real leadership role,” says Waskow. “It ranges from major emitters, like the EU, China, and Canada coming together, to many of the most vulnerable countries, to many countries in between, as well as cities, states, and businesses. It’s no longer dependent on one or two countries playing that leadership role.”

But Trump could change everything. The United States is still the major polluter in the G7, at 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to self-reported data to the United Nations, and second in the world only to China. France, Italy, and Canada are each responsible for less than 2 percent of global emissions, and Germany and Japan’s slightly higher emissions hardly compare to pollution in the United States. If it were up to Trump, the G7 would probably break its tradition on climate change and ignore the issue entirely. His administration is divided on the Paris decision, and the uncertainty has spilled over into other international negotiations.

Even if the United States remained in the agreement, it would likely push for lower engagement across the world, urging countries to include language that recognizes the long-term dominance of fossil fuels, which the oil, gas, and coal industries would appreciate seeing. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this month, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who was an energy adviser on Trump’s campaign, argued that the United States should advocate “advancing technology for clean coal and pushing for increased investment and a better regulatory environment” in future climate talks.

On the other hand, the United States will face pressure to flip on Trump’s insistence that we do nothing. We saw that at an Arctic Council meeting with Nordic countries, Russia, and Canada earlier this month, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agreed to text that loosely reaffirmed the Paris climate agreement and global action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Headed into the Arctic Council, it wasn’t clear if the United States would attempt to remove language on Paris entirely. 

Meanwhile, the world waits for Trump to decide: recommit, drop out, or come up with some understanding for continued engagement. 

“Some of the Europeans seem to think he may make a decision on the spot in the [G7] meeting,” Meyer says. “No one obviously knows. Maybe even including him.”

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[ 8 activities you can do at national monuments ]

Stretching from Maine to New Mexico and Utah to Hawaii, America’s national monuments can be found all over the country, and offer the chance to do everything from exploring ruins and discovering dinosaurs to rock climbing and snorkeling.

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