As Syria joins Paris climate agreement, US stands alone

Nov 8, 2017

By Jennifer Hansler

The United States is now a party of one in its stance on climate change.

Syria will join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the US as the only country in the world not signed on to the landmark climate deal.

Syrian officials announced their intention to ratify the accord at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, on Tuesday.

“I confirm that the Syrian Arab Republic supports the implementation of Paris climate change accord, in order to achieve the desired global goals and to reflect the principles of justice and shared responsibility, but in accordance with the capabilities of each of the signatories,” Syria’s Deputy Minister of Local Administration and Environment M. Wadah Katmawi said.

Katmawi added that developed countries, “in their capacity as the primary contributors to climate change, should live up to their legal and humanitarian responsibility” by offering technical and financial support to developing countries to help battle climate change.

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9 comments on “As Syria joins Paris climate agreement, US stands alone

  • @OP – The United States is now a party of one
    in its stance on climate change.

    Syria will join the Paris climate agreement,
    leaving the US as the only country in the world not signed on to the landmark climate deal.

    The US is not even a united party of one! Beyond the White House and the Trumpy supporters’ chorus, many in the US support the Paris Agreement and then more renewable technology!

    Delegations of US governors, mayors and business people, under the We Are Still In coalition umbrella, will be in Bonn to tell negotiators that below the Federal level, much of America still supports the Paris agreement.

    The US Climate Alliance, which represents 14 states and one territory, says that it speaks for around 36% of the US population and if it were a nation state would be the third biggest economy in the world.

    One of the governors who will be on the ground in Bonn is Washington’s Jay Inslee.

    “We need to make sure that the world maintains confidence in our ability to move forward,” he told reporters.

    “So far, not one single nation state, city or county, municipality or school district have followed Donald Trump into the ranks of surrendering to climate change since he pulled out of Paris – his decision has energised our efforts.”

    This determination to remain part of Paris is also being reflected at city level in many parts of the US.

    Many delegates are unhappy with White House plans to promote fossil fuels here as a “solution” to climate change.

    An adviser to the president is expected to take part in a pro-coal presentation in the second week of this conference, which is officially known as COP23,

    So as Trump babbles nonsense at the UN in splendid isolation, – about “the contribution to be made by coal in adapting to climate change”, the world (and a substantial part of the USA), moves on without him!

    In June the US said it would withdraw, but the rules of the agreement state that this cannot be done until 2020.

    Meanwhile, French officials said US President Donald Trump had not been invited to December’s climate summit in Paris.

    More than 100 countries have been invited to the summit, which is aimed at “building coalitions” with finance and business to further the accord, an aide to French President Emmanuel Macron said.

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  • Trump’s delusional pathological hatred of renewables, is nothing new!

    He demonstrated his idiocy to Europe and the world, in |Scotland, years ago – and had his silly arguments repeatedly rejected by the leaders of the Scottish Government, the Scottish courts, and the UK supreme court! – But continued ranting, and learned NOTHING from the experience!

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  • @#1 – Meanwhile, French officials said
    US President Donald Trump had not been invited to December’s climate summit in Paris.

    More than 100 countries have been invited to the summit,
    which is aimed at “building coalitions” with finance and business
    to further the accord,
    an aide to French President Emmanuel Macron said.

    Even without coal obsessions, there would be no point in inviting a Trumpy delegation to work at “building coalitions” with finance and business!

    Even if Trump had some credible policies, he is unlikely to have any competent diplomatic negotiators left working with other countries! –

    The USA will be left with Trump-muppet appointments, unfilled posts, Twitter-vision, and Trumplomacy tearing up existing agreements, while demanding “fairer” “GREAT DEALS”!

    The United States has lost 60% of its career ambassadors since January, according to the head of the labour union that represents US diplomats.

    “Leadership ranks are being depleted at a dizzying speed,” Barbara Stephenson, head of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) chief, wrote.

    Ms Stephenson, a former ambassador to Panama, says there has been a “decapitation” of top talent.

    The BBC has asked the Department of State for a comment.

    “The rapid loss of so many senior officers has a serious, immediate, and tangible effect on the capacity of the United States to shape world events,” Ms Stephenson writes.

    The former ambassador to Panama writes in a forthcoming issue of the Foreign Service Journal that the art of diplomacy must be defended under an administration that she argues appears bent on “dismantling government as we know it”.

    So as with science being transformed into ideological pseudo-science, and attempts to replace legally legislated law with presidential executive diktat, Trump is now getting rid of the professionals, and embarking on pseudo-diplomacy with the other nations of the world!

    As well as envoys, the staff numbers of other high-ranking diplomatic ministers have fallen, reports the organisation, which was founded in 1924.

    Mrs Stephenson writes that the decisions by career diplomats (who, unlike political appointees, do not change with every White House administration) was fuelled in part by the government’s decision to “slash promotion numbers by more than half”.

    A hiring freeze has also led to a drop in entry level staffers joining the US agency tasked with worldwide diplomacy.

    “The talent being shown the door now is not only our top talent, but also talent that cannot be replicated overnight,” Mrs Stephenson writes.

    She adds that if such an exodus were to occur within military ranks, “I would expect a public outcry”.

    In her scathing editorial, she questions “Why such a focus on decapitating leadership? How do these actions serve the stated agenda of making the State Department stronger?

    “Where is the mandate to pull the Foreign Service team from the field and forfeit the game to our adversaries?”

    Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright – who was a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton – told MSBNC on Wednesday that she is “deeply, deeply troubled” by the lack of staffing, “because you cannot be a major power in the world and not have a functioning diplomatic service”.

    A year after President Donald Trump’s election, there are no nominees for scores of unfilled senior posts at the Department of State, according to the tracker by the Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service.

    Last week Mr Trump was asked about the vacancies at the US foreign affairs ministry.

    “I’m the only one that matters,” he replied.


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  • Alan4discussion #2
    Nov 9, 2017 at 5:00 am

    Trump’s delusional pathological hatred of renewables,
    is nothing new! (see link @#2)

    Neither is his lying, exaggeration, or failure to deliver on promises!

    Donald Trump has failed to honour his investment promises to Scotland, former First Minister Alex Salmond has said.

    Before his election, the US President said he would spend £1bn building a golf resort in Aberdeenshire.

    Ten years after the planning application was called in by the Scottish government, much of that development has yet to materialise.

    Donald Trump was given permission to build there on the basis that any environmental damage could be justified by the scale of economic benefit being promised.

    It was supposed to be a £1bn investment, creating about 6,000 jobs.

    It was to include two championship golf courses, a 450-bedroom hotel and almost 1,500 holiday and residential homes.

    The development so far includes one golf course and a club house, a 16-bedroom boutique hotel and some lodges.

    The Trump Organisation said it had spent around £100m, which is about 10% of what was promised.

    It said about 500 people were involved in construction and that it employs 150 people in Aberdeenshire, including part-time and seasonal staff.

    Alex Salmond, who supported the Trump resort as the local MSP, thinks that’s not good enough.

    “The people who were putting it forward did not live up and honour the agreements they made to the Scottish people,” he said.

    Asked if he’d been taken in by Donald Trump, Mr Salmond said: “To the extent that I found it difficult to believe that somebody could be so brazenly certain of an investment plan at a public local inquiry and then make very little attempt to bring it home.”

    The golf course – which has been widely acclaimed – has also had an environmental impact at Menie, which forms part of the Foveran Links Site of Special Scientific interest.

    It had been given special status because it was considered one of the finest examples of a mobile sand dune system in the UK.

    But Scottish Natural Heritage has reported some permanent habitat loss and damage to the dune system. It has told the BBC it is now reviewing the boundary of the protected site.

    The leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Jim Gifford, who has always supported the development, said it was not worth the environmental trade off.

    “For what is only there just now – no – because the economic benefit hasn’t come through,” he said. “But in the big picture that was put in front of us 10 years ago, it was worth doing.”

    The council leader wants the Trump Organisation to finish the job.

    “I think they have an obligation to bring forward what they promised, that’s the bottom line of it,” he said.

    “The difficulty we have is we can’t force them to do that.”

    The Trump Organisation has recently submitted a planning application for a second golf course, which has been met with environmental objections.

    It has also drawn up plans to build a resort village at Menie with a mixture of 550 residential homes and holiday accommodation, but no big hotel.

    The Trump team hope to build these different types of property at the same time, rather than in the phases set out in the original planning consent.

    Sarah Malone (for Trump) said the phasing, which requires holiday accommodation to be built before private homes, “doesn’t make any commercial sense”.

    It does however, make perfect sense for a planning department, which suspects that a developer might circumvent environmental restrictions on building residential houses on greenbelt land, take a quick profit, leave the rest of the the plan unfinished, – and cut and run!

    She said: “It never did and I think it’s another illustration of why the planning system is flawed.”

    “why the planning system is flawed” . . . . Which is Trump-speak for “why the planning system properly regulated”.

    “Alex Salmond anticipates problems in getting the plans approved.

    He said: “I think the Trump Organisation, whoever’s putting forward the proposals, will have a huge credibility problem in persuading this generation of planners and councillors in Aberdeenshire to believe the commitments they’re now making given the track record of the last ten years.”

    Donald Trump put construction on hold while he fought and lost a legal battle with the Scottish government over an offshore wind farm on the Aberdeenshire coast. (see link @#2)

    In the intervening years, market conditions in north east Scotland have changed with the oil price crash hitting the local economy hard.

    Aberdeen is of course an oil-rig supply and construction port, so the supply of rich golfing oil executives, is likely to diminish as renewables take over Scottish energy supplies!

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  • @OP – As Syria joins Paris climate agreement, US stands alone

    Its industries which follow Trump’s lead, are also likely to stand alone, as they fade into bankrupt, obsolescent obscurity, and the rest of the world moves on!

    The US needs to bin the Trumponomics of “More coal to combat climate change”, and “more rust to improve the prospects in the rust belt”!

    The US car industry will be wrecked if President Trump relaxes emissions standards, California’s governor says.

    Jerry Brown said China would dominate car manufacture because it was heavily promoting the electric vehicles that would dominate the future.

    He said huge investment was needed on electric vehicles, along with federal rules to encourage their purchase.

    He said President Trump and US car-makers were “half asleep” and hadn’t understood the scale of the challenge.

    “The Chinese have taken over the world in wind turbine production, and photovoltaic.

    “They’re going to take over the American car industry – and the people in Detroit are half asleep. They have to wake up – and I’m hoping they will.

    “China’s investing billions in battery technology and electric cars – and introducing a regulatory regime that will produce for their market a percentage of electric cars that to my knowledge no American executive can even imagine.”

    Mr Brown said he believed the electric car had a good prospect of being “very competitive” with petrol and diesel cars within five years.

    California has special powers as a state to set its own car standards but Mr Brown believes federal action is essential to create a big enough market.

    “Boy, it’s a very tall mountain we have to climb. To make it work needs a federal tax and regulatory regime.

    “But that we don’t have and won’t have until Mr Trump returns to his hotel business.”

    Mr Brown is leading a group of 15 states refusing to follow Mr Trump’s attempt to lower CO2 standards for vehicles and electricity.

    “We can pursue an intelligent, forceful climate agenda without jeopardising jobs and damaging our economy – which is the message of Trump,” he said.

    “We’re in a contest of ideas, actions and policies. The outcome of this contest will determine what the world’s going to look like in the next 10-20 years.

    “We have to rise to the occasion.”

    Mr Brown visited China a few months ago and promised co-operation over clean vehicles.

    He said it was ironic that US car-makers previously driven to the verge of bankruptcy by fuel-efficient imported vehicles were once again campaigning against higher efficiency standards.
    “We are looking for ways to up the ante against automobile companies who want to do less rather than more,” he said.

    “The global alliance on climate is growing stronger. We are carving our own path forward.

    “Trump won’t be a permanent phenomenon. We are holding the torch pending this sorry interim of environmental ignorance.”

    The Trump administration declined to be interviewed on Mr Brown’s comments.

    In the absence of a major political figure from the administration, Mr Brown will be the senior US politician at the UN climate talks in Bonn, where delegates are drawing up a rule book for implementing the Paris climate accord.

    The US delegation is led by career diplomats who have accepted the seriousness of the climate threat.

    But President Trump has infuriated other delegates by taking a delegation from Peabody Coal to trumpet the virtues of clean coal in tackling climate change.

    There is of course no such thing as “clean coal”. C + O2 = CO2.

    Burying a small portion of this exhaust CO2 underground, will make little difference (even if it does not leak out), and it will simply divert resources away from the essential investment in development of sustainable technologies, in order to maintain the profits of the coal industry. Some schemes even suggest injecting the CO2 into old oil wells to force out more oil!

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  • So having demonstrated an almost total lack of grasp of the issues, near zero diplomatic skills, and with a drove of US senior diplomatic posts unfilled, Trump made this comically delusional pronouncement!

    “I’m a very good mediator,” he said.

    China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei all have competing claims to territory in the South China Sea.

    Tensions with China have been high in both Vietnam and the Philippines, inflamed by the formers island-building and naval patrols.

    A framework for a code of conduct was agreed in August, but this is still only an outline, with more negotiations due to take place before it can be legally binding.

    Mr Trump, who has long styled himself as a dealmaker, suggested his expertise could aid the process.

    “If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know,” Mr Trump told his Vietnamese counterpart, Tran Dai Quang, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hanoi.

    I expect a “DON’T CALL US, WE’LL CALL YOU!” response, – when the world finishes laughing – or crying!

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  • So as Trump undermines NASA, leaves US government science posts unfilled, makes ludicrous decisions due to a lack of competent scientific advice, appoints climate-change deniers to senior positions, and drags the US deeper into backwardness, the world moves on in high-tech environmental management, and sustainable industries!

    The Canadian UrtheCast company has formally placed a contract with UK firm SSTL to build its UrtheDaily Earth observation (EO) constellation.

    This network of spacecraft, due to launch in 2020, will image the entire global landmass (not including Antarctica) every 24 hours.

    One of its key uses will be in “smart agriculture” – taking pictures to help farmers better manage their crops.

    SSTL is a world leader in manufacturing satellite constellations.

    It has produced series of spacecraft for other EO interests, such as the RapidEye network now owned by Planet and the DMC-3 operation leased to the Chinese concern 21AT.

    SSTL is also in the consortium that makes multiple spacecraft for the European Commission’s satellite-navigation system, Galileo.

    The Guildford-based manufacturer has been working on the UrtheDaily concept with UrtheCast for a while.

    It would see, most probably, eight spacecraft launched into a polar orbit about 600km above the planet.

    Arranged like a pearl necklace, these satellites would follow each other, crossing the equator at 10:30 local time.

    They would gather something on the order of 140 million square km of land imagery a day (clouds permitting) at a resolution of about 5m.

    UrtheCast is a relatively new operator. It started out taking pictures of the Earth from the space station using British-built cameras, and has since acquired the Spanish Deimos satellites to complement its business.

    It plans also to launch in the 2020s a novel, high-resolution capability that would see eight pairs of optical and radar satellites circling the globe.

    This concept is called OptiSAR. Flying radar with optical enables pictures to be gathered in all weathers, even when there is cloud.

    The leading radar satellite would also map the cloud cover so that the trailing optical spacecraft could more efficiently target those regions of the Earth’s surface that were clearly observable.

    “We’ve been working with UrtheCast on OptiSAR for about three or four years now, and on UrtheDaily for about the the last year, year and a half,” explained Luis Gomes from SSTL.

    “There is an identified need in the market for very high-quality imagery at medium resolution, around 5m, for precision agriculture and environmental monitoring.

    “We’d already been developing a design for this kind of system and then UrtheCast said it was the kind of thing they wanted.

    “The aim is to have all the satellites built by 2020. That’s a challenge, but it’s achievable,” he told BBC News.

    SSTL is about to launch a still and video-imaging satellite for the British EO analytics company Earth-i. The spacecraft, dubbed EiX2, will be the first in what is expected to be a large constellation of platforms.

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  • Y’all might not be aware that Trump’s current view that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese was not always the case.

    As negotiators headed to Copenhagen in December 2009 to forge a global climate pact, concerned U.S. business leaders and liberal luminaries took out a full-page ad in the New York Times calling for aggressive climate action. In an open letter to President Obama and the U.S. Congress, they declared: “If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.”

    One of the signatories of that letter: Donald Trump.

    Also signed by Trump’s three adult children, the letter called for passage of U.S. climate legislation, investment in the clean energy economy, and leadership to inspire the rest of the world to join the fight against climate change.


    Two months after signing the open letter, he told members of the Trump National Golf Club that Al Gore should be stripped of his Nobel Prize because that winter had been cold.

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  • Arkrid Sandwich #8
    Dec 19, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Y’all might not be aware that Trump’s current view that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese was not always the case.

    Ah! But that was before he studied that “fount of all knowledge”, Breitbart!

    However, that sounds like the multi-faced Trump! – Any view which panders to the views of the audience of the day – and of course anyone with “great deals” involving flashing money in his direction!

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