OpinionFrance’s Combustible Climate Politics

18:10  06 december  2018
18:10  06 december  2018 Source:   nytimes.com

Trump dismisses findings of U.S. government report on climate change

Trump dismisses findings of U.S. government report on climate change U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he had read parts of a U.S. government report projecting that climate change will cost the country's economy billions of dollars by the end of the century, but he does not believe the economic impacts will be devastating. "I've seen it, I've read some of it, and it's fine," he told reporters at the White House. Asked about severe economic impacts, he said, "I don't believe it." Last year, Trump announced he would withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Deal to combat climate change.

France ’ s Combustible Climate Politics . Climate policy should be about solving problems, not salving consciences. The recent publication of the Fourth National Climate Assessment is being hailed as a potent rebuke to President Trump for his do-nothing approach to climate change.

The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF). Bret Stephens: France ’ s Combustible Climate Politics . Climate policy should be about solving problems, not salving consciences. A car burning near the Champs-Elysees during a demonstration in Paris on Saturday.CreditCreditKamil

France’s Combustible Climate Politics© Kamil Zihnioglu/Associated Press A car burning near the Champs-Elysees during a demonstration in Paris on Saturday.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

The recent publication of the Fourth National Climate Assessment is being hailed as a potent rebuke to President Trump for his do-nothing approach to climate change. Meanwhile, another president is learning that perhaps the only thing worse than doing nothing about climate, politically speaking, is doing something about it.

Macron says France will delay cap on nuclear energy

Macron says France will delay cap on nuclear energy French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday the country will move more slowly than promised to cap the amount of energy it derives from nuclear energy. Amid daily protests about high energy prices, Macron said France will shut down 14 nuclear reactors by 2035 out of 58 now in order. Yet he said France would cap the amount of electricity it derives from nuclear plants at 50 percent by 2035. That is a delay compared with the goal of 2025 set by his predecessor, Francois Hollande. France depends more on nuclear energy than any other country, getting about three-quarters of its electricity from its 19 nuclear plants.

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President Donald Trump blamed the Paris climate accord as demonstrations in France continued to protest over an increase in fuel tax and other grievances.

Emmanuel Macron’s government was forced this week to suspend a planned 6.5-cent-per-liter tax increase on diesel and 2.9 cents on gasoline — collected for the purpose of speeding France’s transition to renewables — after weeks of protests and violent rioting throughout the country. French consumers already pay more than $6 for a gallon of gas, compared to a current national average of $2.44 in the U.S.

That’s in a country where unemployment is 9.1 percent, the median monthly disposable income is $1,930, and economic growth has lagged for decades. “To the protesters,” wrote Adam Nossiter, The Times’s correspondent in Paris, “Mr. Macron is concerned about the end of the world, while they are worried about the end of the month.”

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EU sets goal to be 'climate neutral' by 2050

EU sets goal to be 'climate neutral' by 2050 The European Union on Wednesday urged government, businesses, citizens and regions to join it in an ambitious plan to cut emissions and make the bloc carbon neutral by 2050. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); "True, there are many challenges on the road," warned EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said. "But status quo is not an option.

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politics . Climate Change Used to Be a Bipartisan Issue. Here' s What Changed. “These issues know no ideology, no political boundaries. It’ s not a liberal or conservative thing we’re talking about.” Bush’ s call for a bipartisan response to the country’ s environmental challenges seems quaint today, when

So much then for the belief that a cabal of know-nothing pundits and greedy oil barons are the main political obstacle to climate action. President Obama rejected a gas-tax hike in 2009, when Democrats controlled Congress, but not because the Koch brothers were bending his ear. In France, the protesting “Yellow Vests” aren’t particularly right-wing. They’re just rightly fed-up, and 84 percent of the French support them.

So much, also, for the fantasy that our main climate challenge is that nobody in power has the spine to do something about it. The real problem is that so far most of those somethings haven’t worked, or won’t work, or won’t work anytime soon, or come at too exorbitant a price.

Before accusing the so-called do-nothings of being good-for-nothings, shouldn’t the self-declared do-somethings first propose something serious to do?

Consider the list of somethings.

Leaders gather for key UN climate talks in Poland

Leaders gather for key UN climate talks in Poland Leaders from around the world are arriving for the ceremonial opening of the climate conference in southern Poland that will discuss ways of curbing climate change. The two-week conference in Katowice is expected to work out how governments can report on their efforts to reduce green gas emission and keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), as agreed in 2015 in Paris. Host Poland will propose a declaration Monday for a "just transition" away from coal mining, the supplier of its main source of energy, to take into consideration the situation of people employed in the sector.

POLITICO Europe covers the politics , policy and personalities of the European Union. Our coverage includes breaking news, opinion pieces, and features.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) was launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and six countries — Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States — on 16 February 2012.

The Kyoto Protocol? In 1997, the U.S. Senate, including John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, voted 95-0 against becoming a signatory. Cap-and-trade? In 2005 the European Union launched the world’s most ambitious carbon-trading program to much fanfare: It has been beset by corruption and mismanagement.

Biofuels? They turned out to be an epic environmental and economic disaster, never mind that so-called climate hawks like Nancy Pelosi backed them for years. Massive government subsidies for wind and solar power? No country has invested more than Germany — an estimated $580 billion by 2025 — yet it will still miss its 2020 carbon emissions goals while energy prices have soared.

The Paris Climate Accord? The website Climateactiontracker.org finds that every nation it tracks save for Morocco and Gambia is falling short of its Paris commitments. Reducing the role of coal in energy markets? In India and China, which account for more than one-third of the world’s population, things are moving in precisely the opposite direction.

Carbon sequestration? Maybe, but it will likely be decades before the technology is likely to be widely adopted. Long-term battery storage? This is the holy grail of renewable energy because it would solve the intermittency problem of wind and solar power. But like the holy grail, it’s notoriously dangerous to those in its quest, with companies that pursue it having a bad habit of going bankrupt.

Trump Retweets False Claims About Paris Protesters

Trump Retweets False Claims About Paris Protesters Although protesters have taken to the streets to demonstrate against fuel taxes, the criticism of President Emmanuel Macron is actually the opposite of what right-wing commentators have claimed. Opposition political leaders have actually called for increased taxes on the wealthy, while demonstrators have taken to the streets against rising costs as they’ve also seen some of their social support curbed by the government. Kirk’s claim that people are chanting “we want Trump” appears to be based on a trending video of demonstrators appearing to mock the U.S. president.

What might work on a scale and time frame likely to make a difference for the climate? Well, nuclear power. The technology is mature, efficient, carbon-free, and, compared to other sources, remarkably safe.

Which brings me back to France. For years, the French had an advantage when it came to climate change, since they get about 75 percent of their electricity from nuclear power. In 2015 they passed a law to cut it to 50 percent. Two years later, they decided to phase out all oil and gas exploration by 2040, never mind that the natural-gas boom has been essential to America’s transition away from coal.

This is not a climate-change policy. It’s a politics of gestures, destined to achieve the opposite of what it intends — at the expense of the people who can least afford it.

None of this is to say that the world should give up. Beyond nuclear power, we need to be placing medium-sized bets on potentially transformative technologies not funded by regressive taxes or industrial subsidies, and not dependent on future breakthroughs that might still be decades off, if they happen at all. Let thousands of climate-startups bloom — and let markets, not governments, figure out which ones work.

But a long history of climate policy failures might also cause climate activists and the politicians they support to be more humble about their convictions, more sensitive to the human effects of their policy, and more willing to listen to criticism.

To have a diagnosis is not to have a cure, and bad cures can be worse than the disease. Those who think otherwise are also living in denial.

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Climate talks extended as island nations demand action.
Weary officials from almost 200 countries faced another day of negotiations at the U.N. climate talks to bridge their last remaining differences as small island nations on Friday demanded an ambitious stance against global warming. The talks in Poland were supposed to end Friday but Michal Kurtyka, a senior Polish official chairing the negotiations, told delegates to resume talks on a revised draft text at 4 a.m. Saturday.

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