Thursday, October 06, 2016

Paris Climate Agreement Reaches Approval Threshold

The United Nations announced that the necessary number of countries producing greenhouse gas emissions have formally signed the Paris Accord negotiated earlier this year.  It will go into effect on November 4th.  The agreement is flawed in that it does not have legally required goals, but since its targets are only aspirational, the Current Occupant was able to sign the agreement without Senate ratification. It would have surely died in the Senate since that chamber is filled with rabid climate change deniers.  Europe followed the lead of the United States and China putting the accord over the 55 nation threshold.  Seventy three nations have signed with Russia, Japan and Australia notably absent from consenting.  Candidate Trump has said he would take 'Merica out of the deal' if he occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The intent of the agreement is to prevent global average temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above their preindustrial levels.  This goal will require aggressive action from the participants.  One of Obama's key legislative implementations, cutting power plant emissions, is mired in litigation and will remain that way until at least 2018 when the divided Supreme Court lifts its stay on EPA's rule making.

In related news, a huge hurricane, Matthew, is approaching the Florida coast.  The massive storm has already killed at least eight hundred people in Haiti. The category 4-5 hurricane is already the longest-lived storm on record for the eastern Caribbean. Scientists have predicted for at least a decade that global warming will intensify storms.  The Governor has already told residents to evacuate coastal areas, warning that "this storm will kill you." Mathew is expected to arrive Friday morning.