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Environmental Issues and Protection
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  • CO2 emissions
    Print section Print Headline:  CO2 emissions UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  A landslide legislative victory would make France’s president a potent force Global CO2 emissions from energy use remained roughly flat in 2016, according to a report from BP, a big oil firm. A year-on-year increase of 0.1% was well below the ten-year average growth rate of 1.6%. Improved energy efficiency and a slowing global economy were partly responsible. China also played a part: the country remains the world’s largest source of CO2 but its emissions fell by 41m tonnes in 2016, partly thanks to weakness in some energy-intensive industries. In contrast, India’s emissions increased by 114m tonnes last year. The landscape has changed over the past quarter-century. In 2016 the Asia-Pacific region produced almost half of global emissions, up from 25% in 1990. Article body images:  20170617_INC070.png Published:  20170617 Source:  The Economist Newspaper ...

  • We’ve got the power: Big business sees the promise of clean energy
    Print section Print Rubric:  President Trump may not see the promise of clean energy. A lot of big business does Print Headline:  We’ve got the power Print Fly Title:  Business and clean energy UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  — Terror and the internet — Theresa May’s failed gamble Fly Title:  We’ve got the power Main image:  20170610_WBP004_0.jpg PITY America’s big businesses. For years their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint were dismissed by environmentalists as “greenwashing”. Now, after months trying to persuade a supposedly pro-business new president, Donald Trump, of the merits of staying in the Paris climate accord, he practically laughed in their faces by withdrawing on June 1st. Executives fear the exit will do no good to America’s—and by implication their—reputation. Not for nothing have more than 900 American firms and ...

  • The bad earth: The most neglected threat to public health in China is toxic soil
    Print section Print Rubric:  Contaminated soil is the biggest neglected threat to public health in China Print Headline:  The bad earth Print Fly Title:  Pollution in China UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  — Terror and the internet — Theresa May’s failed gamble Fly Title:  The bad earth Location:  SHIQIAO, HUNAN PROVINCE Main image:  20170610_FBP001_0.jpg TANG DONGHUA, a wiry 47-year-old farmer wearing a Greenpeace T-shirt, smokes a cigarette and gesticulates towards his paddy fields in the hills of southern Hunan province. The leaves of his rice plants poke about a foot above water. Mr Tang says he expects to harvest about one tonne of rice from his plot of a third of a hectare (0.8 acres) near the small village of Shiqiao. There is just one problem: the crop will be ...

  • Banyan: Will China fill the vacuum left by America?
    Print section Print Rubric:  America is creating a vacuum in global leadership. Does China really want to fill it? Print Headline:  Still shy of the world stage Print Fly Title:  Banyan UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  — Terror and the internet — Theresa May’s failed gamble Fly Title:  Banyan Main image:  20170610_CND000_0.jpg EVEN analysts who make a living predicting a great shift of wealth, power and global leadership from the United States to China never anticipated the speed with which Donald Trump appears to be marginalising his homeland. Last week Mr Trump announced he would pull America out of the Paris accord on climate change. At an annual China-EU summit under way at the time, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, declared that China and Europe together would demonstrate “solidarity with future generations and responsibility ...

  • The Paris agreement: Whither the world after America’s retreat?
    Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  The Paris agreement Main image:  20170603_irp502.jpg IN THE end, not even the pope’s pleas were enough to persuade Donald Trump to go back on his campaign promise to leave the Paris agreement. The arguments of his advisers, such as strategist Steve Bannon and the head of America’s Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, proved decisive. Populist concerns trumped planetary ones. On June 1st, after several days of speculation, the president announced that America will leave the climate deal. “I was elected to represent citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he declared. He described the Paris agreement as a “self-inflicted major economic wound”. His chief of staff, Reince Priebus, wore a green tie for the occasion. The climate deal, which seeks to keep the rise in average global temperatures “well below” 2°C, compared with pre-industrial times, was adopted in December 2015 by 195 countries. Such wide endorsement reflects its modest aims and flexible construction: almost all the signatories made voluntary pledges to curb emissions of greenhouse gases by whatever means ...

  • America and climate change: The flaws in Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris accord
    Main image:  AFTER announcing on June 1st that America will abandon the Paris climate agreement, Donald Trump can at least claim to have honoured a campaign promise. Then again, as he also pledged to reinstate torture, eliminate the national debt in eight years and hail Iran’s supreme leader with “Hey baby!”, that isn’t saying much. And the president’s decision to withdraw from the accord is similarly unconscionable and fatuous. A repudiation of his predecessor’s main climate policy, it was opposed by most of Mr Trump’s advisers, most large American firms and two-thirds of Americans. Mr Trump has dealt a severe blow to America’s interests and standing.More hot air than a flue-gas stackThe Republicans who had been arguing to leave Paris, including Scott Pruitt, who disputes that people cause climate change and heads Mr Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency, consider this as merely consistent with George W. Bush’s decision to exit the Kyoto protocol in 2001. Yet Mr Bush, though misguided, at least had an economic argument. Kyoto imposed binding greenhouse-gas emissions cuts on rich countries but not on fast-growing developing ones, such as China, which overtook America to become the world’s biggest polluter only six years later. The Paris accord is different. All its signatories—which is to say, ...

  • Flow-riders: South Florida tries to hold back the sea
    Print section Print Rubric:  The residents of south Florida try to hold back the sea Print Headline:  Flow-riders Print Fly Title:  Housing and climate change UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  The middle has fallen out of British politics Fly Title:  Flow-riders Location:  MIAMI BEACH Main image:  Commute like Canute Commute like Canute TURRETS and terracotta tiles, palm trees and pillars adorn properties on La Gorce Island. Trucks roll by on their way to plots where homes are being torn down or built up. “There are a lot more people making improvements here than fleeing,” says Josh Gelfman, a developer. “None of my clients are that worried,” says David Pobiak, an estate agent who sells mansions to Americans, Brazilians and others. “Most people I deal with just want to be able to park ...

  • Harper lite: The cheery new leader of Canada’s Conservatives
    Print section Print Rubric:  Andrew Scheer resembles the country’s last prime minister Print Headline:  Harper lite Print Fly Title:  Canada’s new opposition leader UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  The middle has fallen out of British politics Fly Title:  Harper lite Location:  TORONTO Main image:  20170603_amp001.jpg WHEN Stephen Harper stepped down as leader of Canada’s Conservative Party after losing a national election in October 2015, it looked as if the party he had created might come apart. That 13 candidates came forward to succeed him was an indication of how many ideologies he had knitted together. Among them were three anti-abortion social conservatives, a libertarian and a Trumpian populist. Any one of these might have unravelled Mr Harper’s coalition. In an election on May ...

  • Know thy enemy: The markets frustrate OPEC’s efforts to push up oil prices
    Print section Print Rubric:  OPEC is fighting not just shale producers but the futures market—and losing Print Headline:  Know thy enemy Print Fly Title:  OPEC policy UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Why Israel needs a Palestinian state Fly Title:  Know thy enemy Main image:  20170520_FNP001_0.jpg BORROWING three words from Mario Draghi, the central banker who helped save the euro zone, Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, and his Russian counterpart, Alexander Novak, on May 15th promised to do “whatever it takes” to curb the glut in the global oil markets. Ahead of a May 25th meeting of OPEC, the oil producers’ cartel, they promised to extend cuts agreed last year by nine months, to March 2018, pushing oil prices up sharply, to around $50 a barrel. But to make the rally last, a more apt three-word phrase might be: “know thy enemy”. In two ...

  • The Economist explains: The impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef
    Main image:  THE Great Barrier Reef stretches some 2,300 km down Australia’s north-east coast, covering an area the size of Italy. It is home to about 600 types of coral and 1,625 species of fish. UNESCO calls it a “site of remarkable variety and beauty”. That may not last. For the second consecutive year, expanses of coral have lost the vivid colours that draw thousands of annual sightseers. Instead, they have bleached a deathly white. Worse, this year the bleaching has extended further south than in 2016. Bleachings were also reported in 1998 and 2002. But for it to happen two years running is unprecedented. Why are the corals turning white? In the 36 years since the reef was declared a World Heritage Area, mounting stresses from human activity have left it struggling. One factor is the nutrients and pesticides flowing into the ocean from coastal farms and cities in the north-eastern state of Queensland, which have polluted its waters. But experts agree that the biggest culprit is warmer ocean temperatures linked to climate change. Corals are marine animals that get their colour and most of their food from the algae that live within them. The higher temperatures stress algae, causing the rich hues to disappear. Some marine scientists liken this to the impact of a prolonged heatwave or ...


 
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