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CLIMATE SCIENCE
Merkel vows to convince climate change 'doubters'
By Frank ZELLER
Berlin (AFP) May 23, 2017


OECD: No excuse for ignoring climate change
Washington (UPI) May 23, 2017 - There is no economic excuse for backing away from efforts to advance a low-carbon economy through collaborative efforts, the head of the OECD said from Berlin.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report published Tuesday the net impact from pro-climate policies for the Group of 20 industrialized economies would be a gain of about 1 percent for gross domestic production by 2021. If the efforts to avoid climate change result in a reduction of damage like coastal flooding, the OECD said the net gain would be about 5 percent for global GDP by 2050.

In an era where nationalism is an emerging political trend, the OECD said cooperation across borders would help advance the low-carbon initiatives outlined in the global Paris climate agreement.

The G20 countries account for 85 percent of global GDP and 80 percent of the emissions of carbon dioxide, a harmful greenhouse gas. Combined and proactive policies could help offset some of the early economic strains of a greener economy.

"Far from being a dampener on growth, integrating climate action into growth policies can have a positive economic impact," OECD Secretary-General Angel GurrĂ­a said in a statement from Berlin. "There is no economic excuse for not acting on climate change, and the urgency to act is high."

Germany has one of the greener economies in Europe, though emissions tied to fossil fuels posted a slight increase earlier this year. The country accounts for nearly 23 percent of the emissions tied to fossil fuels in Europe.

For Pacific economies, an annual review of the New Zealand energy sector from the International Energy Agency described the country as a "success story" for its ability to advance on low-carbon options like hydroelectric power and geothermal energy, all without government subsidies. New Zealand Energy Minister Judith Collins said, however, that meant technologies like solar power weren't attractive on economic and efficiency terms.

In the United States, President Donald Trump has enacted pro-energy policies that favor fossil fuels as a way to encourage economic growth. Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said this week it was coal that offered a pro-environment and pro-growth option for the largest economy in the world.

"The war on coal is over," he said in a statement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed Tuesday to work to convince climate change "doubters" as the world waits to see whether US President Donald Trump will endorse the Paris agreement.

"Protecting the climate matters to all of us," said Merkel, whose country will host a G20 summit and UN climate talks this year.

"We all feel the impacts of climate change... We are responsible for each other, we are liable for each other, we share a common destiny."

Urging the international community to maintain "the spirit of Paris" -- the 196-nation climate pact reached in late 2015 -- she said: "I am still trying to convince the doubters."

She was speaking at the annual informal "Petersberg Climate Dialogue" talks hosted by Germany, with some 30 nations taking part.

At the talks in Berlin, Germany's Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks and Chinese Special Climate Envoy Xie Zhenhua jointly urged the United States to stay in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Trump on the campaign trail dismissed climate change a "hoax" perpetrated by China and vowed to "cancel" the international pact to curb emissions from burning oil, coal and gas.

He has not yet executed his threat, but has appointed an anti-climate litigator to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, and chosen the former CEO of oil giant ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, as his secretary of state.

- 'Elephant in room' -

Merkel said the "energy transition" in Germany -- away from nuclear power and fossil fuels and toward solar, wind and other renewables -- proved that "prosperity and sustainability can go hand-in-hand".

"About one third of the electricity we consume in Germany comes from renewable energy, and despite the rapid growth we have maintained a stable supply," said the former environment minister.

She said efficiency gains now meant giant projects such as off-shore wind farms could be built without state subsidies, but she admitted there were new "bottlenecks", mainly in transporting and storing green energy.

Worldwide, Merkel said, China was now the leader in renewables, India was planning 50 new solar parks, while nations from the United Arab Emirates to Morocco and Kenya were building green power megaprojects.

Trump will meet other leaders of the G7 wealthy nations in Sicily, Italy on May 26-27 before Merkel hosts a G20 meeting in the northern port city of Hamburg on July 7-8.

The next global meeting on the UN Convention on Climate Change will be organised by the Pacific island state of Fiji, but hosted by the German city of Bonn on November 6-17.

"We must all do more to build green economies" Fiji's Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said in Berlin, and urged that the "transformation we need to make must be accelerated".

He pointed to "the challenge that the new administration in the US presents to the multilateral consensus on the need for climate action," calling the issue "the elephant in the room" for climate negotiators.

bur-fz/hmn/msp/txw

EXXONMOBIL

CLIMATE SCIENCE
Trump can't stop progress on climate, says Al Gore
Cannes, France (AFP) May 22, 2017
Not even Donald Trump can stop the campaign to roll back climate change, Al Gore said Monday as the former US vice president's sequel to Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" screened at the Cannes film festival. "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" received a special screening at Cannes after premiering at the Sundance film festival in January, a decade after Gore's first do ... read more

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