Climate Change
Energy
Minerals & Mining
Sustainable Transformation
Technology & Innovation
North America
Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home
Solar panels at the Visitor Center in the Grand Canyon National Park | Photo credit: Grand Canyon National Park/Flickr.com [CC BY 2.0]

News that the Trump administration will move to repeal and replace the clean power plan (CPP) – a major initiative to cut emissions from the US electricity sector – has been met with concern overseas.

On Wednesday, the Reuters news agency reported on a document leaked from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) outlining a plan to scrap the Obama-era measure. It also called for input on a replacement policy that would reduce carbon emissions in fossil fuel power plants. Industry is reportedly lobbying for a weaker rule.

The policy underpinned the US commitment to the Paris Agreement, which Donald Trump says he wants to leave. It would also have had a real impact on the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. By 2030, the clean power plan would have reduced power plant emissions in the world’s second biggest polluter by 32% below 2005 levels.

Maldives environment and energy minister Thoriq Ibrahim, who chairs an alliance of small island states (Aosis), pointed to storms that battered the Caribbean last month as a reason to toughen up, not scrap, carbon laws. “After an onslaught of deadly hurricanes, it should be obvious to all of us, especially those with the greatest historic responsibility to act, that we need to redouble efforts to cut emissions,” said Ibrahim. “In fact, Aosis ministers are meeting in Maldives next week to further develop our own renewable energy plans. If we can do it, everyone can.”

The CPP was the key US commitment that convinced the Chinese to enjoin a bipartisan agreement with the US on cutting emissions. That deal, between the world’s number one and two polluters, provided a platform on which the Paris climate deal was struck a year later. Rescinding the plan, said Li Shuo, climate policy advisor at Greenpeace East Asia, would be seen as a breach of the agreement in China. “This is indeed unfortunate.” He said China had a “special stake” in keeping the US on course to meet its commitments to the Paris climate agreement because the US target was signed off by presidents of both countries.

“What will China do in response to a US that’s diverting from its pledge?” Li said that so far, president Xi Jinping had remained mostly silent on Trump’s stepping away from their agreement on climate change. But he has hinted at his displeasure, notably giving a lavish welcome to California’s pro-climate governor Jerry Brown. “At the same time [US energy secretary] Rick Perry received a much lower level reception, [which] was unconventional and quite bold by Chinese diplomatic standards,” said Li.

The EPA move is a response to an executive order issued by Donald Trump in March that called on the agency to scrap the scheme. Richard Black, director of the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit in London, said the process in the US would likely be opposed in the courts by environment groups and some states. “It won’t be an easy ride,” he said. “Unless the administration finds a way to overturn the 2009 Endangerment Finding, which ruled that greenhouse gases must be regulated as emissions pose a threat to human health and wellbeing, those legal challenges are likely to win.”

News of the imminent demise of the CPP comes amid reports the Trump administration plans to offer subsidies to coal and nuclear generators. Meanwhile on Wednesday, the International Energy Agency announced that solar was, for the first time ever, the world’s fastest growing source of new power. Black said: “The transition of the US power sector from coal to gas and renewables continues, for purely economic reasons. By the time this goes through the courts, it’s likely to be game over for coal anyway.”

 

[This article originally appeared on climatechangenews.com]

Source:
Climate Home

Climate Diplomacy
Development
Water
Asia
Sabine Blumstein and Benjamin Pohl, adelphi

Central Asian countries have long been competing over the water resources of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya river basins. Despite political commitment to cooperation, the policies of the five Central Asian republics – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – have largely been driven by uncoordinated and partly contradicting national strategies. This focus on short-term national interests entails significant financial costs and major risks for the future development of the whole region.

Adaptation & Resilience
Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Conflict Transformation
Development
Security
Sustainable Transformation
Asia
Dhanasree Jayaram, Manipal Academy of Higher Education

The destruction caused by Cyclone Ockhi in South Asia portends what a ‘climate-changed’ world has in store for humankind, especially taking into consideration the adverse human security implications of such disasters that have to be addressed urgently. Dhanasree Jayaram argues that planetary security in this context can be best ensured at the regional level.  

Development
Security
Technology & Innovation
Water
North America
Sabine Blumstein and Benjamin Pohl, adelphi

In November 2017, the U.S. government released its first ever Global Water Strategy – to our knowledge also the first of its kind globally. The opening page cites President Trump claiming that ‘[w]ater may be the most important issue we face for the next generation’. This priority may surprise observers of the current U.S. administration.

Biodiversity & Livelihoods
Climate Change
Conflict Transformation
Environment & Migration
Gender
Land & Food
Security
Water
Sub-Saharan Africa
Chitra Nagarajan, Conflict Advisor

The Lake Chad region experiences a multitude of crises: lack of employment and education opportunities, resource scarcity and violent conflict, all exacerbated by the effects of climate change, making the Lake Chad region Africa’s largest humanitarian emergency. At the margins of the Planetary Security Conference 2017, we spoke with the independent conflict adviser Chitra Nagarajan about the region’s future.