Tagged With political climate change

Change is in the air over at the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology. An oozing sump of climate change scepticism under the leadership of Texas Republican Lamar Smith, the committee is poised to be taken over by Democrats and led by Texas’s Eddie Bernice Johnson, a registered nurse and longtime champion of science education.

The 2018 midterms were a mixed bag for the environment, with some key ballot initiatives failing but several environment-friendly candidates winning their elections. One of those candidates hails from Orange County, California, long considered to be a center of Republican power.

In CA-49, previously held by controversial Republican Darrel Issa, Democrat Mike Levin flipped the seat blue for the first time since 2000. An environmental attorney with experience in the clean energy sector, Levin was highlighted by the conservative-leaning Washington Examiner as focusing on climate change more than any other Democrat running for office.

Elon Musk's SolarCity acquisition played a large part in breaking the US solar industry's five-year winning streak, according to a report released Wednesday from the Solar Energy Industries Association and Greentech Media. Overall, residential solar sales are down 13 per cent in the US this year, following five straight years of gains. After being acquired by Tesla, where Musk is CEO and founder, SolarCity's door-to-door sales pushes became much less aggressive, a drop that echoed across the market, the report said.

Over the weekend, a confusing back-and-forth between the White House and the Wall Street Journal briefly reignited hopes that the US would remain an active participant in the Paris Climate Agreement. Following a climate change conference in Montreal, which the US was not attending in an official capacity, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete told the WSJ that "The US has stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris accord, but they will try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement".

China has announced plans to end sales of all fossil fuel-powered cars. Bloomberg reports that Xin Guobin, vice-minister of the Industry and Information Technology Ministry, is finalising a timetable for ending production and sales of petrol-powered cars while stepping up incentives for hybrid and electric cars, though no exact deadline has been announced. China has long pushed for electric cars (called "New Energy Vehicles" in the country), introducing tax breaks for new buyers and planning 100,000 new charging stations in 2017 alone.

PITTSBURGH -- America's storied "Steel City" is on the forefront of an energy revolution, transitioning from its long reliance on fossil fuels to renewables and energy efficient homes. In June, Mayor Bill Peduto joined an alliance of over 100 cities committing to solar and wind power. The announcement came only hours after President Trump made known he was ending US involvement in the Paris agreement, a 195-nation pledge to fight climate change by dramatically reducing carbon emissions. Trump said he "represents the citizens of Pittsburgh not Paris." Mayor Peduto, the same day as Trump's speech, assured the president that the city "will follow the guides of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy and future."

On Monday, the US Department of Energy head, Rick Perry, went on CNBC's Squawk Box to speak out against the near-universal scientific consensus on climate change. Perry, the former Texas governor who finished a disappointing 12th on Dancing With the Stars, said CO2 is not the main contributor to climate change and that scepticism of the scientific consensus on climate change is "quite all right".

Former New York City major, Michael Bloomberg, is coordinating an effort among 30 mayors, three governors, 80 university presidents and over 100 businesses to independently align with the Paris Agreement's goal of curbing US carbon emissions, the New York Times reported Friday. Additionally, 83 mayors have signed the Climate Mayors Agreement, similarly with the goal of independently reducing carbon emissions.

At President Trumps' behest, the US is joining Syria and Nicaragua in abdicating from the Paris Agreement, a coalition of 147 nations to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions. While Trump faced heavy international pressure to remain within the agreement, from the Pope during his trip to the Vatican, China's President Xi and European leaders during the G7 summit, the GOP overwhelmingly opposed Paris from the get-go. EPA head Scott Pruitt has long argued that the United States' emissions reduction goal under Paris weakened the US economy.

Sometimes, the only way to fix an unhappy relationship is to end it. Since former president Obama (remember that guy?) left office in January, the United States has done an about-face on the Paris climate agreement -- the country has gone from being an leader on climate action to a rogue state that can't decide whether it wants to keep a seat at the international table.

President Trump's "America First Energy Plan" will, ironically, put the US far behind China and India in the push to modernise its energy grid. China and India are both on track to "overachieve" their Paris Climate Agreement goals of de-carbonising their energy grids by 2030, according to the Climate Action Tracker study released Monday. Of the world's top three carbon emitters -- China, India and the US -- only the US is setting itself up to potentially fail its target goal.