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The President Delivers a Statement on the Paris Climate Agreement – Act On Climate – Medium

PRESIDENT OBAMA: In my first inaugural address, I committed this country to the tireless task of combating climate change and protecting this planet for future generations.

Two weeks ago, in Paris, I said before the world that we needed a strong global agreement to accomplish this goal — an enduring agreement that reduces global carbon pollution and sets the world on a course to a low-carbon future.

A few hours ago, we succeeded. We came together around the strong agreement the world needed. We met the moment.

 

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Half a billion years ago, Earth’s animal life rapidly evolved during the event known as the Cambrian explosion. In the future, growing swarms of robots all talking with one another could spark a similar “Cambrian explosion” for robotic evolution. A robotics expert who has worked for the U.S. military recently published a paper on the technological changes that could rapidly spawn the next generation of robots powered by advanced artificial intelligence. He also weighs the consequences of robots rapidly replacing huge numbers of human workers.

 

Two technologies could play the biggest roles in rapid robot and AI evolution, according to Gill Pratt, who has served as robotics program manager for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). First, “Cloud Robotics” could allow robots to share experiences and knowledge through wireless connections and the Internet. Second, “Deep Learning” algorithms allow robots to learn from experience and apply those lessons to more general scenarios. Together, they could lead to more capable robots with the AI brains to handle many more jobs currently done by humans, according to Pratt’s paper published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

“While a Cambrian Explosion in robotics promises to improve the human condition dramatically, it also looms as a disruptive economic force, in part because of its much-discussed potential to make certain human jobs redundant,” Pratt writes. “Yet there is reason to embrace the pending robotics revolution despite such concerns.”

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To keep a hostile Congress out of the process, the president can only partake in internationally binding agreements with a base in existing US law

The United States’ refusal to make internationally binding its ambitious pollution targets at the Cop21 climate talks in Paris isn’t a sign of Barack Obama’s lack of political will, but a reflection of the legal limits of his authorities and the political realities of what other nations will commit to doing.

Obama has proposed a legally binding agreement applicable to all nations without binding emissions targets. That approach isn’t ideal, but it’s politically and legally achievable – and a massive step forward for climate action.

Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has led the effort to discredit Obama’s efforts in Paris, backed by a powerful apparatus of fossil fuel funded climate skepticism and state-level Republican opposition to the landmark Clean Power Plan, which would reduce US dependence on dirty coal. McConnell and others have made clear that no new international climate agreement would ever be approved by the Senate.

That credible threat is keeping US climate negotiators from making the pollution targets in the Paris agreement internationally binding. But it’s not putting the breaks on the idea of a legally binding agreement.

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A sprawling, aggressive effort to measure the climate footprint of natural gas production has yielded striking results: methane emissions from the Barnett Shale in North Texas are at least 90 percent higher than government estimates.

That conclusion comes from a peer-reviewed study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper is the most sweeping study to emerge from the Environmental Defense Fund’s $18-million project to quantify methane leaks from the natural gas industry. It was written by 20 co-authors from 13 institutions, including universities, government labs, EDF and private research firms.

Overall, the two-year study found that methane emissions from the Barnett Shale are nearly twice as much as estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory, and 5.5 times the number from a separate global database.

 

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THE world’s once-surging greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for global warming, may have gone into decline. Figures to be published this week will show that global emissions neared a plateau last year and could fall this year — even as the world economy is growing.

Scientists will say this week that man-made emissions “nearly stalled” at 37bn tonnes of CO2 last year — and are on track to stabilise or drop slightly this year.

The new figures, which will be formally published tomorrow, come at a crucial time, with politicians from 195 countries attending the UN climate talks in Paris. Their aim is to cut emissions enough to limit global warming to below 2C by 2100.

Sir Brian Hoskins, who chairs the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London and is also a member of the government’s committee on climate change, welcomed the figures.

“The importance of this is that the earlier we hit peak emissions, then the less CO2 that will have accumulated in the air and the easier it is to stay below 2C of warming. If we peak later, say in 2025, then the cuts we have to make will be much greater and it is uncertain if we could actually do it.”

The significance of the figures, produced by The Global Carbon Project (GCP), is that they show, for the first time in the modern era, that greenhouse gas emissions could be falling even as the world economy is growing. Global economic growth is projected at 3.3% for 2015 by the International Monetary Fund

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Patrick Moore has reported Greenpeace–the charity he co-founded in the 1970s–to the FBI for what he claims are a series of offences, including “outright breach of the RICO, wire-fraud, witness-tampering and obstruction-of-committee statutes.

Accordingly, I have decided to inform the Federal Bureau of Investigation of Greenpeace’s dishonest and disfiguring attempt at entrapment of Professor Happer, whom I know to be a first-rate scientist, colleague and friend, one of the world’s half-dozen most eminent and experienced physicists, and one who would never provide any scientific advice unless in his professional opinion that advice was correct.

The organization’s timing was clearly intended to spring the trap on Professor Happer hours before he was due to appear in front of Congress. This misconduct constitutes a serious – and on many counts criminal – interference with the democratic process that America cherishes.

I have reported Greenpeace to the FBI under 18 USC 96 (RICO statute); 18 USC 1343 (wire fraud); 18 USC 1512 (attempting to intimidate a witness due to appear at a Congressional hearing); and 18 USC 1505 (obstruction of proceedings before committees).

I shall also be asking the Bureau to investigate Greenpeace’s sources of funding. It is now an enemy of the State, an enemy of humanity and, indeed, an enemy of all species on Earth

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Covestro explains that it has been a Solar Impulse project partner since 2010 and also its official technical partner. It was responsible for the design and construction of the Si2 cockpit which utilises the most advanced polyurethane and polycarbonate systems, significantly reducing the weight of the plane while ensuring ultimate protection for the pilot.

“To our employees and customers, the Solar Impulse project has become a symbol of Covestro’s innovation as well as our ability to provide a wide range of innovative solutions,” said Patrick Thomas, Covestro CEO. “We are delighted to be able to continue to support this inspirational endeavour as it embraces our corporate values of Curious, Courageous and Colourful.”

“Sustainability sits at the heart of our business strategy,” said Richard Northcote, Chief Sustainability Officer at Covestro. “This renewed commitment to Solar Impulse includes our role as one of the leading sponsors for the cross-America leg of the round the world journey, which will commence in Spring 2016. As more consumers seek energy-efficient products and governments start to implement the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in legislation, Solar Impulse will play a huge role in showing the world how the technology that exists today can contribute to achieving what many believed was impossible.”

Covestro claims that technology developed for Solar Impulse is already used in various everyday products in the automotive and refrigeration sectors. In addition, coatings used on the plane are now also being used in many other industrial sectors.

Bertrand Piccard, Initiator, Chairman and Pilot of the Solar Impulse Project, said, “Thanks to our delay in the round the world adventure, Covestro will fly with us and demonstrate its essential contribution to Solar Impulse. All our partners share our vision of a cleaner future and the ongoing involvement of Patrick and the Covestro team confirms their commitment to achieving this aim.”

Andre Borschberg, Co-founder, CEO and Pilot of the Solar Impulse Project, added, “We have valued Covestro’s technical input, commitment and innovative spirit since 2010 and are looking forward to working even more closely with them over the next three years.”

He added, “I speak from personal experience when I say the cockpit Covestro designed for Si2, provided Bertrand and I with a comfortable and ambient environment to fly and work in. We are looking forward to getting back inside it for the next leg of the journey in 2016.”

Covestro explains that it is also supporting Solar Impulse’s ‘Future is Clean’ initiative, which is gathering global support for the use of clean energy, following the ratification of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and ahead of the Conference on Climate Change of the United Nations (COP21) this December.

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A slightly slimmed down draft was released at COP21 on Thursday morning. With progress comes ongoing contention over climate finance and loss and damage.

At a press conference on Thursday hosted by Climate Action Network International, Kaisa Kosonan of Greenpeace said that negotiations of the current ADP session has “made progress,” especially on defining long-term climate and emissions goals.

Kosonan said that the concept of a 1.5.degree Celsius limit on global warming is gaining wider acceptance, especially after French president François Hollande mentioned it in his speech on Monday. Many leaders, particularly those of small island and other more vulnerable nations, maintain that the goal of 2-degrees Celsius rise over pre-industrial levels will burden their people with suffering and loss from the devastating impacts from climate change, for which they are largely not responsible.

Even if the climate pact endorses a 1.5-degrees Celsius limit, which is by no means certain, or even likely, many scientists say the world is already locked into 1.5 degrees, no matter what happens going forward

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