Nature Roars

  • Yet, Washington Hears Nothing

Sep 20, 2018-

As if this past summer of merciless heat waves, droughts and megafires were not warning enough, in the past several days the elements sounded another alarm about the state of a world made warmer by the burning of fossil fuels. It came in the form of a one-two punch of wind and rainfall from Hurricane Florence, which like Hurricane Harvey a year ago, has derived much of its wallop from unusually warm ocean waters and stalled weather systems linked to climate change. “Supercharged” is the word one prominent climate scientist, Michael Mann, used to describe Florence. To no one’s surprise, this linkage went unacknowledged in President Trump’s Washington. Quite the contrary. On Tuesday, in a further retreat from President Barack Obama’s ambitious promises to reduce America’s emissions of the greenhouse gases deemed largely responsible for global warming, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed weakening rules aimed at reducing leaks of methane from oil and gas operations. Methane, a principal component of natural gas, is a short-lived but potent greenhouse gas that represents about 9 percent of this country’s total greenhouse gas emissions; one-third of it comes from oil and gas operations. The change pretty much completes the demolition job on Mr. Obama’s climate strategy: the rollback of automobile fuel efficiency standards announced in August; the planned repeal, also announced last month, of Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants; and now the methane pullback. These three programs, plus an effort to regulate climate-forcing gases used in refrigerants, formed the basis for Mr. Obama’s pledge at the 2015 climate summit in Paris to reduce America’s greenhouse gas output by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

Published: 20-09-2018 07:24

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