Scientists Call for Drastic Drop in Emissions. U.S. Appears to Have Gone the Other Way.

Photo by  Jaromír Kavan  on  Unsplash

Scientists Call for Drastic Drop in Emissions. U.S. Appears to Have Gone the Other Way.

By Abraham Lustgarten , ProPublica. This story was originally published by ProPublica.

The signals are blaring: Dramatic changes to our climate are well upon us. These changes — we know thanks to a steady drumbeat of alarming official reports over the past 12 months — could cripple the U.S. economy, threaten to make vast stretches of our coastlines uninhabitable, make basic food supplies scarce and push millions of the planet’s poorest people into cities and across borders as they flee environmental perils.

All is not yet lost, we are told, but the demands of the moment are great. The resounding consensus of scientists, economists and analysts tells us that the solution lies in an unprecedented global effort to immediately and drastically drop carbon emissions levels. That drop is possible, but it will need to happen so fast that it will demand extraordinary commitment, resolve, innovation and, yes, sacrifice. The time we’ve got to work with, according to the United Nations, is a tad more than 10 years.

And so it stings particularly badly to learn from a new report released this weekby the Rhodium Group, a private research company, that U.S. emissions — which amount to one-sixth of the planet’s — didn’t drop in 2018 but instead skyrocketed. The 3.4 percent jump in CO2 for 2018, projected by the Rhodium Group, would be second-largest surge in greenhouse gas emissions from the United States since 1996, when Bill Clinton was president.

Right-Wing Bogeyperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Challenges Sen. Joe Manchin's Energy Committee Role

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Right-Wing Bogeyperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Challenges Sen. Joe Manchin's Energy Committee Role

Politico writes Monday that Ocasio-Cortez is leading a group of progressives very unsettled by the prospect of West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin assuming a minority leadership position on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

At a Friday rally outside the Capitol, Ocasio-Cortez joined other Democratic lawmakers and other incoming Democratic freshmen, arguing that allowing Manchin to become the ranking member of the Energy committee would undercut the momentum behind their "Green New Deal" proposal that calls for transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy sources within a decade of initiating the plan.

“The vast majority of Americans believe that we should not be taking money from the industries that we are legislating and really presiding over in our committee work, but in D.C. that’s a controversial opinion,” Ocasio-Cortez said alongside youth climate activists from the Sunrise Movement.

Manchin, who has a 47 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters Joe Manchin has a steady — and expected position given that he’s elected to support voters in his coal country state — regularly accepts election campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

Supporters of the Green New Deal say the activism that propelled candidates like Ocasio-Cortez to Washington underscores the citizen support for action on climate change. The argument gained momentum with federal scientists from 13 agencies last week issuing a report forecasting dire economic and physical consequences across America if greenhouse gas emissions continue rising.

“A decade ago it was a little easier to hide behind, ‘I’ve got a state where we can’t do this,’” Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) told POLITICO after the event, noting her Maine delegation colleagues Sens. Angus King (I) and Susan Collins (R) often side with Democrats on climate issues. “It may be hard for Joe Manchin to be there, but I think there’s going to be a lot of other colleagues who say, ‘Hey, this needs to be on our agenda, we’ve got to move forward with some legislation.’ And they could be on both sides of the aisle.”

Cameron Russell's 'Model Mafia' Roars In Fashion Industry #2 Only To Oil In Polluting Mother Earth

Cameron Russell's 'Model Mafia' Roars In Fashion Industry #2 Only To Oil In Polluting Mother Earth

Top model Cameron Russell is one of the strongest voices in the fashion industry, and her 'Model Mafia' roared in May 2017, boarding a bus ride to Washington DC, to participate in the People's Climate March. The message on Russell's website is clear:

Models are uniquely poised to become fantastic activists because they are some of the few women who have very direct access to media. Especially on the issue of climate change, our voices are important and powerful. Fashion is one of the dirtiest industries in the world, but it's also one of the biggest and most influential, that's why if we can change how our industry works we have the potential to make an enormous difference and lead the way to a sustainable future. 

Fashion is the second largest industrial polluter, second only to oil, writes the 'Model Mafia', in Glamour magazine's coverage of 

 their busride from New York to DC. Who is better than models -- increasingly true global citizens coming to the industry from all over the world -- to address climate change from an intersectional perspective? 

Related: Recent Articles About Sustainability in the Fashion Industry:

Earth Day 2017: The Fashion Industry's Effect On the Environment, And the Brands That Are Taking Charge W Magazine

Fashion in new bid to be truly sustainable The Guardian

5 New Solutions For The Fashion Industry's Sustainability Problem Fast Company

Members of the Model Mafia weigh in on climate change:Cameron Russell's 'Model Mafia' Roars In Fashion Industry #2 Only To Oil In Polluting Mother Earth

Michael Bloomberg Leads 'We Are Still In' US Coalition Supporting Paris Agreement, As Trump Bows Out

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Michael Bloomberg Leads 'We Are Still In' US Coalition Supporting Paris Agreement, As Trump Bows Out

In the days since Trump's depressing remarks, the tech community has rallied, joined by its leaders, including billionaire philanthropist and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

"In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities and businesses representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions," the coalition, which now consists of more than 1,000 cities, counties, states, universities and businesses, said in a statement released Monday. 

Going by the name "We Are Still In," the coalition called itself "the broadest cross section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action." It includes states like New York and California, joined by more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies. 

"In the absence of a supportive federal coordinating role, [city, state, business, and civil society] actors will more closely coordinate their own decarbonization actions. Collectively, they will redouble their efforts to ensure that the U.S. achieves the carbon emissions reductions it pledged under the Paris Agreement," Bloomberg wrote in a letter to the United Nations secretary-general. 

Bloomberg added: "We do not intend to slow down."

Leonardo DiCaprio Meets With Trump & Ivanka To Talk Green Jobs

Just as Al Gore talked green jobs in his recent meeting with president-elect Donald Trump, Leonardo DiCaprio and the head of his foundation Terry Tamminen focused their 90-minute environmental presentation on job creation in the green sector when they met with Trump, his daughter Ivanka and other members of the Trump team on Wednesday at Trump Tower in New York.

"Today, we presented the President-elect and his advisors with a framework — which LDF developed in consultation with leading voices in the fields of economics and environmentalism — that details how to unleash a major economic revival across the United States that is centered on investments in sustainable infrastructure," Tamminen said. "Our conversation focused on how to create millions of secure, American jobs in the construction and operation of commercial and residential clean, renewable energy generation."

The Oscar-winning actor has been a strong advocate of fighting climate change and preserving wildlife, and his recent documentary, "Before the Flood," addresses the peril that the world faces because of climate change.

DiCaprio previously met with Ivanka Trump and presented her with a copy of the film.

On Wednesday Trump also announced that Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt -- a tremendous foe of the climate change and environmental protections -- will head the Environmental Protection Agency.