Sustainability Reads: November 14- November 20

With the UNFCCC COP22 having closed last Friday, many countries are committed to tackling climate change regardless of the new government in the United States. Representatives from 47 of the poorest countries in the world announced that they will “strive to meet 100% domestic renewable energy production as rapidly as possible.” France has announced it will shut down all coal-fired power plants by 2023. The U.S., Mexico, Germany and Canada submitted long-term plans to combat climate change. The U.S. and Canada set forth similar plans to reduce emissions/net emissions by 80% (or more) below 2005 levels by 2050, while Germany’s goal is to achieve “extensive greenhouse gas neutrality” by 2050. In the end, countries came together to produce the Marrakesh Action Proclamation, a declaration that states that the momentum on climate is irreversible and that in this context, climate action is unstoppable: a declaration that strides will be made to combat climate change no matter who or what comes the world’s way.

In the U.S., President Obama, as well as some local governments, are making strides to “Trump- proof” climate and environmental policies. On Friday, the Obama administration announced that the Arctic Ocean would be excluded from oil and gas leasing for the next five years. While environmentalists are now calling for an all out ban on these leasings, excluding it for the next five years is a big step forward. On Tuesday, the city of San Francisco approved legislation that prevents the city “from entering into or extending leases for the extraction of fossil fuel from city-owned land.” Last Monday the Army Corps of Engineers also stated that it would not be completing the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota until further studies are done to assess enviornmental risk. As Trump has invested in Energy Transfer Partners, the company that would be building the pipeline, many fear rightly that he will give the “go” to its completion.

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