Major commitments from China and the United States

Climate action dominated the diplomatic showdown at the United Nations General Assembly session this week. On the first day, Tuesday, c...


Climate action dominated the diplomatic showdown at the United Nations General Assembly session this week.

On the first day, Tuesday, came significant new commitments from the United States and China, rivals on the world stage and also from the two largest economies and the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases which in many cases. regards, hold the keys to master warm-up.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country stop building coal-fired power plants abroad. This is the key because China is the biggest funder of coal projects in the world. President Biden has said he will seek congressional support for increase climate aid to developing countries, to $ 11.4 billion per year by 2024. This is critical given growing anger over the failure of the rich world to meet its pledge to provide $ 100 billion per year to help poor countries. poorer to fight climate change.

Both commitments are important ahead of the UN climate talks in Scotland in November. The United States is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in history. China currently produces the largest share of emissions.

But both commitments have their limits.

China, the world’s coal juggernaut, has said nothing about slowing or stopping the construction of coal-fired power plants in its country.

As for the announcement of climate aid from the United States, it is not certain that the White House can obtain the blessings of Congress to appropriate this new money. Even if so, advocacy groups said the amount was far less than America’s fair share.

Quote: “The United States is still sorely lacking what it owes and this needs to be increased urgently,” Mohamed Adow, director of rights group Power Shift Africa, said in an emailed statement. “As the world’s historical and current primary polluter, the United States is responsible for the climate crisis, which is destroying lives and livelihoods around the world. “


Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia has close political and financial ties to the fossil fuel industry. And, as head of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, he also has the power to rewrite President Biden’s climate legislation.

It seems he is preparing to do so.

President Biden wants Congress’ $ 3.5 trillion budget bill to include aggressive climate action that would force utilities to stop burning fossil fuels and switch to wind, solar or nuclear power, sources energy that do not emit the greenhouse gases that heat the planet.

But Manchin – whose state ranks second for coal production and seventh for natural gas, and who owns lucrative shares in a coal brokerage firm – is preparing to draft the climate part of the project. budget law in a way that would keep natural gas powered. plants, according to people familiar with his thinking.

You can Read the full story here.

Quote: The proposals Manchin assessed “would keep fossil fuels a major engine of the economy longer than the climate can handle,” said Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences at Princeton.


You probably don’t think of climate change as a comedic gold mine, but a group of seven late-night shows cover the topic in any case Wednesday. Can’t save them all? No problem. Get Thursday morning highlights from the Times The best of the late night page.


Also on Thursday, join the latest episode in our series of virtual events, Netting Zero. This panel, along with Brad Plumer, a Times climate reporter, and other experts will examine international freight and possible solutions to reduce emissions from the industry. You can register here.


Good news: Cara Buckley, a Times correspondent who was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018, is take on a new role as a climate journalist. Cara will focus on how people around the world live on a warming planet, watching scientists, entrepreneurs, policy makers and visionaries doing extraordinary work to address the climate challenge.


The Biden administration is initiating an effort across federal agencies to combat the health impacts of extreme temperatures, including the very first federal rule governing exposure to heat, as part of a growing awareness of the dangers posed by global warming.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, part of the Ministry of Labor, will draft the new heat exposure rule, aimed at protecting workers in sectors such as agriculture, construction and construction. delivery services. It will also cover workers in warehouses, factories and kitchens.

Experts said the new rules, which could include requirements that certain types of outdoor work cease when the heat index exceeds a certain level, were long overdue but could come at costs for the industry.

Why it matters: According to National Weather Service, extreme heat is the leading cause of weather-related mortality in the country.



Forest fires occur more than smoke. Like just about anything that burns, trees and other plants release carbon dioxide that traps heat when they catch fire. And, like i wrote this week they can get a lot out of it: California wildfires from June to August released more than 75 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, European climate researchers say.

But to what extent does this contribute to global warming? On the one hand, this amount pale compared to 30 and over billion tons of gas emitted each year by burning fossil fuels for energy. And forests grow back after a fire, with new trees extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to build their tissues. Over decades, this can make up for most or all of the carbon dioxide released in the fire.

So maybe the impact of wildfires on warming is minimal. But there is a caveat: As the frequency of wildfires increases, the chances increase that a once burnt forest will burn again before it has fully recovered. It means it will take longer (a study suggested over a century longer) for the forest to remove as much carbon dioxide as was released by the burning. Thus, the excess stays longer in the atmosphere, where it contributes to warming.


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