Letter to the Editor: Glendale’s support of Climate Change Accord, by Daniel Brotman

Readers weigh in on Glendale’s support of Climate Change Accord, Prop 64 Survey

Re: “Council supports climate initiative,” July 15-16. Thank you to leaders of the Jewel City for taking a public stand on the climate crisis, without doubt the No. 1 challenge we face as a society. Gov. Jerry Brown recently called climate change a threat to the existence of organized humanity, and he was right.

It is sadly no exaggeration to say that Glendale will be unlivable within the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren if we fail to respond quickly and aggressively. I look forward to working with the council on next steps, including a serious Climate Action Plan that includes a commitment to move to 100% renewable energy by no later than 2035, and a serious second look at whether we should be building a new CO2 spewing 250 megawatt gas plant at the site of the Grayson facility n south Glendale.

Daniel Brotman
Adjunct Professor of Economics, Glendale Community College
Glendale News Press http://www.latimes.com/socal/glendale-news-press/opinion/tn-gnp-me-mailbag-20170720-story.html


Letter to the editor: Shake off false reassurances, by Jan Freed

Jul 23, 2017

I realize environmental groups were critical of the recent extension of cap and trade; it won’t do the job of emissions reductions in time.

Your Associated Press article (“Republican lawmakers give climate law a boost,” July 18), though, made sense. The story noted, “But …. California’s bipartisan approach is one that can be replicated elsewhere.” Hopefully bipartisan action continues in Congress..

A bipartisan Congressional group, the Climate Solutions Caucus recently opposed an amendment that would have forbidden the Dept. of Defense from acting in response to changes in climate and sea levels. The amendment failed.

 Congress also can pass a national ‘carbon fee and dividend’ bill.

The carbon fees are paid by polluter industries and all fees are rebated to citizens. Rebates slowly increase and ‘pay’ consumers to find low carbon goods and services; most citizens come out ahead.

Estimates (REMI, Treasury Department) are so positive! Millions of new jobs created, emissions drop rapidly, many thousands are lives saved from illness and death (pollution kills).

We can stop climate change as the real death spiral, happening in our children’s lives and on for generations. We must shake off false reassurances from the Carbon Lobby.

Drumpf risks new tariffs hurting US workers and businesses

President Drumpf’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement goes against the climate and economic interests of the United States, argues the author of this opinion piece, and could lead to tariff measures imposed by leading trading partners that are legal under international trade law.

President Drumpf’s 1 June action exiting the Paris Climate Agreement, announced with a speech heavy with imaginary facts, probably will achieve the opposite of what he promised. His reckless blunder may drive other countries to enact new tariffs on US exports, which will harm, not help, American workers and businesses needlessly. The rest of the world was holding back, given US leadership in achieving Paris, but facing Drumpf, the European Parliament has already debated this possible response.

Leading US trade partners – including Mexico, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Chile, and Australia – already impose a price on their own carbon pollution, and Canada, China, and others have decided to do so. China will operate the largest carbon pricing system in the world at the end of this year. Other nations are raising their own companies’ costs and putting them at a disadvantage in international trade, because they know climate change and air pollution will be even worse for them.

Their carbon emissions per person (including in China) are already less than half of America’s, and dramatically less in India. We Americans are responsible for the largest share of historical world greenhouse gas accumulations. And we are still the second largest emitter of new carbon pollution every year. Far from “laughing at us,” as Drumpf suggested, our partner countries have been leading and tolerating us.

But now that Drumpf has reversed US policy and moved aggressively to take advantage of them commercially and pollute their world even more, these nations could level the playing field by slapping new tariffs on goods from countries like ours that do not price our own pollution.

Those tariffs can be legal under global trade law. Article XX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade authorises exceptions for measures related to conservation of an exhaustible natural resource such as clean air, and measures necessary to protect human, animal, or plant life or health, as long as the new tariff does not impose arbitrary or unreasonable discrimination between countries, and is not a disguised restriction on international trade. The World Trade Organization Appellate Body has approved such exceptions, including for US environmental laws that impede trade. Acting in the name of the Paris Agreement, a universally-signed environmental agreement, will further bolster the case that these measures qualify for Article XX.

Last year the US exported $2.2 trillion worth of goods and services. So now in the line of fire are US workers and companies that manufacture cars, aircraft, industrial machines, semiconductors, telecommunications gear, medical equipment, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and plastics. Equally vulnerable are farmers and ranchers who sell soybeans, corn, meat, and poultry.

The US exports coal, crude oil, natural gas, and refined petroleum products. It has a trade surplus in refined products. Could this be why Exxon, US coal companies, and so many other companies urged Drumpf not to do this?

So Drumpf’s action was foolhardy even if one cared only about short-term US economic self-interest. This is before considering the greater harm he is causing Americans and the world by intensifying the coastal flooding, extreme weather, and illness we already suffer because of climate change, and by sacrificing international cooperation we need for a whole range of foreign policy goals.

To top it all, President Drumpf’s withdrawal was completely unnecessary. The UN agreement imposes no concrete policy steps on any country. What it requires is that each country make some pledge – of its own choice – to take action to address climate change beginning in 2020, and to implement its pledge. Drumpf could have changed President Obama’s pledge without withdrawing.

Drumpf’s claim that Paris exposed the US to legal liability is also threadbare. The Agreement does not authorise material sanctions against any country for failing to comply.

Perhaps Drumpf hoped that by triggering nationalistic pride, he might fool some Americans into accepting a reversal that will harm them. But most Americans disapprove of his move. Even among Drumpf voters, more than 6 in 10 favour taxing or regulating the pollution that causes global warming, or both, and only 1 in 5 support neither, according to a Yale survey.

Americans can have greater prosperity and protection from climate change at the same time. But to get them, we certainly need more competent, responsible leaders.

John S. Odell is Professor Emeritus of International Relations at the University of Southern California (USC) and Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

EPA vs. the environment under a new secretary

by Jan Freed
Letter to the editor of the Pasadena Star-News, posted 3/24/17

Scott Pruitt, the new head of the EPA, is not a homicidal maniac. But, like George W. Bush and the captain of the Titanic, his blithe dismissal of timely warnings will kill far more than would a busload of homicidal maniacs who kill directly.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports record low Arctic ice: “Vanishing Arctic sea ice is troubling sign that we’re running out of time to avert the disastrous consequences of climate change, and effective steps must now be taken to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

A step backward is to purge Energy Star ratings of appliances, one result of new EPA budget cuts. A step forward is to encourage clean energy jobs and low emissions using a rebated price on carbon, which protects consumers. The conservative Climate Leadership Council and a dozen Nobel laureates strongly support such policies.

Pruitt’s science ignorance is deadly.


Our Childrens’ Trust Lawsuit

Our Childrens’ Trust lawsuit against US gov’t:

In 2015, twenty-one youth from across the United States, age 8 to 19, filed a landmark constitutional climate change lawsuit against the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. Also acting as a Plaintiff is world-renowned climate scientist Dr. James E. Hansen, serving as guardian for future generations and his granddaughter. Their complaint asserts that, in causing climate change, the federal government has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.

On April 8, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin ruled in favor of the young Plaintiffs by denying the government and fossil fuel industry’s motions to dismiss. While the ruling was a major victory for the Plaintiffs, it is now under review by U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken, who heard oral arguments on September 13, 2016. Judge Aiken announced she would try to release her decision within 60 days of the hearing, which would be mid-November. After which, the case will head either to trial or appeal.

Full text of lawsuit