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US to miss Paris climate pact target by a third

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The United States will fall short by a third on its commitment under the Paris climate treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report released Wednesday in San Francisco.

A crescendo of efforts at the sub-national level by states, cities and business to shrink the country’s carbon footprint will not fully compensate for President Donald Trump’s decision to scrap his predecessor’s climate policies and promote the use of fossil fuels, it found.

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“The Obama target was always going to be a stretch,” co-author Paul Bodnar, managing director of the Rocky Mountain Institute, told journalists.

“This work shows definitively that states, cities and businesses have the power to bring the nation to the brink of that ambitious target through their own authorities.”

Financed by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, the “Fulfilling America’s Pledge” report kicks off the three-day Global Climate Action Summit, a gathering of several thousand governors, mayors, business leaders and climate activists from around the world.

“Current federal and real economy commitments, combined with market forces, will drive US emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 — roughly two-thirds of the way to the original US target,” the report found.

Under the 196-nation Paris Agreement, the United States made a voluntary pledge to cut carbon pollution 26-28 percent by 2025.

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The 2015 treaty marked the first time that all countries — including emerging giants such as China and India — laid out specific targets for greening their economies.

The new projections are conservative in so far as they assume no help from the federal government over the next six years.

– Filling the ’emissions gap’ –

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But even without a Democrat in the White House in 2020, up to 90 percent of US targets could still be met if non-state actors double down on climate action, they found.

On Monday, outgoing governor Jerry Brown signed legislation committing the state to purging greenhouse gases from its electricity grid by 2045, replaced by energy generated mostly by solar and wind power.

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“We all have the opportunity and the obligation to do our part to combat climate change,” he told AFP after signing the bill into law.

The fifth largest economy in the world, California has also adopted targets that would see its emissions fall at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

Trump — who vowed to pull out of the Paris Agreement months after gaining office — wants to relax pollution rules for coal-fired power plants and roll back car-mileage standards, the twin pillars of President Barack Obama’s Clean Energy Plan.

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He has also challenged the Golden State’s right to set it’s own vehicle fuel standards.

The transport sector is the single largest source of man-made greenhouse gases in the United States.

US mayors, governors and business leaders — under the banner “We Are Still In” — have pushed back by adopting more ambitious targets at the local level.

Taken together, these jurisdictions represent about half of the US economy, the equivalent of the third-largest country in the world, according to the report.

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“Businesses, states and local governments have stepped in to fill the leadership gap,” said Lou Leonard, senior vice president for climate change and energy, WWF-US.

“But even more is needed to fill the remaining emissions gap and reduce risks from droughts, wildfires and superstorms bearing down on American communities.”

As if to illustrate the point, a monster hurricane exhibiting unusual patterns consistent with the influence of global warming is barrelling toward the US eastern seaboard, and projected to make landfall Thursday or Friday in the Carolinas.


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McConnell is running a ‘scam’ to keep Bolton from testifying so Trump’s trial can end without any more damage: columnist

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According to Greg Sargent at the Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to pull one over on the Democrats in his attempt to make sure former national security adviser John Bolton doesn't speak during the impeachment trial of Donald Trump -- and that Democrats should call his bluff.

Noting a CNN report that states, "A growing number of Republicans are pointing to President Donald Trump's threat to invoke executive privilege in order to make their case against subpoenas sought by Democrats for key witnesses and documents, a development that could bolster Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's goal of a swift end to the impeachment trial," as an excuse to keep Bolton at arms-length from testifying, the Wapo columnist said executive privilege may not be the stop-gap Republicans think it is.

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‘Jury tampering’: Internet explodes after WH threatens that senators’ heads ‘will be on a pike’ if they vote to convict

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The news was so shocking some thought it was fake. But as CBS News reports, the White House is threatening Republican Senators to not vote to convict President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial, or else.

That "or else" was revealed by CBS News' Chief Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes, who reports, "One Trump confidant tells CBS News that GOP senators have been warned: 'Vote against the president and your head will be on a pike.'"

The revelation comes at the 1:17 mark:

In opening statements, House managers examined the debunked conspiracy theories invoked by Pres. Trump.

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The View’s Meghan McCain responds to GOP senator’s smear of impeachment witness: What about Hillary Clinton?

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"The View" co-host Meghan McCain changed the subject from Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to Hillary Clinton during a discussion of the impeachment trial.

Guest host Ana Navarro took exception to Blackburn's attacks on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified against President Donald Trump in the impeachment inquiry, after House managers cited his allegations against the president and some of his top officials.

"Yesterday Sen. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee spent hours, tweeted out and spent hours on TV attacking Vindman, Alexander Vindman, questioned his patriotism," Navarro said. "This is a guy who has a Purple Heart because of the injuries he received in the Iraq War, he still has shrapnel in his body. His parents are Soviet Jews who fled communism. I can't explain how angry I am about that."

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