Pro­test­ers dis­rupt U.S. fos­sil, nu­clear event at cli­mate talks

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Local/world - By Frank Jordans

BONN, Ger­many — Pro­test­ers drowned out speeches by White House ad­vis­ers and busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives Mon­day at an event the U.S. gov­ern­ment spon­sored at the U.N. cli­mate talks in Ger­many pro­mot­ing the use of fos­sil fu­els and nu­clear en­ergy.

About 200 pro­test­ers stood up 10 min­utes into the event and be­gan singing an an­ti­coal song to the tune of “God Bless the U.S.A.” They were ush­ered out of the room with­out fur­ther in­ci­dent.

The event late Mon­day was the only one the U.S. del­e­ga­tion or­ga­nized at the on­go­ing cli­mate talks in Bonn. The Amer­i­can del­e­gates are be­ing closely watched by di­plo­mats from the other 194 na­tions at the con­fer­ence be­cause of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s an­nounce­ment that he wants to quit the 2015 Paris cli­mate ac­cord.

Be­fore the panel, which fea­tured U.S. gov­ern­ment ad­vis­ers and en­ergy in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the gov­er­nors of Ore­gon and Wash­ing­ton, Kate Brown and Jay Inslee, said Trump’s re­jec­tion of cli­mate change was “a dead end.”

“What you’re go­ing to hear today is es­sen­tially Don­ald Trump try­ing to sell 8-track tapes in a Spo­tify stream­ing world,” Inslee, whose state is part of a coali­tion back­ing the Paris ac­cord , told re­porters. “That is not go­ing to cut it.”

David Banks, a White House ad­viser who was part of the U.S. panel, said rul­ing out the use of fos­sil fu­els and other non-re­new­able sources of en­ergy was only con­tro­ver­sial “if we choose to bury our heads in the sand and ig­nore the re­al­ity of the global en­ergy sys­tem.”

Af­ter the singing pro­test­ers left, the panel faced largely hos­tile ques­tions from the au­di­ence about the facts and fig­ures pre­sented to sup­port the use of fos­sil fu­els.

The event took place as a new re­port re­leased Mon­day showed global car­bon emis­sions will reach a record high in 2017, dash­ing hopes that lev­els of the heat-trap­ping gas might have plateaued fol­low­ing three con­sec­u­tive years when they didn’t go up at all.

The talks in Bonn, now in their sec­ond week, are in­tended to ham­mer out some of the nitty-gritty de­tails for im­ple­ment­ing the Paris ac­cord. Par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries agreed to keep global warm­ing sig­nif­i­cantly be­low 2 de­grees Cel­sius (3.6 Fahren­heit)

Key top­ics in­clude how to mea­sure in­di­vid­ual coun­tries’ ef­forts, tak­ing stock of what’s been achieved so far and set­ting the new emis­sions re­duc­tion tar­gets needed to reach the Paris goal.

De­vel­op­ing coun­tries also are push­ing for rich na­tions to pay for some of the dev­as­tat­ing im­pacts cli­mate change in­evitably is go­ing to have, par­tic­u­larly on poor com­mu­ni­ties around the world.

Poor na­tions see the is­sue of fi­nan­cial com­pen­sa­tion, known in U.N. par­lance as “loss and dam­age,” as a mat­ter of fair­ness. They ar­gue that ris­ing sea lev­els and more ex­treme weather will hit them dis­pro­por­tion­ately hard even though they have con­trib­uted only a frac­tion of the car­bon emis­sions blamed for global warm­ing.

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