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California scientists are calling for the largest U.S. investment in climate research in years.

That’s all kinds of scary. If there’s one place on Earth that would be the worst possible spot for a giant volcanic chain, it’s beneath West Antarctica. Turns out, it’s not a great situation to have a bunch of volcanoes underneath a huge ice sheet.

In a discovery announced earlier this week, a team of researchers discovered dozens of them across a 2,200-mile swath of the frozen continent. Antarctica, if you’re listening, please stop scaring us.

The study that led to the discovery was conceived of by an undergraduate student at the University of Edinburgh, Max Van Wyk de Vries. With a team of researchers, he used radar to look under the ice for evidence of cone-shaped mountains that had disturbed the ice around them. They found 91 previously unknown volcanoes. “We were amazed,” Robert Bingham, one of the study’s authors, told the Guardian.

The worry is that, as in Iceland and Alaska, two regions of active volcanism that were ice-covered until relatively recently, a warming climate could help these Antarctic volcanoes spring to life soon. In a worst-case scenario, the melting ice could release pressure on the volcanoes and trigger eruptions, further destabilizing the ice sheet.

“The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible,” Bingham said.

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California scientists are calling for the largest U.S. investment in climate research in years.

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Hawaii now has a state law supporting the Paris Agreement’s climate goals.

In a new report, Grist 50-er Liz Specht identifies the obstacles that prevent earth-friendly meat from taking over the world. If meat stopped coming from cows and was instead grown in the lab, she argues, it would slash meat production’s environmental footprint.

So, Specht and her colleagues at the Good Food Institute hope to midwife the birth of a new clean-meat industry. To get there, we’d need some crucial innovations. Here’s a taste:

Better bioreactors: Bioreactors are big tanks that slowly stir meat cells until they multiply into something burger sized. They already exist, but we need the a new generation that do a better job at filtering out waste, adding just the right nutrients, and recycling the fluid that the cells grow in.

Scaffolding: If you want nice tender meat, instead of a soup of cells, you need a scaffold — a sort of artificial bone — for meat cells to cling to so they can take shape. People are experimenting with spun fiber, 3D-printed grids, and gels that cue cells to form “the segmented flakiness of a fish filet or the marbling found in a steak.”

Growth fluid: At the moment, meat cells are mostly raised in fluid taken from cattle embryos. But there won’t be enough embryonic fluid if reactor meat replaces the livestock industry. So scientists are working to mass produce fluid that nurture’s developing cells.

For more detail, see the report here.

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Hawaii now has a state law supporting the Paris Agreement’s climate goals.

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Trump’s new vision: Cover the border wall with solar panels.

In a new report, Grist 50-er Liz Specht identifies the obstacles that prevent earth-friendly meat from taking over the world. If meat stopped coming from cows and was instead grown in the lab, she argues, it would slash meat production’s environmental footprint.

So, Specht and her colleagues at the Good Food Institute hope to midwife the birth of a new clean-meat industry. To get there, we’d need some crucial innovations. Here’s a taste:

Better bioreactors: Bioreactors are big tanks that slowly stir meat cells until they multiply into something burger sized. They already exist, but we need the a new generation that do a better job at filtering out waste, adding just the right nutrients, and recycling the fluid that the cells grow in.

Scaffolding: If you want nice tender meat, instead of a soup of cells, you need a scaffold — a sort of artificial bone — for meat cells to cling to so they can take shape. People are experimenting with spun fiber, 3D-printed grids, and gels that cue cells to form “the segmented flakiness of a fish filet or the marbling found in a steak.”

Growth fluid: At the moment, meat cells are mostly raised in fluid taken from cattle embryos. But there won’t be enough embryonic fluid if reactor meat replaces the livestock industry. So scientists are working to mass produce fluid that nurture’s developing cells.

For more detail, see the report here.

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Trump’s new vision: Cover the border wall with solar panels.

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Scientists, like someone barging into an occupied bathroom, realize they’ve been lax on others’ privacy.

In a new report, Grist 50-er Liz Specht identifies the obstacles that prevent earth-friendly meat from taking over the world. If meat stopped coming from cows and was instead grown in the lab, she argues, it would slash meat production’s environmental footprint.

So, Specht and her colleagues at the Good Food Institute hope to midwife the birth of a new clean-meat industry. To get there, we’d need some crucial innovations. Here’s a taste:

Better bioreactors: Bioreactors are big tanks that slowly stir meat cells until they multiply into something burger sized. They already exist, but we need the a new generation that do a better job at filtering out waste, adding just the right nutrients, and recycling the fluid that the cells grow in.

Scaffolding: If you want nice tender meat, instead of a soup of cells, you need a scaffold — a sort of artificial bone — for meat cells to cling to so they can take shape. People are experimenting with spun fiber, 3D-printed grids, and gels that cue cells to form “the segmented flakiness of a fish filet or the marbling found in a steak.”

Growth fluid: At the moment, meat cells are mostly raised in fluid taken from cattle embryos. But there won’t be enough embryonic fluid if reactor meat replaces the livestock industry. So scientists are working to mass produce fluid that nurture’s developing cells.

For more detail, see the report here.

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Scientists, like someone barging into an occupied bathroom, realize they’ve been lax on others’ privacy.

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Quietly, Surely, We’re Losing a Whole Pine Species En Masse and Nobody Gives a Damn

Mother Jones

This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Bob Keane has studied whitebark pine, a coniferous tree of the high country, for more than thirty years. Still, when asked to describe a whitebark to someone who’s never seen one, he takes a breath and pauses for a moment. “Gosh,” he says.

The shape of the tree is very distinctive, Keane says. Instead of growing cone-shaped like other conifers, whitebarks branch like hardwoods. “A lot of the undergrowth is very small, so you see these open park-like stands of beautiful spreading trees,” he says. This shape is an adaptation that shows Clark’s nutcrackers flying past that a tree below has many nutritious cones and might be worth a travel stop.

Clark’s nutcrackers cache thousands of whitebark seeds, dispersing the pine across the high country, where the tree is a keystone species. Whitebark pine is one of the first trees to break ground after a fire, thanks to those nutcrackers, and it stabilizes soil and snowpacks at timberline. Living a millennium or more, whitebarks shape the West’s high mountain ecology in countless ways.

But the whitebark is going extinct and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the agency) hasn’t given the species federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. In April 2017, two conservation organizations from Montana lost a lawsuit against the agency for its failure to list the pine. No one—not the plaintiffs, defendants, or panel of judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals—questioned the precariousness of the tree’s fate. At question was how the agency prioritized which species it protects. Species, the court ruled, could be passed over because the agency didn’t have the necessary funds. As the story of whitebarks demonstrates, extinction has as much to do with politics as it does with biology.

The whitebark pine is an iconic tree of the West’s high mountains, ranging from Wyoming’s southern Wind Rivers to northern Alberta and British Columbia. In the fall, in a whitebark pine forest, “there are tons of cones and it is alive with animals, just alive,” Keane says. “You don’t see that with subalpine firs.” Researchers have found that whitebark cones feed more than 100 animal species and, in Glacier National Park, 40 percent of the understory plants in whitebark pine communities grow only there. The tree’s fatty, protein-rich seeds are an important food for Greater Yellowstone grizzlies; when the seeds run short, the bears eat more meat.

The whitebark pine faces intertwined threats that have killed the trees across much of their historic range. In 1910, Gifford Pinchot imported white pine blister rust, a fast-moving European fungal disease that kills whitebarks, to the West in a tree shipment.

And a century of fire suppression has imperiled whitebarks, too. The shade-intolerant trees rely on fire to open areas; without fires, trees such as subalpine firs shade out whitebarks. Often, Keane says, permanently stunted pines linger in the shadows of those new neighbors. “You’ll see an overstory of subalpine fir, but an understory of tiny whitebark pine saplings that are probably older than the canopy,” he says.

Meanwhile, native mountain pine beetles have taken out swaths of whitebark pines weakened by overcrowding and drought; a 2009 beetle outbreak killed whitebarks across more than 3,000 square miles. Exacerbating blister rust’s spread, wildfire suppression, and pine beetle outbreaks is an ever more pervasive threat: “The fourth big one is climate change and how climate change is interacting with all of these things, ” says Amy Nicholas, endangered species listing coordinator for the agency’s Wyoming field office.

Conservationists have requested federal protection for whitebark pines under the ESA for more than 25 years, beginning in 1991. In 2011, the Fish and Wildlife Service found that the pine was likely to go extinct across much of its U.S. range in as little as 100 years, or less than two generations. Yet instead of listing whitebark pine as endangered, the agency listed the tree as a “candidate” species, essentially waitlisting the species for help.

The reason came down to a funding shortage: listing whitebark pine as endangered would have required the agency to devote resources to saving it. Without enough money to care for all disappearing species, the agency focuses on listing species that are part of legal settlements, for example.

As a candidate species, whitebark pine got a listing priority number, based on how likely it is to go extinct. In 2011, whitebark pine received one of the highest priority rankings, yet other species were being federally protected and whitebark pine was not.

Two Montana-based conservation organizations—WildWest Institute and Alliance for the Wild Rockies—sued the agency, arguing that by prioritizing candidate species ranked lower than whitebark pine, the Fish and Wildlife Service wasn’t following its own guidelines for deciding which species to protect. The conservation groups felt species should be given help in order of biological need.

The court ruled in favor of the agency. While pointing out that current policies on listing seemed inadequate when “dealing with the potential life or death of an entire species,” the court concluded that the agency was not required to make decisions based on its candidate species ranking system. “Scarce funds and limited staff resources may prevent FWS from taking immediate final action to list or delist a species,” the presiding judge wrote.

According to Patrick Parenteau, a Vermont Law School professor, the agency often makes listing decisions based on finances. “This is a systematic problem that the Fish and Wildlife Service has had for decades,” Parenteau says. He points to persistent resistance from Congress and some Republican administrations to fully fund the service’s endangered species listing program.

Financial considerations do not factor into whether a species gets listed, but rather in what order and when, agency biologist Craig Hansen says. “The listing budget is given to us by Congress and has an annual cap,” Hansen says. “We can’t pull funds from other programs to list.” The service’s funding woes have led to a backlog of organisms waiting to be listed, such as northern California’s Sierra Nevada red fox, which in 2016 included just 29 remaining adults.

These rust-resistant baby whitebarks are part of the U.S. Forest Service’s collaboration with NGOs trying to save the species. Bob Keane

In 2016, to stop the constant backlog of candidate species waiting to be listed as threatened or endangered, the Obama administration drafted a streamlined process that prioritized the most imperiled species backed by the best available science. It wasn’t adopted by the Trump administration.

Matthew Koehler, executive director of plaintiff WildWest Institute, grows frustrated talking about the whitebark case. Koehler believes the funding shortage that stalled the whitebark’s listing is part of a strategy by Congressional members in both parties to tie the service’s hands. “Then, the same members of Congress complain that the ESA doesn’t work or that it moves too slow,” he says.

Indeed, this past February, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., led a Senate hearing to “modernize the Endangered Species Act,” arguing in a statement that the ESA has not been successful enough and causes economic harm.

Funding is only one of the ESA’s difficulties, though. Court battles also stymie species’ recoveries. For each species, a listing decision takes years, followed by litigation from whoever opposes the outcome. “It isn’t just a bunch of scientists sitting around a table saying ‘let’s list this species,” says Parenteau. And still, species such as the whitebark disappear.

And then there’s climate change. Congress wrote the ESA in the 1970s, long before scientists understood the profound ways in which greenhouse gases affect species and their homes. The ESA is designed to address discrete problems: overgrazing, point-source pollution, exurban development. In its revision of ESA listing guidelines, the Obama administration acknowledged as much: the agency could have put off working on species endangered by climate change, including whitebark pine, since it has less power to help them.

With our existing environmental laws, whitebarks may yet survive in the northernmost parts of their range in Canada, Parenteau says. “But in the southern part of its range, unless we get serious about climate mitigation, it’s probably doomed anyway,” he says.

In any case, listing isn’t necessary for the feds to take action: Almost all whitebarks occur on federal public land, where the government can take steps to protect the species without listing, Parenteau says.

Indeed, having given up on the ESA for now, the WildWest Institute is seeking other pathways to whitebark protection. The organization is supporting a bill introduced to Congress to designate public lands in the northern Rockies where whitebarks live as wilderness. “We see wilderness designation as a way to protect that entire ecosystem,” Koehler says.

When pressed to make predictions for the longterm, Keane says areas where whitebarks used to flourish will probably eventually burn. By then, though, there will be no source trees left for birds to find seeds to spread to freshly burned areas. Instead, he imagines, shrub herblands will grow.

Still, unlike Parenteau, Keane is optimistic about the climate extremes that whitebarks can survive, if the trees get help. He’s part of a new collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service and two NGOs – American Forests and the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation—that’s working to restore whitebarks in the West. The group’s even developing rust-resistant seedlings. “Whitebark pine doesn’t even start optimum cone production until it’s 200 years old,” he says. “What we want to make sure is what we’re doing now, 100 years from now we will see the fruits of our labors.”

“If we do nothing,” Keane says, “we are making sure that it will be so low on the landscape, we will probably name the ones we see, there will be so few of them.”

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Quietly, Surely, We’re Losing a Whole Pine Species En Masse and Nobody Gives a Damn

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Trump’s Behavior in Europe Has Made the World Cringe. Here’s What’s Really on the Line at the G7.

Mother Jones

One year ago Friday, when speaking on a campaign stop in North Dakota, Donald Trump declared he’d “cancel” the Paris climate agreement within 100 days of his presidency, framing it as a “bad deal” that undermines domestic interests. The 100 days have passed, but his unfulfilled pledge hangs over the G7 meeting in Italy.

Trump has already appeared to push a NATO leader aside in Brussels and caused a diplomatic scuffle in Italy after accusing Germany of being “very bad” on trade. But his decision on Paris is far more significant, especially in terms of the response of the 195 signers of the 2015 agreement. The question is whether the rest of the world sinks to the low bar that Trump has set, and the G7 is the first key test. On the one hand, Trump’s resistance may force the G7 to downgrade its climate ambitions and show how US denial is already taking its toll on the global stage. On the other, a G7 that reaffirms Paris goals would demonstrate that the rest of the world won’t be dragged down by America’s new president.

“I think what the other countries are concerned about is that there is not any question about the rest of the industrialized countries raising ambition over time,” says Union of Concerned Scientist’s Director of Strategy and Policy Alden Meyer, who’s followed global climate negotiations for more than 20 years. “That’s why this is so tricky to go along with the US’s minimalist demands in negotiations.”

After world leaders from Germany, France, Canada, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom meet on Friday, senior officials will gather to hammer out a text to try to represent a unified front, with global warming usually ranking among the top priorities. Climate change may not be important to Trump, who’s regularly called it a hoax, but it is to leaders of the G7—and has been for a long time. Meyer, who’s followed global climate negotiations for more than 20 years, points to 2005 as when concerns began, but David Waskow, World Resources Institute’s International Climate Initiative Director, says the focus extends even further back, receiving some mention in every G7 text for the last three decades.

That’s not to say there were never any disagreement. In 2015, Canada, home to carbon-intensive tar sands and then led by the conservative Stephen Harper, resisted strong climate goals but eventually agreed to a long-term decarbonization target that involved phasing out fossil fuel use by the end of the century. Japan, which has higher emissions than most countries in the G7, save for the US, has also historically resisted stronger climate language and has become more reliant on coal ever since it mothballed nuclear plants after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Yet both these countries have changed. Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is more committed on climate change than his predecessor was, and Japan has vowed to fulfill its pledges in the Paris agreement. European countries, especially Germany, are expected to take on new leadership in climate negotiations. France’s new President Emmanuel Macron urged Trump in Brussels on Thursday not to abandon the deal.

“We’re seeing a much broader set of actors playing a real leadership role,” says Waskow. “It ranges from major emitters, like the EU, China, and Canada coming together, to many of the most vulnerable countries, to many countries in between, as well as cities, states, and businesses. It’s no longer dependent on one or two countries playing that leadership role.”

But Trump could change everything. The US is still the major polluter in the G7, at 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to self-reported data to the United Nations, and second in the world only to China. France, Italy, and Canada are each responsible for less than 2 percent of global emissions, and Germany and Japan’s slightly higher emissions hardly compare to pollution in the US. If it were up to Trump, the G7 would probably break its tradition on climate change and ignore the issue entirely. His administration is divided on the Paris decision, and the uncertainty has spilled over into other international negotiations.

Even if the US remained in the agreement, it would likely push for lower engagement across the world, urging countries to include language that recognizes the long-term dominance of fossil fuels, which the oil, gas, and coal industries would appreciate seeing. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this month, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who was an energy adviser on Trump’s campaign, argued that the US should advocate for “advancing technology for clean coal and pushing for increased investment and a better regulatory environment” in future climate talks.

On the other hand, the US will face pressure to flip on Trump’s insistence that we do nothing. We saw that at an Arctic Council meeting with Nordic countries, Russia, and Canada earlier this month, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agreed to text that loosely reaffirmed the Paris climate agreement and global action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Headed into the Arctic Council, it wasn’t clear if the US would attempt to remove language on Paris entirely.

Meanwhile, the world waits for Trump to decide: recommit, drop out, or come up with some understanding for continued engagement.

“Some of the Europeans seem to think he may make a decision on the spot in the G7 meeting,” Meyer says. “No one obviously knows. Maybe even including him.”

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Trump’s Behavior in Europe Has Made the World Cringe. Here’s What’s Really on the Line at the G7.

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The first GOP member of Congress to say “impeachment” after Trump’s latest scandal is a climate hawk.

Animal agriculture is a complex tangle of issues, all pulling in different directions: culinary tradition, animal welfare, methane emissions, deliciousness, deforestation. As a senior scientist at the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to finding foods that will displace animal meat, Liz Specht looks for technological fixes to the beefy meat problem.

Specht spends her days researching ways to engineer plant-based foods that taste better, cost less, and consume fewer resources than animals. She then points startups toward the food technology that’s likely to work for them, and helps venture capitalists differentiate between companies proposing flashy BS and those who know their stuff. She’s an entrepreneurial matchmaker.

Specht lives in an RV, working remotely and roaming from state to state. Everywhere she goes, she steps into a store to see what plant-based products are available, where they are placed in the store, and how they are advertised. Making meat replacements might be a technical problem, but Specht is acutely aware that technology must move with culture. “I think of technology’s role as that of a dance partner to society, following its leads and anticipating its future moves,” she says. Time for the food industry to listen to the music.


Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.

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The first GOP member of Congress to say “impeachment” after Trump’s latest scandal is a climate hawk.

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A week after 50 farmworkers were sickened by pesticides, the EPA punts on protecting them.

Animal agriculture is a complex tangle of issues, all pulling in different directions: culinary tradition, animal welfare, methane emissions, deliciousness, deforestation. As a senior scientist at the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to finding foods that will displace animal meat, Liz Specht looks for technological fixes to the beefy meat problem.

Specht spends her days researching ways to engineer plant-based foods that taste better, cost less, and consume fewer resources than animals. She then points startups toward the food technology that’s likely to work for them, and helps venture capitalists differentiate between companies proposing flashy BS and those who know their stuff. She’s an entrepreneurial matchmaker.

Specht lives in an RV, working remotely and roaming from state to state. Everywhere she goes, she steps into a store to see what plant-based products are available, where they are placed in the store, and how they are advertised. Making meat replacements might be a technical problem, but Specht is acutely aware that technology must move with culture. “I think of technology’s role as that of a dance partner to society, following its leads and anticipating its future moves,” she says. Time for the food industry to listen to the music.


Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.

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A week after 50 farmworkers were sickened by pesticides, the EPA punts on protecting them.

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What the Hell Is Going on With Trump’s Delay on the All-Important Paris Decision?

Mother Jones

Will the president follow through on his campaign pledge to withdraw from, or “cancel,” the Paris climate change agreement?

Rumors have been swirling that the end to this reality show would come as early as Tuesday, when the White House had reportedly scheduled another meeting to examine its options. Ivanka Trump also was supposed to meet with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt earlier on Tuesday, but the White House did not confirm if that meeting ever took place. Discussions on the climate deal were canceled without much explanation, but when White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the progress Tuesday, he replied that the president “wants to make sure he has an opportunity to meet with his team.” Trump has now decided he won’t decide on Paris until after G-7 meetings later this month in Italy, once more because he wants to “meet with his team.”

In the meantime, Trump is keeping 194 countries who signed the deal two years ago waiting and wondering. If he winds up withdrawing from the agreement, postponing the announcement might make meetings with world leaders slightly more pleasant, given their warnings that the United States shouldn’t defy the hard-fought 2015 deal.

We’ve heard for months that Trump’s Cabinet is split on what to do about both climate change policy and the Paris agreement. Ivanka Trump, now in her official role at the White House, represents those who want to stay. We’re told that she’s “passionate about climate change,” and she is joined by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and economic adviser Gary Cohn, who are also in favor of staying in the Paris agreement. Energy Secretary Rick Perry wants to “renegotiate.” Secretary of Defense James Mattis sees climate change as a national security threat and likely favors staying involved, as does Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

On the other side of the debate, Scott Pruitt is leading the “leave” team, echoing the president in calling the accord a “bad deal.” Team Pruitt also includes senior adviser Steve Bannon and White House Counsel Don McGahn. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has not publicly weighed in, but he opposed the deal as a senator. According to the New York Times, Pruitt’s side is convinced that staying in the Paris climate accord will be impossible if the administration wants to downgrade its ambitions. They point to a single clause in the agreement—that a nation “may at any time adjust its existing nationally determined contribution with a view to enhancing its level of ambition”—and argue that it would impose undesirable legal constraints on the administration and favor environmentalists in court.

Pruitt’s legal argument surprised the groups that usually sue him. “We’re not relying on the Paris agreement for any of the Clean Power Plan litigation,” Jake Schmidt, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s international program director, says. “I’m not sure why anyone would use a city in France in a US court when there’s much stronger domestic law.” On top of that, negotiators say that nowhere in the largely nonbinding Paris deal does it legally force a country to meet or exceed its emissions targets. The only legally binding components of the accord commit countries to similar transparency and reporting standards to measure progress, or lack of progress, in meeting targets. Its biggest proponents argue that the agreement was built to be weak on legal enforcement, so as to keep as many countries involved as possible. International peer pressure, not legal pressure, is supposed to do the rest of the work.

The White House reportedly is leaning in Pruitt’s direction. And it’s unclear just how much of a fight Ivanka intends to defend her passions—E&E News‘ source notes she “wasn’t pushing for a strong position” and is more “in the direction of making sure her father gets the right advice.”

Yet given the public nature of this debate, no matter what happens, some members of the administration will end up embarrassed and, in most scenarios, we all lose. Here are some of the options for how this reality show might unfold:

Ivanka wins: She somehow convinces her father to wake up to the threat of climate change, and he decides to fulfill Obama’s promises to the world of at least a 26 percent cut to greenhouse gases by 2025 and providing the rest of the $3 billion in global climate finance.

This isn’t going to happen.

But not because others don’t support her alleged commitment to the agreement. In fact, she’s joined by nearly the rest of the world. According to the NRDC, an additional 1,106 US companies are on record supporting it, even including fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil, Arch Coal, and Peabody Energy. The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found 69 percent of American voters support participating, and hundreds of thousands of marchers took to climate protests around the country in April to send a similar message. Senate Republicans who pilloried the deal as illegal and overbearing when Obama negotiated now have lost the will to demand an exit.

Ivanka loses: If Trump follows through on his campaign promises and kicks off the multiyear process to withdraw from the Paris accord, it will tell us a lot about who Trump is listening to (short answer: not Ivanka or his secretary of state), especially since there are so few businesses or interest groups arguing that it’s a good idea for the United States to defy the rest of the world. The few that are include 44 fossil fuel advocacy groups, as well as the far-right think tanks that promote climate change denial: the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. A “leave” decision would show that Bannon and Pruitt have considerable sway over Trump’s decision-making.

Add to the list Robert Murray, a coal magnate and head of the coal company Murray Energy. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Murray Energy donated its most yet to candidates last year, giving several hundred thousand dollars to Trump’s campaign. CEO Robert Murray hosted a private fundraiser for Trump last June and has returned to Trump’s side a few times since to push his favored policies, which include reversing regulations on the coal industry and pulling from the Paris accord.

No one wins: Renegotiating the deal, as Rick Perry has suggested, would all but certainly drag on the Paris drama for years to come. Perry claims that European nations haven’t done their share, although their commitment of 40 percent cuts over 1990 levels by 2030 is steeper than those agreed to by the United States. “Don’t sign an agreement and expect us to stay in if you’re not really going to participate and be a part of it,” Perry told a Bloomberg energy conference in April. But renegotiating is not as simple as Perry suggests. The time for that has passed, since the agreement has already been negotiated and entered into last fall. And how does Trump plan on convincing other countries to ramp up their ambitions voluntarily if he is moving backward on US commitments? One point of leverage other countries have over the United States is following through on imposing a carbon tax on US products. And a Chinese government climate official warned Tuesday that Trump’s decision “will impact other diplomatic arenas, already on G7 and G20, the Major Economies Forum as well,” and “will harm the mutual trust in multilateral mechanism.”

Ivanka claims to win, but it’s meaningless: This would be the case if we stay in the deal in name only and don’t bother to cut emissions through federal policy. Environmentalists prefer this option to pulling out entirely, if only because it would be easier to pick up the pieces in four years if Trump isn’t reelected. Yet it’s not much of a win, and certainly not for someone who is as passionate about climate change as Ivanka says she is.

“We should be of good intent,” former EPA administrator and League of Conservation Voters chair Carol Browner said on a recent press call. “If we stay at the table, it should be with the intent of achieving measurable reductions” of greenhouse gases. “Any idea that we stay at the table so we can disrupt what the rest of the world is attempting is really outrageous on our part. And the rest of the world will see it.”

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What the Hell Is Going on With Trump’s Delay on the All-Important Paris Decision?

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Dianne Feinstein Town Hall Shows Why She’s a Conservative by San Francisco Standards

Mother Jones

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Before they could enter the San Francisco Scottish Rite Masonic Center, the roughly 1,200 people who showed up for California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s town hall meeting yesterday morning had their bags searched and their bodies scanned for metal objects. As they filed into the thickly carpeted auditorium, attendees passed several tables covered with literature laid out by Indivisible, the liberal grassroots group that had helped organize this rare public meeting with the senator. The leaflets included a list of recommended questions for a senator who doesn’t often field questions from constituents, even here in her liberal hometown.

When the 83-year-old Democrat walked onto the stage in a jet black suit, the crowd, largely women, awarded the four-term senator a warm round of applause. But the mood quickly soured and tension between the famously moderate Feinstein and the highly charged, anti-Trump audience was a motif of the 70-minute event. A man interrupted Feinstein’s opening remarks to loudly ask his fellow audience members to “wake up,” before they shushed him and audibly told him “shut up.” Feinstein waved it off and plowed forward with a metered explanation of the need to reform Social Security and Medicare before indicating she was ready to take questions.

Questioners were selected at random by raffle. Once called, they made their way to the front of the auditorium where stood just a few yards from Feinstein. The first was a woman who was worried that “trigger happy” President Donald Trump might deploy her son to Syria, and wanted to know what Feinstein would do to ensure peace in the Middle East. “The world is not an easy place, and it is not a stable place,” Feinstein replied. She continued, somewhat confusingly, with an explanation of how North Korea presents an “existential” threat and an “acute danger” to the United States. After speaking for some time about the “ruthless” Kim Jong-un’s attempts to build a nuclear tipped missile capable of striking “anywhere in the United States,” Feinstein pivoted back to the Middle East. When she mentioned, without reservation, Trump’s recent missile attack on a Syrian air base, the crowd erupted with a cacophony of boos.

A few minutes later, a man asked the senator if she would support a single-payer health care system. “If single payer healthcare is going to mean a complete government takeover over of the healthcare system, I am not for it,” Feinstein replied, again to boos.

After Feinstein was asked to eschew “business as usual” politics and to vocally resist Trump, the senator tried to explain her model of politics. “I would be surprised if you found too many senators, if any, that have gotten more done,” she said, visibly frustrated by the crowd’s repeated interruptions. “I don’t get there by making statements I can’t deliver. I get there through some caution, some discussion, some smart help, our lawyers—and we generally get where we need to go.”

Feinstein found some common ground with her constituents, however. In her response to a question about Trump’s laundry list of ethical conflicts, she hinted at both impending legislation and litigation targeting the president’s conflicts of interest, which elicited broad agreement from the crowd.

Monday’s town hall was the product of more than two months of work by several dozen Indivisible activists. Several Bay Area Indivisible chapters had expressed interest in holding a town hall with the senator in January. Feinstein didn’t show at a meeting at an Oakland high school in late February. The event was branded as an “Empty Chair Town Hall where attendees presented questions to caricature of the senator.

In February, Indivisible members confronted Feinstein at a tony lunch event at the Public Policy Institute of California. Feinstein politely expressed interest in attending a town hall but didn’t commit to a time. After two months of calls and meetings between Indivisible members and Feinstein staffers, two town hall events were announced—this one in San Francisco, and another on Thursday in Los Angeles.

Amelia Cass, one of the leaders of Indivisible East Bay, said the need for a town hall was born out of the senator’s notorious inaccessibility. “It’s our government, and they’ll listen to us if we speak up. There’s a quote I saw in a newspaper that said ‘It’s not that Senator Feinstein doesn’t want to have town halls, it’s that nobody’s ever asked before.’ She has many opportunities to speak her mind. But her constituents don’t have very many opportunities to speak directly to the senator.”

Many who attended the town hall said they were grateful that the senator took the time to listen to their queries. Yet many left the meeting feeling less than confident that Feinstein is really representing their interests on Capitol Hill. “What we’re saying is that we have an existential threat from our own president, not North Korea,” said Steve Rapport of Indivisible San Francisco. “We want to hear some fighting talk and feel like our representatives have our back.”

That sentiment was echoed by Linh Nguyen, an organizer with Indivisible East Bay. “If Feinstein has this coalition that she’s built over the decades that she’s served in the senate working across party lines, I want to see evidence of it,” Nguyen said. “Where is your coalition from the middle and right to push against this? If she does have this large coalition, let us use it to our advantage.”

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Dianne Feinstein Town Hall Shows Why She’s a Conservative by San Francisco Standards

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