Jun 22, 2017

How states, cities, and companies fall short on climate

Matt Brown / AP

A chic narrative in the wake of President Trump's decision to abandon the Paris deal and Obama-era rules is how much states, cities, and companies can fill the void. But three new pieces caught my eye that examine this theme:

Urban myth: This long analysis in Greentech Media argues that despite all the attention to cities' climate plans, "it's time to stop with the empty platitudes and face reality."

The long, not-subtle headline: "No, Cities Are Not Actually Leading on Climate. Enough With the Mindless Cheerleading."

  • Cities have basically been bystanders in decisions that have been driving down U.S. carbon emissions, such as: state-level renewables mandates, federal auto mileage standards, and the market-driven displacement of coal by natural gas.
  • Municipal efforts to cut energy use have been mixed, and data on building's electricity use is tough to find and arrives infrequently, while gains in solar power have been very limited.

Not enough: Over at the online magazine Undark, Zack Colman looks at the topic and concludes: "The smattering of cities, states and corporations vowing to tackle such a global issue are likely to fall short."

But that said: Over at The Conversation, a pair of Vanderbilt University professors take stock of the role that private actors — "corporations, civic and advocacy groups, private citizens, and even the Catholic Church" — can take to cut emissions.

Their piece calls these players crucial due to analyses showing that emissions pledges by governments worldwide will not, in sum, come close to limiting the global temperature rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee on Wednesday, including the gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at a Wednesday evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

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Coronavirus updates: South Korea case count tops 2,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

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Syria's darkest chapter

Family room without a family, in Idlib. Photo: Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The worst humanitarian crisis of Syria’s brutal civil war is colliding today with what could be the war’s most dangerous geopolitical showdown, after at least 29 Turkish troops were killed in an airstrike.

The big picture: The fighting is taking place in Idlib in northwest Syria, where a ferocious Syrian and Russian offensive has displaced 1 million civilians and infuriated Turkey, which borders the region.

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