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Scientists attribute rising temperatures to more extreme heat waves, droughts, floods, hurricanes, and other consequences. Pixabay

A “coming-out party for the United States on climate change.”

That’s how University of Maryland Center for Global Sustainability Director Nathan Hultman describes the virtual summit President Joe Biden is hosting with dozens of world leaders April 22-23.


After four years of disregard for the issue under former President Donald Trump, the summit will be “an opportunity for the U.S. to come back onto the scene to show it is taking climate change seriously,” said David Waskow, International Climate Initiative director at the World Resources Institute, Washington-based environmental research, and advocacy group.

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The White House said it will announce an “ambitious” 2030 target for greenhouse gas emissions before the summit.

Advocates are calling for a 50% cut from 2005 levels, a “highly ambitious but still achievable” goal, Hultman said.


Prior to the summit, the White House will set a determined 2030 target for greenhouse gas emissions. Pixabay

And it would show other major polluters that the largest cumulative contributor to global warming is ready to take action.

“Certainly China is looking to see what the United States is going to do,” Waskow said. “We know that some of these other countries — Japan, South Korea, Canada, India — are watching to see how the United States will move.”

Make or break

The stakes are rising. Many experts say the 2020s are a make-or-break decade.

Averaged over the entire globe, temperatures have increased more than 1.1 degrees Celsius since 1880. Scientists link the increase to more severe heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms, and other impacts. And they note that the rate of temperature rise has accelerated since the 1980s.

World leaders agreed to limit global warming to “well below” 2C in the 2015 U.N. Paris climate agreement and to aim for 1.5C.


Temperatures have risen by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius on average since 1880. Pixabay

But the world is currently on track for 3C of warming, which experts say would be catastrophic.

“The global trajectory is completely off track from where it needs to be,” said Rachel Cleetus, policy director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“We have to sharply bend that curve to keep 1.5 within reach,” she added. “At this point, we are really at grave risk of losing it.”

Global emissions need to fall by about 45% by 2030, according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. By 2050, they need to reach “net-zero,” where emissions are canceled out by removing planet-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“If you don’t start bending that curve now, the trajectory that one would have to be on following 2030 would be incredibly difficult to achieve,” Waskow said.

Job creator

The Biden administration sees fighting climate change as an opportunity to create jobs — installing wind and solar power, building electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and making homes and buildings more efficient, for example.

It’s a cornerstone of his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.

“The American Jobs Plan will lead to transformational progress in order to tackle climate change with American jobs and American ingenuity,” he said, announcing the plan last month in Pittsburgh.


The American Jobs Plan would result in transformative success in combating climate change. Pixabay

But Congress would have to pass that plan, and Republicans are solidly opposed, especially to the tax increases Biden proposed to pay for it.

South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune called it “a massive expansion of the government-financed on the backs of the American taxpayers, with taxes that will hurt the economy and cost us jobs.”

“Until we can sort out those politics, it’s going to be tough for us to claim this leadership mantle internationally on the top-line numbers,” said Joseph Majkut, director of climate policy at the Niskanen Center, a Washington-based policy research institute.

Rebuilding trust

The United States faces skepticism on climate after the Trump administration pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and worked to undo regulations reducing emissions.

“Rebuilding trust is, I think, going to be an essential element of the conversation,” Majkut said.


China has made a “world-leading” commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2060. Pixabay

But the United States is not the only country with a credibility problem.

China, the world’s biggest polluter, made a “world-leading” pledge to get to net-zero by 2060, the University of Maryland’s Hultman noted.

It “change(d) the idea of net-zero from something that was just for the greenest of the green,” he said, sending a signal to other developing countries that “net zero is actually our global future.”

ALSO READ: The “Roof of The World” Tibetan Plateau May Warm Faster Than Climate Models: Study

At the same time, however, China keeps building and financing coal-fired power plants, the single largest source of greenhouse gases. China added enough coal-fired capacity last year to cancel out a near-record amount of plant closures, according to the Global Energy Monitor.

“Right now, they’re barreling forward,” Hultman said. “They basically have to pull back … and even reverse course a little bit in the next few years in order to boost the credibility of their long-term climate promises.”

Eyes will also be on India, a rising source, to announce its plans ahead of a major U.N. climate conference in Glasgow in November. (VOA/KB)


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VOA

Surgeons attached a pig kidney to a pair of large blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient so they could observe it for two days, and the kidney did what it was supposed to do.

Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for lifesaving transplants.

Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but among the hurdles: A sugar in pig cells, foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Killer Smog in Delhi.

Developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, a Decision Support System (DSS) that extends the ability of the existing air quality early warning system (AQEWS) to have decision-making capability for air quality management in Delhi-NCR was launched on Tuesday.

The website for the DSS (https://ews.tropmet.res.in/dss/) is designed to help the Commission for Air Quality Management for NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) by delivering quantitative information about the contribution of emissions from Delhi and its 19 surrounding districts; the contribution of emissions from eight different sectors in Delhi; and the contribution from biomass-burning activities in the neighbouring states.

These information would assist in managing the air quality in a timely manner, a release from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said.

The need was stated by the CAQM, which was formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during a meeting held in January 2021.

Recently, the Commission reviewed the progress made by IITM and had in principle approved the current version of DSS for air quality management in the Delhi-NCR. The IITM has also developed a new website for DSS with the entire system made operational, the release said.

Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, while launching the website for AQEWS on the occasion of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' week organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, "DSS is a significant contribution to 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' on behalf of MoES and IITM and suggestions are invited on this issue."

The website also has a feature whereby the users can create their own emission reduction scenarios (from 20 different districts, including Delhi) so as to examine the possible projected improvement in air quality in Delhi for the next five days.

"This information would explicitly highlight the most important emission sources responsible for the degradation of air quality in Delhi and suggest possible solutions to ameliorate the same. With a plethora of quantitative data, the AQEWS integrated with DSS could become a user-friendly tool for air-quality management in and around Delhi," the release said. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, India, Pollution, IITM, Ministry of Earth Sciences


Photo by GOI.

On the first day of the two-day meeting of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders on Tuesday, discussions were held on important issues related to education and the National Education Policy-2020

On the first day of the two-day meeting of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders on Tuesday, discussions were held on important issues related to education and the National Education Policy-2020. Apart from senior RSS leader Suresh Soni, representatives of various organisations associated with the Sangh Parivar -- working in the field of education -- were present in the meeting in New Delhi.

According to sources, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who attended the meeting on behalf of the government, shared information related to the National Education Policy-2020 and the government's policy on important issues related to the education sector. Pradhan also shared details of the efforts being made by the government in the field of education.

Discussions were also held regarding the impact of the situation arising out of Corona and how much it has affected the education sector. In the meeting, the RSS leaders asked several questions and provided suggestions to the Union Minister regarding the education policy of the government.

According to the sources, RSS wants the policy to be implemented expeditiously. All aspects related to the policy were discussed in Tuesday's meeting. On the second and the last day of the meeting on Wednesday, special issues related to education will be discussed in which representatives of various organisations of the Sangh, Union Ministers and several BJP leaders will be take part.

Meanwhile, in order to convey its point of view to the government on various issues, the Sangh keeps on calling such coordination meetings related to specific issues, in which RSS representatives -- working in that particular area -- provide feedback to the government. (IANS/JB)


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