Tuesday February 18, 2020
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European Union Agrees To Cut Greenhouse Gases Emission

EU countries are separately considering the extent to which truck emissions should be cut, with a debate due Thursday.

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Emissions
In this slow-shutter zoom effect photo taken Dec. 12, 2018, commuters backed up in traffic during the morning rush hour, in Brussels, a city that regularly experiences pollution alert warnings. VOA

The European Union agreed Monday to a goal of cutting carbon emissions from cars by 37.5 percent in a decade, finally settling differences between vehicle-producing countries and environmentally-conscious lawmakers.

The 28-nation bloc has been divided for months over how strict to be on CO2 emissions from vehicles as part of its push to reduce greenhouse gases overall by 40 percent by 2030.

Germany, with the EU’s biggest auto sector worth some 423 billion euros ($480 billion) in 2017, had warned tough targets and the drive toward more electric cars could harm its industry and cost jobs.

Representatives of the European Parliament and the EU countries finally struck a compromise Monday, after nine hours of talks, to cut emissions from cars by 37.5 percent and vans by 31 percent by 2030 compared with 2021.

Climate, emissions
– Greenpeace activists wear white morphsuits as they stage an action against particulate matter and health burden caused by diesel exhaust in Stuttgart, southern Germany. VOA

There was also agreement on an interim target of a 15 percent cut for both cars and vans by 2025.

“This is an important signal in our fight against climate change,” said current EU president Austria’s Sustainability Minister Elisabeth Koestinger.

But Brussels-based green lobbying group Transport & Environment expressed disappointment the deal was not even more ambitious.

“Europe is shifting up a gear in the race to produce zero-emission cars. The new law means by 2030 around a third of new cars will be electric or hydrogen-powered,” said its clean vehicles director, Greg Archer. “That’s progress, but it’s not fast enough to hit our climate goals.”

The compromise was tougher than the original EU executive proposal of an emissions decline of 30 percent compared to 2021.

Climate change, emissions, Global Warming
U.N. Climate chief Patricia Espinosa (C) is flanked by officials during a press conference at the COP24 climate change summit in Katowice, Poland, VOA

Germany had endorsed that, but a push by several EU countries, including the Netherlands and France, raised the target for EU countries to 35 percent. The EU Parliament had wanted 40 percent, so in the end, they split the difference.

The German automobile association (VDA) said the new legislation would set high demands while doing little to promote or provide incentives for switching to electric vehicles.

EU countries were among nearly 200 that agreed Saturday to rules for implementing the 2015 Paris climate accord at a U.N. conference in Poland.

Also Read: Governments Have Failed to Respond Adequately to Climate Change at The U.N. Conference: Activists

“Today’s successful outcome is even more important in view of this weekend’s conclusions … in Katowice. It clearly shows, once again, our unwavering commitment to the Paris Agreement,” EU Climate Commissioner Arias Canete said.

EU countries are separately considering the extent to which truck emissions should be cut, with a debate due Thursday. (VOA)

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High Temperature Records in Antarctica will Take Months to Verify: UN

Antarctic High Temp Records Will Take Months to Verify, says the UN Weather Agency

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ANTARCTICA
View of Orne Harbour in South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. - Brazilian scientists registered Antarctic temperature above 20C for first time on record at Seymour Island on February 9, 2020. VOA

Record high temperatures reportedly measured in Antarctica will take months to verify, the U.N. weather agency said Sunday.

A spokesman for the World Meteorological Organization said the measurements made by researchers from Argentina and Brazil earlier this month have to undergo a formal process to ensure that they meet international standards.

“A formal decision on whether or not this is a record is likely to be several months away,” said Jonathan Fowler, the WMO spokesman.

Scientists at an Argentine research base measured a temperature of 18.3° C (nearly 65° F) Feb. 6 on a peninsula that juts out from Antarctica toward the southern tip of South America. Last week, researchers from Brazil claimed to have measured temperatures above 20° C on an island off the peninsula.

ANTARCTICA
Frigid Antarctica is an expanse of white ice and blue waters, as pictured in March, 2017, at the U.S. research facility McMurdo Station. NASA’s Operation IceBridge has collected annual measurements of Antarctic ice to track changes and help predict sea level rise. VOA

Fowler said both measurements would need to be transmitted to Prof. Randall Cerveny, a researcher at Arizona State University who examines reported temperature records for WMO.

Cerveny then shares the data with a wider group of scientists who “will carefully evaluate the available evidence (including comparisons to surrounding stations) and debate the merits and problems of the observation,” said Fowler.

Also Read- “India Should be Seen as An Important Player To Combat Climate Change”, Says Norway

The evaluation normally takes six to nine months, after which Cerveny would “formally either accept or reject the potential extreme,” giving official WMO approval to the new record, he said.

Climate change is causing the Arctic and the Antarctic to warm faster than other parts of the planet. (VOA)