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Over 100 Indian-Americans gathered for a gala celebrate Donald Trump’s Inauguration in Washington

Several Indian-Americans gathered at Donald Trump's Inauguration gala along with the Indian Ambassador in the US, Navtej Sarna

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Donald Trump. Wikimedia

Washington, Jan 21, 2017: Several Indian-Americans gathered for a gala here to celebrate the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th US President, an event skipped by many from the community, with Shalabh Kumar, a key member of the President’s panel on Asia-Pacific affairs, also conspicuous by his absence.

At least a hundred Indian-Americans attended the gala that took place at the Grand Ballroom of the central Mayflower hotel in Washington on Friday, American Bazaar online reported.

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Indian ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna and his counterparts from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, South Korea and Singapore were also present.

“This is a great celebration of Asian success,” Sarna said at the event, largely attended by Republican crowd.

“I am very happy that Indian-Americans are part of the successful large Asian community.”

Virginia Republican Puneet Ahluwalia, one of the organisers of the event, told the American Bazaar that it was “a grand success”.

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“We were able to create a platform for the AAPI (Asian-American and Pacific Islanders) community to come together and celebrate the Trump election. The gala also made a strong statement that we are very much part of the American mainstream and will play an effective role in the next administration.”

Ahluwalia added that by showing up in good numbers, the Indian-American community has showed their desire for “the US-India relationship to be on the front and centre for the next administration”.

Dozens of dignitaries attended the event, including Congressman Ed Royce, chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, Representative Barbara Comstack, Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Governor Ralph DLG Torres as well as a number of Republican leaders from various Asian American and Pacific Islanders communities.

“The (Trump) administration is looking to increase its relationship with the Asian countries,” said Royce, the California Republican known to be one of the most staunchly pro-India voices in the US Congress.

“We should reach out to our friends in Asia. We will work to further and deepen this relationship,” said the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee.

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Indian-American Republicans who were present included Californian K.V. Kumar, Floridian Harry Walia and Ahluwalia who along with Shalabh Kumar form Trump-Pence campaign’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Committee.

Shalabh Kumar was, however, not present.

The formal part of the ball began with a rendition of the US national anthem. Indian food and Bollywood dance were other highlights of the event.

-IANS

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President Donald Trump Can Begin Steps to Pull United States Out of Landmark Paris Climate Agreement

It was negotiated in 2015 with lots of prodding by the United States and China and went into effect Nov. 4, 2016

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President, Donald Trump, United States
In the Paris agreement, nearly 200 countries set their own national targets for reducing or controlling pollution of heat-trapping gases Wikimedia Commons

For more than two years President Donald Trump has talked about pulling the United States out of the landmark Paris climate agreement. Starting Monday he finally can do something about it.

Even then, though, the withdrawal process takes a year and wouldn’t become official until at least the day after the 2020 presidential election.

In the Paris agreement, nearly 200 countries set their own national targets for reducing or controlling pollution of heat-trapping gases. It was negotiated in 2015 with lots of prodding by the United States and China and went into effect Nov. 4, 2016.

The terms of the deal say no country can withdraw in the first three years. So Monday is the first time the U.S. could actually start the withdrawal process, which begins with a letter to the United Nations. And it doesn’t become official for a year after that, which leads to the day after the election.

President, Donald Trump, United States
Youths demonstrate for climate change during the “Fridays for Future” school strike, in front of the Ecology Ministry in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2019. VOA

If someone other than Trump wins in 2020, the next president could get back in the deal in just 30 days and plan to cut carbon pollution, said Andrew Light, a former Obama State Department climate negotiator now at the nonprofit World Resources Institute.

Light and other experts say the withdrawal by the United States, the second biggest climate polluter and world’s largest economy, will hurt efforts to fight global warming.

“Global objectives can’t be met unless everybody does their part and the U.S. has to play the game,” said Appalachian State University environmental sciences professor Gregg Marland, who is part of a global effort to track carbon dioxide emissions. “We’re the second biggest player. What happens to the game if we take our ball and go home?”

Someone else, probably the biggest polluter China, will take over leadership in the global fight, said MIT economist Jake Jacoby, who co-founded the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

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The penalty for the U.S. “is not in economic loss. The penalty is in shame, in discrediting U.S. leadership,” Jacoby said.

Asked what the U.S. plans next, State Department spokesman James Dewey on Friday emailed only this: “The U.S. position with respect to the Paris Agreement has not changed. The United States intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.”

The agreement set goals of preventing another 0.5 degrees Celsius to 1 degree Celsius of warming from current levels. Even the pledges made in 2015 weren’t enough to prevent those levels of warming.

The deal calls for nations to come up with more ambitious pollution cuts every five years, starting in November 2020 in at a meeting in Scotland. Because of the expected withdrawal, the U.S. role in 2020 negotiations will be reduced, Light said.

President, Donald Trump, United States
Even then, though, the withdrawal process takes a year and wouldn’t become official until at least the day after the 2020 presidential election. Pixabay

Climate change, caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas, has already warmed the world by 1 degree Celsius since the late 1800s, caused massive melting of ice globally, triggered weather extremes and changed ocean chemistry. And scientists say, depending on how much carbon dioxide is emitted, it will only get worse by the end of the century with temperatures jumping by several degrees and oceans rising by close one meter.

Trump has been promising to pull out of the Paris deal since 2017, often mischaracterizing the terms of the agreement, which are voluntary. In October, he called it a massive wealth transfer from America to other nations and said it was one-sided

That’s not the case, experts said.

For example, the U.S. goal – set by Barack Obama’s administration – had been to reduce carbon dioxide emission in 2025 by 26% to 28% compared to 2005 levels. This translates to about 15% compared to 1990 levels.

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The European Union’s goal was to cut carbon pollution in 2030 by 40% compared to 1990 levels, which is greater than America’s pledge, said Stanford University’s Rob Jackson, who chairs the Global Carbon Project, a group of scientists that track carbon emissions worldwide. The United Kingdom has already exceeded that goal, he said.

“The U.S. agreement is not a tax on the American people. There is no massive wealth transfer,” said Climate Advisers CEO Nigel Purvis, who was a lead State Department climate negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. “In fact, the agreement obligates no country to make any financial payments.”

Formally getting out of the Paris agreement is bad, but at this point after years of rhetoric is more symbolic than anything, said Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb. She said she is more worried about other Trump carbon pollution actions, such as fighting California’s tougher emissions and mileage standards and rollbacks of coal fired power plant regulations.

The U.S. was not on track to reach its Paris pledge, according to the federal Energy Information Administration’s latest projections.

The EIA projects that in 2025 emissions will be at 4959 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 17% below 2005 levels, about 500 million tons short of the goal. Emissions in 2018 were nearly 2% higher than in 2016, the agency’s latest energy outlook says. That spike likely was from extreme weather and economic growth, Marland and Jacoby said. (VOA)