UK Climate Diplomacy Staff Cut Again as Post-Brexit Links to Trump and US Deniers Strengthen

Read time: 3 mins

With Donald Trump set to become the President of the United States, the international climate change political scenery has shifted.

The president-elect’s stance on “quitting” the Paris Agreement seems to have softened in recent days. But countries are still going to need strong diplomatic teams to shore-up the global commitment to tackling climate change, reiterated at the Marrakech climate talks last week.

So it’s notable that the UK’s climate diplomacy team appears to weakening.

For the second year in a row, the foreign office reduced the number of people working on climate change and energy, documents released by the government this week under a freedom of information request show.

What Terrible Injustices Are Hiding Behind American Energy Habits?

Read time: 7 mins
Wayuu woman makes soup in La Guajira, Colombia

When someone charges a cellphone or flips on the lights, what costs are felt by the far-off communities that produced the coal or gas powering that home? What happens to those same communities when a utility decides to switch from coal power to natural gas? And what keeps these impacts of American energy habits hidden from view?   

New research helps provide some clarity. A study led by Noel Healy from Salem State University in Massachusetts analyzes the hidden but interconnected injustices that can occur throughout the world’s fossil fuel supply chains.

A Witness to the Disappearing Wonder of Wild Orcas

Read time: 4 mins
A pod of orcas at sunset

I never thought I’d live to see an orca in the wild, a sobering prospect for someone in her 30s living in the Pacific Northwest. Or rather, I never thought the orcas would live long enough for me to see them in the wild.

I’m not talking about meeting just any orcas; I wanted to meet my orcas, the 74 remaining endangered Southern Residents who call the busy, steely blue waters of the Salish Sea their home.

In this corner of the cold Pacific Ocean spanning Washington and British Columbia, the Southern Resident orcas face more challenges than most, faring worse even than their nearby neighbors, the Northern Resident community, similar orcas who live similar salmon-eating lives farther north along the Pacific Coast.

Brazil's New Foreign Minister is a Climate Science Denier

Read time: 3 mins

By Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home News

Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro has named an anti-globalist diplomat to lead on foreign affairs and his country’s relationship to the Paris Agreement.

Ernesto Araújo has praised US president Donald Trump and accused the political left of appropriating climate change to serve an ideological agenda. He currently runs Brazil’s US and Canada department, a relatively junior position in the foreign service, and only became an ambassador this year.

On Twitter announcing his new minister, Bolsonaro called Araújo a “brilliant intellectual”.

Making Visible the Globe-warming Gases of the Permian Fracking Boom

Read time: 10 mins
Sharon Wilson with her FLIR camera at a fracking site and a methane flare in the background

There is an LED sign at a Chase Bank in downtown Midland, Texas, the heart of the Permian Basin, which quantifies the current oil boom. It alternates between current rig count, the price of oil, and the price of gasoline. On October 30, the day I arrived, the sign informed me there were 1,068 drilling rigs across the United States, of which 489 — nearly half — are in the Permian Basin.

Though the flashing sign is meant to celebrate the fracking boom, Sharon Wilson, Texas coordinator of Earthworks, sees it as a warning sign of the urgent need to cut greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change.

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