California Governor, Jerry Brown, surprised many of us around the world as he publicly announced to the world that California would host its own international summit regarding global climate change despite President Trump’s decision to not get involved just days before.
[It wouldn’t accept the embed code so the video link is: https://youtu.be/8ny8NY7Lp5Y]
In the video Brown released regarding his announcement, he made it clear that even with Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris Agreement, Trump doesn’t speak for the rest of Americans. “We in California and in states all across America believe it’s time to act, it’s time to join together and that’s why at this Climate Action Summit we’re going to get it done,” Brown said.
Governor Jerry Brown along with governors from Washington and New York have come together to form a coalition named the US Climate Alliance which aims to unite American states to aggressively fight climate change. He has been named a special adviser to the UN’s next global climate meeting this November and has shown a deep commitment to the issue as he continues to travel around the world to discuss environmental policies with different leaders. The US Climate Alliance isn’t the only coalition he has formed to fight climate change, the governor has also formed a global group called Under2 Coalition which has the main focus of keeping temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius.
People have speculated the governor’s actions as he attends global meetings and forms nationwide and global coalitions, that he is working beyond his duties as a governor and serving instead as a world diplomat. However, his actions aren’t receiving much negativity since he is going against President Trump’s decision for a cause as terrifying and impactful as climate change. Trump has yet to respond to Governor Jerry Brown’s diplomacy, but it’s evident Brown isn’t going to give up. Earlier this week he was quoted as saying, “Despite rejection in Washington, California is all in. We are fully committed to the Under2 Coalition and the Paris Agreement.” The international summit hosted by California is set to take place in September 2018.
It is no secret that the Republican party has a extremely low view of Climate Change and an even lower opinion of those who wish to use the topic as a directional model for policy making. Therefore it came as a extraordinary surprise to many that a recent California law, whose exclusive purpose was to push measures to combat climate change, received its primary bulk of support from Republicans.
This move comes on the heels of a nearly universal, nation wide effort by the Republican Party to pull back or down a wide array of climate change initiatives. The leader of the Californian GOP, Chad Mayes, has publicly spoken up about the curious move, assuredly preempting shock by the Democrats and unease by some of his own party constitutes in other states. Mr. Mayes said in a recent interview that his state was not like the rest of the United States of America, that the GOP in California was different as well and that the popular opinion in the party was that climate change simply had to be addressed.
Chad Mayes occupies a peculiar territory within the Republican Party and is one of the primary conservative reformers who has, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, steered clear of the policies of the current administration. Mr. Mayes track record has shown that his focuses lie primarily, with poverty reduction and climate change, initiatives in the political sphere which are both usually seen as Democratic priorities. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger took to social media to show his approval of Mayes and his new party direction, writing on his Facebook that he hoped that Mr. Mayes’ new direction would be seen as a beacon of change that would get other Republicans to come on board and help. Mr. Schwarzenegger also noted that there was nothing mutually exclusive about wanting the economy to grow while at the same time wanting to be highly concerned about the environment.
As previously reported by the New York Times, President Obama recently visited Midway Atoll, which is part of an uninhabited island in Hawaii, to recognize his expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and address the growing threat of climate change.
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
This area is now the largest protected area in the world, encompassing 583,000 square miles. The area is home to over 7,000 different species, many of which are endangered animals, and a quarter of them are only found in this area. This area was first put under protective status in 1909 by Theodore Roosevelt as part of a response to the over-harvesting of sea birds. He established the area as Hawaiian Islands Bird Reservation. Later, in 1940, Franklin Roosevelt converted the area into a wildlife refuge. Many other orders of protection followed afterwards. In 2000, Bill Clinton designated the waters around the area a National Marine Sanctuary. Finally, in 2006, President Bush gave the area national monument status. The reason for this is because it gave the area immediate and more thorough protection; the protection could only be revoked through proper legislation. Obama furthered the work done by the previous presidents by almost quadrupling the amount of land under protection. Scientists and environmentalists support the expansion by Obama, believing it is a necessary course of action to save wildlife species and help combat the issue of climate change. However, some aren’t as happy about the change, most notably commercial fishermen.
Is Expansion the Best Thing?
The fishing industry sees the expansion of at Papahānaumokuakea as an unnecessary hindrance on their fishing practices. They believe it will cause the industry harm because it will prohibit long-line fishing in the protected area. According to some, this move does not provide any benefits to conservation and is not based off the best available scientific data. They believe it is more of a political move for Obama to build a lasting legacy, instead of helping in the area of conservation. However, Obama has voiced the necessity for this action, seeing it as a message to everyone that is critical to address the effects of global warming on our waters and save wildlife from the effects humans have had on the environment. President Obama has been invited to return in a couple years, so he can see just how much he has done for the animals he wanted to protect. Those at the facility thank Obama, and it is believed that the animals will too.
The largest water reservoir in the western United States, Lake Mead, is at the lowest level in its history. That’s due to ongoing drought. The climate change forecast will make it even worse, claims LA Times in its recent post.
This can lead to water shortages. Instead of an all-encompassing solution, individual Congress representatives are seeking to protect their own states first.
There are some solutions such as water conservation. For example, the state of Arizona now consumes less water than six decades ago despite sixfold increase in population from slightly over one million to 6.7 million today.
Draining of Lake Mead was noticed a decade ago and plans were made to stop it, but the levels of water kept on getting lower. Now, under the new plan, fresh limits will be imposed on how much water can be taken out of the reservoir.
Based on the new plan, Arizona and Nevada would take first cuts, and California would be expected to follow.
“I think the drought in California, the severe impacts on the state water supply, have made them feel what it’s like to be Arizona,” said Tom Buschatzke, director of the Arizona’s Department of Water.
Ongoing water shortages will possibly lead to conflict among the western states and the Feds may need to get involved.
There are other proposals to solve this water crisis. These include desalination, transforming sewage into water, and even reducing agriculture. Even water markets were proposed.