Paris Climate Accord Can’t Be Renegotiated, European Countries Say

Read the full story at Pacific Standard.

France, Germany, and Italy issued a joint statement on Thursday saying the Paris climate accord can’t be renegotiated, Reuters reports.

A guide to global warming, Paris pact and the US role

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

If President Donald Trump pulls the United States out of the international agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, what could that mean for the rapidly heating Earth?

Here’s a guide to what’s in the Paris agreement, what’s going on with global warming, and what might happen if the rest of the world keeps fighting man-made climate change and the U.S. stays partially or completely on the sidelines.

Fact-checking President Trump’s claims on the Paris climate change deal

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

In his speech announcing his decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord on climate change, President Trump frequently relied on dubious facts and unbalanced claims to make his case that the agreement would hurt the U.S. economy. Notably, he only looked at one side of the scale — claiming the agreement left the United States at a competitive disadvantage, harming U.S. industries. But he often ignored the benefits that could come from tackling climate change, including potential green jobs.

Trump also suggested that the United States was treated unfairly under the agreement. But each of the nations signing the agreement agreed to help lower emissions, based on plans they submitted. So the U.S. target was set by the Obama administration.

The plans are not legally binding, but developing and developed countries are treated differently because developed countries, on a per capita basis, often produce more greenhouse gases than developing countries. For instance, on a per capita basis, the United States in 2015 produced more than double the carbon dioxide emissions of China — and eight times more than India.

Here’s a roundup of various statements made by the president during his Rose Garden address. As is our practice, we do not award Pinocchios in roundups of speeches.

Bucking Trump, These Cities, States and Companies Commit to Paris Accord

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Representatives of American cities, states and companies are preparing to submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate accord, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement.

The unnamed group — which, so far, includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses — is negotiating with the United Nations to have its submission accepted alongside contributions to the Paris climate deal by other nations.

Heritage Foundation Gets It Wrong on Costs and Benefits of Climate Action

Read the full post from the World Resources Institute.

The Heritage Foundation has gained prominence as a go-to source of information for the Trump Administration. But when it comes to estimating the costs and benefits of certain climate actions, Heritage presents a highly misleading picture. Both President Trump and members of Congress have referenced a Heritage study that claims the costs of complying with the Paris climate agreement are too high and the benefits are too low. A WRI review of the document finds that Heritage does not provide credible estimates of either costs or benefits of climate action.

In what follows, we break down some of the key problems with the Heritage Foundation paper.

How sustainable are biodegradable and plant-based plastics?

Read the full story in Packaging Digest.

Rethinking all aspects of the plastics supply chain in terms of full lifecycle, from sourcing to end-of-life, is the key for manufacturers and major brands aiming to design into a more circular plastics economy. Driven by demand for more sustainability and positive environmental impacts in consumer packaged goods (CPGs), there is a growing industry for bioplastics—plastics made from plant biomass, such as corn.

Living in a Materials World: Four Northwestern entrepreneurs bring sustainability and energy solutions to market

Read the full story from Northwestern University.

As the world has continued to move toward clean energy, so has Northwestern’s materials science program, which is increasingly focused on sustainable materials design. The University has helped launch several companies with the goal of creating innovative energy solutions by designing and developing better materials with less energetic requirements. By bringing innovative materials to the market, these startups are creating disruptive technologies for electric car makers, produce shippers, battery manufacturers, and more.

America Can’t Afford to Be a Climate Loner

Read the full post from the World Resources Institute.

Pulling out of the Paris Agreement on climate change would put the United States at odds with its most steadfast allies and trade partners.

Scientists Scramble to Understand the Invisible Creatures Around Us Before It’s Too Late

Read the full story at Ensia.

By some estimates, fewer than 1 percent of all bacteria species have been identified, and bacteria are only one type of microbe. Some microbiologists say microbial “dark matter” forms the invisible backbone of life on our planet and plays a huge role in essential processes such as carbon and nutrient cycling. Bacteria help store carbon from the atmosphere in the soil or the ocean. Microbes also play a key role in global food webs.

Yet even as we’re beginning to discover this microbial richness, some scientists worry it could be slipping away. Studies have shown that soils disturbed by environmental change boast less bacterial diversity than undisturbed soils. Just as Darwin, Audubon, Muir and other naturalists of old once described the planet’s plants and animals, these new naturalists are now scrambling to catalog Earth’s rich microbial infrastructure. Their work is transforming the way we think about agriculture, energy and ecosystems, and could ultimately help us reduce human impacts on the environment.

Farming the World: China’s Epic Race to Avoid a Food Crisis

Read the full story from Bloomberg News.

It takes about 1 acre (half a hectare) to feed the average U.S. consumer. China only has about 0.2 acres of arable land per citizen, including fields degraded by pollution.

So China’s Communist government has increasingly shifted its focus to reforming agriculture, and its approach divides into four parts: market controls; improving farm efficiency; curbing land loss; and imports.

In each case, technology is the key to balancing the food equation. The nation is spending billions on water systems, seeds, robots and data science to roll back some of the ravages of industry and develop sustainable, high-yield farms.