The Trump administration continued its rejection of mainstream climate science — and embraced Earth-warming fossil fuels — in the second week of the United Nations climate conference in Poland. Those contrarian views emerged even as U.S. government scientists on Tuesday reported that humanity’s actions are driving up temperatures rapidly, with devastating impacts for the Arctic and the rest of the globe.
Negotiations continued this week among diplomats from 200 nations in the industrial city of Katowice, trying to reach an agreement in which countries commit to greater reductions of greenhouse gases. The U.S. is party to those talks behind closed doors, even as Trump and his representatives question the scientific consensus on global warming.
Over the weekend, the U.S. joined Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as the only countries that declined to “welcome” an international report on the destructive fallout that will occur if temperature increases can’t be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial levels. All four nations export oil, and the report called for fossil fuels to be phased out by 2050.
America further divorced itself from most other nations on Monday, when it held a panel at the climate talks promoting the long-term burning of coal and natural gas. U.S. officials argued that the carbon fuels are necessary because renewable sources will not provide enough electric power in the short run.
Protesters temporarily stopped the pro-fossil fuel panel with calls of “Shame!” and “Keep it in the ground!”
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