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What is Trump’s record on environment?




Mr Trump speaks to the press ahead of a briefing on wildfiresImage copyright
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Mr Trump speaks to the press ahead of a briefing on wildfires

As forest fires blaze in the western states and a new hurricane hits the southern coast of America, President Donald Trump has caused controversy by questioning the science around climate change.

At the same time, he has called himself a “great environmentalist”, touting successes in conservation, wildlife protection and the banning of some off-shore drilling.

We have taken a look at what he has said and done on environmental issues.

Trump: ‘It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch… I don’t think science knows, actually.’

These comments were in response to California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot, who said to the president: “We want to work with you to really recognise the changing climate.”

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President Trump speaks during a briefing on wildfires with local and federal fire and emergency officials in Sacramento

Mr Trump has received widespread criticism from scientific experts on this issue.

Dr Chris Brierley, an associate professor in climate science at UCL, said the world was getting warmer and would continue to do so.

“You’ll have some anomalously cold years and some anomalously hot years but it is certainly going up,” he said.

And there is an overwhelming scientific consensus these rising temperatures are being driven by human actions.

Nasa, the US space agency, says: “Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97% or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.”

But the president has shown little, if any, commitment to tackling climate change and last year withdrew the US from the Paris accord, a multilateral agreement to tackle global warming.

Trump: ‘Right now we have the cleanest air we’ve ever had in this country, let’s say over the last 40 years.’

Over the past few decades, air quality – a measure of six major pollutants – has improved significantly in the US.

From 1970 to 2019, the overall level of these pollutants fell by 77%, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

And this trend has largely continued into Mr Trump’s administration, with a 7% fall between 2017 and 2019, which is why the EPA says the US currently has the cleanest air on record.

Air pollution in the US has been improving

But whether these achievements are a result of actions taken by the president or part of a longer-term trend away from polluting energy sources such as coal is contested by experts.

“The decisions of his administration to weaken numerous air-quality standards reveal his clear intent to worsen air quality in the long run,” says H Christopher Frey, a professor at North Carolina State University and former chief of the EPA’s air-quality scientific advisory board.

Other factors such as weather events can also have a heavy impact on pollution.

Trump: ‘We’re just a small speck. They make up a big preponderance of the pollution.’

President Trump said this in reference to China, India and Russia, seeking to downplay America’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

“Nobody ever talks about that,” he said.

Carbon dioxide emissions from world powers

But the US is the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide worldwide, behind China.

And when you look at emissions per person, it ranks higher than all of the three countries Mr Trump mentioned.

Greenhouse gas emissions per capita

Trump: ‘I’m committed to ensuring the United States has the… cleanest water on Earth.’

The US is ranked 26th in the world on sanitation and drinking water, according to Yale University’s 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI).

On this ranking, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the UK have the cleanest water.

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The Colorado River

Official feed of BBC News, The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, it is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees.

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‘US can impose neither negotiations nor war’ on Iran, Rouhani tells UN General Assembly





Addressing a session of the UN General Assembly, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said his country will not give in to US pressure and Washington will not bully Tehran, into neither “negotiations nor war.”

Speaking on Tuesday at the UNGA – held this year in a virtual format due to the coronavirus pandemic – Rouhani blasted the recent US decision to unilaterally re-impose now-defunct international sanctions against Iran.

“The US can impose neither negotiations nor war on us,” Rouhani said, insisting that “today is the time to say ‘no’ to bullying and arrogance.”

Life is hard under sanctions. However, harder is life without independence.

He expressed Iran’s gratitude to the nations who rejected Washington’s move. The US measure has not been particularly well-received, as 13 out of 15 UN Security Council members firmly opposed it.

“I should express our appreciation to the presidents of the Security Council for the months of August and September 2020, as well as to 13 of its members–especially Russia and China–who twice said a decisive and resounding ‘no’ to the unlawful US attempt to exploit the Council and its Resolution 2231,” the president said.

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United Nations will not support Washington’s unilateral move to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran, says organization’s chief

The most recent package of US sanctions against Tehran was unveiled by Washington on Monday, targeting Iran’s defense ministry. The announcement came just a few days after the US declared “snapback” UN sanctions on Iran t

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Pascale Ferrier: White House ricin package suspect in court





Pascale FerrierImage copyright
Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office

A Canadian woman has been charged in US federal court for allegedly posting a letter with deadly ricin poison to President Donald Trump.

Pascale Ferrier, of Quebec, was arrested at a border crossing in Buffalo, New York, on Sunday. She was reportedly carrying a gun.

She has pleaded not guilty to making threats against the president.

The letter she allegedly sent last week was discovered before it reached the White House.

In it, she called on Mr Trump to drop out of the US presidential race. The envelop contained ricin, a poison found naturally in castor beans.

“I found a new name for you: ‘The Ugly Tyrant Clown’,” she wrote in the letter to Mr Trump, according to FBI charging documents filed ahead of her first court appearance in New York on Tuesday.

“I hope you like it. You ruin USA and lead them to disaster. I have US cousins, then I don’t want the next 4 years with you as president. Give up and remove your application for this election.”

The letter, which the FBI says had her fingerprints on it, referred to the poisoned note as “a special gift”, adding: “If it doesn’t work, I’ll find better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come. “

The suspect may have also sent ricin to five addresses in Texas, including a jail and a sheriff’s office, according to the court documents.

Ms Ferrier appeared in court on Tuesday afternoon in Buffalo, New York, with the aid of a French-speaking translator, according to local media.

Who is Pascale Ferrier?

Pascale Cecile Veronique Ferrier, 53, is a computer programmer who is originally from France, but became a Canadian citizen in 2015, according to Canadian media. Sources tell Reuters she retains dual French-Canadian citizenship. She was living in the Canadian province of Quebec.

In March 2019, she was arrested in Texas for unlawfully carrying a weapon and using a fake driver’s licence, according to jail records. She was deported to Canada after officials found she had overstayed her visa and committed a crime while in the US, according to the New York Times.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Secret Service are investigating the package, which was discovered at a processing facility for mail sent to the White House.

The presence of ricin was confirmed after several tests by the FBI, authorities said.

A spokesman for the Mission, Texas, police departmen

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Climate change: China aims for ‘carbon neutrality by 2060’





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China’s President Xi Jinping addressing the UN via video link

China will aim to hit peak emissions before 2030 and for carbon neutrality by 2060, President Xi Jinping has announced.

Mr Xi outlined the steps when speaking via videolink to the UN General Assembly in New York.

The announcement is being seen as a significant step in the fight against climate change.

China is the world’s biggest source of carbon dioxide, responsible for around 28% of global emissions.

With global climate negotiations stalled and this year’s conference of the parties (COP26) postponed until 2021, there had been little expectation of progress on the issue at the UN General Assembly.

However China’s president surprised the UN gathering by making a bold statement about his country’s plans for tackling emissions.

He called on all countries to achieve a green recovery for the world economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the official translation, Mr Xi went on to say:

“We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.”

Until now China has said it would peak its emissions by 2030 at the latest, but it has avoided committing to a long-term goal.

Emissions from China continued to rise in 2018 and 2019 even as much of the world began to shift away from fossil fuels.

While the Covid-19 crisis this spring saw the country’s emissions plunge by 25%, by June they had bounced back again as coal-fired plants, cement and other heavy industries went back to work.

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In 2014 the US and China reached a surprise agreement on climate change

Observers believe that in making this statement at this time, the Chinese leader is taking advantage of US reluctance to address the climate question.

“Xi Jinping’s climate pledge at the UN, minutes after President Donald Trump’s speech, is clearly a bold and well calculated move,” said Li Shuo, an expert on Chinese climate policy from Greenpeace Asia.

“It demonstrates Xi’s consistent interest in leveraging the climate agenda for geopolitical purposes.”

Back in 2014 Mr Xi and then US-President Barack Obama came to a surprise agreement on climate change, which became a key building block of the Paris agreement signed in D

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