Newswire : Vanishing Joshua Trees: Climate Change will ravage US National Parks, study says

 By Emily Holden, Guardian UK

 

Joshua Tree National Park

America’s national parks have warmed twice as fast as the US average and could see some of the worst effects of climate change, according to a new study. Most of Joshua Tree National park could become uninhabitable for its eponymous trees, glaciers will continue to melt away at Glacier national park, and many other of America’s most treasured beauty spots could be rendered virtually unrecognizable by climate change, Patrick Gonzalez, the lead author of the study, writes in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Even the tiniest of creatures are at risk in the worst-case predictions: the American pika, a small alpine mammal, may no longer be able to survive on park land. “We are preserving the most remarkable ecosystems, and they happen to be in extreme environments,” said Gonzalez, a climate scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. Gonzalez is also the principal climate change scientist for the US National Park Service but conducted and spoke about the research in his university capacity. The study finds that temperatures in national parks could go up 3 to 9C by 2100, under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s worst-case scenario, which shows what could happen without policies to decrease greenhouse gas pollution. With lower emissions, temperatures could still increase more than 2C (3.6F) for 58% of park land, compared to 22% of the US as a whole, according to the study. They are particularly vulnerable because most US park land is in areas that are heating up quicker: in the mountains, the Arctic and the dry south-west. Alaska parks would see the most extreme heat increases, and the US Virgin Islands parks face 28% less rainfall by the end of the century. In Glacier Bay national park, the Muir Glacier melted 640 meters between 1948 and 2000. In Yellowstone national park, trees are dying because bark beetles are thriving in warmer winters. Yellowstone will also become far more vulnerable to wildfires. The area burned could be up to three to 10 times higher by 2100. Joshua Tree national park in California could lose up to 90% of the habitat suitable for its namesake trees. Gonzalez explained that parks at a higher elevation have a thinner atmosphere that warms faster. Higher temperatures are also melting snow cover and making the ground darker so that it absorbs more heat. Parks in California and the south-west US have seen both high temperatures and record-low rainfall, he said. The research is the first comprehensive look at climate change impacts on national parks, Gonzalez said. He said he has been using the climate impacts research to develop plans for parks to adapt and reduce the greenhouse gas pollution they contribute. The Trump administration has rescinded government efforts to slow climate change. The interior department, where the National Park Service is housed, nixed a policy that would have urged management decisions based on science, including climate change research. Park officials in New England scrubbed references to climate change and flooding risks in a report this summer, according to Reveal. The National Park Service did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the study or climate change policies for parks. Jonathan Jarvis, the National Park Service director under Barack Obama who now works at UC Berkeley, said he relied on climate change projections to decide where to relocate and bolster structures in the Everglades national park in Florida, an area that has been hit by hurricanes and faces sea-level rise. Jarvis said he worries that under Trump parks won’t be able to plan long-term for climate change. “The park service manages these assets, these places, for the benefit of the American people, and they should be based on the best available sound science in the long-term public interest, not for some short-term political agenda,” Jarvis said.

Obama condemns Trump for ‘rejecting the future’ by exiting Paris climate deal

By: Sabrina Siddiqui and Lauren Gambino, Guardian
Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Barack Obama led condemnation of his successor’s decision to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate accord, which the former president’s administration painstakingly negotiated over the course of several years.
In a statement released just before Donald Trump officially announced that the US would remove itself from the deal, Obama said the administration had joined “a small handful of nations that reject the future”. He warned that the more than 190 countries that remained participants would “reap the benefits in jobs and industries created”, but he said that US states, cities and businesses “will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got”.
The rare rebuke by Obama was testament to the magnitude of Trump’s decision. The former president has commented sparingly on the new administration, weighing in only on matters he has framed as of moral significance, such as Trump’s stymied effort to impose a travel ban on refugees and citizens from several Muslim-majority countries.
Trump’s withdrawal from the accord was not just a blow to one of Obama’s signature achievements, but to an issue routinely dubbed by the Obama administration as the greatest threat to US national security and future generations across the globe.
The former secretary of state John Kerry, who represented the US in the negotiations over the Paris accord, said Trump had turned America into “an environmental pariah in the world”.
In exiting the agreement, the US joined only Syria and Nicaragua in sitting on the sidelines even as widespread condemnation poured in from foreign leaders, climate scientists and many leading US companies.
The reaction in Washington was nonetheless split on familiar partisan lines, with Republican lawmakers near unanimously throwing their support behind Trump while Democrats vowed revenge at the ballot box.
Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who have long sought to thwart Obama’s environmental legacy, applauded Trump in their statements.
“The Paris climate agreement was simply a raw deal for America,” Ryan said, adding: “In order to unleash the power of the American economy, our government must encourage production of American energy. I commend President Trump for fulfilling his commitment to the American people and withdrawing from this bad deal.”
McConnell said Trump’s move followed through on congressional action “to rebuff then-President Obama’s regulatory rampage.”
“When the previous administration signed America up for this unattainable mandate, we made it clear we would fight this unilateral action any way we could, and this day could not have happened soon enough,” McConnell said. “President Trump has once again put families and jobs ahead of leftwing ideology and should be commended for his action.”
But at least some Republicans – from Florida, one of many coastal states grappling with the effects of extreme weather and rising sea levels – expressed disappointment with the president’s decision to withdraw.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents south Florida, urged the US to establish a “long term-strategy against climate change”. She also noted that Thursday marked the first day of hurricane season in the state.
Democrats were uniformly scathing in their assessment of Trump’s decision, with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer declaring it “a devastating failure of historic proportions”.
“Future generations will look back on President Trump’s decision as one of the worst policy moves made in the 21st century because of the huge damage to our economy, our environment and our geopolitical standing,” Schumer said. “Pulling out of the Paris agreement doesn’t put America first. It puts America last in recognizing science, in being a world leader and protecting our own shore line, our economy and our planet.”
Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, said Trump’s position ran counter to that of Pope Francis, who during the president’s recent visit to the Vatican presented Trump with a copy of his encyclical on climate change.
Democrats would join efforts with states, cities and the private sector to make good on initiatives to mitigate the threat of climate change, she added, “regardless of the reckless and short-sighted actions that the White House takes”.
Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who made climate change a pillar of his bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, decried Trump’s action as “an abdication of American leadership and an international disgrace”. “When climate change is already causing devastating harm, we don’t have the moral right to turn our backs on efforts to preserve this planet,” Sanders tweeted.

Under Director Comey, FBI Special Agents were required to visit Dr. King’s Memorial

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called King a communist because of his fight for civil rights
By Frederick H. Lowe

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com

king monument - obama family.jpg

Visitors at the King Memorial in Washington, D. C.

(TriceEdneyWire.com)–Former FBI Director James Comey, who was hired by President Barack Obama and fired by President Donald Trump, ordered the FBI’s new special agents to visit the Washington D.C. memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for a discussion concerning unchecked government power.
As FBI director, Comey kept a memo on his desk written by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. The memo described Dr. King as a Communist, and it requested a technical surveillance on the civil rights leader. The 1963 memo was signed by Robert Kennedy, the U.S. Attorney General, Comey said during an interview on “60 Minutes” the news magazine broadcast Sunday nights on CBS Television.
Scott Pelley, a 60 Minutes reporter, who interviewed Comey, said, “there is no court order. It was a signature of the FBI director and the signature of the attorney general.”
“Yep,” Comey said. ”And then open-ended. No time limit. No space restriction. No review. No oversight.”
A 60 Minutes narrator said: “Some of the worst of the FBI’s history is its investigation of Dr. King. So, on Comey’s orders, FBI Academy instructors now bring new agents here [Dr. King’s statue] to talk about values lost in the pursuit of the man who became a monument.”
The camera then focuses on the face of an unnamed black woman who said: “Character, courage, collaboration, competence. We have to be able to call on those tools in our toolbox to be able to make sure that we are correcting some of the things that happened in the past.”
“What’s the lesson?” Pelley asks Comey.
“The lesson is the importance of never becoming untethered to oversight and accountability. I want all of my new special agents and intelligence analysts to understand that portion of the FBI’s history the FBI’s interaction with Dr. King and draw from it an understanding of the dangers of falling in love with our own rectitude. And the importance of being immersed in that design of the founders with oversight by the courts and Congress so we don’t fall in love with our own view of things,” Comey said.
President Trump fired Comey on May 9th. President Obama appointed him in 2013.

Steph Curry, Barack Obama team up to promote mentoring in PSA

Steph Curry and Barack Obama

Steph Curry and President Barack Obama

The President and the Golden State Warriors point guard appeared alongside each other in a public service announcement released Saturday that highlights the importance of mentoring a young person. The video is part of campaign by Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership called “In Real Life,” which aims to increase opportunity for minority youths.
In the video, Obama edits Curry’s resume (which has basketball emojis in the header), beats him at Connect Four and then celebrates by “clowning” — Curry’s teasing of his opponents on the court — and teaches him how to shoot a basket.
Curry is no stranger to the White House. The basketball star also helped with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, joining the first lady with his wife, Ayesha Curry, holding turnips and dancing to the pop song “Turn Down for What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon.
He also visited earlier this year with his team as 2015’s NBA champions. Obama singled him out after he scored 51 points against the Washington Wizards during a game before the visit, saying he was a “pretty good shooter.”