The extreme weather events came as Pope Francis warned of the dangers of climate change, taking a swipe at the Trump administration for withdrawing from the Paris climate accord. The pope was speaking at a United Nations event in Rome.
Pope Francis: “Thanks to scientific knowledge, we know how to confront these problems, and the international community has also worked out the legal methods, such as the Paris accord, which, sadly, some have abandoned. However, we are seeing negligence toward the delicate equilibriums of the ecosystems, the presumption of manipulating and controlling the limited resources of the planet for greed, for profit.”
At the United Nations, President Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn said Monday the U.S. would withdraw from the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord as planned. His comments came as U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said climate should be a top priority at this year’s General Assembly.
Secretary-General António Guterres: “We see the consequences daily. We count the costs in lives, livelihoods, damaged economies. And since 2008—and you know better than me—some 20 million people a year have been forcibly displaced by floods, storms, fires and extreme temperature. But many more are on the move due to the droughts and sea level rise, and climate change is not a distant problem for future generations. It is here, it is now, and we need to deal with it.”
Pope Francis has spoken out forcefully against climate change denial. Speaking to reporters Sunday as he flew over Caribbean islands decimated by Hurricane Irma, Pope Francis said humans must make progress in tackling climate change, and called those who continue to deny its existence “stupid.”
Pope Francis: “We will not go backwards, we will go down. That is true. Climate change, you feel the effects, and the scientists tell us clearly the road to take. All of us have a responsibility—all of us—some small, some big, a moral responsibility, to not accept it, to give one’s opinion or to make decisions, and we have to take it seriously. I think it is something we cannot joke about. Whoever denies this must go to the scientists and ask them. They speak very clearly. The scientists are precise. Man is stupid, a head that does not see.”
Pope Francis was speaking with a bandage over his eye because he bumped his head on the popemobile while traveling in Colombia.
The flooded Arkema chemical plant in the town of Crosby, Texas, that saw two explosions on Thursday, could see as many as six more blasts, and a new investigation reveals this comes after Arkema successfully pressured federal regulators to delay new regulations aimed at improving safety procedures at chemical plants. It also found that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton aggressively attacked a proposed chemical plant safety rule, after his election campaign garnered over $100,000 from chemical industry donors.
The US state of Texas has accepted an offer of flood aid from Mexico despite tension over President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall and his threats to scrap a free-trade deal.
On Sunday Mexico offered vehicles, boats, supplies and food, reports said.
Mexican Red Cross volunteers have also travelled to the flooded city of Houston.
President Trump has not yet commented but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has thanked the Mexicans.
“It’s very generous of the government of Mexico to offer their help at this very, very challenging time for our citizens down in Texas and now moving towards the border of Louisiana as well,” Mr Tillerson said.
Defence Secretary James Mattis said Wednesday the U.S. is “never out of diplomatic solutions” in dealing with North Korea—contradicting Donald Trump just minutes after the president tweeted, “The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years. Talking is not the answer!” On Thursday, the U.S. flew two nuclear-capable B-1 bombers near the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, accompanied by South Korean fighter jets. Meanwhile, North Korean state media warned that its test of a new missile fired over Japan this week was a prelude to more military operations directed at the U.S. territory of Guam.
The science envoy for the U.S. State Department Dan Kammen has resigned in protest of President Trump’s refusal to quickly condemn the deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month. In his resignation letter, Kammen writes, “Your presence in the White House harms the United States domestically and abroad and threatens life on this planet.” The first letter of each paragraph of his resignation letter spells out the word: Impeach. This is now-resigned science envoy Dan Kammen, speaking to Democracy Now! during the 2016 climate change conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, just after president Trump was elected.
Dan Kammen: “To be a climate denier in 2016 is to simply ignore science. A businessman is supposed to be flexible and thoughtful about opportunity. Clean energy is an economic boom, and it’s a boom for equity around the planet. And to turn your back on that is to put ideology over simple, good clean energy business and clean energy jobs.”