A police officer holds back other policemen as some demonstrators do the same with their side after a contact during an anti-G7 rally near the venue of the G7 summit in the Sicilian town of Taormina, Italy, Saturday, May 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


WASHINGTON -- Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming even sooner if the U.S. retreats from its pledge to cut carbon dioxide pollution, scientists said. That's because America contributes so much to rising temperatures.

President Donald Trump, who once proclaimed global warming a Chinese hoax, said in a tweet Saturday that he would make his "final decision" this coming week on whether the United States stays in or leaves the 2015 Paris climate change accord in which nearly every nation agreed to curb its greenhouse gas emissions.

Leaders of seven wealthy democracies, at a summit in Sicily, urged Trump to commit his administration to the agreement, but said in their closing statement that the U.S., for now, "is not in a position to join the consensus."

"I hope they decide in the right way," said Italy's prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni. More downbeat was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the leaders' talks were "very difficult, if not to say, very unsatisfactory."

In an attempt to understand what could happen to the planet if the U.S. pulls out of Paris, The Associated Press consulted with more than two dozen climate scientists and analyzed a special computer model scenario designed to calculate potential effects.

Scientists said it would worsen an already bad problem and make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold.

Calculations suggest it could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year. When it adds up year after year, scientists said that is enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

"If we lag, the noose tightens," said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change.

One expert group ran a worst-case computer simulation of what would happen if the U.S. does not curb emissions, but other nations do meet their targets. It found that America would add as much as half a degree of warming (0.3 degrees Celsius) to the globe by the end of century.

Scientists are split on how reasonable and likely that scenario is.

Many said because of cheap natural gas that displaces coal and growing adoption of renewable energy sources, it is unlikely that the U.S. would stop reducing its carbon pollution even if it abandoned the accord, so the effect would likely be smaller.

Others say it could be worse because other countries might follow a U.S. exit, leading to more emissions from both the U.S. and the rest.

Another computer simulation team put the effect of the U.S. pulling out somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.18 to 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit).

While scientists may disagree on the computer simulations they overwhelmingly agreed that the warming the planet is undergoing now would be faster and more intense.

The world without U.S. efforts would have a far more difficult time avoiding a dangerous threshold: keeping the planet from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

The world has already warmed by just over half that amount - with about one-fifth of the past heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions coming from the United States, usually from the burning of coal, oil and gas.

So the efforts are really about preventing another 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) from now.

"Developed nations - particularly the U.S. and Europe - are responsible for the lion's share of past emissions, with China now playing a major role," said Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis. "This means Americans have caused a large fraction of the warming."

Even with the U.S. doing what it promised under the Paris agreement, the world is likely to pass that 2 degree mark, many scientists said.

But the fractions of additional degrees that the U.S. would contribute could mean passing the threshold faster, which could in turn mean "ecosystems being out of whack with the climate, trouble farming current crops and increasing shortages of food and water," said the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Kevin Trenberth.

Climate Interactive, a team of scientists and computer modelers who track global emissions and pledges, simulated global emissions if every country but the U.S. reaches their individualized goals to curb carbon pollution. Then they calculated what that would mean in global temperature, sea level rise and ocean acidification using scientifically-accepted computer models.

By 2030, it would mean an extra 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide in the air a year, according to the Climate Interactive models, and by the end of the century 0.3 degrees Celsius of warming.

"The U.S. matters a great deal," said Climate Interactive co-director Andrew Jones. "That amount could make the difference between meeting the Paris limit of two degrees and missing it."

Climate Action Tracker, a competing computer simulation team, put the effect of the U.S. pulling out somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.18 to 0.36 Fahrenheit) by 2100. It uses a scenario where U.S. emissions flatten through the century, while Climate Interactive has them rising.

One of the few scientists who plays down the harm of the U.S. possibly leaving the agreement is John Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the scientist credited with coming up with the 2 degree goal.

"Ten years ago (a U.S. exit) would have shocked the planet," Schellnhuber said. "Today if the U.S. really chooses to leave the Paris agreement, the world will move on with building a clean and secure future."

Not so, said Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe: "There will be ripple effects from the United States' choices across the world."

 Source: This article was published on ctvnews.ca by Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press

Categorized in Others

Or is Russia retaliating for President Donald Trump’s Syria strikes through one of its cyber-proxies? 

It’s been a tough few days for America’s state-sponsored hackers. On Monday, CIA hackers were outed by an American security firm who linked their work to recent WikiLeaks dumps. And over the weekend, a shadowy group of hackers calling themselves the Shadow Brokers spilled NSA hacking tools onto the internet.

The Shadow Brokers dump and the report from security firm Symantec shines the spotlight once more on the hacking capabilities of American spy agencies, amid a growing scandal about Russian intelligence agencies’ attempts to influence the American election. It also underscores the spies’ vulnerability to detection when carrying out clandestine work online and the risk of exposure in an era when reams of data can be quickly and easily leaked and publicized.

In a blog post Monday, Symantec said it had linked 40 attacks in 16 countries to material that bear the markings of the CIA hacking tools revealed by WikiLeaks last month in its so-called Vault 7 series. The CIA has not confirmed the authenticity of the leak. Symantec described the work of a group it has dubbed “Longhorn,” which it says has been active since at least 2011 and has targeted foreign governments and firms in the financial, telecommunications, and other industries for espionage.

Symantec says it has observed attacks with technical features that match material published by WikiLeaks in Vault 7. “Given the close similarities between the tools and techniques, there can be little doubt that Longhorn’s activities and the Vault 7 documents are the work of the same group,” Symantec researchers wrote.

Symantec tracked the group operating on computer systems in Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa. It documented one infection in the United States, which was quickly uninstalled. Operating in the United States is against the CIA’s charter, and Symantec said it believed the infection was unintentional.

Meanwhile, the leak of NSA hacking tools shed light on the kinds of organizations targeted by the intelligence agency. They include telecommunications firms and a large number of foreign universities, including the Chinese Institute of Higher Energy Physics, according to security researchers who have examined the code released on Saturday. These hardly surprising targets for America’s premier signals intelligence agency.

Some tools released allow the NSA to penetrate deep into the infrastructure of a telecommunications firm and collect call data on large numbers of phone numbers, a computer researcher who works under the name x0rz told Foreign Policy. By gathering such data, the NSA can analyze who talks to whom and for how long on foreign telephone systems.

Most of the released tools are old techniques, which may no longer be a part of NSA’s hacking arsenal. The NSA did not respond to emails seeking comment.

The identities behind the Shadow Brokers remain shrouded in mystery but the hackers seemed motivated to leak the NSA hacking tools by anger over what they perceive as President Donald Trump’s betrayal of his base. The group attacked Trump for last week’s missile strike against Syria in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons, in a statement accompanying the Saturday release of the hacking tools. It also denounced the removal of Trump adviser Steve Bannon from the National Security Council and the failure to repeal Obamacare.

“Dear President Trump, Respectfully, what the fuck are you doing?” the group wrote on the self-publishing website Medium.“TheShadowBrokers voted for you. TheShadowBrokers supports you. TheShadowBrokers is losing faith in you.” Publishing NSA hacking tools, the Shadow Brokers explain, constitutes “our form of protest.”

Some analysts have speculated the Shadow Brokers represent the work of a disgruntled NSA insider who has made off with a huge trove of material. Still others believe that it is the project of an American adversary, perhaps Russia. Under the latter theory, the leak of the hacking tools would seem a retaliation by Russia for the strike against Syria, a Russian ally. Publishing hacking tools allows a defender to block and render them ineffective.

The Shadow Brokers first surfaced last August when they published a first set of NSA hacking tools and held a second set in reserve, to be sold at auction. The hacking tools published in August included previously unknown vulnerabilities in widely used networking equipment. Researchers have so far discovered no such information in Saturday’s dump.

Last year’s auction did not generate significant bids, and the Shadow Brokers claimed on Saturday that their dump included the information they had planned to sell. But security researchers examining the dump said they believed the published archive was incomplete.

Source : yahoo.com

Categorized in News & Politics

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