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US VP Harris Announces $3 Billion Pledge to Green Climate Fund

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris announced Saturday in Dubai at the U.N. COP28 Climate Conference that the United States is pledging $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund — the world’s largest climate fund — created to help developing countries handle climate change.

“Around the world, there are those who seek to slow or stop our progress. Leaders who deny climate science, delay climate action and spread misinformation,” the vice president said.

The multibillion-dollar pledge to the climate fund, however, first must be approved by the U.S. Congress, which is divided on the contribution.

Also Saturday, the U.S. made a commitment to phase out all the country’s coal-fired power plants when it joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance. Coal is the single largest contributor to the climate crisis, according to the alliance.

Sharp differences were laid bare Friday at COP28 regarding the future use of fossil fuels.

One day after COP28 president, United Arab Emirates’ Sultan al-Jaber — also the head of the UAE state oil company — opened the meeting with a call to not eliminate but phase down the use of fossil fuels, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the opposite.

Addressing the delegates, Guterres said, “We cannot save a burning planet with a fire hose of fossil fuel,” and he called for the acceleration of “a just and equitable transition to renewable energy.”

The U.N. chief was referring to the 2015 Paris Climate agreement, which calls for efforts to limit the rise of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, saying the only way that goal can be reached is if the world stops burning “all fossil fuels. Not reduce. Not abate.”

The disagreements over fossil fuel use prompted a prominent member of the COP28 advisory board to offer her resignation Friday.

Reuters news service reported that former Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine resigned in a letter to the COP28’s president, al-Jaber, saying reports alleging the UAE planned to use the conference to discuss possible fossil fuel and other commercial deals were “deeply disappointing” and threatened to undermine the credibility of the multilateral negotiation process.

Reuters reported the letter went on to say the actions undermine the COP presidency and the process as a whole.

Earlier this week, the BBC, working with the Center for Climate Reporting, reported that leaked briefing documents revealed plans for UAE officials to discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 nations. Al-Jaber strongly denied the report.

Also Friday, Britain’s King Charles III addressed the conference, saying that the world was “dreadfully off track” on its climate goals and that he “prays with all his heart” the conference will be another critical turning point toward genuine transformational action.

In his remarks Friday, Jordan’s King Abdullah II linked climate change with the crisis in Gaza, saying they cannot talk about climate change “in isolation from the humanitarian tragedies unfolding around us.” He said thousands have been killed, injured or displaced in a region on the front lines of climate change, which, he said, magnifies the devastation.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in his remarks, linked climate change to the global food crisis, citing statistics showing the global demand for food is estimated to increase by 50% by the year 2050, while the climate crisis is expected to reduce crop yields by as much as 30% over that same period.

During its opening day Thursday, conferees did agree to a new $420 million fund to help poorer, vulnerable nations cope with the cost of disasters caused by climate change, such as droughts, floods and rising sea levels.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry called the agreement “a great way to start” the conference.

The day one deal could pave the way for further agreements at COP28.

“COP” stands for “Conference of the Parties” to the original U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. There are currently 198 parties to the convention.

The current COP runs through December 12.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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Естонія розглядає можливість депортації тих, хто хоче отримати громадянство Росії – голова уряду

Каллас додала, що поліція та прикордонна охорона зобов’язані розслідувати, чи не є це «заявою про підтримку тероризму» та дій Росії

Наука Шляхта

US Issues New Rule on Methane Emissions

The Biden administration on Saturday issued a final rule aimed at reducing methane emissions, targeting the U.S. oil and natural gas industry for its role in global warming, as President Joe Biden seeks to advance his climate legacy.

The Environmental Protection Agency said the rule will sharply reduce methane and other harmful air pollutants generated by the oil and gas industry, promote use of cutting-edge methane detection technologies and deliver significant public health benefits in the form of reduced hospital visits, lost school days and even deaths. Air pollution from oil and gas operations can cause cancer, harm the nervous and respiratory systems and contribute to birth defects.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan and White House climate adviser Ali Zaidi announced the final rule at the U.N. climate conference in the United Arab Emirates. Separately, the president of the climate summit announced Saturday that 50 oil companies, representing nearly half of global production, have pledged to reach near-zero methane emissions and end routine flaring in their operations by 2030.

Oil and gas operations are the largest industrial source of methane, the main component in natural gas and far more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term. It is responsible for about one-third of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. Sharp cuts in methane emissions are a global priority to slow the rate of climate change and are a major topic at the conference, known as COP28.

Smaller wells included

The methane rule finalizes a proposal Biden made at a UN climate conference in Scotland in 2021 and expanded a year later at a climate conference in Egypt. It targets emissions from existing oil and gas wells nationwide, rather than focusing only on new wells, as previous EPA regulations have done. It also regulates smaller wells that will be required to find and plug methane leaks. Such wells currently are subject to an initial inspection but are rarely checked again for leaks.

Studies have found that smaller wells produce 6% of the nation’s oil and gas but account for up to half the methane emissions from well sites.

The plan also will phase in a requirement for energy companies to eliminate routine flaring of natural gas that is produced by new oil wells.

The new methane rule will help ensure that the United States meets a goal set by more than 100 nations to cut methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, Regan said.

The new rule will be coordinated with a methane fee approved in the 2022 climate law. The fee, set to take effect next year, will charge energy producers that exceed a certain level of methane emissions as much as $1,500 per metric ton of methane. The plan marks the first time the U.S. government has directly imposed a fee, or tax, on greenhouse gas emissions.

The law allows exemptions for companies that comply with the EPA’s standards or fall below a certain emissions threshold. It also includes $1.5 billon in grants and other spending to help companies and local communities improve monitoring and data collection and find and repair natural gas leaks.

Reaction positive

Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the American Lung Association, called the new rule a victory for public health.

“EPA heeded the urgent guidance of health experts across the country and finalized a strong methane rule that, when fully implemented, will significantly reduce hazardous air pollutants and climate-warming methane pollution from the oil and gas industry,” he said in a statement.

Methane has been shown to leak into the atmosphere during every stage of oil and gas production, Wimmer said, and “people who live near oil and gas wells are especially vulnerable to these exposure risks. This rule [is] vital to advancing environmental justice commitments.”

David Doniger, a climate expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council, called methane a “super-polluter.” He said in an interview that the Biden plan “takes a very solid whack at climate pollution. I wish this had happened 10 years ago, but I’m really happy it’s happening now.”

The oil industry has generally welcomed direct federal regulation of methane emissions, preferring a single national standard to a hodgepodge of state rules. Even so, energy companies have asked the EPA to exempt hundreds of thousands of the nation’s smallest wells from the pending methane rules.

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Командувач ОСУВ «Таврія»: армія РФ зменшила активність авіації та артилерії, намагається просуватися піхотою

Тарнавський уточнює, що на Авдіївському напрямку, який входить до відповідальності угруповання, втрати Росії склали 495 військових

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Golden Mole Presumed Extinct Found Again in South Africa

Researchers in South Africa say they have rediscovered a species of mole with an iridescent golden coat and the ability to almost “swim” through sand dunes after it hadn’t been seen for more than 80 years and was thought to be extinct.

The De Winton’s golden mole — a small, blind burrower with “super-hearing powers” that eats insects — was found to be still alive on a beach in Port Nolloth on the west coast of South Africa by a team of researchers from the Endangered Wildlife Trust and the University of Pretoria.

It had been lost to science since 1936, the researchers said.

With the help of a sniffer dog, the team found traces of tunnels and discovered a golden mole in 2021. But because there are 21 species of golden moles and some look very similar, the team needed more to be certain that it was a De Winton’s.

They took environmental DNA samples — the DNA animals leave behind in skin cells, hair and bodily excretions — but had to wait until 2022 before a De Winton’s DNA sample from decades ago was made available by a South African museum to compare. The DNA sequences were a match.

The team’s research and findings were peer reviewed and published last week.

“We had high hopes, but we also had our hopes crushed by a few people,” one of the researchers, Samantha Mynhardt, told The Associated Press. “One De Winton’s expert told us, ‘You’re not going to find that mole. It’s extinct.'”

The process took three years from the researchers’ first trip to the west coast of South Africa to start searching for the mole, which was known to rarely leave signs of its tunnels and almost “swim” under the sand dunes, the researchers said. Golden moles are native to sub-Saharan Africa and the De Winton’s had only ever been found in the Port Nolloth area.

Two De Winton’s golden moles have now been confirmed and photographed in Port Nolloth, Mynhardt said, while the research team has found signs of other populations in the area since 2021.

“It was a very exciting project with many challenges,” said Esther Matthew, senior field officer with the Endangered Wildlife Trust. “Luckily we had a fantastic team full of enthusiasm and innovative ideas, which is exactly what you need when you have to survey up to 18 kilometers of dune habitat in a day.”

The De Winton’s golden mole was on a “most wanted lost species” list compiled by the Re:wild conservation group.

Others on the list that have been rediscovered include a salamander that was found in Guatemala in 2017, 42 years after its last sighting, and an elephant shrew called the Somali sengi seen in Djibouti in 2019, its first recorded sighting since 1968.

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«Чекаю на комплексні рішення» – Зеленський про питання мобілізації, які обговорювали на Ставці

Володимир Зеленський сказав, що йдеться про комплексні речі, які мають опрацьовувати військове керівництво та Міноборони і які мають бути представлені Ставці для затвердження.

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Мінінфраструктури: Україна і Польща обговорили розблокування кордону, про скасування «транспортного безвізу» не йшлося

З 6 листопада польські перевізники блокують рух вантажівок на кількох пунктах пропуску на польсько-українському кордоні

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 US Agency Predicts Strong Geomagnetic Storm on Saturday

The U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a warning for a strong geomagnetic storm Saturday, saying power and communications systems could be affected in the Northern Hemisphere after a significant solar flare was observed on the sun. 

In a statement on its website, the agency said G3, or strong geomagnetic storm conditions, were observed from 0900 to 1200 UTC Friday.  

A geometric storm, the agency says, is “a stronger disturbance in the Earth’s magnetic field, often varying in intensity over the course of some hours.” 

The agency said the increase in geomagnetic activity was primarily caused by a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the sun associated with a moderate solar flare observed Tuesday, which joined several other lesser CMEs that were already headed toward Earth. 

CMEs are powerful eruptions on the sun’s surface that send tons of superheated gas and radiation into space. 

These often head toward Earth, and while harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans, if the flare is strong enough, it can disturb the layer in the atmosphere where GPS and other communication signals travel. 

The agency said it has alerted infrastructure operators, such as power companies, to take precautions to mitigate any possible effects. 

The strong geomagnetic storm warning is valid through late Friday, with G1, or minor geomagnetic storms expected through Saturday.  

The effect from the geomagnetic storm most noticeable to the general public could be the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights. 

The Washington Post said Friday that colorful auroras were reported at least as far south as the southwestern state of Arizona in the United States, with vibrant displays reported at higher latitudes.  

Reports of auroras from Australia were posted on social media as well. 

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On World AIDS Day, Biden Vows to Stop Spread of HIV Worldwide by 2030

Friday is the 35th annual World AIDS Day, a time to remember the estimated 40.4 million lives lost to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, since the epidemic began in 1981.

Worldwide, more than 39 million people live with HIV, upwards of 1 million Americans among them.

In a statement Friday, President Joe Biden said that America is “within striking distance of eliminating HIV-transmission.” Biden vowed that his focus is ensuring that by 2030, the immunodeficiency virus will no longer be a public health threat worldwide.

Biden said he plans to extend the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief, or PEPFAR, for five more years.

The White House says PEPFAR, a bipartisan initiative launched two decades ago under then-President George W. Bush, has saved more than 25 million lives in 50 plus countries and prevented millions of HIV transmissions by providing access to lifesaving treatment and testing, according to the White House.

Among Biden’s goals is to stop the anti-gay stigma surrounding AIDS, which is more prevalent among gay men than the general population. “This year,” Biden said, “my Administration also ended the disgraceful practice of banning gay and bisexual men from donating blood.”

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a press release Friday that PEPFAR is also investing in strategies that partner countries are taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Ebola, cholera, H1N1 influenza, mpox and tuberculosis, with the goal of stifling future pandemics.