U.S., China reach climate agreement

China and the United States have announced an agreement to cooperate on battling global climate change. As part of the deal, China has pledged $3.1 Billion to help poorer nations also take measures to reduce damage to the environment, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal last week. The article noted this was a significant step for the Chinese as other developed nations have borne the cost so far.

The announcement came after Chinese leaders met with President Obama to talk about climate change measures. The United States has already pledged $3 Billion to help poorer nations take positive steps. Those monies will be given out over the next several years as developing nations find ways to cut harmful emissions.

“The significant and new climate finance pledges made by China are a game changer in international climate politics,” said Li Shuo, a senior climate policy analyst with Greenpeace East Asia said. “It is a drastic increase from China’s previous finance commitments.”

Both countries pledged to continue to reduce their own harmful CO2 emissions that are believed to be responsible for global warming.

Also as part of the agreement, China will extend a cap and trade system it started in 2013. Under this plan companies buy and sell permits that allow them to emit a certain level of carbon under an overall cap. The Chinese said they would implement these programs in the nation’s largest cities by 2017.

The United States is committed to reducing its CO2 emissions 26-28 percent by 2025, down from the 2005 level. China plans to educe its missions by 65 percent by 2030.

Both nation’s leaders hope the agreement will carry over some momentum into United Nations talks to be held in Paris at the end of this year. Those talks are to focus on climate change and what can be done to slow the effects.

Another story, in the Guardian, noted that China passed the United States as the world’s No. 1 polluter in 2006. The article also noted that in 2006 China began a program to start addressing climate change. There are many people living on the coast in China, and they are seeing sea levels rise.

The agreement also calls for China to be more transparent about its pollution statistics. Both the U.S. and China have also set targets for emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, appliance standards and building energy efficiency.

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U.S., China reach climate agreement

Jersey City Resident Raises Funds For Tree Planting

I like to say that sustaining a sense of community in a neighborhood is a lot like cultivating a garden. It takes time and patience to let the seeds of your work blossom. One Jersey City resident is taking that to heart. Faced with a street lined with empty tree plots, Jersey City resident Nick Milak decided to take matters into his own hands and raise money to plant trees. The effort is not simply raising funds for the block, but encouraging neighborhood beautification projects and community engagement citywide!

I came across this effort in a news article in the Jersey Journal. Further details of the effort can be found at the news section of the local committeeman, Joshua Parkhurst. Milak is a long time resident on the block who became frustrated with the city’s failure to replace trees that had previously died. Instead of complaining about it, Milak decided to do something about it. He set up a crowdfunding page and contacted over 1,300 of his neighbors through social media.

In just a couple of weeks the page had raised enough funds to cover trees, tree guards, and two seasons of flowers for the plots. After this success, the project got even bigger! The project has now been expanded from nine trees over two blocks to 46 trees in a 14 block radius.

What I really like about this effort is that, beyond the trees themselves, the tree planting effort has helped engage the community on a greater level. The project has attracted the attention of the Jersey City Parks Coalition which hopes to encourage and assist similar efforts throughout the city. One local business owner is supporting the effort and hopes to add outdoor seating to his cafe so people can enjoy the natural scenery. The project can also be used as a lesson in civics and volunteerism for students at the elementary and middle school right across the street.

It is great to see Jersey City residents so involved in making their city a better looking place. Just by persistently reaching out to his neighbors, Nick Malik did more than plant trees, he planted the seeds of a green network throughout the city.

Jersey City Resident Raises Funds For Tree Planting