Mountain of evidence confirms: Climate change is really, really bad for human health and well-being

It's now beyond official: Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, pose a danger to public health and welfare, according to an exhaustive review that looked at 275 scientific studies published over the past nine years. Researchers did the report to investigate whether the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2009 Endangerment Finding, which found that greenhouse gases … Continue reading “Mountain of evidence confirms: Climate change is really, really bad for human health and well-being”

It's now beyond official: Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, pose a danger to public health and welfare, according to an exhaustive review that looked at 275 scientific studies published over the past nine years.

Researchers did the report to investigate whether the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2009 Endangerment Finding, which found that greenhouse gases pose a risk to human health, still held up. The new study showed that there is now even more evidence that greenhouse gases are harming human health and welfare. The investigation also found an additional four areas, not listed in the original report, in which greenhouse gases threaten people.

"There's absolutely no scientific basis for questioning the Endangerment Finding," review lead researcher Philip Duffy, president and executive director of the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts, told Live Science. "The case for endangerment is stronger than ever." [6 Unexpected Effects of Climate Change]

What is the Endangerment Finding?

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  • The original Endangerment Finding was a long time in the making. It began when Massachusetts and other states sued the EPA during President George W. Bush's administration, asking the agency to regulate greenhouse gases. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that not only does the EPA have the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, but it also can't refuse to do so if these pollutants are found to endanger people.

    "The Supreme Court said 'if you determine that greenhouse gases are dangerous, then you have to regulate them,'" Duffy said. "But, of course, the Supreme Court wasn't itself going to say whether greenhouse gases are dangerous. That's a scientific process not a legal one. So, the EPA undertook the scientific assessment of the dangerousness or not-dangerousness of greenhouse gases."

    In December 2009, the EPA released that report, which found that greenhouse gases do endanger human health and welfare by causing climate change. The administration of President Barack Obama used this finding to implement new regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan and stronger vehicle mileage standards for cars and light trucks, Duffy said.

    But now, people in and out of President Donald Trump's administration have discussed overturning or revisiting the endangerment finding, Duffy said. In response to these statements, Duffy and his colleagues decided to look at scientific studies published since the endangerment finding came out, to see whether the science strengthened or weakened the case for endangerment.

    What the science shows

    The new review grouped the findings into different categories: public health, air quality, agriculture, forests, water resources, sea level rise, infrastructure and wildlife. The four new categories include ocean acidification, national security, economic well-being and violence. Here are more in-depth looks at several of them.

    Overview of public health

    People in more than 200 U.S. cities have an increased risk of premature death because of future warming, the researchers found. Extreme heat is linked with sleep loss, kidney stones, low birth weight, violence and suicide. Exposure to ozone and other air pollutants, including smoke from forest fires, can be bad for human health. Extreme weather events intensified by climate change can lead to physical trauma, disease outbreaks, interruption of health care delivery and mental health problems. Rising temperatures and carbon dioxide levels are also increasing the length of pollen season, which affects people with allergies. Certain crops are expected to produce fewer nutrients. Population displacement and armed conflict can also amplify risks to human health. [Photos Show Horrifying Scenes from California Wildfires]

    Water resources

    With less snowpack in the mountains, the West and Southwest may experience more droughts. Reduced snowpack can lead to reduced river flow, which can threaten rare and endangered species, such as salmon and wolverines. Climate change is also expected to erode water quality in the United States because of nutrient loading (such as from fertilizer or animal waste), especially in the Midwest and Northeast.

    Sea level rise

    High sea levels will increase the risk to coastal communities, economies and infrastructure, largely because of flooding, erosion and extreme events. These effects can lead to displacement through "climate gentrification," in which people living at higher elevations have higher-priced properties. The movement of goods among major port cities will likely be affected, too, causing economic disruptions. Sea level rise may also disrupt the U.S. military, as well as disaster and humanitarian relief efforts.

    National security

    The United States' existing security will likely need to change as the planet warms. For example, in the Arctic, reduced sea ice will clear the way for more Chinese trade routes and Russian oil and gas extraction, possibly causing tensions between these countries and the U.S., the researchers wrote.

    Economic well-being

    An increase of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) over 75 years is expected to permanently reduce U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by about 3 percent. The U.S. GDP is expected to be about 4 percent greater if warming is limited to 2.7 degrees F (1.5 degrees C) than if it's 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C) above pre-industrial levels. Economies in poorer countries are expected to have an economic burden from climate change that is about five times larger than that of wealthier counties, the researchers found.

    Violence and instability

    Rising temperatures and increased rainfall can amplify violence and instability. In the U.S., higher temperatures are associated with higher rates of domestic violence, rape, assault and murder. Warmer periods may also elevate the risk of self-harm, including suicide, emerging evidence suggests.

    Takeaway message

    These findings "highlight this contrast between the science and the policies," Duffy said. "The scientific evidence is going in one direction, and the policies are going in exactly the opposite direction."

    But this report shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, said Jason Smerdon, a climate scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in New York, who wasn't involved with the review.

    "If you've been paying attention, the Endangerment Finding in 2009 was very well-reasoned, and it's only gotten stronger since that time," Smerdon told Live Science. "It's basically a tsunami of evidence in support of the fact. People have very clearly connected the changing climate, which we're causing, to the downstream impacts."

    The review also drives home that climate change will affect everybody, not just people in distant lands.

    "Reports like this all point out that every one of us will be impacted by climate change in different ways, and it's going to be in all of our backyards," Smerdon said. "It's not something that's going to be far away."

    The review was published online yesterday (Dec. 13) in the journal Science.

    The Reality of Climate Change: 10 Myths BustedTop 10 Ways to Destroy EarthPhotos of Melt: Glaciers Before and After

    Originally published on Live Science.

    ‘Scary’ warming at poles is worrying scientists

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists are seeing surprising melting in Earth's polar regions at times they don't expect, like winter, and in places they don't expect, like eastern Antarctica.

    New studies and reports issued this week at a major Earth sciences conference paint one of the bleakest pictures yet of dramatic warming in the Arctic and Antarctica. Alaskan scientists described to The Associated Press Tuesday never-before-seen melting and odd winter problems, including permafrost that never refroze this past winter and wildlife die-offs.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Tuesday released its annual Arctic report card, detailing the second warmest year on record in the Arctic and problems, including record low winter sea ice in parts of the region, increased toxic algal blooms, which are normally a warm water phenomenon, and weather changes in the rest of the country attributable to what's happening in the far North.

    "The Arctic is experiencing the most unprecedented transition in human history," report lead author Emily Osborne, chief of Arctic research for NOAA, said Tuesday.

    What's happening is a big deal, said University of Colorado environmental science program director Waleed Abdalati, NASA's former chief scientist who was not part of the NOAA report.

    "It's a new Arctic. We've gone from white to blue," said Abdalati, adding that he normally wouldn't use the word "scary" but it applies.

    And that means other problems.

    "Continued warming of the Arctic atmosphere and ocean are driving broad change in the environmental system in predicted, and, also, unexpected ways," the NOAA report said.

    One of the most noticeable problems was a record low sea ice in winter in the Bering Sea in 2017 and 2018, scientists said.

    In February the Bering Sea "lost an area of ice the area of Idaho," said Dartmouth College engineering professor Donald Perovich, a report card co-author.

    This is a problem because the oldest and thickest sea ice is down 95 percent from 30 years ago. In 1985, about one-sixth of Arctic sea ice was thick multi-year ice, now it is maybe one-hundredth, Perovich said.

    University of Alaska Fairbanks marine mammal biologist Gay Sheffield not only studies the record low ice, but she lives it daily in Nome, far north on the Bering Sea.

    "I left Nome and we had open water in December," Sheffield said at the American Geophysical Union conference in Washington. "It's very much impacting us."

    "Having this area ice free is having this massive environmental change," Sheffield said, adding there's been a "multi-species die off" of ocean life. She said that includes the first spring mass die off of seals along the Bering Strait.

    Ornithologist George Divoky who has been studying the black guillemots of Cooper Island for 45 years noticed something different this year. In the past, 225 nesting pairs of the seabirds would arrive at his island. This past winter it was down to 85 pairs but only 50 laid eggs and only 25 had successful hatches. He blamed the lack of winter sea ice.

    "It looked like a ghost town," Divoky said.

    With overall melting, especially in the summer, herds of caribou and wild reindeer have dropped about 55 percent — from 4.7 million to 2.1 million animals — because of the warming and the flies and parasites it brings, said report card co-author Howard Epstein of the University of Virginia.

    University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Vladimir Romanovsky said he was alarmed by what happened to the permafrost — ground that stays frozen years on end. This past year, Romanovsky found 25 spots that used to freeze in January, then February, but never froze this year.

    Because of warming, the Arctic is "seeing concentrations of algal toxins moving northward" infecting birds, mammals and shellfish to become a public health and economic problem, said report card co-author Karen Frey.

    And the warmer Arctic and melting sea ice has been connected to shifts in the jet stream that have brought extreme winter storms in the East in the past year, Osborne said.

    But it's not just the Arctic. NASA's newest space-based radar, Icesat 2, in its first couple of months has already found that the Dotson ice shelf in Antarctica has lost more than 390 feet (120 meters) in thickness since 2003, said radar scientist Ben Smith of the University of Washington.

    Another study released Monday by NASA found unusual melting in parts of East Antarctica, which scientists had generally thought was stable.

    Four glaciers at Vincennes Bay lost nine feet of ice thickness since 2008, said NASA scientists Catherine Walker and Alex Gardner.

    Loss of ice sheets in Antarctica could lead to massive rise in sea level.

    "We're starting to see change that's related to the ocean," Gardner said. "Believe it or not this is the first time we're seeing it in this place."

    The Arctic is not doing well (at all)

    'Tis the season of snowy nights and reindeer pulling sleighs — except in the actual Arctic, where climate change is wreaking havoc on a real-world winter wonderland.

    A new "report card" from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Arctic Program paints a dire picture for the frozen North. According to the program's 2018 Arctic Report Card, Arctic surface air temperatures are warming twice as fast as in the rest of the globe, while populations of wild reindeer and caribou have tumbled by 50 percent over the last 20 years.

    And the Arctic is setting alarming new records all the time. Air temperatures from 2014 to 2018 in the Arctic were warmer than in any prior year dating back to 1900, according to the report. The past 12 years have shown the lowest extents on record of Arctic sea ice. And the Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than it has in at least 350 years. [Images of Melt: Earth's Vanishing Ice]

    "As a result of atmosphere and ocean warming, the Arctic is no longer returning to the extensively frozen region of past decades," the report's authors wrote.

    Ailing sea ice

    The annual report is the 13th issued by NOAA's Arctic Program. One of the most dramatic changes in today's Arctic, the report found, is the loss of the region's sea ice. The winter maximum sea ice of 2018, measured in March, was the second lowest in 39 years of record-keeping, behind only 2017. In 1985, the report authors wrote, ice that had survived multiple years of freezing and thawing made up 16 percent of the Arctic's sea ice. Today, that number is a mere 1 percent. The thinner, single-year ice that makes up 99 percent of the ice pack is more prone to melt and flow.

    Sea ice attached to the coast is also shrinking in area, extending only about half as far offshore in the modern era as compared to the 1970s.

    Sea ice is disappearing all over the Arctic, the report's authors found, and in every month of the year. Average sea-ice thickness is also declining. Changes in the Arctic extend outward, the report's authors added, as warming in the far north seems to be altering ocean and atmospheric circulation, stacking the deck for extreme snowstorms like the "Beast from the East" polar vortex that hit the United Kingdom in February 2018.

    Impacts on animals

    Warming temperatures, lost sea ice and long-term declines in snowpack on land have caused chaos for the Arctic's wildlife. While reindeer are mythologized in Christmas carols, real herds are suffering. Wild reindeer and their fellow foragers, tundra caribou, have been in decline since the 1990s, according to the report. Where there were once 4.7 million animals combined, there are now 2.1 million. Of 22 herds being monitored by researchers today, 20 are on the decline.

    Climate is to blame for much of the decline, according to the report. Longer, warmer summers mean more parasites and heat stress for the winter-adapted grazing animals, along with a greater risk of grass-killing drought.

    Meanwhile, toxic algal blooms driven by warming waters represent a new threat to marine life in the Arctic, the researchers wrote. Algal toxins have been found in ill or dead animals ranging from seabirds to seals to whales.

    "Continued warming of the Arctic atmosphere and ocean are driving broad change in the environmental system in predicted and also unexpected ways," the report's authors concluded. "New and rapidly emerging threats are taking form and highlighting the level of uncertainty in the breadth of environmental change that is to come."

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    Originally published on Live Science.

    How rising temperatures suffocated 96 percent of sea life in Earth’s biggest extinction

    The end of the Permian period, around 252 million years ago, was a dire time for life on Earth.

    Scientists believe a series of violent volcanic eruptions occurred in what is today Siberia, pumping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, which warmed the planet.

    Then came the "Great Dying." About 96 percent of creatures in the ocean and 70 percent of terrestrial species living on the supercontinent Pangaea went extinct in a matter of several thousand years (not a very long time in geological terms). The so-called Permian-Triassic mass extinction event was the worst in Earth's history. The planet lost a huge diversity of animals, from sharks and reptiles to ammonites and corals, that are known only by their fossils today. [7 Iconic Animals Humans Are Driving to Extinction]

    Researchers have long sought to understand how this die-off played out. In a study published in the Dec. 7 issue of the journal Science, a group of scientists offered an account for how this mass extinction event killed so many ocean creatures. The study showed how warming waters couldn't hold enough oxygen to support most life.

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  • "This is the first time that we have made a mechanistic prediction about what caused the extinction that can be directly tested with the fossil record, which then allows us to make predictions about the causes of extinction in the future," the first author of the study, Justin Penn, a doctoral student in oceanography at the University of Washington, said in a statement.

    Penn and his colleagues ran a computer simulation of the changing conditions Earth experienced during the transition from the Permian to the Triassic, with ocean surface temperatures in the tropics rising by 20 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius).

    In the researchers' model, ocean circulation became quite stagnant and about 76 percent of marine oxygen was depleted around the globe. Oxygen loss varied according to geography, generally hitting deeper waters hardest; about 40 percent of seafloor environments totally lacked oxygen after this transition.

    Using data on the oxygen -requirements of 61 modern species, the researchers then ran simulations to see how marine animals would adapt to these harsh new conditions,.

    Investigators found that most species would have had to migrate to new habitats in an attempt to survive. But the creatures didn't have an equal chance at making it. The study showed that species that had been living in oxygen-rich, cold-water environments at high latitudes were especially vulnerable to extinction, a pattern the researchers said is borne out in the fossil record.

    While the Permian-Triassic extinction was driven by a natural catastrophe, the scientists said the study offers a warning about the dangers of human-made greenhouse gas emissions, which are the primary drivers of climate change today.

    "Under a business-as-usual emissions scenarios, by 2100, warming in the upper ocean will have approached 20 percent of warming in the late Permian, and by the year 2300, it will reach between 35 and 50 percent," Penn said. "This study highlights the potential for a mass extinction arising from a similar mechanism under anthropogenic climate change."

    At the rate that Earth is losing species currently, some researchers have argued that the next mass extinction event is already underway.

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    Original article on Live Science.

    More than 130 arrested at Pelosi’s Capitol Hill office amid environmental-activist demonstration

    U.S. Capitol Police told Fox News 138 people were arrested Monday during demonstrations by Green New Deal supporters at the Capitol Hill office of House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

    “Today, the United States Capitol Police arrested 138 individuals for unlawfully demonstrating in the Cannon and Longworth House Office Buildings. All were charged with D.C. Code §22-1307, Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding,” Eva Malecki, communications director of the United States Capitol Police, said.

    Hundreds of young demonstrators turned out Monday on Capitol Hill to push Democrats on a package of ambitious environmental goals — including a nationwide transition to 100-percent power from renewable sources within as little as 10 years — that’s been dubbed the Green New Deal.

    Video

    Already embraced by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., an increasingly influential figure on the left, the Green New Deal is designed to nudge prospective Democratic presidential candidates to stake out aggressive positions on climate change.

    The Green New Deal deliberately omits details on how to reorient the United States toward the drastic carbon-emissions reductions it demands, instead calling for a select committee in the House to devise a plan by 2020. That timetable is designed to rally Democrats behind a climate-change strategy as they’re picking a nominee to take on President Trump, who has rolled back multiple environmental regulations and cast doubt on the scientific consensus that human activity is driving global warming.

    Organizers with the Sunrise Movement activist group have framed their approach as a make-or-break issue for Democratic voters, particularly young voters.

    However, they’re fighting recent history on that point. Other issues dominated the debate during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, and climate change barely registered during the 2016 general election.

    Stephen O’Hanlon, a spokesman for the Sunrise Movement, said, “Any senators or any other politician who wants the votes of young people in 2020 needs to back a Green New Deal that would transform our economy and create millions of new jobs stopping climate change.”

    DEMS DENY CHANGING TONE ON VOTER FRAUD AMID NORTH CAROLINA BALLOT MESS

    “What’s your plan?” read signs held up by protesters. Others said, “Do your job” and “No more excuses.”

    The plan, named for the New Deal that reshaped America under former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, envisions a costly and dramatically remodeled U.S. energy infrastructure as soon as 2030. It’s a shift from where Democrats laid down their symbolic markers on climate change as recently as last year.

    Protesters seen holding placards during the Sunrise Movement protest to advocate that Democrats support the Green New Deal, at the US Capitol.  (Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire)

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    Some opponents have cast the goals as idealistic and politically risky.

    Sarah Dolan, communications director for the conservative opposition research group America Rising, warned that Democratic presidential hopefuls’ “race to the left” on climate change, as well as on health care, minimum wage and immigration, would backfire in 2020.

    “Being the first to take the most progressive position of the day will only lead to a party that can’t compete in the general election as it becomes unrecognizable to independent voters,” she said.

    Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Frank Miles is a reporter and editor covering geopolitics, military, crime, technology and sports for FoxNews.com. His email is Frank.Miles@foxnews.com.

    Liz Peek: Ocasio-Cortez backs green policies that would hurt the poor and cripple our economy

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez promises that going green – removing all fossil fuels from our energy mix – will “establish economic, social and racial justice in the United States.”

    In fact, her proposal would cripple our economy and hurt our poorest citizens.

    Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has admirable passion, but needs some schooling in energy economics. The cost of renewable energy is dropping fast, but is still more expensive in many applications than traditional fossil fuels like coal or oil. That’s one reason that adoption of wind and solar power has been slow, and that many countries, including the United States, underwrite renewables with subsidies and tax credits. The International Energy Agency predicts in its 2018 report that “the share of renewables in meeting global energy demand is expected to grow by one-fifth in the next five years to reach 12.4% in 2023.”

    The share of renewables remains low because wind and sun power are effective in producing electricity but not, for instance, in powering automobiles or airplanes. Renewables will generate nearly 30 percent of global electricity in 2023, a big jump from 24 percent in 2017, but will still account for only 3.8 percent of transportation fuel, compared to 3.4 percent in 2018.

    More important, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez should know that lower-income and minority communities in the U.S. are disproportionately disadvantaged by higher energy costs. A 2016 study by the National Research Defense Council found that low income households “spend, on average, 7.2 percent of their income on utility bills…That is more than triple the 2.3 percent spent by higher-income households for electricity, heating and cooling.”  Were we to ditch coal, natural gas and oil in favor of higher-cost renewables, electricity prices would soar, especially harming just those folks whom the young progressive says she wants to help.

    Evidence of the staggering costs imposed by green policies is provided by other IEA data, which compares electricity costs in different countries. In the United States, the cost of electricity for households earlier this year was $129 per megawatt. In Germany, a country that leapt into renewables with enthusiasm, and imposed hefty taxes to squelch demand for fossil fuels, the cost is $343.59. Does Ms. Ocasio-Cortez really want to impose a near-tripling of electricity costs on Americans?

    Ms. Ocasio-Cortez might want to visit France, a sympathetic left-leaning country, which is currently convulsed by people who are really, really angry over recently-enacted green policies of the kind that she might embrace.  President Emmanuel Macron raised taxes on diesel fuel and gasoline, hoping to make driving more expensive and thereby discourage fossil fuel use, setting off the worst rioting that country has seen in a generation.

    The lesson for Macron, for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and other policy makers is that people may be concerned about global warming and increasing emissions, but they are considerably more worried about making ends meet. 

    It is not the high-income elites who are taking to the streets, breaking store windows and burning cars – it is middle class and blue collar people who think Macron has no sympathy for their travails, for their ever-higher cost of living and, in particular, for the cost of their commute.

    Note that 70 percent of the French people support the protests, while at the same time 79 percent of the country, according to a poll conducted last year, fret about climate change.

    The lesson for Macron, for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and other policy makers is that people may be concerned about global warming and increasing emissions, but they are considerably more worried about making ends meet.

    Polling on the subject bears this out. While a global Pew study found that 54 percent of people in 40 countries thought that climate change was a “very serious problem,” a survey conducted by the UN at about the same time, which elicited almost 7 million responses, showed people ranking climate change the least of their concerns. Global warming came in dead last behind better education, better health care, better job opportunities and thirteen other issues.

    Even in the U.S., where 6 of 10 respondents to the Pew poll say their community is already being impacted by climate change, the issue ranks 17th in a list of policy priorities.

    Why this disconnect? One reason is that the extreme alarmism from environmentalists has numbed us to the perils of rising emissions. If you are endlessly lectured about how eating meat or driving your Chevy will cause entire populations to be swept away by rising sea levels, it becomes overwhelming. People tune out.

    It is also true that some of the wilder predictions of disaster have failed to materialize, leading to profound skepticism. Al Gore’s doomed polar bears, for instance, seem to actually be thriving. According to one source, their numbers are increasing except in one location, where in fact they are challenged by too much sea ice, as opposed to too little.

    Because of abundant natural gas displacing coal, the United States is the only major country in which emissions have been dropping over the past decade. We are not the problem. It is China, whose carbon output is already nearly twice that of the U.S. A recent report from the Global Carbon Project blames a predicted rise in worldwide emissions this year on “a rise in coal consumption in China, which accounts for more than 46% of the projected increase in industrial CO2 emissions in 2018.”

    The U.S. is blessed with abundant energy, an important competitive advantage. The Trump White House pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord because the demands of that agreement would have destroyed that advantage and hobbled our growth, while demanding virtually no commitments from China.

    Americans are sensible people. We want clean air and water, and we want to curtail the carbon emissions that appear a danger to our world. But, we do not want to sacrifice our economic wellbeing on the altar of climate dogma. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be careful before promoting policies that would build a cleaner planet on the backs of American workers.

    Liz Peek is a former partner of major bracket Wall Street firm Wertheim & Company. A former columnist for the Fiscal Times, she writes for The Hill and contributes frequently to Fox News, the New York Sun and other publications. For more visit LizPeek.com. Follow her on Twitter @LizPeek.

    Paris cleans up after riots as pressure builds on Macron

    Paris tried to clean up and get back to normal Sunday after more battles between riot police and Yellow Vest protesters left 71 people injured and caused widespread property damage.

    Tourist sites were reopened and workers took to the streets to clean up broken glass.

    French officials called for unity after days of unrest that saw demonstrators protesting French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed fuel tax hike and other economic policies amid high living costs.

    "No tax should jeopardize our national unity. We must now rebuild that national unity through dialogue, through work, and by coming together,” said French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

    Riot police officers stand in front a burning trash bin during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France.  (AP)

    Macron, who sent a tweet of appreciation to police for their "courage and professionalism," faces pressure to propose solutions to calm the anger. The leaderless Yellow Vests have called for him to resign.

    The French leader swept into power in 2017, having emerged out of obscurity less than a year earlier. Espousing his own brand of centrism, he has presented himself on the world stage as a spokesman for multilateralism and internationalism against a nationalist wave moving through Europe.

    While he has regularly been seen on world stages, including the United Nations and the U.S. Congress, he has stayed mostly quiet this week, choosing to keep away from the limelight as his government attempts to deal with the issues being protested by the “yellow jacket” protesters who have protested and even rioted in cities over France in recent weeks.

    EMMANUEL MACRON GOES AWOL AS VIOLENCE, PROTESTS ENGULF PARIS

    In a failed bid to deter demonstrators France deployed 89,000 police – and 12 armored vehicles – on Saturday. About 125,000 Yellow Vests protested across the country and around 1,220 people were taken into custody, the Interior Ministry said.

    A worker clears debris in a bank as a man watches through smashed windows, in Paris, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    Several tourist areas, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, were closed out of fear of the rioting. Video footage showed protesters being hit by rubber bullets and police using water cannons at the Arc de Triomphe.

    In response to the demonstrations, the government said it would abandon the unpopular fuel tax hike and froze electricity and gas prices for 2019. Macron’s about-face has damaged his credibility with climate defenders and foreign investors.

    It’s done nothing to calm the "gilets jaunes," the nickname for crowds wearing the fluorescent yellow vests that all French motorists must keep in their cars.

    People run away from a burning car during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

    Now the movement is making other demands, such as taxing the rich and raising the minimum wage.

    Citing France's commitment to fighting climate change, President Donald Trump suggested in a tweet that “maybe it’s time to end the ridiculous and extremely expensive Paris Agreement and return money back to the people in the form of lower taxes?”

    Fox News reporter Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    France protests and the ‘yellow vests’ deep anger reveal the hypocrisy at the heart of the green agenda

    The European elites can’t be happy with what is happening in France.

    Over the last month, hundreds of thousands of angry French citizens have joined in “yellow vest” protests, initially sparked by proposed carbon taxes on fuel. This weekend, protester turnout was down, but the violence was up.

    While the destructive rioting should be deplored, the underlying problems that led to this moment should not be ignored.

    French President Emmanuel Macron once heralded as a visionary “centrist” leader who would pull France and the world into glorious modernity, now finds himself in hot water.

    Macron once mused that France may need a king, and others compared him to Napoleon.

    But as Abraham Lincoln once said to bumbling Union Gen. Joseph Hooker, who incautiously spoke about setting up an American dictatorship: “Only those generals who gain successes can set up dictators.”

    The praise of Macron as a transformative leader now seems premature.

    Just last year, President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, saying that he would put “no other consideration before the well-being of American citizens.” He also vowed to reject an agreement that would force taxpayers to “absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”

    The media blasted Trump for his decision while praising Macron, who enthusiastically endorsed the climate pact. Rubbing his thumb in Trump’s eye, Macron went on to campaign on the pledge of “Make Our Planet Great Again.”

    It didn’t work out well for Macron or his country. His approval rating has plunged to 23 percent—less than half that of Trump. And Paris is literally burning

    As for the climate agenda Macron so warmly embraced: it is turning to ashes as well.

    The green agenda bills itself as a movement to save the planet and fight inequality. But in truth, its anti-carbon policies fall hardest on middle class and working class people who can’t afford sky high energy costs and may lose their jobs in industries that the Greens want to put out of business.

    Increasingly, however, those hit hard by these policies are realizing that the environmentalist piety projects of the well-to-do also just so happen to make them even more well-to-do in the process.

    Revenues from France’s carbon tax were set to subsidize green industries like wind and solar, even as Macron began shuttering 14 nuclear of the nation’s 58 power plants.  The Green God of Paris also aims to shut all French coal plants by 2022.

    Climate crusaders like Macron may say it’s all about saving the world and stopping climate change, but the process always involves funneling tons of money from constituencies they don’t like to ones they do.

    In other words: Crony capitalism.

    Unfortunately, there is no shortage of people who want to import this disastrous agenda to the United States, even as it immolates Europe. It’s already on its way in California and perhaps in Congress through the so-called Green New Deal proposed by Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

    The events in France should serve as an early warning for Americans about the costs of ignoring the forgotten man.

    The yellow jacket protests are over more than just a single, obnoxious tax. They arise from the failure of Western leaders, like Macron, to look out for the interests of their people as a whole instead of just their favored classes.

    The enraged, resentful citizens in the streets of Paris and rural roads of the countryside have no interest in crowning a new king. But they are fed up with paying ever-rising climate taxes so their “betters” in the drawing rooms of Paris and Brussels can feel good about themselves and pad the wallets of their business cronies.

    America has fortunately set another course—one toward prosperity and away from the stifling, job-killing energy policies that have left Paris with boarded up shop windows and tear gas wafting down the Champs-Elysées.

    Jarrett Stepman is an editor and commentary writer for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast.

    Paris tries to clean up after protests; French officials call for unity

    Paris tried to regain a sense of normalcy Sunday, a day after battles between riot police and Yellow Vests protesters left 71 people injured and caused widespread property damage.

    Tourist sites were reopened and workers took to the streets to clean up broken glass.

    Demonstrators drop flat to the ground on the Champs-Elysees avenue during a protest Saturday in Paris. (Associated Press)

    French officials called for unity after days of unrest that saw demonstrators protesting French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed fuel tax hike and other economic policies amid high living costs.

    "No tax should jeopardize our national unity. We must now rebuild that national unity through dialogue, through work, and by coming together,” said French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

    "No tax should jeopardize our national unity. We must now rebuild that national unity through dialogue, through work, and by coming together.”

    — French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe

    Macron, who was conspicuously absent last week, broke his silence with a tweet of appreciation to police for their "courage and exceptional professionalism,” the BBC reported.

    He still faces pressure to propose solutions to calm the anger. The leaderless Yellow Vests have called for him to resign.

    Protesters on the Rue Marceau, in front of the Place de l’Etoile, during demonstration of the "Yellow vests", in Paris, Dec. 8, 2018.

    In a failed bid to deter demonstrators France deployed 89,000 police – and 12 armored vehicles – on Saturday. About 125,000 Yellow Vests protested across the country and around 1,220 people were taken into custody, the Interior Ministry said.

    Several tourist areas, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, were closed out of fear of the rioting. Video footage showed protesters being hit by rubber bullets and police using water cannons at the Arc de Triomphe.

    French President Emmanuel Macron was nowhere to be seen as protests raged through France and Paris locked down fearing new riots. (Associated Press)

    In response to the demonstrations, the government said it would abandon the unpopular fuel tax hike and froze electricity and gas prices for 2019. Macron’s about-face has damaged his credibility with climate defenders and foreign investors.

    It’s done nothing to calm the "gilets jaunes," the nickname for crowds wearing the fluorescent yellow vests that all French motorists must keep in their cars.

    TRUMP TAUNTS MACRON AFTER THOUSANDS OF PROTESTERS VIOLENTLY CLASH WITH POLICE IN PARIS; ALMOST 1,000 ARRESTED

    Now the movement is making other demands, such as taxing the rich and raising the minimum wage.

    Video

    Citing France's commitment to fighting climate change, President Donald Trump suggested in a tweet that “maybe it’s time to end the ridiculous and extremely expensive Paris Agreement and return money back to the people in the form of lower taxes?”

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    France’s Macron scraps fuel tax rise amid fears of more protests, violence

    French President Emmanuel Macron has canceled a planned fuel tax increase after three weeks of nationwide protests that left four people dead and sparked the worst anti-government riot in Paris since 2005.

    An official with the Elysee Palace told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the president decided to get rid of the tax, while Prime Minister Edouard Philippe confirmed to lawmakers that "the tax is now abandoned" in the 2019 budget. A day earlier, Philippe announced that the tax increase would be suspended for six months.

    But despite the government's concession, protest leaders have said demonstrations are likely to continue with trade unions and farmers joining the fray against Macron's increasingly unpopular policies.

    Jacline Mouraud, a self-proclaimed spokesperson for the so-called "yellow vest" protesters, told The Associated Press that Macron's move "is on the right path but in my opinion it will not fundamentally change the movement." She urged protesters to seize on the French government's weakness to push other demands such as a rise in the minimum wage. More protests are planned for Saturday in Paris.

    On Wednesday, France's largest farmers' union said it will launch anti-government protests next week after trucking unions called for a rolling strike. A joint statement from the CGT and the FO trucking unions called for action Sunday night to protest a cut in overtime rates. France's transportation minister agreed to meet with truckers' representatives on Thursday.

    Gas tax hike to be suspended in France amid violent riots

    French prime minister expected to announce a suspension of fuel tax hikes that provoked a protest movement.

    The FNSEA farmers' union said it would fight to help French farmers earn a better income but would not officially be joining forces with the "yellow vests" — protesters wearing the high-visibility vests that French motorists are required to keep in their cars.

    French police have cleared most of the fuel depots that protesters had blocked earlier in the week, but fuel shortages continued to hit parts of France on Wednesday, with hundreds of gas stations affected. Demonstrators were also blocking toll booths, letting drivers pass without paying, to press demands that ranged from higher incomes and pensions to the dissolution of the National Assembly, France's parliament.

    Macron's popularity has slumped to a new low since the first demonstrations took place on Nov. 17. The former investment banker, who has pushed pro-business economic reforms to make France more globally competitive, is accused of being the "president of the rich" and of being estranged from the working classes.

    ‘Yellow Jacket’ riot engulfs Paris

    Paris riots being called the worst in a decade; Trace Gallagher reports.

    At Tolbiac University in downtown Paris, students took over a school building and classes were canceled.

    "We need taxes, but they are not properly redistributed," protester Thomas Tricottet told BFM television. "We obviously need to fight against this."

    The high school students' FIDL union called for a "massive and general mobilization" on Thursday and urged France's education minister to step down.

    One student was injured during protests at a high school in Saint-Jean-de-Braye in north-central France. BFM said he was shot in the head with a rubber bullet but authorities did not confirm that. Julien Guiller, a spokesman for the regional school administration, told The Associated Press the student was expected to survive.

    Since returning from the G-20 summit in Argentina over the weekend, Macron's actions have done little to reassure protesters that he is listening to their concerns.

    He has refrained from speaking publicly about the protests and has largely remained in his palace residence. On Tuesday night, the young leader was booed and jeered as he traveled to a regional government headquarters that was torched by protesters last weekend.

    Four people have been killed in the unrest since mid-November. One activist said Wednesday that he fears more deaths if Saturday's "yellow vest" demonstration in Paris goes ahead, and urged Macron to speak out and bring calm to the nation.

    "If not there will be chaos," said Christophe Chalencon, a 52-year-old blacksmith from southern France.

    He told the AP that the French public needs Macron to "admit he made a mistake, with simple words … that touch the guts and heart of the French."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.