Climate change: Nations will push ahead with plans despite Trump
At UN climate talks in Morocco, countries say they are prepared to move ahead without the US.
President-elect Trump has said that he will “cancel” the Paris Climate Agreement within 100 days of taking office.
Negotiators in Marrakech say that such a move would seriously damage the credibility of the US.
But fossil fuel supporters say Mr Trump’s plans prioritise the needs of American families.
The election of a candidate viewed with horror by many environmental campaigners, has cast a significant shadow over COP22 – the annual meeting of climate delegates from almost 200 countries.
They have come to Marrakech to work on the nuts and bolts of the Paris Climate Agreement.
However the election of Mr Trump now poses something of a threat to the deal signed less than a year ago in the French capital.
The treaty commits governments to take action to keep global temperatures from rising by 2C above pre-industrial levels and to do their best to keep that rise to less than 1.5 degrees.
But Mr Trump has promised that within 100 days of taking office he would “cancel” the agreement and “stop all payments of US tax dollars to UN global warming programmes”.
Aware of Mr Trump’s intentions, countries speedily ratified the Paris deal and it became a binding part of international law on 4 November.
If the new president wants to take the US out of the agreement, the process will require four years before he is free of it.
But while that might frustrate Mr Trump, he has also promised within his first 100 days, to rescind the executive actions that President Obama has taken to limit US emissions of carbon.
The key element of the Obama scheme was the Clean Power Plan, that aimed to severely restrict CO2 from energy production.
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump repeatedly denounced the costs of the plan and said he would reverse it.
“It also means scrapping the EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan, which the government itself estimates will cost $7.2bn a year. This Obama-Clinton directive will shut down most, if not all, coal-power electricity plants,” he told an audience in New York in September.
The President-elect’s plans to renege on the Paris Agreement and push forward with coal have been condemned by green groups globally.
“Trump’s election is a disaster, but it cannot be the end of the international climate process,” said May Boeve from 350.org.
“We’re not giving up the fight and neither should the international community. Trump will try and slam the brakes on climate action, which means we need to throw all of our weight on the accelerator.”
In Marrakech, where up to 20,000 participants from all over the world are trying to advance the Paris Climate Agreement, there was a strong sense that the President-elect’s promises wouldn’t sabotage the deal.
“I’m sure that the rest of the world will continue to work on it,” Moroccan chief negotiator Aziz Mekouar told wire agencies.
Others felt that the practicalities of office my change Mr Trump’s tone.
“Now that the election campaign has passed and the realities of leadership settle in, I expect he will realise that climate change is a threat to his people and to whole countries which share seas with the US, including my own,” said Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine at the meeting.
However, Mr Trump’s promise to rapidly get out of the Paris agreement and to push forward with a coal friendly policy have been welcomed by groups representing the fossil fuel industry.
According to the American Energy Alliance (AEA), which has attracted funding from companies and individuals opposed to green energy, the election presented the opportunity to reset the “harmful” policies of the last generation.
“A third of the people here are walking around like zombies, like the walking dead, not sure what to do,” said UC Berkeley Professor Daniel Kammen, speaking from Morocco.
President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to back out of last year’s landmark Paris climate accord — the same agreement the negotiators in Marrakech are trying to implement. He has pledged to scuttle President Obama’s Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants, and he has promised to revive America’s flagging coal industry.
“Trump has said he’s against everything we’ve been making progress on, from the transition off of coal to being an international leader on climate,” Kammen said.
The Republican Trump’s surprise win over Democrat Hillary Clinton represents a potential U-turn in America’s climate and energy policies. And climate activists, whose mood Wednesday mixed anger with raw despair, fear that an already uphill fight to avert catastrophic warming has suddenly became far more difficult.
“The planet is in danger,” said Tom Steyer, the Bay Area billionaire who created a political organization, NextGen Climate, to mobilize young voters around global warming. “If they in fact do what they’re talking about — get rid of the Clean Power Plan, withdraw from the Paris agreement, cut the EPA in half — that is absolutely contrary to what is best for the planet.”
Some wondered Wednesday whether Trump might be open to persuasion, at least on supporting renewable power. The solar and wind industries, they noted, have been adding jobs in many of the states that backed Trump, such as Iowa and Texas.
“What we’re going to hope is that, over time, this evidence is going to become clear to the incoming administration,” said Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, a think tank focusing on economic and environmental issues. “And even if you don’t believe in climate change, it’s certainly smart to act on it.”
But Trump has already placed on his transition team a noted doubter of climate science — Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute conservative think tank. Ebell will oversee the transition at the Environmental Protection Agency, which Trump has threatened to eliminate.
Trump is said to be considering an oil company CEO — Harold Hamm, of Continental Resources — to become his energy secretary. Hamm was Trump’s top adviser on energy issues during the campaign.
“A third of the people here are walking around like zombies, like the walking dead, not sure what to do,” said UC Berkeley Professor Daniel Kammen, speaking from Morocco.”
and today i heard the chinese lecturing trump and the usa on what they should do..has everyone forgotten that china agreed to do nothing till 2030..that was their conditions upon ratifying..to do NOTHING..
“Aware of Mr Trump’s intentions, countries speedily ratified the Paris deal and it became a binding part of international law on 4 November.”
yes its binding and its legal and you will be fined for not keeping up..