Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Trump win raises questions about UN climate deal

Published:Thursday | November 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM


The election of a United States (US) president who has called global warming a "hoax" alarmed environmentalists and climate scientists yesterday, raising questions about whether America, once again, would pull out of an international climate deal.

Many said it's now up to the rest of the world to lead efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, while others held out hope that Donald Trump would change his stance and honour US commitments under last year's landmark Paris Agreement.

"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.

Small island nations which fear they will be swallowed by rising seas are among the biggest supporters of the Paris deal and other international efforts to curb emissions, mainly from fossil fuels.




More than 100 countries, including the US, have formally joined the agreement, which seeks to reduce emissions and help vulnerable countries adapt to rising seas, intensifying heat waves, the spreading of deserts and other climate changes.

"I'm sure that the rest of the world will continue to work on it," Moroccan chief negotiator Aziz Mekouar said at UN climate talks in Marrakech.

Many environmentalists and scientists weren't so sure.

"The Paris Agreement and any US leadership in international climate progress is dead," said Dana Fisher, director of the Program for Society and the Environment at the University of Maryland.

However, the transition toward cleaner energy is so entrenched in the US, it would continue without federal money, she added.

The US, under the Bush administration, declined to join the previous climate deal, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which greatly reduced its impact on global emissions. But President Barack Obama made climate change a priority and was instrumental in making the Paris Agreement come together.

Trump pledged in May to "cancel" the Paris deal.

He has called for stripping regulations to allow unfettered production of fossil fuels - a key source of emissions - and rescinding the Clean Power Plan, an Obama administration strategy to fight climate change.

In May, Trump told an oil and gas conference in North Dakota he would "save the coal industry" and stop all payments of US tax dollars to global-warming programmes.