China to Trump: wise men don’t sneer at climate change

Time to look seriously at what a Trump presidency would do to climate change.

As this article says:

    China and the United States don’t need to go to war to destroy civilization as we know it.

    They just need to keep pumping the skies full of carbon dioxide for 75 more years, slowly turning much of the planet into a wasteland.


    Asked how China would work with a potential Trump-led White House on global warming, Beijing’s top climate change negotiator said that a “wise political leader” would embrace policy in line with “global trends.”

    “If they resist this trend, I don’t think they’ll win the support of their people,” Xie Zhenua told Reuters. “And their country’s economic and social progress will also be affected.”

So let’s look at some of the implications of a Trump presidency.

The Paris Agreement

China and the US together produce 38% of world emissions.


It was thought that if the US pulled out of the Paris agreement, as threatened by Trump, then China might also, and the whole deal would collapse. For the agreement to come into force, 55% of nations must participate and 55% of emissions must be covered.

The good news is that the US and China formally joined the Agreement back on 5 September and the Agreement has now come into force. That happened on Friday 4 November.

This BBC article says that a new American president would have to wait four years to withdraw from the deal. I’ve seen that elsewhere, so I’ll take it as read. So the global agreement is under no threat. The worst Trump could do is to sit on his hands, as our government is doing, and perhaps take steps to withdraw in four years time.

And no Obama didn’t bypass Congress, as Think Progress explains:

    In the United States, there are two types of agreements that are binding under international law: treaties and executive agreements. Whereas treaties are submitted to the Senate for approval by a two-thirds majority, executive agreements are made pursuant to the authority of a preceding treaty, a statute, or the foreign affairs power of the president. These authorities are not mutually exclusive.

    Executive agreements account for the vast majority — more than 94 percent — of internationally binding agreements in the United States.

Back in 1992 the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was set up as a treaty joined by the George H.W. Bush administration with bipartisan support from the Senate. The UNFCCC was the main outcome of the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. The UNFCCC has a Conference of Parties every year, currently meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Trump’s attitude to climate science

Trump famously tweeted in 2012 that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He says that was a joke, but unfortunately he also appears to believe that climate science is a joke and a “hoax”. On the positive side Trump has claimed the right to change his mind on everything. On this one we can assume he will stay true to form, because Republican politicians who subscribe to mainstream climate science are rare.

A Think Progress article in May on the implications for climate of a Trump presidency says that:

    Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) was recently announced as Trump’s energy advisor. Cramer likes fossil fuel extraction, dislikes environmental regulations, and says mainstream climate science is based on “fraudulent science.”

A Scientific American article reports that Mike Pence thinks climate change is a myth, and a man called Myron Ebell, who questions the accuracy of mainstream climate scientists, has joined Trump’s transition team for the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

Executive action

Because of an unhelpful Congress most of Obama’s effort on climate change has been by way of executive action, such as regulation by the EPA and its Clean Power Plan.

Trump may find that he can’t change things with a stroke of a pen. I think his main weapon may be to dry up the funding, a technique used by the Abbott/Turnbull government.

Funding cuts are also a threat to climate science in such organisations as NASA, NOAA and the universities.

These issues are canvassed in the following articles:

I’ll leave you with an article from Vox The unthinkably high stakes for climate change that we’ve completely ignored this election. They say the next president will make decisions that will echo for centuries. They mention in addition to the above, cuts to all clean energy RD&D and all contributions to the UN climate fund, plus Trump would do everything in his power to support both the coal and fracking industries. Also:

    He’s asked climate denier Myron Ebell to head his EPA transition. He put dirty-energy lobbyist Mike McKenna in charge of the Energy Department transition, just one in the parade of industry lobbyists he’s put in charge of his energy and environment team.

Here’s Lux Research’s attempted to model the emissions difference between a Clinton and Trump presidency:


Roughly half the American voters may have voted for crimes against humanity.

15 thoughts on “China to Trump: wise men don’t sneer at climate change”

  1. Tumps plan;

    Here is my 100-day action plan:

    We’re going to rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.
    We’re going to save the coal industry and other industries threatened by Hillary Clinton’s extremist agenda.
    I’m going to ask Trans Canada to renew its permit application for the Keystone Pipeline.
    We’re going to lift moratoriums on energy production in federal areas
    We’re going to revoke policies that impose unwarranted restrictions on new drilling technologies. These technologies create millions of jobs with a smaller footprint than ever before.
    We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.
    Any regulation that is outdated, unnecessary, bad for workers, or contrary to the national interest will be scrapped. We will also eliminate duplication, provide regulatory certainty, and trust local officials and local residents.
    Any future regulation will go through a simple test: is this regulation good for the American worker? If it doesn’t pass this test, the rule will not be approved.

  2. As a sideline, but widely pertinent:

    On the positive side Trump has claimed the right to change his mind on everything.

    Yes indeed!
    This morning a (Republican) Washington source was quoted on ABC Radio National, to the effect that a Border Force Squad would NOT be formed, to go around finding and deporting illegal immigrants.

  3. Tumpy: Sounds like a plan that will cost jobs in the renewables industry, tourist areas that will be trashed when their environmental protections are removed, environmental depts and……?
    Be interesting to see how you resolve conflicts between the interests of workers and whatever the national interest is claimed to be.
    Are you going to invade Canada if it decides that its oil sands industry is an environmental disaster and don’t want to export oil?
    What happens if the world refuses to accept dirty exports?
    The good news is that you were not eelcted president of the US. and keep in mind that Clinton actually won the popular voteso the country really won’t be behind you.

  4. Ops, yes ” Trump “, it’s from Here.

    Pretty sure Hillary expected the Nation to be behind Bill even though Bush Sr got more votes in 1992, dontcha think ?

  5. Pretty sure Hillary expected the Nation to be behind Bill even though Bush Sr got more votes in 1992, dontcha think ?

    What on earth has Hillary’s expectations 24 years ago got to do with JD’s comment? We know you hate her Jumpy, you don’t have to keep reminding us.

  6. “We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement”

    – Trumpy’s 100 day Action Plan (excerpt), via Jumpy

    Looks like the US is able to withdraw, but not for four years yet, according to Brian.

    Also, one nation can’t unilaterally “cancel” the Agreement.
    Neither can One Nation.

  7. Zoot

    What on earth has Hillary’s expectations 24 years ago got to do with JD’s comment?

    John said;

    ….keep in mind that Clinton actually won the popular voteso the country really won’t be behind you.

    Just a reminder that Bill didn’t win the popular either, but the people got behind him. Oh, and Hillary didn’t find her ” First Ladyship ” any less legitimate.

    I wasn’t gloating and we don’t need your sour grapes. I merely posted Trumps 100 day plan without commentary, John seemed to think it was mine, it isn’t.

  8. So, Jumpy, do you support Trump’s list?

    Ironically, Bob Katter probably called it right when he said the election of Trump was another blow to neoliberal economics and free markets. I say ironically because Trump’s agenda looks like a big dose of unregulated freemarket capitalism.

  9. Matthew Nisbet, Professor of Communication at Northeastern University in Boston, said in the New Scientist (paywalled) that across 360 minutes of presidential and vice-presidential debate, climate change received just five-and-half minutes of discussion, all in passing. The debate moderators and journalists have let us down, he says.

    I believe exit polls showed that climate change was not on the radar as an issue for voters. Possibly Clinton didn’t think it would get her any votes, so she largely ignored it.

    Still if she truly thought it was important she could have been passionate about the issue and the risks and opportunities. One reason she lost the election was that she created no vision for the future that was different from the present and the past.

  10. From The Independent:

    Mr Trump could “simply withdraw” the US from the agreement, on the basis that Mr Obama acceded using an executive order, according to international relations associate professor Robert Falkner of the London School of Economics.

    Under the terms of the Paris Agreement, though, he could only give notice three years after it came into force (last Friday). And it would then take a year for the withdrawal to complete.

    The US could also simply withdraw from the 1992 climate convention, which underpins the Paris Agreement, which would take a year from notice being given to the UN.

    Or, and this is what analysts think would be most likely, he could simply choose to ignore America’s commitment to reducing emissions under the deal.

  11. The Paris agreement is unpoliceable, as far as I can see considering Trump has UN veto power.
    I could be wrong.

  12. Jumpy, the Paris Agreement is basically voluntary as far as I know, with periodic formal reviews to show up how countries have performed against their promises.

    The US veto in the UN Security Council is basically irrelevant. The WTO is the only international body with real teeth.

    However, Obama was looking like an important leader on climate change, which will be missed.

  13. Security Council veto power, held by leading victorious anti-Axis powers (WW2), concerns war/peacekeeping/aggression.

    Not relevant to trade, climate, poverty, health, cultural programs. Other bodies, e.g. WTO, WHO, UNESCO, ICAA, IAEA, etc. deal with those.

    Every member State is constrained to some extent in UN.

    Every US President is constrained in many ways. Mr Trump cannot act like a Suharto, Stalin, Pinochet, Pol Pot, Franco, Kim Il Sung, Idi Amin, Assad, Qaddafi, Mao, Mussolini, …….

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