Trump has announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and seek to negotiate a ‘better’ agreement. I liked Emmanuel Macron’s reaction – “Lets make the planet great again”. Germany, France and Italy have committed to carry on, China will relish the opportunity to move into the vacuum.
Paul Hawken, who knows more about climate change action than most (post coming up) recently said:
First of all, let’s be honest: The US has never led in this area. Ever. When they’ve tried on an executive level, they’ve never been supported by Congress. States have led, cities have led, but never the federal government.
Even so, he said people in the US think they lead in “this stuff”. They don’t, it’s Germany, China, France and Denmark.
Trump aspires to join Nicaragua and Syria as the only nations not signed up to the Paris Accord.
Germany, France and Italy have issued a statement saying that the Paris Accord can’t be renegotiated. They say there is no better deal than Paris, which works on voluntary contributions. The phrase was “common but differentiated responsibility” according to each country’s circumstances. The US alone decides how much effort it puts in. Obama committed to a 26-28% reduction by 2025 on a 2005 base.
France has offered work to any US scientists who need or want to relocate. This is tangible and welcome, as research and climate monitoring funds are under pressure with Trump.
Theresa May was mild in her criticism, suggesting that she thinks she can talk him around and turn Trump into a Ronald Reagan. This is delusional. Made it easy for Jermey Corbyn, who accused her of “dereliction of duty to our country and our planet”.
Trump will withdraw the $3 billion Obama committed to the UN climate fund to help developing countries. China will no doubt fill the gap, taking advantage of the influence that will bring.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he was “deeply disappointed”.
- Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called Trump’s decision a “brutal act,” continuing with, “Leadership means fighting climate change together. Not forsaking commitment.”
Former Kiribati president Anote Tong, who was involved in the Paris negotiations, called Trump a “classroom bully” and said no Pacific nations will go beck to the negotiation table. Current Pacific leaders were similarly minded.
The Leased Developed Countries group within the UN accused Trump of “showing disregard for the lives of millions around the world.” And:
- “…Many countries have taken up the mantle of global climate leadership through ambitious climate policies and innovation, and the US has lost a seat at this table.”
Fox News, for a moment, Fox News actually acknowledged that climate change is real.
Obama saw the Trump decision as rejecting the future.
“Even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.”
61 cities have vowed to uphold the Paris agreement.
On the impact of Trump’s decision, David Roberts shows in one graph what the Trump decision would mean if US emissions flatline:
With the impetus from the states, cities, business and individuals, the US will probably do better than that.
Bill Hare, Director of Climate Analytics, is a well-connected ex-pat Australian, whose core business is monitorig progress on climate action. In The Conversation he takes a broad look. Ironically Trump made his announcement in the White House rose garden, where George W Bush famously repudiated Kyoto. While the US lost impetus, Europe, he says, having made a beginning under Kyoto, now has a legislative climate policy framework which is now the most comprehensive and far-reaching in the world.
Problem is that we don’t have time, there is a large train of coal-fired power stations being built in the developing world, and a leading nation promoting fossil fuels is the last thing we need.
Hare, like other commentators, thinks the Trump decision will cost the US jobs. A trade war with other countries placing tariffs on US goods is more than a possibility.
John Feffer analyses how the US strategic pivot to Asia under Obama was not working. The US currently has 375,000 military and civilian personnel stationed within the Pacific Command’s ambit and devotes roughly half its naval capacity to Pacific waters. Feffer’s analysis, however, is a useful corrective to those who see a simple replacement of one hegemonic power by another.
On climate specifically, the EU and China have announced closer cooperation planned in anticipation of Trump’s decision.
That link has this useful graphic of who is doing the polluting:
In Australia Turnbull and Frydenberg have held the line, but the sceptics, deniers and fossil fuel lovies have been mightily encouraged. With the Finkel review about to hit the deck, a battle royal within the LNP is foreshadowed by Frydenberg himself. Thanks Ootz for the link.
The most interesting development, however, is that Xenophon has indicated that now is the time to make a stand. I heard it on the ABC, but this ling is to the Oz: Nick Xenophon ups ante with push on carbon scheme.
- Senate powerbroker Nick Xenophon will use a new government report that recommends an emissions intensity scheme to “leverage” his position in negotiations with cabinet ministers over key budget measures.
The threat comes after the Climate Change Authority and Australian Energy Market Commission released a joint report calling for the adoption of an EIS to deliver affordable, secure and lower-emissions power.
In short, Xenophon will not cooperate on budget matters unless he gets an EIS. If Labor and The Greens line up against Turnbull, he can’t avoid Xenophon.
Finally, there is masses of material everywhere on the Trump Paris matter. Think Progress, for example, has multiple posts under the tag Paris Agreement.
To help our pollies inclined to deny or downplay climate change, I’ve assembled a few graphs, that show the world is changing.
This one is James Hansen’s temperature graph:
At Mauna Loa the increase in atmospheric CO2 continues unabated:
Here’s an overlay of temperature and greenhouse gases:
This one, also from Hansen, but based on new reasearch by others, shows the relentless acceleration of sea level rise
Finally, the three graphs, also from Hansen:
Greenhouse gases, temperature and sea level rise have been tagging each other for the last 65 million years. Hansen has explained, over a decade ago, why the causal link runs both ways between temperature and greenhouse gases, along with the agency in the last three million years of orbital wobbles.
If there is a one per cent chance he’s right, along with the other 97%, we should be acting.