The president-elect has promised to roll back a lot of President Obama's policies, but he may have a very big problem with one Obama pet project.
President-elect Donald Trump has promised some very big things to his supporters, but as he prepares to actually take over the Oval Office, he may find he’s fighting a losing battle on one issue: the Paris climate change agreement that would seek to tackle global warming.
The 2016 United Nations climate change conference ended this month with affirmations from 200 countries to combat global warming, and the Paris agreement has been ratified. The agreement included greenhouse gas cuts targets by individual countries, and it involves a close partnership with government and business to meet those targets.
Basically, this is more than just agreement, it’s a global architecture meant to fight climate change, meaning the policies that govern it are decentralized and cannot easily be unwound from the overall agreement.
And the ball was set in motion long before Paris. Rather than a ham-fisted approach that could be undone by a country that decided it was no longer on board, businesses have already been buying into the effort to move to greener technologies.
So when Trump assumes the office of the presidency, he can’t simply remove this architecture with the whisk of a pen. It would take a full-scale dismantling in all sectors of the U.S. economy to make it happen, and while it’s not impossible, it would be extremely difficult for Trump to pull it off, especially with so many other issues he’ll need to concern himself with.
“Our climate is warming at an alarming and unprecedented rate and we have an urgent duty to respond,” reads the Marrakech proclamation from earlier this month. “We welcome the Paris Agreement, adopted under the Convention, its rapid entry into force, with its ambitious goals, its inclusive nature and its reflection of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances, and we affirm our commitment to its full implementation. Indeed, this year, we have seen extraordinary momentum on climate change worldwide, and in many multilateral fora. This momentum is irreversible – it is being driven not only by governments, but by science, business and global action of all types at all levels.
“Our task now is to rapidly build on that momentum, together, moving forward purposefully to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to foster adaptation efforts, thereby benefiting and supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.
“We call for the highest political commitment to combat climate change, as a matter of urgent priority. We call for strong solidarity with those countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and underscore the need to support efforts aimed to enhance their adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability. We call for all Parties to strengthen and support efforts to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and to take stringent action to deal with climate change challenges in agriculture.”