The 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) which is taking place at the Moroccan city of Marrakech is already at its second week with the final meetings to be held under the fear that the newly elected U.S. government will step back from the Paris Agreement.
It is a fact that the U.S. elections and the victory of Donald Trump have overshadowed the long-awaited climate U.N. summit causing a sense of horror in case the U.S. president-elect will materialize his campaign pledges and step out of the global climate pact that was signed last year in Paris.
The EU Climate Commissioner mentioned that more must be done in order to reach global climate targets and improve renewable energy policies. According to Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Commission is planning to announce a clean energy plan by the end of November underscoring that the Europeans will stick to their climate promises.
Trump against the Paris agreement
So far Donald Trump has been consistently expressing his disagreement to the measures that were taken in favour of global warming, with the Paris agreement to be among them. Particularly, the newly elected U.S. president tweeted three years ago that: “Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee – I’m in Los Angeles and it’s freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!”. In November 2012, Donald Trump said that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” What is more, only one year ago Mr Trump tweeted “It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!”
All of the aforementioned tweets clearly demonstrate his disapproval for the past climate change policies and justify the worries of all business and environmental leaders regarding the U.S participation at the Paris deal together with its influence to other nations which might follow similar path and drop the climate pact.
Trump is urged to change climate policy
The French President Francois Hollande together with the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attempted to persuade Donald Trump to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energies. Salaheddine Mezouar, president of COP22, issued also the following statement to convince Donald Trump not to quit the Paris Agreement: “The climate change question concerns the preservation of our livelihood, dignity, and the only planet on which we all live”.
Furthermore, Nigel Topping, chief executive of London-based “We Mean Business”, a coalition that works with world’s top businesses on climate change issues, mentioned that General Motors, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon invest in a clean economy because it makes business sense. More specifically, Mr Topping said: “Yes, this is a time of uncertainty. But we’ve got hundreds of CEOs and hundreds of the world’s biggest businesses fully committed to act on climate, both the risks and opportunities.”
How will China react?
It is of great importance for the survival of the Paris Agreement that China plays active role in climate change together with the rest of the parties. Last Friday, Chen Zhihua, a member of the Chinese delegation, stated that China’s policies will not be affected by any external changes. More in detail, Chen Zhihua said: “No matter what happens in the new US government, China will continue to constructively participate in the international climate change process. Even if the United States withdraws from the agreement, cooperation between China and the US will continue.”
China is expected to combine its forces with the EU in the fight against climate change. Apart from China and the EU, OPEC states and small island states have confirmed their support to the Paris deal. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih mentioned during COP22 that OPEC’s biggest producer was “committed to meeting the world’s energy needs via the gradual transition towards a more environmentally sustainable future.”
Whatever US decides, the rest of the world must stay united
The new President-elect Donald Trump seems quite unpredictable due to the fact that has no background in politics. Nevertheless, it looks that he is not going to keep his anti-climate campaign promises because of his so far compromising behaviour and the fact that the U.S. will have to wait four years to pull out of the agreement.
Whatever the decision of the U.S. though might be, the remaining UN member states should maintain their pledges and continue fighting for a better and cleaner environment. All leaders and policy makers must focus more on the implementation of the measures that will reduce fossil fuels and temperature levels and less on whether the U.S. will quit the Paris climate pact. The world has been waiting for almost two decades for a deal that can reverse the climate shift and reverse that downhill of global warming.
Thus, the desperate need to combat climate change demands a progressive global policy and the right moment for implementing it is just now during the COP22.