Trump denies climate change existence while Paris Agreement is not fully supported by G20 ahead of COP24

(Unsplash, 2018)

The 24th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) is going to kick off next week in Katowice, Poland but the US stance together with the latest draft communique from G20 is not promising and may weaken the fate of the Paris Agreement.

Donald Trump seems to be questioning his own scientists who published a report last Friday regarding climate’s assessment which shows that the American society is going to be hurt by the end of the century. The US President casts doubts not only to UN but also US reports relative to the human consequences to the environment.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the G20 draft statement which is prepared by the Argentinian presidency till now is not supportive to the Paris pact explaining that there are different national plans for each country.

Trump administration is “blind”?

The US President confused the weather with climate change last week and refuses to believe about the existence of the latter when mentioning in one of his tweets that: “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?”. And as if this was not enough, Mr Trump, when asked about the conclusions of the report Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) which clearly reveals that climate change is real and will affect the US economy, answered that: “I don’t believe it.”

This report was prepared by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) which is a Federal program mandated by Congress to organize research and investments in comprehending what creates global environment, both human and natural, and their impacts on society. The report predicts that climate change will have a growing economic effect to the US infrastructure and property and is going to prevent the economy from further expanding.

However, gas emissions can be reduced by raising the efficiency of energy use according to the NCA4. The latter can be achieved by using more climate friendly vehicles and altering to alternative fuels which don’t increase GHG emissions. What is more, other ways could be to increase the energy efficiency of appliances, buildings, electronics, and electricity generation together with a transition to renewable and non-carbon-emitting sources of energy, such as solar, wind, wave, biomass, tidal, and geothermal.

Last but not least, governments and businesses are implementing measures towards lowering the GHG emissions but their results are far from reaching the target which is going to cause inevitable impacts to the climate and humankind by the end of the century. More specifically, the report states that: “Communities, governments, and businesses are working to reduce risks from and costs associated with climate change by taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaptation strategies. While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.”

G20 nations still out of climate path

The G20 economies have been relying mainly on fossil fuels last year. This is stated at the global partnership Climate Transparency report called “G20 Brown to Green Report 2018” which evaluates how well the G20 countries are performing and their transition to a low-carbon economy. The main outcome was that there is still a large gap from taking the actions needed to achieve the targets indicated in the Paris Agreement.

More in detail, it is stated that “Current nationally determined contributions (NDCs) would lead to a global temperature increase of around 3.2°C”, a figure which is more than double than the one needed to prevent the catastrophic consequences of climate change according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5°C Special Report.

Thus, based on the above findings it is quite obvious that the current climate commitments are not ambitious enough. The fact that most countries are resting on the easiness of their energy habits might be devastating not only for the environment but for the humans as well.

All in all, the intransigent US attitude enforced by the unwillingness of many economically powerful countries to commit to the Paris Agreement could be disastrous for the COP24 negotiations. It remains though to be seen whether the global leaders will manage to find common grounds next week and conclude to a rulebook which could grant all parties with the means and political unity to deliver specific climate goals in order to reverse the ongoing situation.

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