World leaders closed Friday negotiations over international actions to fight climate change in Marrakech, Morocco. The two-week conference turned out different than it would have if Hillary Clinton had won the U.S. presidential election, given her commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the country. The nations who ratified their efforts on the Paris Agreement are uncertain about the progress of negotiations since Donald Trump was elected president of one of the two biggest emitters of CO2. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Trump to take climate change seriously.
During the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Ban Ki-moon told CNN he hoped the U.S. president-elect would “work for humanity”. The widespread concern comes after Trump’s declarations regarding climate change as a “bullshit hoax” perpetrated by China, the other big emitter of CO2, as an attempt to make the U.S. non-competitive. He has expressed his skepticism over the magnitude of the problem throughout the entire campaign.
“I hope the President-elect Trump will really see the reality, will consult with his senior advisers and world leaders and take wise and correct decisions for their future involvement in world affairs,” Ban Ki-moon said, as quoted by CNN. “I count on the US continued engagement and leadership to make this world better for all,” he added.
Chinese vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin reiterated Wednesday that Trump’s 2012 claims about climate change being a hoax were false, according to CNN. Zhenmin added that he believed Republicans would continue to support the fight against the global issue. However, Trump’s speech has been firm on the idea that human activity has not led to global warming. The president-elect has even promised to roll back efforts made by the Obama administration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote clean energy.
The UNFCCC concluded in the Action Proclamation the highest global political commitment to fighting climate change and confirmed developed countries’ goal to raise $100 billion per year by 2020, to contribute to greener economies in developing countries.
Japan, Australia, and the U.K. this week joined the U.S. and China by formally ratifying the Paris Agreement, achieved after more than two decades of very complex international negotiations. To date, 111 nations have signed up. The Action Proclamation stated that the remarkable momentum on the issue has been “driven not only by governments, but by science, business and global action of all types at all levels”, as reported by CNN.
Trump seems to be the only political leader that denies such a big issue that affects everyone on Earth regardless of their social status, race, or nationality. Also this week, more than 350 U.S. companies such as Starbucks, Nike, Intel, Mars, and General Mills issued an open letter to the president-elect, Barack Obama and the members of Congress. The letter urges them to “continue U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement” and warns them that American prosperity is at risk.
Matt Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management, said that Trump cannot ignore the irreversible momentum business and investment community have generated to fight climate change. He remarked the importance of reminding the incoming administration that U.S. companies admit climate change is real and are committed to joining efforts to boost a greener economy.
Most Americans say they support fighting against climate change
A poll conducted by The New York Times last year showed that 67 percent of respondents said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who supported fighting climate change.
This finding was confirmed in the latest election as Donald Trump lost the popular vote. Even 48 percent of Republicans said they were less likely to vote for someone who referred to human-caused climate change as a hoax. Stanford University and the research group Resources for the Future also conducted the poll.
Still, 47 percent of Republicans said they thought the American economy would be hurt if policies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were implemented. Moreover, the poll found that the issue was not really important in determining a voter’s decision on Election Day.
John Kerry: ‘Time is not on our side’
Secretary of State John Kerry promised this week that he would defend the Paris Agreement.
Kerry indirectly referred to Trump when he noted that “the strongest skeptic” would have to admit the planet is quickly deteriorating due to human use of coal, which he called the single biggest contributor to global greenhouse emissions. Given that Trump has openly expressed his support for the coal industry, Kerry said that no one had the right to use ideology as an excuse to affect billions by making the wrong decisions.
“No one should doubt the overwhelming majority of citizens of the US who know climate change is happening and we are determined to keep our commitments in Paris,” he said, as reported by CNN.
It is worth noting that the secretary of state remarked most businesses understand that they can make money by investing in clean energy.
“I know the election has left some uncertain about the future. I can’t speculate about what policies the President-elect will pursuit, but I’ve learned that some issues look a little bit different when you’re in office compared to campaign. Climate change shouldn’t be a partisan issue in the first place”, Kerry concluded, according to CNN.