The Paris Agreement and Trump Presidency

Hot topic at the year’s biggest climate negotiations – the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) was the US elections! With climate critique Donald Trump elected President of the world’s largest democracies, days after the historic Paris Agreement came into force the negotiations were flooded with great disappointment but driven to achieve more despite the hiccup.

President Barack Obama was influential in achieving the Paris Agreement at last year’s conference COP21. He changed American and world politics towards a new era by divesting on Fossil fuels and focusing on clean energy. However, the world is of the view that new presidential elect Donald Trump will reverse this course and withdraw from the climate change negotiation process entirely. The frustration and disappointment was evident in the American delegation at COP22 including the youth delegates of SustainUS. 20 years of negotiations and lobbying by environmental groups both in the US and globally, to achieve the Paris Agreement is at stake with Donald Trump as president.

Donald Trump has been quoted for referring to climate change as a “hoax”, one of the few world leaders to share this stance in a world affected by the impacts on climate change daily. The real estate magnate has keen interest in withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, which is a four year process. The billions of financial aid promised for the Green Climate Fund which was established to provide the financials means to achieve Nationally Determined Contributions will instead be invested in America’s coal industry which Trump promised to reboot if elected president. However, if this comes into force the agreement will be dysfunctional for a mere 3 to 4 months of the last year of the Trump Presidency.  

The President-elect has promised to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement within the first 100 days of him taking office while withdrawing all payments of US financial contributions to the UN global warming programs and the negotiators in Marrakech are of the view that it would seriously damage the credibility of the US.

SustainUS (an organisation of youth advancing sustainable development and youth empowerment in the US) organised an action at the COP22 venue in conjunction with the US election results. They were of the view that the Presidential to-do list should be a People’s to-do list and that the 2016 election was a “clear message that it has always been up to us, the people to prioritize and move forward issues of Climate Justice”

Source - SustainUS

Source: SustainUS

The the only ray of hope today the 9th of November, 2016 is that even under a Trump Presidency, states like the New York and California are still pursuing their own climate policies and the Four year withdraw process of the Paris Climate Deal will ensure that he will not be able to alter the Paris Agreement for the entire duration of his US Presidency.

Tina Johnson speaking for the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) at COP22 on her reflections of the new Presidency and its impacts on the climate change movement was quoted saying “We are down, but we are definitely not out.”  

Dulanga Witharanage reporting from Bab Ighli COP22 village, Marrakesh where 20,000 participants from across the world have gathered to try and advance the Paris Climate Agreement.

Written by Dulanga Witharanage
Edited by Shakirin Shahrul Jamal (Shak)

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