The Ecologist

 

Arguing for Trump to remain inside the historic accord signed by President Obama in 2015 is unlikely climate champion Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner. Arguing for withdrawal are the climate change denial duo, Steve Bannon, the former boss of Breitbart and Scott Pruitt, Trump’s new head of the Environmental Protection Agency
More articles about
Related Articles

Trump should stay in the Paris Agreement - but not at any cost

Joe Ware

10th May, 2017

Reporting from Bonn where delegates are still waiting to learn whether the US will pull out of the Paris Agreement, JOE WARE warns that if America stays in but by doing so allows the fossil fuel industry to derail progress we'd be better off if Trump pulls out

Allowing global environment rules to be dictated by a tiny band of climate change deniers in the White House is a recipe for disaster

It's a sign of just how bizarre modern politics has become, but the current President of the United States has appeared in a Wrestlemania XXIII bout, where, fully suited, he body slammed World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon and then proceeded to shave his opponent's head in the middle of the ring.

Bizarre, yes, but it's an incident that makes it seem only fitting that we're now awaiting a tag team showdown in the White House on the fate of the Paris Agreement between Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner vs Steve Bannon and Scott Pruitt.

Despite the world gathering in Bonn, Germany, this week to continue working on the global response to ever increasing climate change, the shadow hanging over the talks is a meeting rumoured to determine the fate of America's involvement with the Paris Agreement.

Arguing for Trump to remain inside the historic accord signed by President Obama in 2015 is unlikely climate champion Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner. Arguing for withdrawal are the climate change denial duo, Steve Bannon, the former boss of Breitbart and Scott Pruitt, Trump's new head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The head to head meeting was due to happen weeks ago. It was then put off until Tuesday of this week, but has just been postponed again. The debate in the White House is reportedly about the ‘ratchet mechanism' agreed in Paris to increase national actions over time.

We all knew that the Paris deal alone would not deliver a safe climate but by upping efforts every five years the world will be able to bend that curve to deliver a planet with warming well below 2 degrees. The whole point of a ratchet is that it only moves in one direction and so we cannot allow for a scenario where the US stays in but allows the fossil fuel industry to disrupt the global consensus and slow down progress.

Yes we want to keep the USA within the Paris Agreement, for that country's own benefit and for the rest of the world, but we cannot do so at any cost. Allowing global environment rules to be dictated by a tiny band of climate change deniers in the White House is a recipe for disaster. 

There are of course multiple benefits to Trump's America if it keeps its commitments. As well as avoiding the massive diplomatic fallout of a US U-turn, the Paris Agreement will help to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in low carbon technology, one of the fastest growth areas in the US. There are already more jobs in American renewables than in coal, oil and gas and the green sector is generating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. No doubt that will continue to some degree whatever Trump decides, but Federal backing to the Paris Agreement will ensure pressure continues to push that progress in the right direction.

Other countries are already positioning themselves to reap the benefits of tackling climate change and embracing global decarbonisation. New French President Emmanuel Macron, not only told Trump by phone he would defend the Paris Agreement, he recorded a video inviting American climate scientists, researchers and engineers to come and work in France. 

Elsewhere China and India are already over-delivering on their Paris pledges; in recent months China cancelled more than 100 coal power plants. In India, one of the world's fastest growing carbon emitters, a Delhi-based research centre has pointed out that the country already has enough coal capacity under construction to meet demand until 2026 by which point renewables and energy storage could be cheap enough to meet demand.

If Trump is serious about delivering his promise of creating 25 million new American jobs then he can't ignore the clean energy sector - and the Paris Agreement will be crucial in driving that job-creating engine.

This Author

Joe Ware is an Ecologist New Voices contributor, a journalist and writer at Christian Aid

He can be followed on Twitter at @wareisjoe.

 

 

Previous Articles...

ECOLOGIST COOKIES

Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.

More information here...

 

FOLLOW
THE ECOLOGIST

 

Help us keep the Ecologist platform going

Since 2012, the Ecologist has been owned and published by a small UK-based charity called the Resurgence Trust. We work hard to support the kind of independent journalism and comment that we know Ecologist readers enjoy but we need your help to keep going. We do all this on a very small budget with a very small editorial team and so joining the Trust or making a donation will show us you value our work and support the platform which is currently offered as a free service.

Join The Resurgence TrustDonate to support the Resurgence Trust