What does Trump’s win mean for climate change?

Published by Laurie Manetta on

November 9th, 2016

The results of the US elections will definitively play a role in the climate debate, but how is Trump dangerous for the environment?

What he wants to do threatens some progress made by Barack Obama over the past eight years. It will be easy to unravel the measures especially with the help of a Republican Senate and House.

His denial of climate change has revealed what many Republicans think, namely that climate change would be an “expensive hoax”.

The promises he made during the election are extremely alarming.

He plans to:

  • withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement
  • cut all federal climate spending on clean energy research and development
  • end all regulations implemented to reduce US carbon dioxide emissions, including the Clean Power Plan
  • get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency

He would like to submit Paris climate deal to the Senate, which Barack Obama refused to do. However, technically, for four years the Trump administration can’t officially scrap it but they can ignore it. If this happens it will cause a major impasse. Why would China or India meet their targets if one of the biggest rival economies in the world was not?

After cutting all federal climate spending, namely all research on solar, wind, green transition, the climate funds will be used for his “New Deal For Black America”.

He said : “I will also cancel all wasteful climate change spending from Obama-Clinton, including all global warming payments to the United Nations. These steps will save $100 billion over 8 years, and this money will be used to help rebuild the vital infrastructure, including water systems, in America’s inner cities.”

According to the American opinion website Vox, if Congress accepts to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump could end all regulations on air, coal, smog… Yet, the Obama administration implemented the huge Clean Power Plan, which is a EPA program, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It means each State has get its own transition plan. It is now uncertain but not totally lost. In fact, the States of California and New York are continuing their climate policies.1-PLrg2_-MLOwdkqJqv4fvrQ

This chart from the 2013 CRS report, shows the efforts made by Barack Obama to tackle climate change by investing in clean energies compared to the other Presidents.

All these future decisions will have effects for years not only on the US but also internationally. If the US refuse the Paris agreement, global temperatures will probably keep rising. However, China is already underway toward a green transition, developing clean energy significantly. It could become a model for the US.

Anyway, climate change will stay a huge issue for generations after Trump is gone.

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Laurie Manetta

Laurie is a contributor to the Green News. She is currently undertaking a Master's Degree in Environmental Policy at Sciences PO Grenoble in France.