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Monday, November 21, 2016

The Paris Climate Agreement Vs. The Donald

Donald J. Trump’s election as the 45th President of the United States has inspired many. But Trumps triumph has also caused despondency among hundreds of millions in America and abroad. Minorities in America doubt that a Trump administration will defend and uphold their inalienable rights. America’s staunch allies are befuddled.

Many things, including trade and defense, concern America’s staunch allies. Throughout his campaign Donald Trump lambasted international trade agreements and stoked domestic anger over the effects of globalization and automation. On the campaign trail Trump made it clear that under his administration U.S. military support for NATO member countries would be conditional on whether those states have met their financial obligations to the security bloc.

But perhaps what is most disconcerting is what President-elect Donald Trump thinks about climate change. Trump is a climate change denier. According to Trump, climate change is a hoax invented by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive. Trump has vowed to dismantle the Paris Climate Agreement, which came into force early November after 55 nations that produce 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions formally signed up.

President-elect Trump digs coal. Trump is determined to revive coalfield across the Appalachia. During is campaign Trump promised to eliminate federal regulations that target coal-fired power plants, one of the main sources of carbon emissions responsible for global warming. Trump held politically charged rallies with coal miners and swore to get rid of Obama’s clean power plan and bring back jobs to Appalachia.

President-elect Trump speaks to the absurd fears of millions of Americans. Climate change is just some Chinese April Fools Day prank? Appalachian coal has a future in global energy supplies? Building a wall along the U.S–Mexico border and a chokehold on global trade will resuscitate the Rust Belt?

Diplomats across the world are already planning how to respond to the biggest threat to the Paris Climate Agreement, President-elect Donald Trump. Although the Paris Agreement contains no enforcement measures, a carbon tariff against the U.S. is not far-fetched. Trump could trigger a vicious trade war over climate change if he misleads the U.S. into rejecting the Paris Agreement.

Canada, China, Mexico and the European Union have already begun to impose domestic carbon pricing programs in place. It is therefore not inconceivable that these countries could consider imposing a carbon tariff on imports from America if walks from the Paris Agreement. 

Global warming is man-made. Coal is under assault from market forces. Cleaner-burning natural gas is coal’s enemy numero uno. It is highly unlikely that Trump will make coal great again. The glory of the Rust Belt is forever gone. And here Mitt Romney’s caution is instructive “ Trumps promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University”.

One hopes that Candidate Trump would be radically different from President Donald Trump. But so far Trump’s choice of key figures for his administration is not exceedingly reassuring. They are Candidate Trump evangelicals.

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