Friday, November 11, 2016

Keep it in the ground: What president Trump means for climate change

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Date: Nov 11, 2016 7:03 AM
Subject: Keep it in the ground: What president Trump means for climate change
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Keep It In The Ground

Keep it in the ground: What president Trump means for climate change

Donald Trump's win could catastrophic for the world's climate, as well as international diplomacy, as American leadership is transformed

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a sign supporting coal during a rally at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a sign supporting coal during a rally at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

This November is likely to have profound implications for climate change – but not in the way that was anticipated just a week ago. The Paris climate deal came into force on 4 November but Tuesday's election of Donald Trump as US president casts an ominous shadow over the agreement and the chances of avoiding dangerous global warming.

Trump is a highly erratic figure, so predicting his actions can be problematic. But we do know that he wants to withdraw the US from the Paris accord, which aims to keep the global temperature increase below a 2C threshold, that he believes climate change to be a "hoax" and that Barack Obama's warning that global warming is a threat on a par with terrorism was "one of the dumbest statements I've ever heard in politics."

Obama's climate legacy, and the tools he used to force down emissions, are set to be torn apart by Trump once he enters the White House. Contentious oil pipelines such as Keystone and Dakota Access will likely be approved. Clean energy funding will be slashed. The world's second largest greenhouse gas emitter will look to prop up coal, rather than renewables, to power its future. Read my report today for the full story.

This could prove catastrophic for the world's climate, as well as international diplomacy, as American leadership is transformed into an excuse to slack off in cutting emissions. Already, the 2C threshold looks in severe peril. 8 November could be the day when tens of millions of people were condemned to an unlivable environment. A Trump u-turn on this matter, at least, would be welcomed by those most at risk.

Oliver Milman, US environment correspondent

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