The US has just elected someone who is open about denying climate change. For some people, this undoubtedly a good thing. However, for those who choose to accept the science on the matter, it could well be a disaster. Trump has claimed in the past, via Twitter, that climate change is a hoax invented by China. He has also said that he will walk back on the Paris Agreement, which over 190 countries have signed up to as a promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So what happens when President-elect Donald Trump becomes President Donald Trump? Will climate policy for the US go out the window?
Can Trump Reverse Current Policy?
The first thing to consider is what Donald Trump has the power to do. Despite some people’s fears, he can’t simply make every move he says he wants to. There are rules to follow and other people to consult, although they won’t always be much of a barrier. In the case of climate policy, there are rules that will prevent Trump taking immediate action in some cases. The Paris Agreement was only recently cemented. The US cannot withdraw for three years and even then must give a year’s notice. However, there is also the option of withdrawing from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This requires a year’s notice so could happen more quickly.
What Exactly Does Trump Want to Do?
But what does Trump want to do? It’s difficult to get clear answers or even to know if he might back down on some of the hard-line stances he has taken before. He has expressed the desire to attract more fossil fuels to the country, as well as appeal the Clean Power Plan, introduced by Obama. He has set out an America First Energy Plan, which details a few aims. It sets out the desire to tap into natural gas, oil, shale and coal reserves in the US. At the same time, it says that policy will protect clean air and water and conserve natural habitats. Some may wonder how both of these things will happen at the same time.
What Would Convince Trump to Change His Views?
What some people may wonder is whether anything would convince Trump to do things differently. Some experts are hoping that he will alter his expectations slightly as he begins to take action as president. He may discover that making trade deals is more difficult if the US is viewed as a country that doesn’t care about (or even believe in) climate change. It may also be possible taking another look at the falling prices of renewable energies, and the expense of fossil fuels like coal could have an impact.
What Are Climate Policymakers, Scientists and Experts Doing?
Climate policymakers recently met in Morocco to start taking action on the Paris Agreement. Before the election, many scientists signed an open letter expressing concern about Trump’s climate views and policies. Investors in renewable energy are making sure to explore options in other countries. By attending events like the Andes Renewable Energy Conference, they can discover other options for projects if it becomes less attractive to invest in renewables in the US. Investors, along with scientists and engineers, could help to play a role in making a case for investing in clean energy.
It’s not possible to predict exactly what will happen to climate change policy in the US, although things aren’t currently looking great. Still, there could be a chance that everything works out better than expected.