The EU, Canada, and China are worried about Trump. Ahead of major climate change talks in Bonn, Germany, on 6 November 2017, concerns are growing that the US will play a “spoiler” role, even though it has formally announced its decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

Technically, the US cannot formally exit the Paris Agreement until 2020. This puts the Trump administration in an awkward spot, officially negotiating the terms of an agreement they have signalled their intent to withdraw from. Will Trump try to weaken the Paris Agreement for everybody, or secure opt-outs from commitments made by Barack Obama as the price for remaining signed up to the treaty?

How can the rest of the world keep the US engaged on climate change? On 17 October 2017, our partner think tank Friends of Europe held its annual summit on climate and energy. The conclusions to the event suggest that other countries (as well as businesses, including US corporations) are stepping up their efforts to combat climate change in the wake of the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Nevertheless, the US represents the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter. As Trump tears up domestic climate change policies and pushes heavily for greater investment in America’s coal industry, the impact will be global.

We had a comment from Olivier, who asked how Europe can convince other regions (particularly the United States) to engage on climate change.

To get a response, we took Olivier’s comment to some of the speakers at State of Europe 2017, the high level roundtable event in Brussels organised by our partner think tank, Friends of Europe. We put his question to Erik Solheim, Executive Director at the UN Environment Programme. Here’s what he had to say:

We also had a comment from EU reform, who points out that “An ‘unsigned treaty’ is not equivalent to a total disregard of nature”. After all, the US never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, yet that doesn’t mean it ignored climate change completely (at least, until the current administration). So, even outside the Paris treaty, the US could still take action on climate change. What would Erik Solheim say?

How can Europe convince Trump to take climate change seriously? Even outside the Paris treaty, could the US still take meaningful action to fight climate change? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (c) BigStockPhoto – Gino Santa Maria


68 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Max Berre

    Europe’s course of action here is to prepare itself to deal with the issue (by further developing, manufacturing, and preparing to export the key technologies), and essentially wait until the world ends up beating a path to EU markets over this. At which point the EU should say “We told you so”

    • Oli Lau

      sounds like being part of giant sect to me.

    • Max Berre

      That sect would have to be called “Capitalism”. Let’s not pretend as if Japan, China, and Europe are not already in a race to develop and export renewable technologies. And lets not pretend as if Europe is behind China when it comes to export of solar technologies, and Japan when it comes to smart-grid technology.

      And let’s also not pretend as if the future of energy markets doesn’t lean in this direction.

    • Isabel Metello

      The first thing to do would be European leaders stop travelling by private airplanes, because they pollute a lot. Obama, once, went to a congference I believe in Paris to talk about climate change and he flew in a private jet. That is a contradiction per se. Stop being hypocrites! I prefer a man who denies climate change and acts accordignly than a man who fights agaionst climate change and polutes the air because he puts his comfort upon the principles he theoretically preaches to the others!

  2. Hebron Tutan Khufu

    Take her European babymama from him. May be he will come back to his normal Senses, if he has ever had some. :D

  3. Ivan Burrows

    He knows climate change is real, the issue is ‘is it man made and can it be stopped’ ?. There is no evidence that either it is man made or cutting CO2 will make a blind bit of difference so why waste the time, effort a massive amounts of money trying to change the unchangeable ? We would be far better off counteracting the effects.

  4. Larry Moffett

    Forget about Trump. Instead work with city mayors and state governors who fully understand the impact of climate change and are implementing stricter measures than the federal government.

    • Max Berre

      I like this approach

  5. Johnny Sintra

    What’s Trump? Just forget about him and gor forward with talkings with serious american institutions…

  6. Saul Crucero

    The countries of Europe are barking at the wrong tree for the reason of Climate Change. The sun is the main Engine of our galaxy which influences the behavior of our Planet Earth. Any Solar activity will have an effect on the earth’s climate. For the past several years there are solar activities like the Sun Spot that cause Solar storm which affects the (EMP) Electromagnetic Pulse of the earth. This has more impact on the climate than all the carbon emissions combined.

    • Sari Bruno

      You mean that the rest of the world in your opinion is barking at the wrong tree, right?

    • Pierluigi Michetti

      Any peer-reviewed proof of that?

      Anyway, Sun (Sol) may be the main engine of our Solar system, but not of the galaxy: we’re just a backwater system of a remote cluster of the galaxy (one of MANY)…

  7. Iasen Kostov

    If u can teach a pig to be a sub par president first it will be better than Trump and second you might have any chance to teach Trump to go alone in the bathroom … but nothing more ;)

  8. Marko Martinović

    Try truth for the first time. Stop political assault on sciences. There is climate change as long as there is climate. It is allways changing, we had 4 ice ages. Amount of human influence on climate is not yet completely clear, and there is no concensus ovet it. New information is creating even more doubts about it. Climate change is becoming a new political slogan and tool and nothing more

  9. Giovanni Luciani

    Seriously???he must read one scientific article and check the data of pollution and temperature in us…if he wont understand

  10. Arthur Gustin

    You can’t argue with someone who doesn’t base his ideas and agenda on rationnality…

  11. Lynne Warner

    Maybe when Europe takes it seriously. How is sending our manufacturing to India and China helping climate change? How is allowing more and more plastic containers taking it seriously? How is not planning ahead for the billions of batteries that will be used for electric cars, motorcycles, bicycles etc to be recycled (and how), taking it seriously. People think that because manufacturing has moved to another country this makes the planet cleaner?, that carting plastic beads across oceans is a great idea when so many land in the sea? Why do the same people believe that making a vacuum cleaner that doesn’t suck, a kettle that doesn’t boil, a grill plate that doesn’t grill is a good idea when they all land up in the landfill by disillusioned customers???????

    • Sari Bruno

      Dear Lynne, this is know around all the countries and because of this also Chinese, Indians and the rest of the world, besides President Trump and his followers, is taking this question very, but very seriously. That´s why they are developing new technology even in the USA. Manufacturing will be made mostly by probots, soon, all over the world, which developes a new kind of society and workplaces….automatisation will have huge impact on everything.

  12. Yannick Cornet

    Trump is a plutocrat, which means he will go where money for himself and his cronies go (this simple fact explains much of his seemingly irrational policies by the way). Therefore, the only way to make him ‘take climate change seriously’ is to make it financially beneficial for this small group of super-rich to become even richer from it. Now that obviously raises some other problems, in terms of share of wealth taken by the 1% just to name one. So perhaps an alternative is to look at history, which I believe has some great examples of how previous societies have dealt with plutocrats. ps worth noting on this topic is Canada’s minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland’s book on Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else – maybe we need to wait for the sequel ‘… and finally the fall of plutocrats’. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15797932-plutocrats

  13. Lit

    Lol, the question is when will we in europe admit the fraud of the greenhouse theory?
    The atmosphere is 33 degrees colder than the surface, it doesn’t matter hos much dry ice(co2) you release into it, dry ice will not make it, or the surface warmer. Only a more powerful heat source can do that. Thermodynamics is not a part of climate “scientists” education, but sadly that is the only thing they actually need to calculated surface temperature. Without gh-gases. It’s not even hard, but people like Mann and Rahmstorff is not very smart.

  14. Craig Willy

    Europe needs a carbon tariff at its borders. Attempts to tackle climate change (and other environmental issues) “consensually” will not lead to anything, given the massive imperative of “growth” in the U.S.A., China, Russia, and elsewhere.

  15. Paul X

    The EU has no right to lecture anyone on climate change…..how can an organisation that shifts an entire parliament from Strasbourg to Brussels for no reason apart for one countries vanity, dare to critisise others about creating unnecessary pollution

  16. Sándor Bende-Farkas

    ´To rephrase the question – how can Europe make the US pay 100 million dollars a year for a fantasy? Tough question…

  17. Petko Ivanov Prodanov

    No way!He want “Amerika first”:) So you tell me how without productions and gas,oil,industry…Or you want China and Russia to be “first”;) Europe still funny whit all this unions only on paper and for Rich minority.

  18. Karolina

    It shouldn’t try to. There are far more important (environmental) issues. Climate change is a First-World worry. Time for Europe to accept that the world doesn’t revolve around it and that there are (environmental) issues in other parts of the world that need more urgent attention.

  19. Karolina

    They love global warming in Greenland because at last they can grow their own non-bitter potatoes and other vegetables. When Iceland was settled by Norwegians there wasn’t a single ice cap there. So the planet has actually been warmer than it is today prior to the industrial revolution.

  20. Carmelita Caruana

    Don’t bother trying. US states are looking after the planet despite him, so mare many US organisations and individuals.

  21. randomguy2017

    Hey EU leaders,
    worry less about America,
    and focus on helping Europe.

    Europe doesnt need to follow US in every step.
    Get some independance.

  22. Val Anderson

    climate change is a farce, you can’t convince President Trump, and i agree with him

  23. Piedade Luisa Pinho

    How can we do it with China, India, Brasil, and with all the oriental countries who are polluting all the rivers and the Pacific ocean with all kinds of plastics?

  24. Vassiliki Xifteri

    You can not change others. What you can do is build yourself so strong, your paradigm so strong that you act as inspiration for all E.U members and all European countries. So, make sure all E.U. members have green laws and citizens know and implement green policies.

  25. Matej Mlinarič

    Lets make something clear. Problem is not with Donald Trump. Cause climate change agreement would have barely any positive effect at all at end of this century even it all those commitments would be honored. Which is very unlikely cause it would bankrupt whole nations. There is only one way out of this calamity. That is to either greatly improve efficiency of renewable energy sources or find another cheap way to produce energy. Since even western countries can’t afford to keep this up then you be absolutely sure that poor countries would not give up fossil fuels as only affordable choice. No matter on how many regulations we impose on ourselves will make anything better for those that choose not to do the same. Just don’t get this the wrong way. Ecosystems must stay protected. As far management of our environment goes its pretty good job. Only thing that is missing it to modify industries to that they would have sufficient finances to make all their products as recyclable and reusable as much as possible.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47bNzLj5E_Q

    • Sabin Popescu

      that’s why some people believe that climate change is man-made…

    • Gunter Turker

      … of course it’s man-made!!!! FFS!!!

    • Miguel Palma

      where you looking in a mirror when writing your comment? lol

    • Gunter Turker

      yeah and I saw uneducated people who do not see what’s happening…!!!

    • Val Anderson

      living in your “fake world” that would be you Gunter Turker, you drink the koolaid on aregular basis

  26. catherine benning

    How can Europe convince Trump to take climate change seriously?

    How can scientist convince the EU top brass that Trump is correct in his stance against lobbyists for climate change money camps?

    This is typical of EU propaganda. Repeatedly asking the same question hoping the message sent back will change and give them permission to fleece us. How many years has this been put to your readers?

    Yes, the planet is changing. It constantly changes. Nothing in our universe stands still. Movement is life.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI-KCN4p0Cw

    And big business constantly pushes this money making rouse through fear.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DpxP7R4aLw

  27. John Costigane

    I am a climate sceptic, skepticism is essential for scientific progress, and applaud President Trump’s stance. We can adapt to a changing climate, whether hotter, colder or just naturally variable.

    Today’s climate alarm is merely a scientific narrative, financed by policy. Science is the pursuit of new knowledge, climatology included, absenting agenda, dystopian or otherwise.

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