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!