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Donald Trump promises to cancel Paris climate agreement

The Republican presidential nominee also ridiculed renewable energy technologies.

The Republican presidential nominee also ridiculed renewable energy technologies.  

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"We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement," Mr. Trump said.

Consolidating his views on climate change that seek to overturn existing U.S. policies, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump promised to increase oil, coal and gas production and incentivise fracking, while ridiculing renewable energy technologies. Mr. Trump has stated similar views through the campaign but his speech in North Dakota on Thursday on energy highlighted the sharp deviation that he promises, if elected President.

“We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement,” Mr. Trump said referring to the pact between nearly 200 countries, said to be the last hope for limiting global warming below 2 degree Celsius more than the preindustrial levels. Through his primary campaign season, Mr. Trump had said he would “at minimum renegotiate.” the Paris deal. This is the first that he promised to scrap it altogether.

A polarised debate

While the number of people who believe that climate change is the result of human activity roughly remained the same over years, the number of those who believe that there is no solid evidence of global warming is increasing, in the U.S, according to a Pew study last year. Republicans and conservatives are increasingly sceptical of the science of climate change, while the Democrats and liberals are convinced of the phenomenon and that human interventions are causing it. His combative position on climate change will help Mr. Trump consolidate the Republican base that is doubtful of the nominee’s religious and social conservatism. Mr. Trump has supported partial abortion rights for women, for instance.

For Ms. Clinton, Mr. Trump’s position could turn out to be advantageous. Her Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders — who, incidentally, is closing in on her in the biggest primary battle of California on June 7, is a strong advocate for measures against fossil fuel. He accuses Ms. Clinton of being hand-in-glove with the fossil fuel industry. While there is a convergence between Mr. Sanders and Mr. Trump on a range of popular issues such as trade and the collusion between the Washington elite and the Wall Street, climate change is one topic that separates them miles apart.

The fear that those mobilised and energised by Mr. Sanders in the Democratic primary contests could either go dormant or even switch to Mr. Trump in the general election continues to haunt the Clinton campaign, but the Republican nominee’s unambiguous denial of climate change could scare the ‘Bernie brothers’ away, and help Ms. Clinton.

Jobs and wages are the primary issues that are likely to determine the presidential election this year. Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton both articulate their respective positions on climate change within that framework. Mr. Trump said that a regulation or rule would be tested by the single question of whether or not it is “good for the American worker.” “If it doesn’t pass this test, that rule will not be under any circumstances approved,” he said.

Mr. Trump targeted Ms. Clinton, who, in a slip, had promised to put “coal miners out of business,” while speaking about climate mitigating policies. Mr. Trump holds that climate priorities are damaging the American economy and its workers. At one point, he said climate change was a “Chinese hoax” to “make U.S manufacturing non-competitive.”

Ms. Clinton on the other hand, has been trying to project the challenges posed by climate change as a big opportunity to create new jobs in clean technologies. She also says the demand for clean energy will help America gain in global trade.

Implications for India

Besides the strategic reasons repeatedly cited in support of stronger India-U.S. ties, combating climate change is a key area of bilateral cooperation. One of the main arguments in favour of the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal was that it would reduce carbon emissions in a fast growing economy.

President Barack Obama has made the emerging global climate regime the pivot of his legacy. Climate change and cooperation in clean energy are on the top of the agenda for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington on June 7 and 8. In the event of a future U.S. President upending the entire premise of climate change, that could have some impact on its ties with India.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 9:06:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/trump-promises-to-overturn-us-climate-policy/article8656131.ece

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