Trump cannot stall climate action

As Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential polls was confirmed, delegations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference (COP 22) in Marrakech considered the prospect that America might pull out of the Paris Agreement.

Mr. Trump’s presidency could freeze progress on the climate pact that entered into force on November 4. The U.S. could also ignore its voluntary climate action commitments under the Paris Agreement and cut funding for climate finance. French Environment Minister Ségolène Royal told The Hindu on Friday that the Paris Agreement would not fall apart just because the American President-elect had talked of pulling out of the deal.

“Discussions on guidelines for transparency, rules for what countries have to report on, and how to implement various adaptation provisions at the high-level negotiations in Marrakech from November 15 could bind America to its Nationally Determined Contributions, making it difficult for it to pull out,” she said. Ms. Royal, who was at the forefront of the Paris negotiations last year, also said Mr. Trump’s campaign comments may not finally reflect in his actions as President as realpolitik could compel him.

Domestic advantages

Jonathan Pershing, U.S. special envoy for climate change, denied the likelihood of his country withdrawing from the Paris Agreement at a pre-COP22 briefing session. He said because of domestic advantages in staying in the agreement, the U.S. may not exercise the provisions for withdrawal in Article 28 of the Agreement.

Mr. Pershing also said investment opportunities opened up by the Agreement in renewables were significant. Domestic circumstances such as flooding in Florida, superstorm Sandy and drought were real consequences, and required the U.S. to continue with its promise.

On a Kyoto Protocol-like situation, he said unlike that Protocol, the Paris Agreement was not a top-down international treaty.

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