It is now official: Donald Trump will withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change. As the reactions flood in from across the globe, ranging from disappointment to outrage, it is important to recognise some of the positives:
- America will most likely still reduce its emissions no matter what Trump does due to the low price of natural gas, rapidly falling cost of renewables and huge growth in electric vehicles
- If a president committed to tackling climate change moves in to the Oval Office in 2020, there is chance that the US will still hit their original NDC
- Donald Trump does not represent America: as I write, representatives from American businesses, cities and states are preparing to submit a plan to the UN pledging to meet the GHG emissions targets set out under the Paris accord
When considering the problem of a president who has surrounded himself with climate change sceptics, who is poised to row-back on environmental policy from the last administration, and undermine the global efforts on climate change, there seems to be one solution:
- Ignore Donald Trump
The markets, the people and the world will leave him behind. The growth jobs in the US and across the world are in clean tech; the solar industry already employs more than twice the number of people than in the coal industry. Increasing numbers of businesses are being proactive, building sustainability in to their strategies through setting science-based carbon reduction targets and procuring renewable energy sources.
Government can play a powerful role in shaping the competitive landscape. In this case however, it will not be Washington that determines whether America contributes to the efforts to tackle climate change; every day and at every step, it is the people who will make the decisions that, in the words of French President Emmanuel Macron, will “make our planet great again”.