The Paris Climate Accord and beyond – What will happen?
Despite the fact that the Paris Climate Accord, an international agreement still in its infancy, was only signed by America last year, Trump has expressed interest in reneging on the US’s involvement, a move that is sure to incite a domino effect around the planet.
What will all of this mean for our shared environmental future? The forecasts are not rosy, with experts predicting a global rise in temperatures; rising sea levels around the world; more forest fires, hurricanes, cyclones and floods; decreasing harvests, leading to food shortages and famine in developing nations and an increase in prices for everyone; global conflicts and wars will increase as resources become scarce.
A gloomy prediction, yes – but sadly, unlike the pre-election polls, this is one that the experts seem to agree on.
Trump’s latest appointment, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is the third nominee he has chosen to “have key philosophical differences with the missions of the agencies they have been tapped to run”. Pruitt, seen as an ally of the fossil fuel industry, will head the US Environmental Protection Agency. Democrats say Pruitt is a climate-change denier, and he has been a vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s climate change policies. Writing in the National Review in May, Pruitt said the climate change debate “is far from settled”. He argued that “scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind”.
“For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs,” said Trump.
It is a clear signal from the incoming Trump administration that environmental regulations, especially as they apply to the production of energy, are set for fundamental reform. And it shows the Trump camp is not willing to accept that many aspects of the science of climate change are now settled.