Donald Trump’s US presidential election victory will likely mean major setbacks in the effort to combat climate change, with the billionaire businessman calling the science a “hoax” and vowing to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement and to repeal many of Obama’s environmental measures including the Clean Power Plan. Below is collection of reactions from individuals, companies and organisations involved in the climate movement.
President Salaheddine Mezouar, President of COP-22 – “Now that the Paris Agreement has entered into force, all countries, along with subnational governments and non-state actors, have the shared responsibility to continue the great progress achieved to date. The climate change question transcends politics and concerns the preservation of our livelihood, dignity and the only planet on which we all live. We are convinced that all parties will respect their commitments and stay the course in this collective effort.”
Connie Hedegaard, Chair of the KR Foundation and former European Commissioner for Climate Action – “President-elect Trump will soon realize that climate action is a core part of the US’ responsibility as a global leader. There is no point denying the reality of science, and real world examples have shown that proactive climate action comes with significant business opportunities. Businesses, cities and all people must continue their work to help the US realize its leadership role on climate change.”
Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club – “Donald Trump now has the unflattering distinction of being the only head of state in the entire world to reject the scientific consensus that humans are driving climate change. No matter what happens, Donald Trump can’t change the fact that wind and solar energy are rapidly becoming more affordable and accessible than dirty fossil fuels … Still, this is a time for tough choices … [and] Trump better choose wisely, otherwise we can guarantee him the hardest fight of his life every step of the way.”
Annette Loske, President of International Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers (IFIEC) Europe – “After the outcome of the US presidential elections it appears unlikely that the fight against global warming will continue on a global scale. IFIEC Europe sees two important consequences:
- The first is that the combat against global warming will be an impossible battle if only few participate, which will ultimately be a disadvantage to us all.
- The second is that EU industry would have to carry costly climate policy burdens further in isolation and on an uneven playing field. This means a long lasting threat to the EU competitiveness.
For EU climate policy this is a very important message that has to be taken into account in any further decisions. The EU must focus its policy against global warming on its most powerful levers, which are EU industry’s highly energy and carbon efficient solutions to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Fostering EU industry’s innovation potential will help limiting carbon emissions and global warming worldwide. A technology and investment friendly climate in the EU is needed to realise this and bring these positive EU contributions to the world.”
Duan Moasheng, Tsinghua University Professor, lead China ETS designer and former CDM EB chairman – “The targets that have been set are in each individual country’s interest. There’s no question that some would drop out just because someone else is backing off, that way of thinking is outdated. It is certainly a disappointment for those who hoped the US would pay for climate action, but such hopes are never realistic.”
Zou Ji, Vice Director of Chinese government-led climate policy think-tank NCSC – “China’s climate policies are based on China’s interests, regardless of who holds the US presidency. The motivation for China’s climate strategy is the domestic need for economic transition and improvement of air quality, energy efficiency and security. There will be a big political price to be paid if Mr. Trump changes the course of the Obama administration and quits the Paris Agreement.”
Nathaniel Keohane, Vice President, Global Climate, Environmental Defense Fund – “We cannot pretend that such an outcome would be anything less than disturbing to those of us who care about climate stability and the role of the United States in the world. That said, this was not an election about climate policy or about any policy — this was an election driven by economic insecurity and dislocation. And a decision by the next President to go backward on climate change would only exacerbate those concerns — because the biggest source of economic instability in the long run will be climate change. If Mr. Trump is indeed elected, he should listen to the large majority of Americans who support climate action, and to the overwhelming majority of climate scientists who warn that the time for action is now. American cities, states and businesses from Apple to Tesla to Walmart will continue to drive toward the clean energy future. This election cannot change that.”
Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change – “Investors are predictably concerned that the extraordinary result of the US election risks uncertainty around the political agenda on climate. However, we believe the urgency implied by the latest science and the economic imperative for action will continue to inform growing efforts by investors to manage climate risk assertively and to seize the opportunities presented by the need to secure a swift and smooth transition to a low carbon economy … Big investors from Europe, the US, Australia and Asia will be in Marrakesh over the coming days to reinforce one key message: like countries, businesses and cities across the globe, a growing number of investors are taking swift action to address the climate crisis and to drive the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
Laura Dawson, Director of Canada Institute at Washington’s Wilson Center (via Globe & Mail) – “It may force Canada to backtrack on some of its initiatives that would put Canada too far out ahead as an outlier. The Trudeau government was trying to go where the puck was going under an Obama White House but that puck might stop altogether under Trump, or it might turn into a basketball.”
Malcolm Roberts, Australian Senator for the One Nation party – “Climate change is done for. Kaput. Finished. Over. Complete. And it’s sweet. With a Trump presidency now a beautiful reality, Senator Malcolm Roberts has now declared the beginning of the end for scandalous and costly climate change policies.”
Alden Meyer, Director of Strategy and Policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists – “Trump’s made some cavalier statements about climate change being a hoax … The real question is, will a Trump president be the Trump we saw during the campaign or the more measured and responsible Trump we saw in his acceptance speech. I hold out hope that he can grow … [but] the next [Republican-controlled] congress is not likely to change their stance radically, so if the federal government pulls out of the game it’ll be up for states, cities and companies to do it on their own.”
“If the US pulls out of Paris and goes rogue, this will impact everything else that Trump wants to accomplish with foreign leaders, and I hope he understands that … The US has moral responsibility to help the developing world cope with climate change, and Americans understand that.”
Ulriikka Aarnio, International Climate Policy Coordinator at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe – “It is regrettable that the next US President has not yet understood that the world is on track to phase out fossil fuels. While it is clear that Mr. Trump cannot withdraw the US nor undermine the Paris Agreement, there is a risk for the US to miss the boat in a race to a renewable future. There is, however, no fear that the world’s ongoing energy shift would be troubled by this election result. As more than a half of all countries in the world have ratified the Paris Agreement, it is clear that the Paris momentum will continue no matter who the President of the US is.”
May Boeve, Executive Director of 350.org – “Trump’s election is a disaster, but it cannot be the end of the international climate process. We’re not giving up the fight and neither should the international community. Trump will try and slam the brakes on climate action, which means we need to throw all of our weight on the accelerator. In the United States, the climate movement will put everything on the line to protect the progress we’ve made and continue to push for bold action. We need the rest of the world to charge ahead and look beyond the White House to partner with civil society, businesses, and local governments who are still committed to climate action. Our work becomes much harder now, but it’s not impossible, and we refuse to give up hope.”
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research – “President-elect Donald Trump’s stance on global warming is well known … Science cannot expect any positive climate action from him. The world has now to move forward without the US on the road towards climate-risk mitigation and clean-technology innovation.”