Leaders tell Trump action on climate change unstoppable

Leaders tell Trump action on climate change unstoppable

France and the U.S. on Tuesday stepped up warnings to U.S. President-elect, Donald Trump, about the risks of quitting a 2015 global plan to combat climate change.

The leaders unanimously said at the ongoing 12th Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP12) in Marrakech (Morocco), that the historic shift from fossil fuels was unstoppable.

French President Francois Hollande told the almost 200 nations meeting in Morocco that inaction would be “disastrous for future generations and it would be dangerous for peace”.

Both Hollande and UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, urged Trump, who described man-made global warming as a hoax, to drop a campaign pledge to cancel the global 2015 Paris Agreement that aimed to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energies.

“The U.S., which is the largest economic power in the world, the second largest greenhouse gas emitter, must respect the commitments it has undertaken, Hollande said.

Ban also said “what was once unthinkable has become unstoppable.”

He said that the landmark Paris deal was agreed by almost 200 governments last year after two decades of tortuous negotiations.

“The accord formally entered into force on Nov. 4 after a record swift ratification,” he added.

The UN scribe added that “Trump, as a very successful business person, would understand that market forces were driving the world economy toward cleaner energies such as wind and solar power, which were becoming cheaper and away from fossil fuels.

“I am sure that Trump will make a fast and wise decision on the Paris Agreement.”

Ban, who made climate change a core part of his 10-year stewardship ending this year, said climate change was having severe impacts from the Arctic to Antarctica and that 2016 was on track to be the warmest year on record.

“Trump has said he wants to boost the U.S. coal, oil and shale industries, abandoning President Barack Obama’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025.

“The Paris accord, aiming to phase out net greenhouse gas emissions this century, was driven by increased scientific certainty that man-made emissions drive heat waves, floods and rising sea levels,’’ he said.

Ban also said that companies, including General Mills and Kellogg, as well as states such as California and cities such as Nashville and Las Vegas were working to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

Trump’s victory has overshadowed the Nov. 7-18 Marrakesh meeting, which had opened with congratulations after the entry into force of the agreement on Nov. 4. It now has formal backing from 110 nations including the United States.

Trump’s victory has lifted shares in coal producers, while knocking renewable energies.

Benjamin Sporton, Chief Executive of the World Coal Association, said that although Trump would “make life a little bit better for coal in the United States” it would not solve many underlying problems.

He said the fundamental pressure is from the low prices of shale gas and that means that there will be a lot of challenges to the expansion of coal.

Meanwhile, a source on Trump’s transition team said on condition of anonymity that the President-elect is seeking ways of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement within a year, by-passing a theoretical four-year wait.

Delegates in Marrakesh said that U.S. withdrawal could dent other nations’ willingness to work with Trump on other issues he cares about, such as immigration, trade or terrorism.

Nations as diverse as China, OPEC states and small island states have reaffirmed support for the Paris Agreement.

Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Energy Minister, said that OPEC’s biggest producer was “committed to meeting the world’s energy needs via the gradual transition towards a more environmentally sustainable future.” (Xinhua/NAN)

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