Published on November 30th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill0
Donald Trump’s Presidency A Setback To Paris Agreement, Economist Intelligence Unit Reports
November 30th, 2016 by Joshua S Hill
Donald Trump’s surprise election as the next US President will be a “setback” for global climate policy, but the global trend towards decarbonization is unlikely to be halted, said the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) published a new special report this week, Industries in 2017, in which it analyzes and provides forecasts for six industry sectors, and though the report does not focus entirely on the recent election of Donald Trump as the next US President, the authors of the report nevertheless admit that “it is clear that his administration could bring huge changes for all six industries.”
Of specific interest to readers of CleanTechnica are the EIU’s forecasts for the global energy sector. Specifically, according to the authors of the report, 2017 is likely to be impacted by the recent ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which entered into force on November 4. Specifically, 55 parties responsible for 55% of the world’s emissions have ratified the agreement which binds those that have signed to hold down “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels” and to pursue “efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”
The authors highlight “the speed with which the pact has come into force” as being “evidence of a global will to tackle climate change,” and that even “the election of a Republican US president is not likely to halt the transition towards cleaner energy globally, although it is likely to slow it.” Donald Trump has promised to pull America out of the Paris Agreement, while also curtailing environmental and climate policies back home in an effort to lift regulations on fossil fuel generation such as coal. While it will be legally tricky for America to disentangle themselves from the Paris Agreement, high-level indifference could go a long way to making it difficult to succeed.
There are also implications outside of America, with the EIU predicting that “US-China co-operation … will be affected” by Donald Trump’s new policies and indifference.
Despite the difficulties Donald Trump might impose on global decarbonization efforts, the EIU is nevertheless confidence that there is very little America can do to reverse the global trend. Specifically, the authors of the report explain that some of the world’s largest emitters — such as the European Union, India, and China — are set to follow through on policies to cut carbon emissions, or at least lowering the carbon intensity of their economies.
Sadly, the report nevertheless believes fossil fuels will remain a mainstay of the global energy mix for some time to come. Despite accounting for two-thirds of investment in power generation worldwide, renewables have a long way to go to overcome the lead fossil fuels have, and “countries will need to put in place more ambitious policies over time, if climate change is to be halted.” The Paris Agreement will go a long way to mitigating emissions, as will the falling costs of renewable energy technologies like wind turbines, solar panels, and batteries for electric vehicles. But ambitious and concrete policies are needed to restrict and curb the use of fossil fuels if the planet has a hope of limiting global warming any further.