Global warming may not be stopped any time soon – especially if the President believes it to be a hoax.
Climate change is undoubtedly the most pervasive and prominent risk to humankind. Now that Donald Trump is the President, the possibility that the danger could be curbed has just become substantially less likely.
For the first time ever, the World Economic Forum has labelled the ‘failure of climate change mitigation and adaption’ risk with greatest potential impact on humans in 2016. The threat is obvious and clear. Yet President Trump looks likely to take the US on a huge leap backwards.
Trump persists in arguing against the legitimacy of man-made climate change, along with many conspiracy theorists. But the rest of these people are not President of the United States.
The reality is, someone as stubborn as Trump cannot be convinced. This is a man who has tweeted that ‘global warming’ is a (Chinese) hoax.
The Paris Agreement (a ground-breaking piece of legislation signed by 195 countries) began its first steps in implementation in early December 2016, with the USA and China leading the charge. A significant step towards obtaining a lower-carbon future was achieved when the two largest emitters of atmospheric carbon legally agreed to limit global average temperature rises to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
However, with Trump in the White House we can be certain that the Paris Agreement will no longer run smoothly. Tension between states and geopolitical anxiety is certain if Trump doesn’t follow through with the agreement (which is highly likely after already opposing the idea during his campaign rallies).
With the United States a leading figure in world politics, having an individual who is so ignorant of climate change could destabilise efforts to combat it in countries where the USA holds sway. There could be an attempt to emulate the economic freedom and welfare of American policy – if the United States are not abiding by climate change agreements than why should they?
I am not saying Hilary Clinton would have been a substantially better choice. However, at least Clinton made some hint at positive climate policy during her rallies. Which is better than disbelieving the entire concept.
There is no question that previous climate change mitigation attempts have been lacklustre. Progress is desperately needed if we are going to have any hope of protecting the planet. Yet with Trump at the helm, our already fragile attempts at climate change mitigation are as good as broken.
For now, all we can do is wait and see. It may not all be doom and gloom. There is plenty that people can do to limit climate change – simple things such as recycling and walking can make lots of difference. In times of uncertainty, we all need to work together to help the environment and not be defeated by Trump ideology.
Featured image: Wikimedia