Climate charities defiant in the face of Trump triumph

Nathanael Williams

Campaigners in Scotland have echoed concerns about Trump’s stance on climate change

CLIMATE CHARITIES in Scotland have expressed hope in the face of the election [Wednesday 9 October] of Donald Trump as president of the US.

The new president is known for his sceptical views on climate change and green technology, sparking fears that investment in green technologies and action to tackle climate change may suffer.

But Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) have stated that progress is still possible and there is still the motivation and technological know-how for climate action in the US.

“Trump is a big threat to climate action in the US and we can expect the US to play no useful part in the international talks over the next four years.” Richard Dixon

Speaking to CommonSpace Dr Richard Dixon, director of FoES said: “Trump is a big threat to climate action in the US and we can expect the US to play no useful part in the international talks over the next four years.

“But the US has been outside the process before and still progress has been made. Trump can’t actually stop the Paris Agreement from making a difference, even if he ignores it.”

Representatives, including from FoES, from 200 countries are currently at the Marrakech summit in Morocco to finalise the details of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which commits governments to keeping a global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Some environmental activists now worry Trump will divorce the US from the international agreement.

Trump is on record as having stated that climate change was a “hoax” created by the Chinese to trick the US into slowing its productivity.

He also claimed during campaigning he would cease all US Government funding of clean energy projects and climate initiatives. This may involve defunding President Obama's $3bn pledge to the Green Climate Fund, which was developed to help vulnerable countries like those in the Pacific adapt their economies and defences to climate change.

Dixon added: “US clean energy firms will have a hard time and the clean energy technology of the future will be mostly built in Asia and Europe. Business people like Elon Musk and states like California show that there is still plenty of appetite within the United States to do the right thing on climate change."

The Scottish Government and most parties in Holyrood have expressed their full support of the Paris Agreement and initiatives to boost the development of clean energy. 

In a statement responding to the Trump victory, Erich Pica, the president of Friends of the Earth U.S said: “The next four years will not be easy, but we have fought hostile administrations before. Under President George W. Bush, the environmental community took the battle to the courts and Congress and watchdogged political appointees; we blocked attacks on the environment; we galvanized the public to take action. After the more recent fights to kill the Keystone XL pipeline, ban fracking and shut down coal plants, the environmental movement is stronger than we have ever been.”

Picture courtesy of Karen Murphy

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.