THE BLOG

Feel Anger, Fear, Worry And Pity Over Trump Leaving The Paris Agreement - But Also Feel Hopeful

02/06/2017 16:57
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Last night as I watched Donald Trump pull out of the Paris Accord I found myself in a mix of emotions. Anger, fear, worry and pity for the those who will feel the effects of Trump's reckless decision. But, I am also hopeful. As Trump made his announcement, we saw the world's leaders condemn Trump's move and pledge to take further action to meet the global targets set out in the Paris Accord along with countless states in the USA and business leaders from Google to Apple. So again, it is Trump who is alone in his views, isolated and being left behind.

Although Trump's decision does have repercussions, he does not carry the country with him on this issue. Seven out of 10 Americans think they should stick with the Paris Agreement. Many states and cities have already said they will be sticking with climate action. And major companies have said they will carry on cutting emissions regardless of what the current White House incumbent thinks. This all illustrates the key point - as far as the climate is concerned, what matters is not what Trump says or does, but how the rest of America and the rest of the world responds, both politically and practically.

In the last 24 hours we have seen the leaders of China, France and Germany all pledge to continue to combat global warming despite Trump's decision. Even the Mayor of Pittsburgh has spoken out to support the Agreement, a city which Trump cited would be harmed by the global agreement. Which begs the question, what will the next UK Prime Minister say and do.

It is clear that whoever takes office in the UK on June 9th will be committed to tackling climate change. With strong words of global leadership to protect our planet in all the main Party manifestos, all Parties are set on broadly the right course, at least at a high level. The question is to what extent the next Government will lead the charge for a clean and renewable future. What is striking about the reaction to the Trump decision is how many business leaders are talking about the economic opportunity that international climate action brings, opportunities that US could well miss out on. Let's be clear, that means economic opportunity for other countries. The next UK Government has a real choice - to either show the global business and investment community that renewables are the future, and the UK is going to lead the way, or not. There are amazing opportunities around us. Already, renewable energy investments like the one at Green Port Hull are employing thousands of people, and export markets are growing. Just last week solar power hit a new record in the UK, meeting 24% of our electricity needs, whilst the price of building an offshore wind farm has fallen by 46% in the last five years, and 22% last year alone.

It's clear that to take advantage of the opportunities, and to do the right thing for our future, everyday people need to keep the pressure up to make sure the next Prime Minister, and all heads of state, show a united front for the Paris Agreement. We are asking people to get involved with our campaign here and get ready for a fight. The best way to make Paris ambition happen is by walking the walk, and investing in the low carbon economy that our people, planet and communities desperately need. When we look back on this day in 10 years, it will be Donald Trump that we feel sorry, for as we leave him behind for a future that is clean, green and saved for future generations.

Rosie Rogers is Head of Public Affairs at Greenpeace UK

Comments

CONVERSATIONS