So Donald Trump won.
I’m not going to add right now to the mountain of hastily-written “think” pieces about what went wrong, who’s to blame and how roughly half of America’s voting public thought he was an OK option.
What’s important to remember, though, is that last bit. Roughly half of Americans who voted chose Donald Trump above Hillary Clinton.
But what’s also important, is how the issue of climate change was barely mentioned by either candidate.
In a few days, I’m heading to Morocco for the United Nations climate talks.
What will a Trump administration mean for climate change policy?
I wrote on The Guardian how the election would be a distraction for the first week of the talks, particularly if Trump was to win. I think that was probably an understatement.
Back in May, Trump gave a speech at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, North Dakota.
There, Trump laid out his “100 day action plan” on climate and energy policy. The petroleum folks loved it.
In short, Trump’s energy policy boils down to “drill, baby drill”. Elsewhere, Trump has said he’ll basically cut all climate-related Federal spending.
He would also rescind the UN international climate agreement, invite TransCanada to resubmit an application for the Keystone XL pipeline and pull all US dollars out of UN climate programs.
For whatever reason, you can no longer find the “100 day action plan” on Trump’s website, although as recently as November 4, it was archived by Wayback Machine. Here’s how it read.
Here is my 100-day action plan:
We’re going to rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.
We’re going to save the coal industry and other industries threatened by Hillary Clinton’s extremist agenda.
I’m going to ask Trans Canada to renew its permit application for the Keystone Pipeline.
We’re going to lift moratoriums on energy production in federal areas
We’re going to revoke policies that impose unwarranted restrictions on new drilling technologies. These technologies create millions of jobs with a smaller footprint than ever before.
We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.
Any regulation that is outdated, unnecessary, bad for workers, or contrary to the national interest will be scrapped. We will also eliminate duplication, provide regulatory certainty, and trust local officials and local residents.
Any future regulation will go through a simple test: is this regulation good for the American worker? If it doesn’t pass this test, the rule will not be approved.
Here’s the the audio of this bit of the speech. It’s on YouTube too.
Could Trump really follow through with this?
Well, article 28 of the Paris Agreement which says that once a country has ratified the deal (which the US did on September 3), no party can withdraw for three years after that date. At that point, if a party does ask to withdraw, then they have to wait another 12 months.
Trump could try and pull out of the UN Convention on Climate Change altogether.
Perhaps his 100 day plan was just bluster? Honestly, who can know right now?
But Trump has repeatedly called climate change a hoax. Many of his advisors are climate science deniers, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell who has been charged with stripping key powers from the Environmental Protection Agency. Ebell has been working to discredit climate change science for almost 20 years.
Dwell on this for a bit (but not too long). Somehow, the US has elected as President a man who rejects the findings of every major scientific academy on the planet on an issue that all governments around the world have already agreed to.
— Graham Readfearn (@readfearn) November 9, 2016