By Anders Lorenzen
Overshadowed by Donald Trump’s victory, the annual climate negotiations COP22 were completed just under two weeks ago. This may have been the last time we see US government lawmakers stressing the need for climate action. Trump has pledged to undo any US progress on tackling climate change, and based on how his administration is shaping up it looks like he will stick to his words.
One of the most vocal voices for climate action in the Obama Administration has been Secretary of State John Kerry.
Addressing delegates at the summit, John Kerry echoed those sentiments. He warned that COP22 had indeed been overshadowed by the election of Trump, and he acknowledged that many people have been worried and pessimistic about what this will mean for US’s role in combating climate change.
The Secretary of State has made climate change a key foreign policy issue during his time in office. He stressed that the world must stay focused on the climate change challenge. He even said that the President Elect might change his tune on the issue once he actually assumes office: “While I can’t stand here and speculate about what policies our president-elect will pursue, I will tell you this: In the time that I have spent in public life, one of the things I’ve learned is that some issues look a little bit different when you’re actually in office compared to when you’re on the campaign trail.”
Despite the threat of what Trump might do when he enters office, the US continues unhindered in their climate change policies. And they will expect to do so for the last two remaining months of the Obama Administration. Current US policy is that by 2050 the US economy must be 80% decarbonised compared to 2005 levels.
The COP22 summit was held in Marrakech, Morocco. It is the first UN climate summit where a global climate treaty has been in place. The Paris Agreement, which was agreed in Paris last year, has been ratified and entered into force on the 4th of November.
A key catalyst for achieving that deal was the climate agreements and partnership between the world’s two largest CO2 emitters, China and the US. With uncertainty about how the US’s commitment to that partnership would look like in a Trump Administration, everyone is keen to find out whether, if the US drops the climate baton, will China drop theirs too or will they see this as their moment to become the world’s leading climate voice?