United Nations delegates agreed to put off writing any rules for the recently ratified Paris climate agreement to 2018 after President-elect Donald Trump, who’s opposed the agreement, won a surprising election victory.
UN delegates came away with little more than a pledge to reconvene by December 2018 to write rules for the global warming agreement despite extending their two-week summit in Marrakech, Morocco an extra day.
News outlets are reporting nearly 200 countries reaffirmed their pledges to fully implement the Paris deal, which aims to somehow keep projected global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
But Trump’s surprise election victory shocked UN diplomats, and put the future of the Paris agreement in jeopardy. Trump promised to “cancel” the Paris deal on the campaign trail, and Republican lawmakers have vowed to make sure it’s never implemented.
The Republican president-elect also promised to “cancel billions in global warming payments to the United Nations” and spend that money on U.S. environmental programs instead. That would effectively undo the $3 billion pledge Obama made to the UN’s Green Climate Fund.
Trump’s victory sparked a somewhat ironic appeal by China and Saudi Arabia to follow through on President Barack Obama’s pledge to cut U.S. emissions.
China’s top diplomat at the UN summit urged the U.S. to make the “right and smart decision” to keep fighting global warming, The Wall Street Journal reported. A senior Saudi Arabian said the Paris agreement will move ahead with or without Trump.
“The United States is the backbone of this process, and it will impact this process, no doubt,” the Saudi official told WSJ. “And we think that there would be a great challenge with ambition.”
China is the world’s largest contributor to global warming, and Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of crude oil. The Saudi’s make up 17 percent of the world’s crude export market.
Environmentalists worry Trump’s pulling out of the Paris deal will convince other countries to pull out of the agreement.
China’s global warming pledge, for instance, was made jointly with the U.S. in late 2015. Will China keep its promise if the U.S. doesn’t?
“Not one country has said that if President Trump pulls the United States out of Paris, they will follow him,” Alden Meyer, policy director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told Reuters.
Some were more optimistic about the Paris agreement’s timeline. Reuters noted it took the UN four years to come up with rules for the Kyoto Protocol. Paris may only take two years.
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