Stockholm (NordSIP) – Several prominent U.S. business- and political figures are suggesting president Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Accord is likely to run into serious trouble, among them former vice president Al Gore and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Not only does the withdrawal not gain legal status until after the next presidential election, but Mr Trump is likely to face increasing political pressure against him while efforts to reduce carbon emissions are actually surging in U.S. business and civil communities, making them increasingly hard to roll back.
Bloomberg: “U.S. Progress on Climate has Always Been Driven from the Bottom Up”
“There is nothing Washington can do to stop us,” wrote former NYC Mayor and Chair of the global Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TFCD) Michael Bloomberg in an op-Ed for the Guardian last week. Mr Bloomberg was referencing the acceleration of efforts by U.S. cities, states, business and citizens to fight climate change, despite and because of U.S. president Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, setting the U.S. halfway towards its Paris goal of reducing carbon emissions by at least 26% by 2025.
Mr Bloomberg points to U.S. cities as an example. While cities account for roughly 70% of global carbon emissions, they are also the source of effective solutions, Bloomberg suggests, citing the reduction of emissions by 19% over six years in NYC alone (while contributing to the surge in job growth). In addition, he notes, California, the world’s sixth-largest economy, recently announced a commitment to getting 60% of its energy from clean sources and strengthening its cap-and-trade system.
Bloomberg also points to increased action from the private sector, where the TFCD has made strides in closing data gaps and creating financial standards for measuring and reporting climate risks in order to address difficulties for businesses in measuring the potential financial impacts of climate change. Over 2,500 businesses, states, cities and universities have thus far signed Bloomberg’s “America’s Pledge” reaffirmation to the Paris objectives.
Above all, Mr Bloomberg challenges Trump’s ability to reverse the gains made under the Obama administration, citing the preclusion of effective U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord before November 2020, after the next presidential election, and the fact that the U.S. has achieved its advances on carbon emissions despite a freeze on the Obama administration’s signature carbon emission standard for power plants by the courts and there being no precedent for laws directed at climate change in congress.
Gore: “The Train has Left the Station”
Meanwhile, former U.S. vice president Al Gore is also forecasting that Trump’s efforts to roll back the Paris Climate Accord will be stymied, citing poor political judgment and increasing isolation both domestically and abroad on the issue for the current president.
“The U.S. will meet its commitments [on emissions] in spite of Donald Trump. Every other country has pledged [to combat climate change]. I think the psychological message is that the train has left the station. The signal sent to investors, businesses, individuals and civil society is extraordinarily powerful,” he said in London last week.
Mr Gore is currently on a promotional tour of his new film “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”, in which he documents the U.S. role in the 2015 Paris Accord negotiations, his own role in negotiating with India’s government and Trump’s abnegation of U.S. responsibility, among other things. Nevertheless, he remains upbeat that Trump won’t be able to turn the sustainability tide.
“I was very concerned at his speech – I feared that some other countries would use it as an excuse [to delay or withdraw from the Paris agreement]. I was extremely gratified that the rest of the world redoubled their commitment to Paris,” Mr Gore told journalists.
“I think he [Trump] has isolated himself,” he added. “Even today in the U.S., members of his own political party in the House and the Senate are beginning to separate themselves from him – and why wouldn’t they?”
Mr Gore won an Oscar and a Nobel peace prize for 2007’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, his first film, which was arguably instrumental in putting climate change on the map in the broader political and cultural consciousness.
Mr Gore appeared at the 10-year celebration of the Swedish AP Fonderna’s Ethics Council in Stockholm last March, where the theme was responsible and sustainable investment. Gore praised the AP Ethics Council and the Swedish National Pension Fund for their considerable efforts to drive climate change issues forward in both the world of investment and the broader public consciousness.
Image: (c) Frederic Legrand – shutterstock