Former UN Climate Chief Warns of Jeopardized Global Climate Goals if Trump Wins Election

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.31 - 2024 1:41 PM CET

Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
It could be bad news for the climate if Trump wins the election.

Trending Now

As the political gears of the United States grind towards another presidential election, the global community watches with bated breath, particularly those concerned with climate change.

The potential re-election of Donald Trump casts a long shadow over international efforts to combat global warming, warns Patricia Espinosa, the former United Nations climate chief in an interview with The Guardian.

Her insights paint a picture of a critical junction for climate policies in the US, the world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases and its leading oil and gas exporter.

A Critical Juncture for Climate Goals

Patricia Espinosa, who helmed the UN's climate efforts from 2016 to 2022, voices a concern echoing through the corridors of global climate governance. The ambition to limit global warming to a mere 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is teetering on the edge.

Trump's known reluctance towards climate initiatives could steer the US—and possibly the world—off the precarious path of climate ambition.

The former president's track record and conversations within his circle suggest a potential unraveling of significant strides made under Joe Biden, including groundbreaking climate legislation and international commitments like the Paris agreement.

The Global Domino Effect

Espinosa elucidates the significant ripple effects that US policies have across the globe. A regression in US climate ambitions under a Trump administration could slow down global efforts to curb emissions, pushing the planet towards more dire environmental scenarios.

Yet, all hope is not lost. Espinosa recalls the resilience and unity shown by international players when the US previously stepped back from the Paris agreement during Trump's earlier presidency.

The global community's determination not only maintained momentum but also attracted new commitments to the Paris accord, showcasing the collective resolve to forge ahead, even in the absence of US leadership.

The Role of Finance in Climate Action

The conversation with Espinosa also sheds light on the challenges of climate finance, a critical element in the global fight against climate change.

With Biden facing hurdles in securing climate finance commitments due to opposition in Congress, the need for leadership in financial commitments to the Global South is more pressing than ever.

Espinosa stresses the importance of prioritizing investments that not only tackle climate change but also support sustainable development goals, highlighting the untapped potential of the private sector in driving a low-carbon economy.

Espinosa's message emphasizes a broader perspective on tackling climate change, one that transcends the focus on energy transition. Protecting nature, halting deforestation, and transforming agricultural practices are pivotal to achieving net-zero emissions. As the world inches closer to crucial elections in 2024, with climate policy at the forefront, Espinosa's warnings underline the interconnectedness of global policies and their impact on the planet's future.

Most Read