Advert

How Will Donald Trump React To Barack Obama's Last Acts On Climate Change?

Published 
| Last updated 

How Will Donald Trump React To Barack Obama's Last Acts On Climate Change?

With just three days left in office, President Barack Obama has cut a $500 million (£400.6 million) cheque to the Green Climate Fund, an organisation which aims to help the developing world adapt to global warming and aid the deployment of clean energy technology.

President-elect Donald Trump is well known for his opinions on climate change (remember this tweet?), so how will he react?


Advert

John Kirby a State Department spokesperson, has told the BBC that the timing wasn't chosen to get a reaction, as he said: "It's not being done to try to provoke a reaction from the incoming administration or to try to dictate to them one way or the other how they are going to deal with climate issues. This is an investment that had been long planned."

The Green Climate Fund is financed by wealthy countries and will be used to help developing countries who can often feel the brunt of climate change with flooding and scorching temperatures. It forms part of the Paris agreement, which was signed in 2015, and aims to keep global warming 'well below' two Degrees Celsius.

The US pledged $3 billion to the fund, and has so far given one third of this ($1 billion). But with Trump not likely to pay the final instalments, a campaign was started to ask Obama to transfer the full amount before his successor took to office.

So, what has Obama done about climate change?

Advert

Obama has never been shy about expressing his opinions on climate change. In fact, according to the White House's website, he 'believes that no challenge poses a greater threat to our children, our planet, and future generations than climate change'.

Under his presidency, the US has done more to tackle climate change than ever before. The country has decreased its carbon emissions by nine percent as well as investing in cleaner energy and preparing the country for the effects of climate change.

Credit: The White House

Advert

In an interview with the New York Times, Obama said that during his years in office the 'majority of Americans have come to believe that climate change is real'.

In 2014 he unveiled the first draft of what would become his Clean Power Plan, an addition to the Clean Air Act, which aims to lower the carbon pollution from the US' power plants by 30 percent by 2035 (compared to 2005 levels).

He also vowed that the US would cut its greenhouse gas pollution 17 percent by 2020 and a whopping 83 percent by 2050 (again, compared to 2005 levels). As well as closing coal-burning power plants, Obama planned to achieve this by increasing the required fuel economy of vehicles.

So far, so green.

Advert

And what will Trump do about global climate change?

It seems that despite his infamous tweet, Trump has started to accept climate change. He has recently acknowledged 'some connectivity' between humans and climate change.

However, it looks like bad news for the Green Climate Fund, because Trump promised to end all US funding of international global warming programmes during his election campaign.

Under Obama, the US pledged $3 billion (£2.4 billion) but has only transferred $1 billion so far. It's unclear if the other $2 billion will ever appear, but it seems unlikely. Legally there is nothing binding him to honouring the outstanding money.

Advert

Furthering the idea that Trump's presidency might be a little greener than we first thought, Ryan Zinke, Trump's nominee for Secretary of Interior and a former navy Seal, has been discussing the issue.

He said: "I don't believe it's a hoax," and he went on to say the climate is changing and that 'man has had an influence'.

But before you start thinking the Republicans have gone all Green Party on you, he then added: "I think where there's debate on it is what that influence is. What can we do about it?"

He added that there is still much debate around the scientific conclusions on climate change, despite an overwhelming number of scientists agreeing on the human causes of climate change.

Rex Tillerson, Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, seems to be in agreement with Zinke. He said last week: "No one country is going to solve this alone. The risk of climate change does exist, and the consequences could be serious enough that actions should be taken." Watch this space.

If you're as passionate about climate change as we are, you can read our series on the subject and have your say on the impact on our planet.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Donald Trump, Obama, US

Claire Reid
More like this
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

News

Boris Johnson Announces That Covid-19 'Plan B' Will Be Implemented

10 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

News

Boris Johnson Announces That Covid-19 'Plan B' Will Be Implemented

10 hours ago