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article imageOp-Ed: The U.S. respects the climate deal, but will Donald Trump?

By Karen Graham     Nov 15, 2016 in Environment
French President Francois Hollande is urging the U.S. to respect the "irreversible" Paris agreement on climate change, adding that France will attempt to talk with President-elect Trump "on behalf of the 100 countries that have ratified the deal."
Speaking at a UN Climate Conference in Morocco, the French president praised President Barack Obama for his role in getting the climate pact adopted by more than 190 countries in Paris last year, according to the Associated Press.
"The United States, the most powerful economy in the world, the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, must respect the commitments that were made," he said. "It's not simply their duty, it's in their interest."
Audience members and delegates cheers after the adoption of a historic global warming pact at COP21 ...
Audience members and delegates cheers after the adoption of a historic global warming pact at COP21 in Le Bourget on December 12, 2015
Francois Guillot, AFP
President Hollande is certainly correct in his assertion that the United States must stand behind its commitment to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and working with the global community in battling climate change, but he is going to have a rough time trying to talk to Mr. Trump.
On the election trail, Trump called global warming a "hoax" and pledged to cancel the Paris climate deal within the first 100 days of his presidency. But according to the terms of the agreement, any country wanting to pull out of the Paris deal must wait for three years before "filing notice to withdraw."
Filing the notice of intent to withdraw automatically triggers an additional one-year waiting period, and hopefully, by then, Donald Trump will be out of office.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said earlier that he hopes that Trump will have a change of heart regarding his stance on global warming, and "understand the seriousness and urgency" of the problem, reports Fox News.
"As president of the United States, I'm sure that he will understand this, he will listen and he will evaluate his campaign remarks," Ban told reporters in Marrakesh.
Transition team leaders questionable at best
Trump has already picked Myron Ebell to lead his transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ebell is a "climate skeptic" who has often said that climate change is "alarmist." Ebell has also described the EPA’s Clean Power Act as "illegal" and Trump himself has called the EPA a "disgrace," and said it's one of the departments he might cut, according to the World Economic Forum.
Mike McKenna, a lobbyist who has worked on behalf of oil and gas companies and Koch industries, has been chosen to head the Department of Energy. This appointment is in line with Trump's promise to bring back coal mining and even more fracking. This also means to hell with the pollution caused by strip mining and earthquakes, contaminated groundwater and God knows what else caused by fracking.
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World Economic Forum/Pew Research Center
And while Trump got the votes of workers in these industries, it will be difficult to argue against the known facts about energy in this country today. The main competitor of coal-fired electricity is not renewables, it is electricity generated with natural gas. Solar energy is growing in the U.S. as well as other renewables, and there is strong public support for alternative energy industries.
As an advocate for the environment, I take it very personally when one man thinks he can undo what millions of people in this country have accomplished toward having cleaner air to breathe, cleaner water and a cleaner environment. The question is whether Trump can undo what we, the stakeholders, have done is the big question, isn't it?
And the answer will depend on what we, the stakeholders are willing to do to protect our country and the planet, because climate change and protecting the environment is a hell of a lot bigger than Donald Trump.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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