BSRIA concerned with President Trump's apparent u-turn on Paris AgreementApril 2017


Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA
BSRIA is concerned that President Trump has begun the process of “rolling back” the Obama policies aimed at curbing climate change.

The new President’s Energy Independence Executive Order suspends more than half a dozen measures enacted by his predecessor. It seems that President Trump takes a very different approach to the environment. This move signals both a practical and a philosophical attempt to change the US narrative on climate change.

Julia Evans, BSRIA Chief Executive, said:

“When the Paris Summit agreement was made in December 2015, the whole world signed up to play its part in halting climate change – including the US. Global warming is a real problem, as an industry we have the skills, technology and the desire to make a difference. BSRIA said then that the deal must provide a stable environment that enables investment in cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy generation, including renewable and clean technologies.

This worrying u-turn is troubling for the policies aimed at improving climate change and indeed the associated agenda around renewable technologies.

In 2015, the UK government expanded offshore wind power and had become the first developed country to set an end date for the use of coal. There are still clearly huge changes and challenges ahead in the expected energy transition away from fossil fuels. So it is worrying that President Trump has the completely reverse idea.

In the light of UK government policy, it’s disappointing that reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants was a key part of the US’s commitment in the Paris climate deal but now this could change.”

The Paris agreement

Keeping temperature rise below 1.5°C.
Governments agreed to limit the increase in global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Pledges to curb emissions

Before the conference, more than 180 countries had submitted pledges to cut or curb their carbon emissions. These deals are recognised under the agreement, but are not legally binding.

Long-term goal for net zero emissions

Countries have promised to try to bring global emissions down from peak levels as soon as possible. That means getting to “net zero emissions” between 2050 and 2100. The UN’s climate science panel says net zero emissions must come about by 2070 to avoid dangerous warming.

Take stock every five years

187 countries have put forward plans to cut emissions beyond 2020, as far out as 2030. The text has a mechanism to ramp up pledges every five years.

Loss and damage

The deal includes a mechanism for addressing the financial losses vulnerable countries face from climate impacts such as extreme weather.

Money

Developing countries will get funding to adapt to climate change and transition to clean energy. The text says the countries “intend to continue their existing collective mobilisation goal through 2025”. That means the flow of £66bn a year will continue beyond 2020.