President Trump’s statement that the USA will leave the Paris Climate Deal Agreement comes as a huge blow. BSRIA continues to emphasise the importance of collective action and the global importance of the agreement and its role for renewable technologies.
But it is now evident that President Trump takes a very different approach to the environment. And this move signals both a practical and a philosophical attempt to change the US narrative on climate change.
The Paris Agreement is a climate deal agreed by the world's leaders that puts us on a sustainable low-carbon path. Now governments must turn global ambition into national reality and industry will want to see domestic policies that demonstrate commitment to this goal.
Julia Evans, BSRIA Chief Executive, said:
“It is extremely regrettable and disappointing that President Trump has decided not to stick to the path in combating climate change. This worrying u-turn is a huge blow to the policies aimed at improving climate change and the associated agenda around renewable technologies. Clearly, this represents a missed opportunity for such renewable technology.
But – as part of a worldwide industry – we can’t let this decision steamroll or derail future technology in renewables and the move to reduce greenhouse gases and carbon usage in the built environment. BSRIA is committed to supporting the UK government in reducing carbon and, indeed, its position on this.
The importance of long term thinking in an industry where buildings last hundreds of years and their contribution to climate change – but also their resilience to the impacts of climate change – should never be underestimated.
In years to come – the decision and subsequent consequences made by President Trump – may find itself on the wrong side of history.
When the Paris Summit Agreement was made in December 2015, most of the 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.”
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.
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.