Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement will leave the US increasingly isolated

| 2nd June 2017
Trump has pulled out of the Paris Agreement which means politically the US will find itself in growing isolation, and face accusations of scientific ignorance and moral irresponsibility
President Trump's withdrawal of the US from the Paris climate accord - a decision designed to satisfy his campaign pledges - will go down in history as significantly anachronistic and self-harming, writes FREDERIK DAHLMANN
Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Accord will be largely seen as an unwelcome irritation, rather than a wholesale shift in the political economy

At a time when costs in the renewable energy sector are falling significantly and clean tech employment is reaching record levels,  President Trump's decision to withdraw fromthe Paris Agreement ignores the very significant shifts occurring in the global energy system.

Combined with other key economies' desire (notably the EU and China) to accelerate rather than to stop these trends, politically the US will find itself in growing isolation, and face accusations of scientific ignorance and moral irresponsibility. 

Fortunately for the US and the world at large, American businesses, communities, cities and states are already miles ahead in their assessment and responses to the threats posed by climate change.

Just days after even the shareholders of the world's largest public oil company ExxonMobil voted in favour of the fossil fuel giant analysing and disclosing the risks it faces due to climate change, so other companies are increasingly integrating proactive responses to climate change in their strategies by setting ambitious science-based carbon reduction targets and aiming to source their electricity almost exclusively from renewable sources.

Put simply, the commercial and economic opportunities are already changing America's competitive landscape such that this withdrawal will be largely seen as an unwelcome irritation, rather than a wholesale shift in the political economy.

Still, the challenges of a global transition towards a low-carbon economy remain sizeable. American businesses and non-governmental stakeholders should therefore engage with their partners around the world to drive this process and truly live up to the President's slogan.

*Frederik Dahlmann is Assistant Professor of Global Energy, and researches the transition to a low-carbon economy at of Warwick Business School

 

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