Who’s afraid of the Trump effect in International climate politics?

Who's afraid of TrumpOn 24 April 2017, Dr. Robert Falkner, associate Professor at the London School of Economics, delivered a public lecture at the IES assessing climate policy under US President Donald Trump and implications for the global climate regime, in particular, the Paris Agreement. Dr. Falkner endeavored to decode the US President’s rhetoric on climate change, new actors of the Republican administration on climate policy, recent changes made to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under administrator Scott Pruit, and divergence at the state level with states like California strongly pursuing climate action. Proposed federal budget cuts scaling back climate action would have important implications both in the US and globally and threaten to end US contributions to an array of international climate funds (like the Global Climate Change Initiative and the UN’s Green Climate Fund) that help countries adapt to climate change. While the Trump administration may seek to roll back the previous Obama administration’s efforts on climate change especially through executive orders, market forces favor green growth and are likely to prove a significant obstacle. The future of the US in the Paris agreement remains ambiguous given that top Trump advisers remain at odds over the Paris climate deal, but in the short term it is more likely to encourage other countries heavily dependent on fossil fuels, like Russia, to resist action. Notwithstanding, other major emitters like China and India may take the lead along with the EU. The EU’s best strategy would be to continue engaging the Trump administration and as it has done previously work closely at the state level. The lecture was followed by a lively debate with the audience which consisted of a mix of academics and practitioners.