Article updated below

The world’s climate authorities and leaders have weighed debate regarding the future of the climate following Donald Trump’s unexpected election as the 45th President of the United States on November 8th, 2016. Coming on the heels of the official passing of the Paris Agreement in October, coming into effect the week before the U.S. election, Trump’s election stands to reverse the ambitious stance adopted by the Obama administration and places in genuine jeopardy the realization of the Paris Agreement’s targets.

Pledging to withdraw from the U.S.’s Paris Agreement pledge, Trump’s actions would have a considerable impact on the ability to limit the growth of emissions beyond the 2 degree benchmark of danger—with the U.S. expected to account for some 21% of the expected reduction in heat-trapping gases through 2030. While withdrawing from the Paris Agreement would take four years, Trump’s influence on national U.S. policy could, nonetheless, have a deleterious impact on reduction efforts and incur no official sanctions.

While the Trump administration certainly stands to influence the U.S. stance on climate change on an official level—scaling back or scrapping measures introduced by President Obama to reduce vehicle emissions, support growth of clean power, and limit new fossil-fuel pipelines—many suggest that the tide of change has already turned sufficiently enough to ensure that progress would be entirely reversed. In addition to the coal mines that have already been closed and pipelines that have been shuttered under Obama administration restrictions which are unlikely to be reopened, energy industry experts believe the evolution of the energy transformation will continue on its own steam. Despite the decline of supportive incentives and tax policies that have contributed to the increased momentum of the rise of electric vehicle heavyweights like Tesla, alternative energy subsidies are unlikely to be reduced and the price of gasoline will continue to rise.

Update: In a meeting with the New York Times editorial board and members of its newsroom on November 22nd, 2016, President-elect Trump exhibited a far less stringent position which suggested a degree of flexiblity on many issues, including the U.S.'s commitment to the Paris agreement. While hardly a statement of unequivocal support, Trump's comments regarding cilmate change and energy polcies showed a far more measured tenor than those made on the campaign trail and gave hope for compromise. 

The following exchanges between Trump and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and White House correspondent Michael D. Shear, while brief, show Trump's less rigid stance and suggests he is, as yet, undecided on his official climate policy.

FRIEDMAN: But it’s really important to me, and I think to a lot of our readers, to know where you’re going to go with this. I don’t think anyone objects to, you know, doing all forms of energy. But are you going to take America out of the world’s lead of confronting climate change?

TRUMP: I’m looking at it very closely, Tom. I’ll tell you what. I have an open mind to it. Were going to look very carefully. It’s one issue that’s interesting because there are few things where there’s more division than climate change. You don’t tend to hear this, but there are people on the other side of that issue who are, think, don’t even …

SHEAR: Just one quick clarification on the climate change, do you intend to, as you said, pull out of the Paris Climate …

TRUMP: I’m going to take a look at it.

The Associated Press interviews climate experts on Trump’s election 

The Scientific American reports from the COP 22 in Marrakech 

The Washington Post on Trump’s stance on the Climate and his appointments 

Bloomberg analysis the future of the energy transformation

Update (23.11.2016) Read the transcript from the New York Times meeting with Trump 

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