Q+A: Trump and climate change

On NZ Q+A this morning:

Dr Adrian Macey, New Zealand’s first climate change ambassador, is interviewed live by Jessica Mutch – what does President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement really mean for NZ and climate change?

Macey was disappointed about Trump’s withdrawal but it wasn’t unexpected.

But he says that it now seems apparent that the US withdrawal isn’t going to derail the climate change measures from the rest of the world, and cities and businesses in the US have also pledged to continue addressing the issues as before despite the presidential plug pulling.

He points out that Trump is now not calling climate change a hoax, he isn’t contesting that something needs to be done, he has justified withdrawing simply on the basis of jobs.

But he points out that new and renewable energy jobs far exceed coal jobs:

The big change under Trump seems to be a withdrawal of US as a world leader.

It reminds me of a joke about the difference between the US and UK – in the UK they invite other countries to world championships. The US under Trump is at risk of becoming more self obsessed and less of the premier world power.


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  1. Reply
    • David

       /  4th June 2017

      Is this the same India who, under the Paris agreement, will double coal power generation by 2020?

      How is this any different to Trump’s position?

      • India plans nearly 60% of electricity capacity from non-fossil fuels by 2027

        The Indian government has forecast that it will exceed the renewable energy targets set in Paris last year by nearly half and three years ahead of schedule.

        A draft 10-year energy blueprint published this week predicts that 57% of India’s total electricity capacity will come from non-fossil fuel sources by 2027. The Paris climate accord target was 40% by 2030.

        The forecast reflects an increase in private sector investment in Indian renewable energy projects over the past year, according to analysts.

        The draft national electricity plan also indicated that no new coal-fired power stations were likely to be required to meet Indian energy needs until at least 2027, raising further doubts over the viability of Indian mining investments overseas, such as the energy company Adani’s Carmichael mine in Queensland, the largest coalmine planned to be built in Australia.


        • David

           /  4th June 2017

          “India plans nearly 60% of electricity capacity from non-fossil fuels by 2027”

          Sure, they are planning a dozen nuclear power plants to be built with the help of the French.

      • PG
        Quoting the Guardian as your source for Indian power stations (or any other matter) is always dodgy. Over the last five years, the quality of their press releases (what used to be reportage) have made even the redtops respectable.
        If you go here http://endcoal.org/tracker/ you will see India is building a lot of new coal fired stations and has a lot more ready to build. These are big 500 to 700MW units. Most are on the coast so they can run on imported coal.

  2. Joe Bloggs

     /  4th June 2017

    PG, your last point is on the money. There is an upside:

    Trump is unintentionally creating space for the the rest of the world to finally have a real say in the way the global system works. He’s catalyzing even more leveling-off of an imbalanced system long tilted by America in America’s favor. Trump has been totally played by President Xi. Outmaneuvered by Vladimir Putin. Dismissed by Chancellor Merkel. And now he’s shown the world that America is more fallible than ever. It is moving backwards. It is retreating. And that’s more room for China and Europe and Russia.

    Maybe that’s not so bad. Maybe it is a good thing that America is the laughingstock that Trump, in a perfect moment of solipsistic irony, said he wanted to forestall. One thing is for sure, the rest of the world shouldn’t wait around for America to clean up its own mess … because that’s something it was loath to do well before Trump body-slammed the body politic and put the future in a headlock. Alas, that’s a wrestling match America is now having with itself … and the rest of the world should just head for the exits.


  3. One of a kind

     /  4th June 2017

    Very funny joke…ha ha ha?

    Trump pulling out will not make an iota of influence on the climate – the only increase in heat output is the combined screeching from multiple snowflakish commentators and activists.

    Oh and the various countries who had their hands out for free lolly from the USA.

    All the countries could pull out and the climate will carry on its merry way sometimes warmer and sometimes cooler depending on how much solar radiation hits the earth.

    Humans are deluded if they think they have any influence over the sun and macro climate unfluences on the earth.

    • And anyone who thinks that man isn’t having an impact on the planet is also deluded. If you look at the original makeup of earth in terms of forests, animal species and air/water quality then it has changed dramatically. As to whether CO2 is the key driver of global warming, it’s a little bit beside the point as, in principle, the agreement is an attempt to step back and recognise that as much as we don’t know, we do know that we are changing the eco-system around us and that could have negative future effects, hence, let’s arrest the change.

  4. Patzcuaro

     /  4th June 2017

    If you take it back to the playground, Trump and the US are off in the corner playing by themselves because nobody wanted to play their game. When they grow up they will struggle to develop meaningfull relationships and will display anti social behavior with a tendency to get their way by bullying rather than communication.

    • NOEL

       /  4th June 2017

      We get it. The Yanks don’t give a shit anymore of other countries opinions and want to pull up the draw bridge.
      No problem plenty of other places to break a long journey with out touching down on US soil.

  5. Patzcuaro

     /  4th June 2017

    Taking it a step further the US will form a gang based on a protection racket with a following of petty dictators (such as Somoza, Noriega, Pinochet) who do their bidding while suppressing their own people. Anybody who doesn’t tow the line, such as Cuba, will be ostracized even after they are no longer a threat. Even the smallest slight, such as banning nuclear powered or armed ship, can cause serious offense.

  6. David

     /  4th June 2017

    Jobs are a cost, not a benefit.

    The fact there are almost as many people employed in Solar as there are in Natural Gas, yet solar generates less than 1% of US energy. Natural gas generates more than 30%.

    In terms of jobs, gas is 30 times more efficient.

    • And jobs is not the economic driver either, it’s profit.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  4th June 2017

        Yes, which drives investment, effort and innovation. And then funds everything we do.


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