Amid reports that the US under Donald Trump’s presidency could withdraw from the Paris pact, the country’s top climate envoy has expressed confidence that despite a change of government in America a durable global effort to counter climate change will be sustained.
Terming the Paris agreement as “durable, inclusive and ambitious”, US special envoy for climate change Jonathan Pershing yesterday said the deal protects the economic growth and the environment while providing nationally determined flexibility and accommodating different national circumstances.
“It was a global effort that made the agreement (Paris) possible. And the passion and dedication that drove it is in evidence throughout COP22. Heads of States can and will change but I am confident that we can and we will sustain a durable international effort to counter climate change,” he said.
Pershing said soon the US will see a transition to a new Presidential administration and in the coming weeks personnel from the transition team are expected to arrive at the State Department and begin planning the “shape and thrust” of American diplomacy for the next four years.
“At this time, I do not have information about when that process will start or who will play a role in it and I cannot speak for President-elect’s team or on their outlook on international climate policy,” he said.
“What I do know, however, is that the power of the movement and the enormous momentum created in Paris and built throughout the year since, parties are deeply invested in seeing this work bear real fruit,” Pershing said.
He said with the agreement having entered into force, it is no longer a question of whether to accelerate its implementation but rather a question of when and how.
“I also know that markets are moving and countries are following. Prices for renewable energy are continuing their dramatic fall. Banks and finance agencies are doing the needed work to allow private finance to move to meet growing demand for low carbon solutions,” Pershing said.
“Major economies like China have begun the substantial work of translating their pre-Paris goals into operational policies on the ground. We (US) are installing for economic reasons not policies that favour one source over the other but economically driven programmes,” he said.
“We need new action going forward. We need to find strategies that protect our economic development while decarbonising our system. We will release our strategy on Wednesday to suggest some sense of the trajectories that address this goal,” he added.
US’ top climate envoy said President Barack Obama’s administration has made climate change “a top priority” and has made significant strides to cut carbon pollution.
“The continued global momentum we have seen since Paris has been reflected in the successes of last several weeks, including most particularly, the Paris Agreement passing the threshold needed to enter into force,” Pershing said.
“This context and momentum are hugely consequential and their importance should not be ignored. It reflects global demand for action and movement to follow through,” he said.