Global impact of Trump climate rollback to be felt over time

China's government said Wednesday, March 29, 2017, it will stick to its promises to curb carbon emissions after President Donald Trump eased USA rules on fossil fuel use that were meant to control global warming.

The president has also said he does not intend to honour promises made by the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama, to give billions of dollars in aid to poor, climate-vulnerable nations. China responded Wednesday, reaffirming its commitment to investing in clean energy and honouring the Paris Agreement, an global accord to tackle climate change with progressively more stringent carbon emissions goals.

Before taking office, Trump called climate change a "hoax" and blasted the Paris COP21 agreement as a "bad deal" for the U.S.

President Trump is directing the Environmental Protection Agency to revise or get rid of the most significant climate regulation of the Obama Administration - the Clean Power Plan.

Back in April 2016, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft filed an amicus brief in support of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, which aimed to cut carbon pollution produced by power generators, despite pushback from energy companies.

The Paris Agreement was adopted on December 12, 2015 with the objective of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degree C and strive for 1.5 degree C by eliminating use of fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable energy sources.

The regulation finalized by the former president, and under review by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, sets state-specific carbon dioxide limits for existing power plant fleets. "They need to move ahead on the climate change front no matter what Trump's government does". The executive order is aimed at increasing coal production and consumption in the United States, besides other fossil fuel resources such as shale oil and gas. The energy giant is being investigated for allegedly misleading the public and shareholders about what it knew about the dangers of climate change.

Canete, speaking to reporters on Thursday after meeting Chinese officials in Beijing, expressed regret the USA was rolling back climate policies but said China and Europe remained committed to "driving forward" the battle against climate change. For the EPA to revise or rescind the plan, it will have to go through the same formal process that produced the original rule, and they'll have to justify reaching the opposite conclusion was reached under Obama.

"Coal is not coming back", Van Noppen added.

  • Carolyn Briggs