The ‘Trump Effect’ Will Make Climate Change Progress More Difficult, Study Says

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during the plenary session on the opening day of Argentina G20 Leaders' Summit 2018 at Costa Salguero on November 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Amilcar Orfali / Getty Images

The United States of America is now the only country in the entire world not involved in the Paris Climate Agreement, a worldwide effort meant to reduce carbon emissions and — hopefully — save the planet from the damaging effects of global warming.

There’s just one big problem in the way: Donald Trump, President of the US.

A new report from the Institute of International and European Affairs says that Donald Trump’s words about climate change are actually causing “very real damage” to the agreement, according to the BBC.

The author of the report identifies three key areas where “the Trump effect” is harming the agreement.

For starters, Donald Trump has relaxed regulations on coal, oil, and gas. This makes damaging fuel fossil projects affordable and attractive for investors. These types of projects cause more damage to the environment.

Trump’s refusal to allow the US to join the rest of the world in the agreement gives other countries a reason not to comply with the terms of the agreement, the study says. This includes countries like Turkey and Russia, who have both declined to ratify the Paris agreement.

After Donald Trump was sworn into office, there was distinct uptick in coal investments in the US. This rise in fossil fuel investing has hurt renewable energy investing.

Industrial buildings pour emissions into the air against an orange sky
  Pixabay / Pexels

Meanwhile, other countries are using Donald Trump as an excuse not to honor the agreement. Brazil, Russia, Turkey, and Australia have all invoked Trump as a reason to lower their own efforts to reduce emissions.

“It is clear to me that the world is more polarized, we have more and more nationalist approaches being popular and winning elections or having strong election results,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

“The Trump administration has reneged on a pledge to the Green Climate Fund, leaving an outstanding liability of $2 billion, and has opposed stringent rules for reporting on efforts to scale up financial commitments from rich countries. These decisions have aggravated distrust between developed and developing countries, which is a necessary ingredient for progress,” the report says, according to CNBC.

The report’s author says that in the short term, the Paris Climate Agreement will survive the Trump effect. But long term? “Without U.S. support, the Paris agreement won’t ultimately be effect and we should be honest about that,” the report reads.

Donald Trump has said climate change is a hoax, and as recently as last week said he did not believe a report issued by the US government warning about the disastrous effects of climate change.