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Election of Donald Trump ‘could put world’s climate goals at risk’

(The Guardian, 31 Mar 2024) Former UN climate chief warns of global impact of a possible regression in US green policies.

Victory for Donald Trump in the US presidential election this year could put the world’s climate goals at risk, a former UN climate chief has said.

The chances of limiting global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels are already slim, and Trump’s antipathy to climate action would have a major impact on the US, which is the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and biggest oil and gas exporter, said Patricia Espinosa, who served as the UN’s top official on the climate from 2016 to 2022.

“I worry [about the potential election of Trump] because it would have very strong consequences, if we see a regression regarding climate policies in the US,” Espinosa said.

Although Trump’s policy plans are not clear, conversations with his circlehave created a worrying picture that could include the cancellation of Joe Biden’s groundbreaking climate legislation, withdrawal from the Paris agreement and a push for more drilling for oil and gas.

Espinosa said: “We are not yet aligned to 1.5C. That’s the reality. So if we see a situation where we would see regression on those efforts, then [the likelihood of staying within 1.5C] is very limited. It would certainly be a much bigger risk.

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The Guardian, 31 Mar 2024: Election of Donald Trump ‘could put world’s climate goals at risk’