Following Donald Trump’s unexpected win, world leaders are warning the president-elect to honor US climate commitments
The world was shocked by the news the Trump was to be the next head of the most powerful nation on the planet. It almost seemed as though there was a moment of stunned silence as people around the world tried to fathom what the world will be like under a Trump administration. When the news of Trump’s victory broke markets tumbled and world leaders issued muted and conditional congratulatory messages.
Some European newspapers heralded the news as one would welcome an apocalypse.
“The unthinkable – a nightmare – therefore becomes a reality: So on Jan. 20, the world’s biggest military and economic power will be helmed by a racist, erratic, isolationist president,” French news magazine Le Nouvel Obs wrote. “Europe wakes up wondering, stunned if the big brother who protected her in 1945 will continue to defend her.”
Trump has already cast a shadow over the proceedings at COP22. French leader Francois Hollande has warned Trump that the Paris Agreement is “irreversible” in both “law and conscience”. “The US must respect the commitments they have undertaken,” he said. Ban ki-Moon told Trump the climate deal is “unstoppable”. Former French president Sarkozy said that Europe should impose a carbon tax on the US if Trump pulls out of the Paris Pact.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was quick to remind Trump about America’s historic role in the global community. As a climate leader, Germany does not welcome president-elect Trump’s promise to kill climate action. Germans are also concerned that the wave nationalism and isolationism that has swept across France, the UK and the US could also be a major force in German elections next fall.
More than anything, uncertainty that Trump’s forthcoming presidency. It is hard to know what to expect from the most atypical president-elect in the nation’s history.
Many are struggling to get a handle on what Trump will do. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, offered an ominous warning: “One thing is clear. The world must get ready for big changes because the American election has injected an overdose of unpredictability into world politics.”
While the US electoral outcome has been met with very little enthusiasm in most of the world, Trump’s victory has been celebrated by the heads of state in Russia, North Korea and Iran. None are more pleased with Trump’s victory than anti-Muslim far-right nationalists in places like the Netherlands, France, and the UK.
Many are weaving Trump’s win into the wider nationalistic narrative that appears to be gaining momentum. Far-right candidates have been elected in France and anti-immigration sentiments have fueled the Brexit vote in the UK. Voters in Germany may very well replace Angela Merkle’s centrist government with right-wing conservatives next year.
“2016 is…going to be the year of two great political revolutions,” said Brexit advocate and Trump supporter Nigel Farage. “I thought Brexit was big, but boy, this looks like it’s going to be even bigger.”
Russian President and fellow demagogue Vladimir Putin was among the first to congratulate Trump. Putin is alleged to have helped Trump to get elected by hacking into the DNC and strategically releasing information to influence the electoral outcome.
Similar sentiments of shock and revulsion were in evidence in the Americas. One Mexican website bluntly stated:
“The United States voted for the wall and Donald Trump’s lies,” proclaimed Mexican website El Economista,
Brazil’s Marcelo Rubens Paiva, commented in O Estado de S. Paulo saying the election result was an effort to, “make America white again….The blonds return to power.”
China railed against Trump’s absurd allegation that they invented climate change. A Chinese Communist Party representative said, “the most dark, chaotic and negative [election campaign] in the past two centuries…has undeniably revealed the dark side of so-called democracy in the U.S.”
In the Middle East, the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National called Trump’s election “a profound shock that threatens tumultuous consequences for his country and the international system as a whole.”
A Trump administration could unleash catastrophic warming and this increases the urgency of climate action. Some have optimistically suggested that world leaders could convince Trump of the veracity of anthropogenic global warming and the need for urgent climate action.
We know that world affairs vascilate back and forth between various poles. One step forward is often followed by two steps back. However, when it comes to climate change we can’t afford another backward step.