As Americans headed to the polls on election day, diplomats from around the world headed to Marrakech, Morocco for the first big global climate summit since the Paris Agreement last year. This was to be an important inflection point in the global effort to combat climate change. Just a week earlier the Paris Agreement officially entered into force after the requisite number of countries ratified it and this meeting in Marrakech would to fill in some key details and add some technical guidance to enable the implementation of the agreement.
And then, Donald Trump was elected.
During the campaign he pledged to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and defund UN programs to combat climate change. So, I was interested to learn the implications of the election on the ongoing negotiations in Morocco.
This episode is in two parts. First, I speak with Elliot Diringer of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. Elliot discusses the ways domestic politics here in the USA may affect climate negotiations and also recounts the history of American leadership (or lack thereof) in international climate diplomacy.
Next, I speak with Hugh Sealy, a diplomat from Grenada who is a lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States. I caught up with Hugh in Marrakech about a week after the election, and as you’ll see he does not report that much has changed. He does, though, discuss the importance of American leadership and also offers some interesting insights into the role that small countries like his can play in these big negotiations.
If you have 20 minutes and want to understand the implications of Trump’s election to global climate diplomacy and the Paris Agreement, have a listen.