So Trump has done what he always looked likely to do, and let the climate deniers around him pull the U.S out of the Paris Accord. This is a massive failure of U.S leadership, but how much does it really affect action on climate change? Judging from early reaction, and the noises we've heard over the last 6 months the answer is. . .not much.
The UK goes back to the polls again in June for another election (we just can’t enough of democracy!) so its worth considering what this means for climate adaptation and mitigation in the UK. Clearly at this point a huge amount is uncertain, but I think there are several implications:
I recently had my second child, and inevitably it got me thinking about the impacts of climate change, and what sort of world they will grow up in (because I’m a climate nerd and I can’t help it!). When we talk about a 2C-3°C rise in temperature by 2050, or the need to be emissions neutral by then, or the cost of climate damages, we’re talking about the world of their 30s, which personally helps make things a bit more tangible.
You might have missed it under the deluge of Trump and Brexit news, but the UK Climate Risk Assessment 2017 was published last month. A five-yearly requirement under the 2008 Climate Change Act, the results will be used to inform the development of the next instalment of the UK National Adaptation Programme, due in 2018.
The U.S has a problem. No, not that one, but a very particular problem related to the geography of growth and water availability. Put simply, both population growth and job growth in the U.S appears to increasingly concentrated in a handful of states, while a significant number, in particular in the Midwest, are experiencing decreases in population, with internal migration playing an big role. Adam Carstens has a neat summary at Medium highlighting these trends, and Forbes notes that 7 of the 10 of their ‘best for jobs’ cities in 2017 are concentrated in water-stressed western states (Utah, Arizona, Texas and California). Importantly, these are not just short-term blips, but reflect longer-term changes as well – 7 of the 10 fastest growing states from 1990-2000 were also western states.