This changes. . .not as much as you'd think
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.
China and the E.U have reaffirmed their commitment to Paris, with China in particular seeing an opportunity to take a leading role in combatting climate change. Both the economics of renewables (look at how cheap solar is!) and the Green Economy, and the gain in soft power, make this a very solid commitment from China, and we're likely to see India also step up its role given their increasing moves to renewable energy. And while the headline of withdrwal looks terrible, there have also been rapid commitments from mayors and states across the U.S - as well as major companies - to continue to reduce emissions and invest in clean technology, so expect to see continued action at the local level regardless.
There is, on the other hand a very real loss to the Green Climate Fund, to which the U.S had pledged a further $2bn by 2020. This is a big contribution and it remains to be seen whether other countries will step in to fill the gap.
The sad thing in all of this is that the U.S is missing a historic opportunity for leadership and investment in a sector that really would 'make America great again'. We can hope that in 2020 the U.S will rejoin, but in the meantime look beyond the headlines to see the positive momentum on climate change!
If you’re working on adaptation and want to build your professional capacity join us in Oxford for the Adaptation Academy, 13th-25th August.