Last night, after the second day of COP22, while we were at sleep, the United States of America was electing their new president. As we woke up, we started to search for the U.S. elections news straightaway.
During our breakfast, we suddenly received the breaking news: Donald Trump had surprisingly been elected as the 45th president of U.S.A. Trump, who needed 270 electoral votes out of 538 for victory, has won with 278 electoral votes. The news, being covered by the great majority of newspapers around the world, has shaken the global geopolitical order and world´s stock markets.
As a matter of fact, here at COP22, this has turned into the topic of the day, given that this result affects directly the Climate Changes issues and negotiations, once during his campaign Trump told, if elected, U.S. would not implement the Paris Agreement – which U.S. is still signataire. Arriving at the Conference, we went straight to the U.S pavilion, searching for some news and information about the elections.
For our surprise, the press office told us that was not going to happen any official conference on the matter. However, fortunately, the U.S. Climate Action Network was promoting a meeting about the elections issue and its consequences for the climate negotiations. Of course, the first question that everybody had was the impacts of Trump’s election to the Paris Agreement. Marina Passiano, from WWF, was fast to answer. “As a global community, we can and must solve this climate crisis. Election results will impact the tone of negotiations, but the task ahead remains the same: need long-term vision, regardless of US elections”. Alden Meyer, from the Union of Concerned Scientists – UCS, followed the same tone. “Donald Trump is about to be one of the most powerful people in the world, but even he cannot change the laws of physics, he has to acknowledge the reality of climate change and he has a different responsibility now that he is President, to protect people’s health and welfare”.
Later, another group of NGO’s organized a press conference to, again, sustain the tone of positiveness despite the U.S. elections. Celia Gautier, from Climate Action Network in France, told that “Climate Change is the biggest geopolitical issue of these times. Trump cannot deny climate change and its impacts, cannot deny what were already agreed. The political perspective in the US can change but the reality of climate change not”. David Waskow, from World Resources Institute – WRI, also remember that “the US negotiators in COP22 are still working for president Obama”. He also bolds that the challenge in Marrakesh is “ensure that the agreement will have a clear process – it’s for all nations”. Another concern is: How does this outcome change the outlook for things that developing countries have been asking for, such as adaptation finance, robust contributions to Green Climate Fund? Alden Meyer said about this: “The climate challenge is of geopolitical importance, so the US needs to take action not only at home but also in the international sphere. Investment already made on climate finance must continue, including adaptation and mitigation.
This has always been a test of leadership for everyone. If we´ll solve this together, US need to be engaged, as do all citizens of the world. We hope that the US president will recognize that”. As a result of the electoral decision, many protests have taken place around the globe. Here in COP, SustainUS, an NGO of youth students from different U.S. Universities, promoted a political action, called “Make America Earth Again”, in front of the American flag.