UWaterloo faculty members weigh in on what Trump's presidency may mean for climate change action

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Record recently featured an editorial on what Donald Trump’s U.S. presidency may mean for progress on climate change action, including comments from IC3 member and Head of the Intact Centre on Climate AdaptationBlair Feltmate. News Deeply ran a story focusing on how the outcome of the U.S. election may affect Arctic issues, including comments from Professor Whitney Lackenbauer of St. Jerome’s University College.

Excerpt from “In a pile of depressing news from the United States, this is the worst”

By Luisa D'Amato, Waterloo Region Record, Nov. 11, 2016

[...] The United States is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gases, after China.

If it withdraws from the international agreement, the goal of limiting temperature increases to 1.5 degrees C will be nearly impossible to achieve. The planet will heat up. Polar ice will melt, causing sea levels to rise and put low-lying cities and farmland under water. Droughts and storms will worsen.


The science is 'abundantly clear and well established' that man-made climate change is real, Feltmate said.

But Trump thinks the concept of man-made climate change is a hoax that was "created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," he tweeted on Nov. 6.

Accordingly, and disastrously, he plans to increase exploitation of shale, oil and natural gas reserves, in order to create well-paying jobs for Americans and to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

He will encourage more coal mining, too. And he'll eliminate President Barack Obama's federal subsidies that support technology development for energy efficiency and renewable power.

[…] The rest of the world, Canada included, will inevitably follow the lead of the United States.

Here's why: In order to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Canadian governments are putting in carbon taxes. These taxes will raise the price of products that use fossil fuels. If prices are high, the reasoning goes, people won't use them and our overall carbon footprint will go down.

But if Canadians have this tax on our products and Americans don't on theirs, we won't be able to be competitive. We depend on trade. If our prices are higher and customers walk away, we will start losing jobs. Then the pressure on the government will be intense.


Read the full editorial from Luisa D'Amato on the Waterloo Region Record's website.

Excerpt from “Expert View: How the Outcome of the U.S. Election Affects the Arctic”

By Hannah Hoag, News Deeply, Nov. 9, 2016

[…] Whitney Lackenbauer (St. Jerome’s University at the University of Waterloo):

[Donald Trump] said he will ‘cancel all wasteful climate change spending’ including support to the United Nations Climate Fund and to research and development initiatives dedicated to clean energy solutions.

David M. Slayton (Hoover Institution, Stanford University): “Let’s remember, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was developed under a Republican administration. I believe we will continue to see a strong focus on environmental protection efforts in the U.S., I believe the focus on environmental stewardship and ‘smart’ resource development will continue.”

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research): “Science cannot expect any positive climate action from him. The world has now to move forward without the U.S. on the road toward climate-risk mitigation and clean-technology innovation.”

William Moomaw (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy): “‘President Trump’ will undermine most attempts to address climate change, and the U.S. will become a drag on the future development of the Paris Accord. This has devastating consequences for the Arctic.”


Read the full story by Hannah Hoag on News Deeply's website.

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