UN climate body: no ‘Plan B’ if Trump is elected

Republican victory would likely mean climate policy heads for the bin, but Patricia Espinosa says world will hold US to deal made in 2015

Donald Trump was set to announce on Thursday that the US would leave the Paris climate accord (Pic: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)


The UN’s top climate official has insisted the upcoming US presidential election will have no bearing on global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Voters will head to the polls on 8 November, a day after the UN’s annual climate summit opens in Marrakech, with results expected later that week.

“I think everyone in the world is following the election process because of the implications, and we are vigilant, but it’s important to bear in mind the Paris Agreement has an incredible amount of legitimacy,” Patricia Espinosa told Climate Home.

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Should Hilary Clinton win, most pundits assume it’s business as usual for US climate policy, perhaps with a few tweaks to renewable energy incentives.

Victory for Donald Trump would mean a climate sceptic, who has vowed to scrap the Paris climate deal, taking charge of the world’s second-largest emitter.

Polling analysis website FiveThirtyEight puts Trump’s chance of winning at a low but not negligible 14-16%.

It’s a prospect that is keeping many US climate campaigners up at night, but Espinosa said there was no plan B for the eventuality the brash businessman wins office.

“[The Paris Agreement] is supported not only as a result of negotiation but in many ways is the result of a broad movement that has taken place globally,” she said.

“It remains a treaty that is in force. What we will do is be vigilant and attentive.”

Read more on: COP22 | UN climate talks | US