AS IT HAPPENED: UN climate talks reaction as Trump wins US presidency

Rolling updates from the COP22 summit in Marrakech. All times GMT

Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech (Pic: BBC)

Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech (Pic: BBC)

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-Climate sceptic wins White House in shock result
-Republicans take control of both houses in Congress
-US dollar and Mexican peso sink, US coal stocks rise
Uncertainty on Trump climate stance overshadows UN talks
-Comment: Which Trump will govern, the showman or the negotiator?
-Comment: The Paris Agreement will survive President Trump


1722: This seems like a good time to wrap up. The victory of Donald Trump, a brash billionaire who says climate change is a Chinese hoax, has sown shock and confusion at UN talks in Marrakech.

Negotiators seem uncertain how seriously to take Trump’s extreme rhetoric, which is not backed by detailed policy proposals. The US delegation is effectively neutered for the rest of the negotiations.

The worst case scenario sees the world’s second largest emitter withdraw from the UN climate convention, protect its ailing fossil fuel industries and slash climate regulation.

Campaigners hold out hope that Trump’s pragmatic side will prevail, faced with an international community committed to the Paris climate deal. They emphasise the economic opportunities offered by clean energy and global momentum to decarbonise. They say the pact, backed by nearly 200 countries, is more resilient than its predecessor the Kyoto Protocol.

There is fighting talk, too, from youth and keep-it-in-the-ground activists, promising to challenge Trump’s fossil-friendly agenda every step of the way.

Ed King will have more analysis live from our Facebook page in 10 minutes with Duncan Marsh from The Nature Conservancy, who was negotiating for the US in 2000, the last time a presidential election caused an upset. Tune in to ask questions.

And we’ll continue to report on the repercussions of the Trump victory throughout COP22 and beyond. For now, good evening.


1700: That’s that, then. Clinton embraces staffers and activists in the crowd. While the last numbers trickling in still give her the edge in the popular vote, she didn’t clinch the key swing states. President Trump it is.


1649: Hillary Clinton speaks publicly for the first time since the result was called, having conceded to Trump in a private call early on Wednesday morning.

In a televised address from a New York City ballroom, she says: “This is not the outcome that we wanted or we worked so hard for… but I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together.”

While accepting it is “painful”, she urges applauding fans to accept the result. “Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

She calls on supporters to keep defending American values of peaceful transfer of power, the rule of law, principles of equality, freedom of worship and expression.

“Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not every four years, but all the time,” says Clinton.


1617: The reaction from the NGO community to Trump’s victory has been tightly coordinated, professional and constructive. They pivoted swiftly from stressing the significance of the choice between the two candidates for the climate, to downplaying Trump’s ability to derail the great green economic shift.

Against that backdrop, it is refreshing to see young activists expressing what they are all feeling: grief and anger. Sustain US called an impromptu demo to denounce the new president.

“I’m 18 years old and voted for the first time for Hillary Clinton a few days before I left for COP. My heart is absolutely broken at the election of Trump. I have a president who no longer values who I am as a young woman or the child of immigrants,” said Becky Chung, SustainUS delegate from Buena Park, California.

“The next four years will be critical to getting on the right path. We have to get to zero emissions by 2050. We will see a rising up of people’s movement committed to mass civil disobedience to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

If the incoming administration won’t meet US commitments to the climate deal, the youngsters pledged to lawyer up.

“By causing climate change, the federal government has violated the rights of young and future generations,” said Daniel Jubelirer, SustainUS delegate from Boulder, Colorado and co-plaintiff in an ongoing lawsuit. “When Trump is sworn in, he will become the named defendant in the case. Trump, we will see you in court.”


1603: Beleaguered US coal stocks jumped on Wednesday morning, on the news that Donald Trump would be the US’ next president.

Trump has come to power promising to revive the coal industry – something analysts believe might be an impossible task with coal suffering from more than just Barack Obama’s so-called “war on coal”. Low gas prices and competition from renewables have pressed many coal producers into bankruptcy or mine closures in recent years.

But the Republican platform, which mirrored a speech Trump gave on energy in May, reads: “The Democratic Party does not understand that coal is an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource. Those who mine it and their families should be protected from the Democratic Party’s radical anticoal agenda.”

Which explains why the Dow Jones coal index looked like this today:

Screen Shot 2016-11-09 at 15.52.31


1555:  One from the archives on Myron Ebell, tipped to lead Trump’s “transition team” for the Environmental Protection Agency, a euphemism for stripping the regulator of its powers.

On his twitter bio, Ebell describes himself as “#1 enemy of climate change alarmism”. He has a long record of lobbying for the fossil fuel industry, outlined here by DeSmog Blog.

Alex Pashley interviewed him for Climate Home in Paris last year, at the Heartland Institute side conference.

Ebell said he hoped whoever won the next presidential election would tear up the clean power plan regulations “which are very harmful to our economy”. He stopped short of calling for the Paris Agreement to be revoked, saying only that it should have to be considered by Congress – which would probably amount to the same thing.


1535: A pointed tweet from the EU climate commissioner, here.


1532: Lou Del Bello has been talking to African leaders about the potential impacts of president Trump’s future climate change policies.
Although they concede that the contribution made so far by the US has been crucial to advance climate ambition globally, many think that it’s too early to judge.

Chiyoge Sifa, regional director of the International Cooperative Alliance said that Trump used propaganda to win the presidential election, “but it’s only from now on that we will start to see his true colours, and I think we can only judge his actions based on that.”

Delegates from other countries attending the presentation of a program to ramp up clean energy in the continent are not worried that the money needed to support such initiatives might run dry. They believe that Africa has most pressing problems to deal with at the moment, and a potential review of climate finance contributions seems still very distant.

“The US is certainly an important donor but not the only one,” said Sifa. “Africa works in partnership with many other international players and I think it’s important to also value south-south cooperation.”

However, international observers in Marrakech sense a real danger in the political stance of the Republican president.

Li Shuo, a policy advisor for Greenpeace East Asia said developing countries should take responsibility for their own clean development, and their plans should not collapse without foreign aid. He took the example of China which, he said, is becoming a leader in green development. But he also conceded that African countries do not have the infrastructure to develop without help. “We urge the new president to continue the good work done by the previous administration and as a civil society we will continue to put pressure on the administration and the legislators.”


1417: It looks like Hillary Clinton is winning the popular vote, with 98% counted. That will be no consolation to her supporters, with Trump’s electoral college victory assured.

I’m going to get some lunch, leaving you with Karl Mathiesen’s take on the “kryptonite” of uncertainty now pervading the talks. Back shortly.


1329: NGOs are heavily pushing the line that the transition to clean energy is inevitable and it’s in the US’ economic interests to be at the forefront.

As if to reinforce that, lobby group Wind Europe is celebrating the cheapest ever offshore wind power contract, a €50/MWh tender from Vattenfall in Denmark.

“It confirms the recent trend of rapidly falling offshore wind costs in those countries that have tendered projects this year,” says Wind Europe CEO Giles Dickson.

All the same, Trump’s election has evidently hit investor confidence. Reuters reports shares in wind turbine manufacturers Vestas and Nordex were down more than 6% by mid-morning.


1315: A terse statement emerges from the UN climate body. Mexican diplomat Patricia Espinosa, who heads the organisation, says: “I would like to congratulate Mr. Donald Trump on his election as President of the United States, and we look forward to engaging with his administration to take the climate action agenda forward for the benefit of the peoples of the globe.”


1306: “Of course, we are facing challenging times, but I am pretty sure that this process will manage to be resilient,” says Janos Pasztor, director of the Climate Geoengineering Governance Project at the Carnegie Council and advisor to UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Watch the full interview:


1259: There is still a lot of uncertainty about what President Trump means for climate action. The key question, writes Brown University sociology professor Timmons Roberts, is which Trump will govern: the showman or the negotiator?

Here’s an excerpt:

There are two very different Trumps. One is the reality TV show host and contestant, who understands the value of spectacle and the need to take extreme positions to garner attention and eliminate competitors…

Then there is the other Trump, the negotiator. Trump is known for making deals and negotiating hard.


1218: “Looking on the bright side, he’s a natural negotiator,” Bangladeshi climate expert Saleemul Huq on Trump. Watch the full interview:


1209: Here’s a midday summary from Ed King.

On the surface, the UN talks in Marrakech appear to be progressing as normal, with meetings on ensuring the Paris Agreement becomes operational taking place around this huge complex. But beneath the surface there is a huge amount of uncertainty.

US envoys are understandably reluctant to talk; one usually accessible EU negotiator also brushes off questions. The truth is no-one really knows what happens next or what the long term impacts of a Trump presidency will have on the Paris climate agreement. The last time a Republican hostile to the carbon cutting agenda took office was in 2000: the next year George W Bush pulled the country out of the Kyoto Protocol.

Many observers in Marrakech urge caution. Ban Ki-moon’s climate advisor Janos Pastor tells Climate Home he wanted to hear more detail from Trump on his climate plans, suggesting that his campaign talk was just that: talk. Dirk Forrister, chief of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and a former White House staffer under Bill Clinton says it’s likely to be weeks before we get a clearer idea of his policies. But, he adds, efforts to tackle global warming no longer solely rely on the US to drive this forward, pointing to India, China and Latin America as new sources of political leadership.

We expect to hear from the UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa later today: as a Mexican she has  a personal stake in this, given Trump’s comments over her compatriots during the campaign. She will no doubt stress the global leadership that many countries are now offering. The talks must go on – but the finance taps will start to tighten. The US still owes $2.5 billion to the UN’s Green Climate Fund. A source close to that organisation tells me they don’t expect to see that now.


1153: Lina Yassin is an 18-year-old Sudanese journalist attending the talks and reporting for her local media. Karl Mathiesen caught up with her regarding the fear with which Trump is viewed in the Arab state.

She says climate change is impacting Sudanese lives daily.

“Farmer lose their homes everyday and we have very erratic rain. We are aware that climate change is killing us, we are heading towards the edge. Especially the youth are aware that with this Donald Trump win, it might affect the Paris agreement. And that’s going to be bad for us because we are reliant on this agreement,” she says.

“When I woke up today to this news I was very shocked. Honestly I’m still depressed. What’s happening might affect my country really badly, especially economically and I might not have a very bright future in Sudan. And it’s going to be really sad for me to be forced to leave Sudan so I can have a better future.”

“Everyone is scared for the safety of their families there,” she says.

Trump’s antipathy for climate action and the “Muslim ban” threatened Sudanese from two sides. As their homeland suffers ever tougher impacts from climate change, a major destination for migration and the betterment of lives may be about to close its borders.

“If I want to do anything educationally in American, like do masters or something, that could help me have a better future in my country, it’s going to be really hard because I don’t think we will be able to enter America in the next few years.”


1130: Spare a thought for the US negotiators right now. Technically, they still answer to the Obama administration, but they cannot promise anything Trump’s people would overturn.

This is the team that worked closely with China to make build consensus for the Paris Agreement and get it ratified early. They will soon be out of a job, watching from the sidelines as the new adminstration attacks that progress.

Jeff Swartz, international policy director at the International Emissions Trading Association, has some advice: “Pick your friends here in Marrakech and pass on your strategies and good work, because this time next year, you won’t have the possibility to do it.”

US negotiator Trigg Talley, right, in the COP22 tent village (Pic: Ed King)

US negotiator Trigg Talley, right, in the COP22 tent village (Pic: Ed King)


1115: It’s bad, but all is not lost, Oxford University public policy professor Thomas Hale writes for Climate Home. Here’s an excerpt:

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is a disaster for our climate and everything under it.

But thanks to the Paris Agreement and the broader arrangements around it, the coming of Trump will not be as bad as it might have been.


1100: Here is the section of the Republican manifesto that promises to de-fund the UN climate talks over its recognition of Palestine as a full party to negotiations.

It also threatens to cut off wider climate finance, seen as essential to keep developing countries on board with the climate agenda.

Under President Obama, the US pledged US$3 billion towards the Green Climate Fund, of which $500m has been delivered.

We demand an immediate halt to U.S. funding for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in accordance with the 1994 Foreign Relations Authorization Act. That law prohibits Washington from giving any money to “any affiliated organization of the United Nations” which grants Palestinians membership as a state. There is no ambiguity in that language. It would be illegal for the President to follow through on his intention to provide millions in funding for the UNFCCC and hundreds of millions for its Green Climate Fund.


1053: Rajni Ranjan Rashmi, the head of the Indian delegation tells Karl Mathiesen that news of Trump’s victory had caught negotiators by surprise.

“Nobody has thought about it, nobody has discussed it so far,” he said. “How can you anticipate the democratic process? You cannot.”

Asked whether a Trump presidency would impact on the progress of the negotiations, Rashmi says: “It’s a global international process… It’s a process in which we try and achieve the optimum, not the maximum.”

Trump has indicated a shift away from the climate policies of the Obama administration. But Rashmi would not be drawn on how that might affect the climate process.

“We’ll cross the bridge when it comes? We haven’t gone there,” he says.

Trump’s election platform directly promised to cut off funding to the UNFCCC. Rashmi says that is a matter for the US.

The US has been central to progress on climate in recent years, which culminated in the Paris agreement last year. Rashmi says: “We do recognise their role and we appreciate that.”

Are negotiators worried? “I don’t know, I don’t think people should be worried unnecessarily.”


1038: DRC envoy Tosi Mpanu Mpanu is bullish about the prospects of the Paris Agreement despite the US election result. “I can only be positive and optimistic,” he tells Ed King.

Watch the full interview:


1036: A negotiator for a small island state tells Ed King the election result will not have much impact on talks this week, while the US delegation works out a plan. But next week he expects the new reality to bite.

Asked how Trump will compare to George W Bush, he smiles and says: “Much worse… much, much worse.”


1030: Trump has pledged to scrap the clean power plan – centrepiece of Barack Obama’s climate policy – in his first 100 days of office. But it is not easy to change existing regulation in the US, says Kevin Fay of the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy – and business leaders will have to ask what the alternatives are.

“President Trump has a steep learning curve,” he says, as reported by Lou Del Bello.

On the other hand (as no NGO is saying), with Republicans controlling the House and the Senate, Trump will be able to appoint a fossil-friendly judge at the Supreme Court. That’s a big deal for the ongoing judicial review.


1016: More from the NGO presser.


1009: You may well be asking: how did this happen? Nearly all the polls showed Hillary Clinton in the lead and forecasts 48 hours ago were giving her a 70% or better chance of victory.

Coming after pollsters failed to predict the Brexit vote, this will further damage confidence in their methods.

Many observers have noted that Trump’s margin of victory in Florida, a key swing state, was smaller than the combined third party votes. There has been some anger at voters for the Green Party’s Jill Stein, although her share would not have been enough to give Clinton the victory – she would have needed to take support from Libertarian Gary Johnson too.

Leftwing writer and activist Naomi Klein went on the counterattack, arguing that the Democrats should have chosen Bernie Sanders in the primary.


0950: NGOs are trying to stay positive, emphasising the economic trends towards clean energy, Lou Del Bello reports from a press conference.

“As Martin Luther King said, the arc of history bends towards justice,” says Mariana Panuncio Feldman of WWF. “The arc of climate change moves towards solutions.”

In an emailed statement, Sierra Club’s Michael Brune is blunter about the battle ahead.

“Donald Trump now has the unflattering distinction of being the only head of state in the entire world to reject the scientific consensus that mankind is driving climate change,” he says.

“No matter what happens, Donald Trump can’t change the fact that wind and solar energy are rapidly becoming more affordable and accessible than dirty fossil fuels. With both the market and grassroots environmental advocacy moving us toward clean energy, there is still a strong path forward for reducing climate pollution even under a Trump presidency.

“Still, this is a time for tough choices. Trump must choose whether he will be a President remembered for putting America and the world on a path to climate disaster, or for listening to the American public and keeping us on a path to climate progress. Trump better choose wisely, otherwise – we can guarantee him the hardest fight of his life every step of the way.”


0942: There is huge uncertainty among delegates about how to interpret the result.

Xie Zi, a climate official from China’s National Development and Reform Commission, tells Karl Mathiesen: “It is the big news. Maybe people just don’t know what will happen. We are just waiting you know.”

As for the impact of a potential Trump attempt to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Zi says: “We cannot answer this question now.”


0933: The US delegation is walking in a block down the main strip looking sombre, flanked by security guards, reports Ed King. Negotiator Trigg Talley declined to comment.

Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, envoy from the Democratic Republic of Congo, says he does not expect Trump to try and wreck the deal. The Paris Agreement is stronger than its predecessor the Kyoto Protocol, with global ownership.

Ronny Jumeau of the Seychelles says small islands will “reach out to the Americans… we need them”.


0920: Early reaction from diplomats is, well, diplomatic.

Ed King has been speaking to Russian climate envoy Oleg Shamanov: “There should not be any spillover – I am not worried. We have to focus on the business we have at hand and not be upset by the politics. I do not believe we should unnecessarily politicise the process. We are doing something very important which has a bigger life than country X, Y or Z.”

Thoriq Ibraham, energy minister for the Maldives and chair of the Alliance of Small Island States issued a statement congratulating Trump on his victory.

“One of the many challenges his administration will now confront is climate change,” said Ibrahim. “There are different views on where this issue should rank in the long list of priorities facing a world leader. But what is indisputable is the economic promise of renewable energy…

“Last month, for the first time, renewables like wind and solar surpassed fossil fuels in electricity generation globally and that number is expected to climb as countries like India and China continue to increase their use of clean power. America has led this technological transformation and can continue to create jobs and opportunity in this area—something people everywhere need.”


0914: This is not the first time a US election has thrown a spanner in the works of UN climate talks. In 2000, COP6 in the Hague coincided with legal wrangling between Al Gore and George W Bush over a close-fought election.

It is not an encouraging precedent. The talks ended in stalemate, with negotiators unwilling to agree until they knew who was in charge of the then top global polluter.

By the time they reconvened for an extraordinary meeting the following July, President Bush had pulled the US out of the Kyoto Protocol.

The Paris Agreement has been carefully designed to make it hard for any country to withdraw. But if Trump meets his promises to the coal and oil sectors, it will see US bust its emissions targets.

With a Republican-controlled Congress, too, the US is unlikely to approve the climate finance developing countries say they desperately need to go green and adapt to dangerous climate impacts.


0845: Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States: a man who says climate change is a Chinese hoax, plans to pull the US out of the Paris climate deal, cut funding for clean energy and boost domestic coal production is months away from taking charge of the planet’s second largest greenhouse gas polluter.

What does this mean for global efforts to tackle climate change? How will it impact the UN climate talks in Marrakech? How will the world’s other major emitters react to the news? Our team of reporters at the COP22 talks will answer these questions and more through today.

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