UN climate chief to Trump: this is about competitiveness

The biggest job opportunities are in clean energy, says Patricia Espinosa when asked about US president’s plans

Tesla electric vehicle production line (Pic: Flickr/Steve Jurvetson)

Tesla electric vehicle production line (Pic: Flickr/Steve Jurvetson)

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President Donald Trump should embrace clean energy to create jobs, the UN climate chief told a German newswire on Sunday.

Asked whether the incoming US administration would quit an international climate deal, as threatened, Patricia Espinosa acknowledged Trump had a “different attitude” to his predecessor.

But she told dpa-AFX sectors like car making would not see the biggest growth as the world faces an industrial revolution.

“With this huge changeover, America has excellent opportunities because renewable energies appeal to the American entrepreneurial spirit,” she said. “Ultimately, this is also about the competitiveness of the USA.”

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Espinosa cited commitments by California, New York, Chicago and Seattle as evidence there is still an appetite for climate action in the US.

And she dismissed the suggestion that other countries might also backtrack from the Paris climate pact if Trump pulls out.

At time of writing, 127 countries including China, India and the EU28 had ratified the accord, agreeing to hold global warming “well below 2C”.

Climate action remains a “top priority” for China, Espinosa said, as it tackles choking smog at home and develops clean export industries. “China is rapidly developing into the most important manufacturer of clean technologies worldwide.”

Read more on: UN climate talks