UN climate boss offers to work with Trump on carbon plan

Patricia Espinosa extends offer to New Yorker’s team as head of C40 city alliance says US mayors will push ahead with implementing climate plans

UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa at the most recent climate conference in Marrakech (Pic: UNFCCC/Flickr)


The UN’s top climate official says she’s ready to work with Donald Trump’s transitional White House team to explain the opportunities presented by the Paris climate agreement.

Speaking for the first time after the billionaire’s shock US election victory, Mexican diplomat Patricia Espinosa said it was early days but that she was “open” to dialogue.

“We believe we have lots of information to provide… of the opportunities and challenges but at same time hoping for a better world for everybody,” she said.

Speculation over the Republican candidate’s low carbon plans has raged since the result dropped in week one of the annual UN climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco

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Trump is on record calling global warming a hoax and threatened to “cancel” the deal reached by 195 countries last December to try and limit emissions from burning fossil fuels.

His candidates for cabinet include the co-founder of oil products company Lucas Oil, former Alaska governor and climate change sceptic Sarah Palin and Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm.

Incoming vice president Mike Pence now reckons there’s no doubt humans are making the planet warmer, although back in 2001 he wrote it was a “myth”.

In a pointed rebuke to climate-denying Republicans, secretary of state John Kerry this week flew to Antarctica “to see firsthand the drastic impacts of climate change.”

Kerry is slated to attend the Marrakech COP22 summit next week along with France president Francois Hollande: both are expected to emphasise the diplomatic costs any country that backtracks on its commitments could face.

And in a sign that global emission-slashing strategies may already be shifting, the head of C40, which represents 80 cities including New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC proposed a new alliance of progressive sub-state leaders.

“I am a bit worried by what he has said,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris. “We mayors are saying this [Paris climate] agreement will enter into force – it is the future that is at stake.”

Nearly 60% of people now live in urban areas, accounting for 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Mayors were “autonomous” from national leaders argued Hidalgo, allowing them to develop carbon-cutting policies even if their national leaders hold a different view.

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