One thing you can count on from Donald Trump's AmeriKa is an abrupt reversal of Barack Obama's climate change agenda.
Keystone XL, a done deal. Big Coal, it's back. Trump has told those who made sure his first government job was the one right at the very top that climate change is a hoax. Like every other Trump appeal to AmeriKa's basest, darkest instincts his supporters await a revolution, top to bottom, with a White Power restoration at its core.
Trump has given a solemn vow to "renegotiate" the Paris climate agreement. He's going to renegotiate with what? Oh yeah, the world. There's worry that Trump may withdraw the U.S. from the accord and return his country to a Sarah Palin, "burn, baby burn" energy policy.
Trump has called climate change a “hoax”, placing him virtually alone among world leaders on the validity of the science. The real estate magnate has promised to embark upon a four-year process of withdrawing the US from the Paris deal and has targeted the “billions and billion and billions” given to UN climate programmes and clean energy development.
Domestically, Trump has promised to reboot America’s ailing coal industry, as well as expand gas and oil drilling, despite the fact that the growth of natural gas use has caused the downturn in coal.
He also plans to scrap Obama’s signature Clean Power plan, which is the main policy designed to lower US emissions.
Recent analysis by Lux Research estimated that a Trump presidency would raise US greenhouse gas output by 16% by the end of his second term, should he get one, compared to a Hillary Clinton administration. Such a shift could prove key in not only pushing the world towards dangerous climate change but also dissuading other nations from making the required cuts in emissions.
One of those dissuaded nations could be Canada. The Petro-pols on both sides of the floor of the House of Commons probably aren't going to be very supportive of measures to slash greenhouse gas emissions in Canada if AmeriKa doesn't lead the way. Trudeau has always been well behind Obama on climate change and it's hard to imagine he won't stay safely behind Trump also.
It was last December in Paris that Hans Joachim Schellnhuber warned that mankind's only chance to avert catastrophic, runaway global warming hinged on the willingness of government leaders globally to implement an "induced implosion" of the fossil energy industry. That option is off the table now and perhaps for years to come.
The big unknown in climate science is the most dangerous part - the issue of how much time we have left to change course, to really slash emissions, to abandon fossil fuel and transition to alternative, clean energy. There is some consensus that we have perhaps no later than 2020 to begin implementing major GHG emissions reductions.
Trump represents time squandered that we probably don't have to waste.