Trump walks, Europe and China bond on climate

At The Australian:

US President Donald Trump has decided to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, Axios news outlet reports, citing two unidentified sources with direct knowledge of the decision.

Trump refused to endorse the landmark climate change accord at a summit of the G7 group of wealthy nations on Saturday, saying he needed more time to decide. He then tweeted that he would make an announcement this week.

But at the FT:

China and the EU have forged a green alliance to combat climate change and counteract any retreat from international action by Donald Trump. In a stark realignment of forces, documents seen by the Financial Times show that Beijing and Brussels have agreed to measures to accelerate what they call the “irreversible” shift away from fossil fuels and the “historic achievement” of the Paris climate accord. Their collaboration is to be revealed on Friday at a summit of EU leaders with China’s Premier Li Keqiang in the same week that Mr Trump has said he will end months of indecision over whether to pull the US out of the Paris agreement.

The US will decarbonise anyway. Markets will make it happen now. Climate change mitigation is irreversible as risk is priced and renewable tech overwhelms fossil fuel rent-seekers:

The Trump position is a waste of good oxygen.

Comments

  1. Simón Bolívar

    Trump is using his executive powers along with Republican control of both houses to pass a swathe of anti-renewable legislation. People are always focusing on Trump and forgetting the real danger – the Republicans in both houses.

    They are imposing tariffs on solar cells in a direct attempt to shut down Tesla and other green techs. They have passed numbers laws opening up coal to massive increases in low cost production (clean waters act allowing coal users and miners to simply pour their spill straight into the rivers), the oil and fracking is going into overdrive and I suspect will get massive government funding.

    The market will NOT save the US energy markets, and hence wider economy. While US companies are screaming at the exec to change course they are not handing over the money to do it.

    The market may well speak eventually but, like global warming, the market is extremely inefficient and hence why regulation is needed as the markets will only react when it is far too late.

    The US is going to do great harm to itself before it corrects itself – and since the United States current wealth and power is based upon an historical anomaly of technical and resource advantage amplified by the two great wars of the 20th century if it were to lose its market dominance there is absolutely no way it would be able to reclaim it in a post colonial globalised internet era.

    I have always believed that there is a great possibility that the US would be the lone wolf on climate change action and that the world would be forced to go it alone. The really scary thing is that this allows the rest of the planet to bring in laws to address fossil fuels which the US would never agree to, on their own terms – and at the same time simply place sanctions on the US for not doing so.

    The power of this lies in creating HUGE market opportunities for the EU and China.

    This is the moment the entire planet has been waiting for and is behind Merkels remarks. It only takes one second of thinking to realise the immense opportunity here and why Europe and China will take it.

    They are BOTH sick and tired of the military approach (neo-colonialism) of the anglosphere between the UK and the US – bombing and killing everyone and stealing resources. They are sick of being dominated by unfair trade blocks, institutionalised bias on a global scale etc, etc, etc – reset the planet on an equal footing – done.

    If America is left in the cold – it could be the most important moment in modern history.

    .

    • I think you underestimate the partnership and overestimate the good nature of the rest of the global population. Just because the US have the means to do what they do does not mean anyone else would not act in the same way if they would have the resources. See Russia’s campaign in Syria and China’s campaign in the South China Sea.

      What will likely happen is that Europe will stop relying on the US and become a fully fledged superpower in between US and China.

      China and EU could be close allies, as long as China moves to a more human rights based system. It can not be underestimated how important this is for Europeans.

      • Yes, because Europe has such a history of respect for human rights.

        Ask any current or former colony.

    • @Joel – No, because Europe didn’t respect / have human rights.

      The Dark Ages, Slavery, Colonialism, Nazism.. those experiences are exactly why human rights are now highly valued.

    • – I am not too convinced the future for coal is bleak. It all depends what developments natural gas will experience in the next years.
      – But also conisder what a(n) (severe) economic downturn would mean for carbon emissions ………..

      • Technologies surrounding battery energy densities are developing at a fast rate. Over the next five years energy density of batteries will at least match if not better gasoline. That means oil and coal will have a lot short horizon than people think

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        If the future of Coal is NOT bleak then the future of humanity most certainly is.

    • Totally agree. I f the US is going to try and sabotage this their REALLY important companies (tech) will happily move somewhere else.

      What is it with the damn anglosphere? All having a hissy fit because you can no longer simply decide to have the locals undergo 100 lashes to get what you want?

      China needs to play this smartly too. If they clean up their human rights there is nothing the US has to offer over China. Europeans do value human rights and social justice, having endured centuries without, so the US is currently still the preferred partner… but an increasingly erratic one.

      That said, a break down of the Transatlantic Alliance would not be good.

  2. johnl77MEMBER

    The sad thing is, Australia is following the US rather than the much more civilised and sophisticated EU.

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      Yep!
      If you don’y want renewable energy, electric vehicles, and a slim chance of avoiding extreme Cliimate Change ,
      vote LIberal-National Party.
      Have noticed a plethora of ads on commercial TV singing the virtues of Coal.
      I have 2 take aways from this .
      1. the coal industry is fearful of the public embrace of Renewable Energy.
      2. We are being softened up for penalties on renewables.

      • What happens in Australia at a world level isn’t important. As per usual we will drag our heels and finding UTS elves struggling to catch up costing us way more thsn we needed. We will de-carbonise, the Joel’s is moving towards that, we can choose to be at the forefront where the gains are exponential or we can trail and pay the premium to those who developed the technologies. I can’t see much change here for the short term.

  3. It’s not even a speed hump.

    The politicians want credit and praise for what’s already happening. Trump doesn’t give a shit.

  4. Diogenes the CynicMEMBER

    Yes if you are building a new house you could simply delete the gas lines from your plan and the pesky gas supply charge, pop in an induction cooktop (they are better than gas from my experience and way easier to clean), as big a solar array as you can fit/afford, an electric water heater with small element (<2k) and timer so you could heat it off your solar, an optional charger for your future electric car/motorbike and then have space in the garage/store room for the battery when the economics get better. Cut your electricity bill by 50-100% depending upon your usage and your gas bill to zero. Not sure what the $ savings are by not having gas lines to/in the house but they must be a few thousand.

    • Any household solar energy system you devise must meet the demand from 20th to 30th June in southern Australia. That involves significant expense, of the order of AUD100,000 for 2 adults and 2 children. Higher if there are teenage girls, who luxuriate in 20 minute showers. It is getting close to economic now but really needs electricity price around 60c/kWh, which is not far away in South Australia with the gradual escalation of the Renewable Energy Transfer payment.

  5. Modern society runs to a timetable. Intermittent energy sources, at their present state of development, require massive expenditure to supply loads on demand.

    Thermal coal consumption globally will continue to rise well into the next decade. That is guaranteed given the current rate of construction of HELE coal plants around the world.

    If intermittents were in any way near economic there would be no need for subsidies and what would it matter if the USA chose to follow the “high cost” path of using fossil fuels. Germany, China and Japan are all building new coal fired generators. It is the lowest cost option to supply power on demand.

    All of Germany’s expenditure on intermittents has not contributed any measurable amount to reducing their CO2 output:
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/files/2016/03/germany-emissions-e1457969351518.png
    The only hope Germany has of meetings its targets is to completely knobble its heavy industry similar to the madness in South Australia.