Despite Trump, part of the United States is fighting to honor the climate goals

Donald Trump continues the demolition of environmental regulations inherited from Barack Obama. This does not prevent proponents of the Paris agreement, of which the United States is the only country left, to believe that America will meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The last Butt is about the Obama Administration's stringent 2012 regulations on fuel consumption and the pollution of vehicles on sale in the United States. According to the New York Times, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), led by a friend of fossil fuels, Scott Pruitt, will formally propose to revisit these standards.

This action adds to the construction site launched in the fall by the same EPA to cancel the heavy regulation on power plants, the Clean Power Plan. Already attacked in court, this plan, a pillar of Barack Obama's climate policy, was to apply in 2022 and would have pushed for the closure of many polluting coal plants. The Trump administration wants to bury it for good.

These and other regulations were the bricks of Barack Obama's commitment in 2015 to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions. The objective then set, compared to that of the European Union, was already very modest. Without these tools, he is clearly in danger.

But America is a decentralized and politically divided country. States like California and New York are ruled by Democrats horrified by the climate vision of the Republican President.

This is why the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, is the latest to have confided his " hope "that the United States reaches its former commitments, despite the hostility of the federal government."

– Difficult to predict –

Twenty of the 50 states, 100 cities and 1,000 companies have already set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to America's Pledge, an initiative launched by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown

 Michal Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy United for Cities and Climate Change, March 22, 2018 in Brussels (Belgium) (AFP - Ludovic MARIN)

Michal Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change March 22, 2018 in Brussels (Belgium) (AFP – Ludovic MARIN)

California alone emits about as much greenhouse gas emissions as France, and has set reduction targets as well. ambitious that the European Union by 2030 (-40% compared to 1990).

But the big question is whether these jurisdictions, as voluntarist as they may be, will be able to completely replace the Federal State

"I would not say it is impossible, but it is unlikely that the United States can do it without federal action," says Marc Hafstead, an economist at the Resources for the Future Institute, AFP

According to America's Pledge, the states and cities that support the Paris Agreement represent only 35% of the country's emissions. The biggest polluter of the country, Texas, is not one of them.

The non-federal jurisdictions could only achieve half of the original goal, estimated last September the NewClimate Institute. [19659002] A more precise figure will be published by America's Pledge in September at the World Summit for Climate Action held in San Francisco.

 California Governor Jerry Brown, Bonn, Germany, November 11, 2017 at COP23 (AFP / Archives - PATRIK STOLLARZ)

California Governor Jerry Brown, in Bonn, Germany, November 11, 2017 at COP23 (AFP / Archives – PATRIK STOLLARZ)

For now, warns Michelle Manion, one of the chief economists writing this report, "if we look only at the commitments of states and cities, we will not reach the goal."

"We are going in the right direction, but I can not tell you where we will be in 2025, "says the W economist orld Resources Institute at AFP, warning that technological innovations could completely change the game.

Nobody imagined, ten years ago, that natural gas prices would fall as much as they have done, she recalls. Or that the cost of solar panels would fall by 70% in seven years.

What matters, according to her, is that states continue to encourage the transition to a low-carbon economy, whether through the installation of electric charging stations or by new building standards.

The case of environmental standards for vehicles, which the Trump administration wants to soften, is a good example, she says. If California and the ten states in the north-east of the country, which account for some 40% of the light-duty vehicle market, continue to impose their own stringent regulations, it is likely that car manufacturers will resign themselves to keeping standards higher, instead of creating two types of cars for the American market.

The United States can achieve the goals set by the Paris Agreement, according to the UN

Who believed it? The United States are on track to achieve the goals set by the Paris Climate Agreement said the Secretary General of the UN ]. And despite the June 2017 decision of the US President to withdraw from this agreement. Antonio Guterres announced the good news to the press on March 29, 2018. "There are hopes that regardless of the government's position, the United States could be able to meet the commitments made in Paris as that country ".

US heavyweights committed to the climate

At the time of the Obama administration, the United States pledged to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases from 26% to 28% by 2025 (compared to 2005). In June 2017, Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement sparked an international outcry as well as in his country. Cities, companies, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders in American society have responded and launched the movement " We are still in" "we are still here ". Heavyweights like Tesla Facebook Allianz pledged to honor the objectives decreed in the French capital. They announce today represent 127 million Americans and more than 6 billion euros of the economy of the country.

"We have observed in the cities, and we have seen in many states a very strong commitment to the Paris Agreement, so that some indications are even moving in a better direction than was the case recently. "," said Mr. Guterres. He did not, however, give more figures. The Paris Agreement on the climate was the culmination of COP21 in December 2015. After intense negotiations, nearly 200 countries and organizations had agreed to reduce their carbon emissions. The goal was not to exceed an increase in the average temperature of the planet of 2 ° C compared to pre-industrial levels.

President Turning Back

The UN boss warned, however, that greater efforts were needed to achieve this goal in 2020. Climate change is "the most systemic threat to the species ", he warned, adding that recent data on extreme weather events have shown that " 2017 was (a year) full of climate chaos ". A warning that will probably remain a dead letter to the White House: according to an article of New York Times the Trump administration is preparing to make a gesture in favor of the automobile industry in terms of regulation. The New York daily reported the anonymous testimony of a spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to her, the administration Trump intends to relax the regulation of gas emissions and diesel savings.

In June 2017, the US president justified his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement by calling it "19459010" "bad agreement" for the country's economy. If some hope that his versatility will make him reconsider his decision, the effective exit of the United States is not for now. A signatory may notify his departure only "at the expiration of three years from the date of entry into force of this Agreement" specifies Article 28 of the text . He must then wait another year before the withdrawal becomes effective. The United States should leave the agreement in November 2020, the full presidential campaign. In the meantime, the UN Secretary-General plans to hold a major summit to take stock of progress in implementing the climate agreement. The presence of the American president is more than uncertain.