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.