Deutsche Welle & Sonya Angelica Diehn / Deutsche Welle – 2018-03-12 01:25:08
Macron and Modi Kick-start International Solar Alliance
(March 11, 2018) — The French president has pledged hundreds of millions for solar projects in developing countries at the International Solar Alliance summit in New Delhi. He also took a jibe at Trump for leaving the Paris Agreement.
French President Emmanuel Macron stressed the need for “concrete action” on renewable energy projects at the first meeting of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in New Delhi, co-hosted by France and India.
The ISA, an intergovernmental body established in 2015 on the sidelines of the Paris Climate Change Conference, aims to support sunshine-rich countries in harnessing solar energy at an affordable cost.
Macron, who arrived in India Saturday on a three-day official visit, has pledged an extra â‚¬700 million ($861.5 million) for solar energy projects in developing nations. France had already committed â‚¬300 million in 2015.
The alliance set a target of producing 1 trillion watts of solar power by 2030. So far 61 countries have signed the treaty and 32 have ratified it.
“We need to remove all obstacles and scale up” solar energy production, Macron told the gathering of investors and world leaders from 24 countries, including Australia and Sri Lanka.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose country pledged to fulfill at least 40 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030, said the ISA nations will have to “increase solar in our energy mix.”
“We have to make sure that a better and more cost effective solar technology is available to all,” Modi added. “Promoting its development and use can bring prosperity for all and can help reduce the carbon footprint on Earth.”
Criticism of the US
Macron took a jibe at US President Donald Trump at the summit for his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement.
Without directly mentioning Trump, Macron praised the “solar mamas,” a group of women trained as solar engineers, saying that the women had continued their mission to promote solar energy even after “some countries decided just to leave the floor and leave the Paris Agreement.”
In June last year, Trump withdrew from the Paris climate change agreement, which his predecessor Barack Obama had signed in 2015.
Trump said the deal was too costly for the US, but that he would consider renegotiating what he called a bad deal.
The Paris Agreement is the first climate accord in which all states defined their contributions in the fight against climate change. Under the deal, global warming should be limited to “well below 2 degrees” Celsius, ideally to less than 1.5 degrees compared to the preindustrial era.
Opinion: Trump’s Betrayal of Humankind
Sonya Angelica Diehn / Deutsche Welle
(January 6, 2018) — It’s a blow to emission reduction efforts: Donald Trump has pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement. But climate protection will carry on — there may even be a bright side.
It’s official — Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Even though I’m not surprised, I am still shocked. With this move, the US president has turned his back on the rest of the world — and on future generations of humankind.
The stranger part of the story is that, in pulling out of the Paris Agreement, Trump has also gone against fossil fuel firms, hundreds of major businesses and investors, a large number of Republicans and half of his own cabinet.
With the move, Trump has catered to a small but vocal extreme-right constituency — one that is overrepresented among his cabinet and advisors. In essence, he’s sealed his own fate as isolated — and cemented the decline of the US.
And although this is in fact very bad news for the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there are possible advantages — even for the climate.
Climate Protection Will Carry On
Since the US generates about a fifth of all global greenhouse gas emissions, the country stepping out of the treaty is indeed a blow to efforts to reduce them. According to analyses, America could add around half a degree Celsius to global warming by the end of this century, if it does nothing to reduce emissions.
Half a degree in global climatic terms is a big deal — we’re talking more severe storms, sea level rise and accelerated species extinction among the impacts — not all of them even known.
European Union countries and India — are already taking the lead in showing the way to a clean energy future. Climate protection and the transition to renewable energy will carry on, regardless of the whims of one powerful — though clueless — man.
Making America Weak
In pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement, Trump is not only betraying humankind — he is betraying America. China, India and the EU will take over on developing renewable energies, including benefiting from the jobs and business opportunities this offers.
The US will be left behind; it will be disadvantaged economically in the long run. Pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement makes America weak. And diplomatic fallout will be extensive. Germany has already said that the US is no longer a reliable partner, due among other things to Trump’s stance on climate change.
Free to be ambitious
The Paris Agreement foresees limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Although not everyone knows it, there is broad understanding that unless greenhouse gas emission reductions are dramatically scaled up over the next five to 10 years, we are already on a path to surpass the 1.5 degree goal within a decade or so.
Luckily, the Paris Agreement has a built-in “ambition mechanism” that requires countries to review their targets every five years. If the US had stayed in the Paris Agreement, there was concern that Trump and his fossil fuel cronies would have watered down any such aspirations.
Without the US, other countries are free to ramp up their goals without climate deniers dragging them down. In this context, some argue that the Paris Agreement would actually be stronger if the US did not participate. But none of that makes Trump’s betrayal any less significant. It will stand as a folly throughout the ages.
Sonya Angelica Diehn heads the environment team at Deutsche Welle.
Emmanuel Macron, Europe’s climate hero?
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