Trump plays the climate card

Yesterday, Donald Trump confirmed one of his most controversial campaign promises and has withdrawn the US from the Paris Climate Accord but has left the door open for a return under renegotiated terms that recognises that countries that are now the top polluters must play their part and no longer rely on a status as undeveloped countries.

Trump said in his speech at the White House that there will be an immediate ending to the implementation of the nationally agreed target for the US target and additionally there will be no further contributions to the Green Climate Fund. In support of his decision, Trump quoted a study that concluded that the implementation of the Paris commitments agreed by ex-president Obama would have reduced activity in several US industries.

These included Paper down 12%, Cement down 23%, Iron and Steel down 38%, Natural Gas down 31% and Coal down a massive 86%. The consequences would be a $3trillion reduction in GDP, the loss of 6.5million jobs and an annual increase in costs of $7,000 per household. Trump also criticised the terms of the Paris Agreement that allow China to continue to increase emissions until 2030 before embarking on any reduction measures.

For shipping, there is no immediate impact but it can be expected that the US position on carbon reduction in shipping may well be reversed to reflect that new policy. It can also be expected that while the EU and China may push for more commitment from the shipping industry, other countries may prefer to follow the US lead. The first indications of new positions could come at MEPC 71 in July.