Wednesday

26th Apr 2017

UN's former climate chief 'not worried' about Trump

A former top climate official of the United Nations told EUobserver on Wednesday (14 December) she is “not worried” about climate-sceptic Donald Trump's election as president of the United States.

“I can't lie to you and say I am exuberant about this, but I am also not worried,” said Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the body which hosts international talks on climate change, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Figueres played a key part in the negotiations leading to the signing of the first-ever global agreement on climate change last year in Paris.

During the election campaign, Trump said he would “cancel” the deal, although he recently noted he would keep an “open mind” towards fighting climate change.

Following his electoral win, the business tycoon announced he would appoint several known climate-sceptics and defenders of the fossil fuel industry to high positions.

But Figueres said not to worry.

“Because, first of all there are so many countries that will continue to work. That is exactly what we heard in Marrakesh,” she said, referring to the Paris follow-up summit in Morrocco, last month.

She noted that a group of 47 developing countries - “not even developed, developing countries!” - have committed to having 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources.

“The reactions that I am hearing is: we are getting to a point where we can no longer afford as a global community to either delay or to slow down. I'm hearing many, many voices that people are actually accelerating,” said Figueres.

Figueres spoke to EUobserver and three other journalists in the Berlaymont building of the European Commission, sitting next to Energy Union commissioner Maros Sefcovic.

She is involved in a project he is coordinating with former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, which brings together mayors from all over the world to work together on fighting climate change.

Figueres, who quit her post as UNFCCC chief in July this year, has become an informal ambassador for the project, called the Global Covenant of Mayors.

Both Sefcovic and Figueres pointed out the importance of city governments in reducing greenhouse gases - they are said to be responsible for 70 percent of all global warming gases.

And those cities, along with states, corporations and financial institutions “will continue” to reduce greenhouse gases, Figueres said.

“They are not doing this because they are goody-two-shoes, or because they want to save the planet, or any of those, you know, la-la arguments.

“They are doing it because they know it is good for their economy. And they know that we are irrevocably moving toward a decarbonised global economy, and if they want to continue to participate in that global economy, this is what they have to do,” said Figueres.

“The fact is that the United States will continue to work on climate change and will continue to pursue many of its climate change goals because the United states, like many other countries, doesn't work only through the White House or only through the federal government.”

Agenda

Climate change and EU cheerleading, This WEEK

The European Parliament will try this week to give the EU a good name, with votes and debates on issues where conventional wisdom says that citizens expect results.

EU and 195 countries adopt Paris climate accord

Deal cements new bottom-up approach which involves pledges by every UN state to reduce greenhouse emissions, as well as a review mechanism to jack up ambition every five years.

Column / Crude World

Nord Stream 2: The elephant in the room

The European Commission should provide a thorough impact assessment of Nord Stream 2, a project that appears to go against all of its Energy Union objectives.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament moves to lift Le Pen's immunity
  2. EU Commission launches probe into Hungary's university law
  3. Scots slowly losing appetite for independence - poll
  4. Council of Europe puts Turkey on watch list
  5. EU to put parental leave on political agenda
  6. Israel cancels German meeting over human rights groups
  7. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  8. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children

Latest News

  1. Brexit is about Europe's future as well
  2. Power struggle in Greenland: Three reasons why the EU should care
  3. Nordic and Baltic countries step up digitalisation efforts
  4. European states still top media freedom list
  5. Let’s not put European public health at risk
  6. Threatened Budapest university calls for EU support
  7. Orban set to face down EU threats
  8. Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU