The Weather without Trump

Diplomats from around the world have gathered in Bonn, Germany, for two weeks, to talk about how to operationalise the Agreement reached in Paris in Dec 2015. This includes procedures for how to assess the progress made over time, to begin with the status by 2018. Of course the position of president Trump, not yet clarified at the time of closing, was hanging over the heads of all the delegates – but this uncertainty may have brought the delegates closer together and more determined to agree on something doable. According to the main issues ventilated were the global stocktake already hinted at, transparency (or how do we trust each other), and of course funding. The latter remains a contentious issue, further muddied by president Trump’s decision already months before the meeting, to cut further contributions to the so-called Green Climate Fund.

As to the tricky, and so far confusing, Carbon Market complex, the delegates were apparently still in a “brainstorming mode”, so we cannot expect much of guidance until the next meeting at least.

Now we know that president Trump backs out of the Paris Agreement and other forms of climate discussions. This is seen as tragic, catastrophic, senseless etc. But on the positive side experts speculate that his decision may not be all that consequential due to market forces and initiatives among NGOs etc that in practice bypass the official US position – but is so much more in line with the position of everybody else. (This is probably what the delegates felt while working out their conclusions.) Another positive point is that Trump’s decision may de facto reinforce the determination of most everybody else to work all the more towards what seems to be the right thing. This reaction is already  expressed in many places.  – Next stop on the road is in Nov this year, again in Bonn.

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