Scientists have measured the concentration of carbon dioxide at 400 parts per million throughout an entire year. This is the highest it has been since human beings have been in existence. This is not an opinion. This is measured scientific fact. Donald has decided that to ignore the facts. He doesn't care. True to form all that matters is what is in Donald's interest this morning and the rest of the planet can go hang.
The question that interests me now is what we can rescue from this dangerous setback. There is not much point in hoping that the Donald will change his mind and tell us that he didn't really mean it and he is going to implement Paris. He and his advisors are very determined people and they are going to do everything in their considerable power to undermine that agreement and propagandise against it.
We therefore have to operate under the assumption that the US will be fracking, mining in protected areas, removing environmental subsidies and going all out to help the oil industry. If we are trying to find the remotest grounds for optimism we have to look elsewhere.
As it happens you don't actually have to look too hard. Even within the states the movement towards green energy is going to continue to be significant. Trump and his friends don't control every state. Indeed they don't control many of the large emission states. California and New York are not under their control and states like them are going to carry on incentivising green energy, encouraging energy conservation and investing in alternative technology. In the US University sector there are a plethora of research projects already underway, many of which are coming up with very promising results. That won't stop overnight. Nor will the efforts of the US private sector to make money out of developing and selling that technology. There are a raft of very clever alternative technologies coming through and increasingly proving competitive. That is going to increase as many of these technologies have now reached the tipping point where they can compete in the market place with old fashioned heavy oil driven approaches. They would have got developed quicker and implemented more rapidly with US federal government support but those technologies aren't going to stop coming through or stop being more efficient. Trump's victory may leave the US a little further behind the competition but it won't stop the inevitable.
Internationally the two most important considerations are what the Chinese do and what the developing countries do. China could decide that if the US is pulling out of joint agreements that it will do so too. That really might be game over for a stable future. It is, however, more than likely that they won't take this approach. China didn't become a convert to climate change because it suddenly developed a desire to be nice to the rest of the world. It did so because it is now in the solid self interest of most Chinese people to deal with the horrible air pollution in its cities. Many of the children of the leaders of the Chinese communist party have illnesses linked to breathing problems caused by the toxic air that pervades the cities in which they live. That is not something Chinese leaders wish to ignore. The only way of tackling this is to control emissions from cars and factories and plant forests. Why would they stop doing this just because Donald Trump is President?
China is also a country that believes in state planning and a guided free market. The fastest growing economy of the past 30 years used a mixed economy and government controls whereas the countries that went all out for uncontrolled free markets saw those markets collapse in 2008 and haven't recovered properly since. Why would China give up on planning for the future? Now that the Chinese have decided to undertake a serious shift in their economy in the direction of greener methods of production and consumption there is every prospect that they will achieve this. There is also every prospect that they will recognise the huge commercial advantage their companies and their country will gain if they continue to develop greener ways of doing business that can be sold across the planet. I expect China to adopt a high moral tone and lecture the US on its failures to implement Paris whilst steadily taking over as world leader in the latest technology.
I also expect countries that are currently in the process of developing to continue to invest in alternative ways of doing business. Very few countries in Africa bothered to implement land phone lines because mobiles did the job better. Why would any country in Africa invest large quantities of its limited resources in oil pipelines and heavy generating methods when they can put solar panels into every village and get the country electrified that way.
The technological change to an oil and gas free economy is going to continue regardless of Trump. The damage he will do will be to alter the pace of that change and to create an ideological atmosphere in which it is harder to achieve this as rapidly as we need. One of the most negative aspects of this will be that he will frack enough gas out of the ground to put the price of the old technology down and thus to provide the private sector with fewer incentives to make the changeover rapidly.
It might therefore be wise to expect a long period of low oil and gas prices. Even this could be turned in to a positive. Firstly it cuts the revenue going to unpleasant governments like Saudi Arabia and Russia. Secondly it creates the potential for governments to keep the oil and gas price at current levels by raising taxes on fossil fuels. This really could provide an easy way of coming up with the legendary £300 million a week extra for the NHS. A clear commitment to raise taxes to keep oil and gas at current prices and even out market variations would also be extremely helpful anyone investing in switching over to the next generation of technology and could help finance the science, research and investment we need to get the UK back to having enough modern sustainable industry and commerce to compete successfully in a global world.
Of course for that to happen the UK would have to get rid of its own ideologically blinkered government. That is something that we are quite capable of doing if a coherent progressive alliance takes on deeply divided Conservative and UKIP parties. But it will not come about without a lot of hard work and determination. Which sounds to me like much the best way of setting about fighting Trump and all he stands for effectively.