Experts who spend their days plotting contingency plans to avert the effects of climate change are now confronted with another weighty scenario: what happens if Donald Trump wins the election.
A dark cloud is hanging over Marrakesh, Morocco, this week as climate experts and world leaders gather for their first major summit since signing a landmark deal in Paris last year to tackle climate change.
The COP 22 climate confab kicks off on Monday — just one day before the U.S. presidential election. And should Americans elect Republican Trump, an avowed climate change skeptic who has pledged to rip up the Paris agreement, experts worry that a slew of global accords could crumble.
“U.S. leadership was critical in getting the Paris agreement across the finish line,” said Elliot Diringer, executive vice president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a think tank focused on the environment. “Many in Marrakesh will be watching very closely for the election outcome.”
There is a near-unanimous agreement within the scientific community in accepting that global warming must be addressed immediately or risk catastrophic effects by 2050. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changefinds that warming temperatures melt polar ice caps, raising sea levels that in turn wash out fresh water supplies, causing droughts and food shortages.
But the Republican presidential nominee has a long history of challenging the science on global warming. Trump has described climate change as a concept concocted by the Chinese government. He has repeatedly referred to it as “bulls***” and “an expensive hoax.”