Victoria Herrmann is the Managing Director of The Arctic Institute and a National Geographic Explorer. She is attending the 22nd UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco as an Official Observer.
By Victoria Herrmann on November 15, 2016
There is a taboo word at this year’s 22nd UN climate change summit: Trump.
The president-elect is omnipresent in Marrakesh. You can feel him lurking behind talks on low-carbon economies and in the cracks between climate-induced loss and damage. He’s never directly addressed, but he’s always in the room.
You can tell from the anxiety in people’s voices and their disapproving headshakes, heavy with concern for what the future for action on climate change holds. With a climate skeptic transitioning the EPA and Donald Trump in the White House for the next four or eight year, there is an intense fear of failure to act quickly and strongly enough to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, the accepted safe temperature rise before catastrophic consequences.
That fear is valid.
But maybe this is why the word Trump has become taboo in Marrakesh. We don’t have time to waste talking about the possibility of future failures. Climate change is moving too fast for that.
And so we need to do more than lament the loss of a great climate leader as our president. We need to act.