Leading scientists say the climate deniers victory could mean game over for the climate and any hope of warding off dangerous global warming
The ripples from a new American president are far-reaching, but never before has the arrival of a White House administration placed the livability of Earth at stake. Beyond his bluster and crude taunts, Donald Trumps climate denialism could prove to be the lasting imprint of his unexpected presidency.
A Trump presidency might be game over for the climate, said Michael Mann, a prominent climate researcher. It might make it impossible to stabilize planetary warming below dangerous levels.
Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, added: This is an unmitigated disaster for the planet.
Trump has vowed to sweep away the climate framework painstakingly built over Barack Obamas two terms. At risk is the Paris climate accord, which only came into force last week, and Obamas linchpin emissions reduction policy, the Clean Power Plan.
At a pivotal moment when the planets nations have belatedly banded together to confront an existential threat, a political novice who calls global warming a bullshit Chinese-invented hoax is taking the helm at the worlds foremost superpower.
Millions of Americans voted for a coal-loving climate denier willing to condemn people around the globe to poverty, famine and death from climate change, said Benjamin Schreiber, climate director at Friends of the Earth US. It seems undeniable that the United States will become a rogue state on climate change.
US conservatives are already rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of a bonfire of regulation. Trump wants the US to exit the Paris deal, which commits nations to keeping the global temperature rise below a 2C threshold, potentially setting off a cataclysmic domino effect where other countries also drop out or ease off efforts to decarbonize. The 2C limit, which was already a stern challenge, now appears perilous.