THE BLOG
11/22/2016 01:42 pm ET Updated Nov 23, 2017

Climate Change: 'This Is Bigger Than One Person, One President.'

One week after America elected a climate change skeptic as its next president, John Kerry the outgoing Secretary of State stressed that the US is still trying to Trump-proof the Paris climate pact.

"This is bigger than one person, one president. We have to figure out how we're going to stop this."

In an emotional plea which received a standing ovation at last week's UN climate talks in Marrakech, he asked Donald Trump:

"On behalf of billions of people around the world, do your own due diligence before making irrevocable choices. No-one has the right to make decisions that affect billions of people based solely on ideology.

The question now is not whether we will transition to a clean energy economy. But, whether we will make the transition in time ... to prevent catastrophic damage."

He added: "Time is not on our side."

His comments came after the EU, China, India and oil rich Russia
and Saudi Arabia, all urged the president-elect to honor the agreement:

"The US is very important for the climate process. But at the same time we need to recognise that the climate issue is a global issue. And, this process is resilient enough to move forward," said a Saudi delegate.

Echoing their calls, over 360 big businesses including HP, Kellogg and Nike all reaffirmed their commitment to the deal.

The news came as scientists warned that 2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record. That means that 16 out of the 17 warmest years in history have all taken place this century. The World Meteorological Organization described the findings as "very alarming."

Given the gravity of the situation, the EU gave Trump a thinly veiled warning last week: the U.S. risks an international backlash if it pulls out of the pact.

The Paris accord is the end product of nearly 20 years of UN climate negotiations. In the past, rich and poor nations clashed over who should make the bulk of the cuts. But, last December, as the science grew ever more frightening, nearly 200 countries signed up to rein in their carbon emissions.

Their aim: to keep world temperatures below the 2 degrees Celsius mark, with further ambitions to stay below 1.5C.

And, whilst that may not sound like much, according to the World Bank, 2C is enough to push millions of people into poverty as basic resources such as food and water slip out of reach.

Forget battles over oil: the future will be marked by bloodshed over water.

That's why last year's Paris pact was hailed as such a "historic" victory. And, when it came into effect earlier this month, the world could finally release a long sigh of relief.

However, 4 days later, Trump shook the world to its very core when he won the White House. And, his stance on global warming, which he describes as "very expensive bullshit", can be summed up by one simple tweet: it's a big hoax cooked up the Chinese to sabotage American manufacturing.

Last Wednesday, China had to remind Trump that the climate talks were in fact "initiated by the IPCC" together with his Republican Party "during the Reagan" era.

Beijing urged the president-elect to make the "smart decision".

Alas, the fate of our climate has never looked so bleak.

Since winning the election, the former reality TV star has only filled his cabinet with one climate change sceptic after another. And, according to one Trump transition source, he is exploring all options to tear up the Paris pact.

And, he has 3 destructive options to choose from.

Firstly, he could simply pull out of the accord. According to the agreement however, no nation can exit the treaty for a period of 3 years, plus a year-long notice period.

Secondly, Trump could withdraw from the accord's parent treaty: the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. That will only take one year.

Thirdly, he could just ignore the accord, and; scrap Obama's signature plan to curb emissions from America's power stations; give the green light to highly polluting projects such as the Keystone Pipeline; and, he could drill, dig and pollute whilst Big Oil, Gas and Coal all smack their lips as they toast one multibillion dollar deal after another.

So much for "Draining That Swamp."

Alternatively, Trump could truly 'Make America Great Again'.

He could put large swathes of the country back to work by firing up the clean energy sector. They could all earn a respectable living by building wind farms, solar panels and batteries which are now not only cheaper than dirty fossil fuels, but less prey to price fluctuations.

Not only will this bring manufacturing squarely back to the U.S., but it will also create an infinite number of jobs, whilst fulfilling Trump's campaign pledge for "complete American energy independence," from the "oil cartels."

He could even line that Mexican Wall of his with solar panels.

But, if Trump disengages, and turns his back on the world, he will hand "the next industrial revolution lock, stock and barrel to the Chinese".

Moreover, it would be such "a highly provocative move, it would escalate non-cooperation to the highest level possible," warns climate law expert Farhana Yamin. So, if Trump does indeed go rogue, the U.S. risks becoming an international pariah, sparking a domino effect which may sour all of its other global aspirations.

Whether that will be enough to tame the mercurial Donald Trump remains to be seen. One can but hope that America's next tweeter-in-chief will heed, otherwise he will be remembered as "the man who killed the world's last, best chance" to save our climate.

Perhaps, he can find some wisdom in the words of his predecessor Barack Obama:

"The question for me, over the course of my Presidency, has always been, How do I strengthen the better angels of our nature?"