Trump’s return threatens climate progress, study reveals

New analysis warns that a second Trump term could unleash 4 billion more tons of CO2 by 2030, derailing global efforts to combat climate change.

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A recent Carbon Brief analysis has sent shockwaves through the environmental community, revealing that Donald Trump’s re-election could significantly exacerbate global warming. According to the study, a second Trump term might result in an additional 4 billion tons of CO2 emissions by 2030, equating to the combined annual emissions of the European Union and Japan.

Cumulative increase in US emissions, GtCO2e, under the “Trump” scenario relative to the “Biden” scenario, assuming no further policy changes beyond rolling back the IRA and key Biden administration climate rules. The range corresponds to results from six different models and uncertainty around economic growth, as well as the costs for low-carbon technologies and fossil fuels. Source: Carbon Brief analysis of modelling in Bistline et al. (2023) and Rhodium Group (Taking stock 2023). Chart by Carbon Brief.

The comprehensive study contrasts the climate policies of the Biden administration with Trump’s proposed agenda for a second term. Analysts warn that Trump’s plans to dismantle Biden’s environmental initiatives could undo years of progress in emissions reduction.

Carbon Brief’s methodology involved synthesizing research from multiple U.S. research groups, focusing on the potential rollback of key Biden-era policies like the Inflation Reduction Act. “The study’s findings highlight the stark difference in climate priorities between the two administrations,” notes the analysis.

Despite some controversial decisions, such as the approval of the Willow oil project, Biden’s policies have made strides in combating climate change. The study emphasizes the critical impact of these initiatives on curbing emissions, stressing the catastrophic consequences of their potential reversal.

The projected increase in CO2 emissions under Trump’s leadership could lead to $900 billion in climate damages. “This figure might even underestimate the true cost, given Trump’s ‘drill, baby, drill’ stance, which was excluded from our initial analysis,” the study suggests, pointing to the broader implications of increased fossil fuel extraction.

The analysis raises concerns about exceeding the 1.5°C global warming limit, with a significant risk of breaching the 2°C threshold. “Such temperature increases would have dire consequences for our planet’s climate equilibrium,” the report states.

Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among others, have voiced their concerns, echoing the study’s warnings about the climate dangers of a Trump comeback. “A second Trump term would mean we lose the fight against climate change,” Sanders tweeted, highlighting the urgency of the situation.

The potential rollback of U.S. climate commitments under Trump could undermine international efforts to combat global warming, threatening the goals set by the Paris Agreement. “The global fight against climate change hinges on strong leadership and commitment, particularly from major emitters like the U.S.,” the analysis underscores.

The Carbon Brief study serves as a crucial reminder of the high stakes involved in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, with significant implications for the global climate agenda. “Every vote in the next election is a vote for the future of our planet,” the report concludes, urging voters to consider the environmental consequences of their choices.

As discussions around the study’s findings continue, the message is clear: sustained and aggressive action is needed to combat climate change, and political leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping the world’s environmental future.

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Ruth Milka started as an intern for NationofChange in 2015. Known for her thoughtful and thorough approach, Ruth is committed to shedding light on the intersection of environmental issues and their impact on human communities. Her reporting consistently highlights the urgency of environmental challenges while emphasizing the human stories at the heart of these issues. Ruth’s work is driven by a passion for truth and a dedication to informing the public about critical global matters concerning the environment and human rights.

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