A Good Piece of Climate Change News
As a follow-up to last year’s historic Paris Accords, President Francois Hollande of France has announced that all coal plants within his country will close their doors by 2023.
Since three-quarters of France runs on nuclear power, ending coal production there isn’t a major piece of climate change news. However, the announcement was more a warning to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump that no one can undo the Paris Accords.
Francois Hollande called it an “irreversible” contract that must be honored by all countries, including the United States. (Source: “Marrakech Climate Change Conference – November 2016,” United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, last accessed November 28, 2016.)
Donald Trump has denied the existence of man-made climate change several times, most noticeably when he wrote, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” (Source: “Twitter post,” Donald J. Trump Twitter account, November 6, 2012, 1:15 a.m.)
Trump’s skepticism poses a challenge for other world leaders. The Paris Accords were historic because they were designed around trust. Each of the 175 states that signed on had committed to a monitoring system to keep global warming below the two-degree threshold.
If any of them reneged on those promises, others would surely follow. Because of the size and scale of the U.S. economy, it is particularly important that President Trump not undermine the deal, a point that Hollande seemed to make repeatedly.
France has been leading the charge against global warming. In the spring of this year, they formalized their goals with an energy transition roadmap.
By autumn, a law was passed banning the use of traditional plastic in disposable dishware. It should be in effect by 2020.
But France isn’t the only country making climate change news. Britain also wants to close its remaining coal plants by 2025, Germany wants to cut up to 95% of its greenhouse emissions by 2050, and other countries across the world are rolling out countless other programs to address climate change.
With these countries moving towards renewable tech, Trump’s view may not matter at all.
Coal prices are likely to rise as the produced supply shrinks, making it an expensive option. By contrast, solar energy has become much cheaper. This is one of the least covered pieces of climate change news, but it is incredibly important.
At this juncture in history, free markets are fully primed for renewable energy sources. So even if Francois Hollande’s overtures to Donald Trump fall flat, there is still hope in the fight against climate change.