Keywords: Trump, Paris Agreement, Climate Change, Sustainability, Clean Energy
EGADE Business School faculty shared their points of view on the announcement by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, regarding his country’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord on climate change, on June 1.
They find it regrettable that the decision of the President of the United States on the Paris Accord comes at a time when the climate challenge is also opening new opportunities for societies to grow and prosper.
They question whether Trump is pulling his country out of the pact as a measure to protect US jobs.
Pulling out of a historic agreement
Dr. Consuelo García de la Torre, EGADE Business School professor, recalled the signing of the Paris Accord as a moment of great celebration, in which the United States clearly and resoundingly defined its position with the decision to reverse the effects caused by that country, resulting from an unsustainable economic, industrial and social development.
“At the 2015 meeting, member country leaders agreed to join forces to work together for a better world in relation to climate change. They progressed in leaps and bounds and with significant optimism on the part of all the actors: governments, enterprise, institutions and civil society,” commented the School’s representative to the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), an initiative of the UN Global Compact and business schools from all over the world, whose mission is to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of this international organization.
The professor found it regrettable that the decision of the President of the United States on the Paris Accord comes at a time when the climate challenge is also opening new opportunities for societies to grow and prosper.
“Climate change has begun to affect all the regions of the world and sectors of society, threatening global development and undermining the foundations of global markets, but the advancement of low-carbon, highly resilient economies through innovation, ambition and collaboration in climate change favors the necessary prosperity that should be the outcome for developed and developing nations,” concluded Dr. García de la Torre.
The global agreement can still be saved
In this regard, Dr. Luli Pesqueira, a professor at EGADE Business School, Mexico City, commented that the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Accord denies the progress achieved in terms of global governance, in other words, of fashioning collaborative global agreements that set specific greenhouse gas reduction goals for each country.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that United States’ exit from the Paris agreements could take up to four years to complete, which means that the final decision could be in the hands of American voters in the next presidential election, according to Dr. Pesqueira. “I’m optimistic about the likelihood that the players, especially private enterprise and civil society organizations, who are already striving to create a low-carbon economy through investment and promotion of renewable energies, will carry on working to strengthen this sector. Companies such as Amazon, General Motors, Google and Microsoft have made key public commitments to buying or generating their own renewable energies,” she explained.
This situation opens the opportunity for civil society and the private sector to join forces and demonstrate that, though important, government participation in the collective action for emission reduction and energy transition, is not indispensable.
Trump’s real reasons
Dr. Osmar Zavaleta Vázquez, professor and National Director of the Energy Management Programs of EGADE Business School, question whether Trump is pulling his country out of the climate pact as a measure to protect US jobs.
“Trump seems to believe that defending the generation of electricity in coal-fired power plants will guarantee workers’ jobs in the states with this vocation, to mention an industry that is actually one of the worst polluters.
“However, the reduction in costs of the technology required to generate electricity from solar or wind power has made it possible to increase the number of jobs in this industry considerably. In fact, participating in this activity is becoming a truly profitable business, for developers and consumers alike, as well as having a positive environmental impact,” he said.
Dr. Zavaleta Vázquez believes that the reason for Trump’s decision on the Paris Accord is that the US leader is trying to “repay” those who supported him in his electoral campaign.
“This shouldn’t come as a surprise given the power and lobbying capacity enjoyed by many business groups in the United States, in particular those that underestimate their country’s contribution to pollution emissions,” he added.
The professor recalled that on signing the Paris Accord, the United States promised a 26% to 28% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 in relation to 2005 levels.
“It is scientifically proven that global warming exists as a result of excessive atmospheric pollution emissions, which is causing longer drought seasons, warm winters in places where this was unheard of, and intense heat in what used to be temperate zones,” he concluded, in relation to the information that Trump does not believe in climate change.
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