Countries at Risk Worry about What President Trump’s “America First” Policy Will Bring to Climate Change

US President Donald Trump has taken a decision to sell energy policies in order to put an end to the regulations that are killing jobs. He believes that this sell will boost the energy industry of the US. However, developing countries all over the world view this climate change policy differently.

Anote Tong, former president of Kiribati says that the “America First” policy has the power to destroy their homes. According to scientists, the speed at which the seas are rising, Kiribati’s big parts will likely get destroyed within a few years. Where Trump sees reversing Obama’s efforts to stop climate change an economy booster, Tong sees a huge threat to his country.

In March, Trump’s executive order for “energy independence” proved a huge blow to the “Clean Power Plan”. This plan was designed to cut pollution that comes from power plants. In Trump’s eyes, he was ending war on coal but the order provided a re-opening for companies to buy federal lands on leases. There’s also word that the White House might drop out from the Paris climate change agreement. Whether the US drops out or not, it is unclear how the country will stick to the commitments. The dropout undercuts the agreement’s aspirational effort of limiting global warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit or 1.5 degrees Celsius.

According to Lidy Nacpil, a Filipino climate activist, if the US backs out of the agreement, even achieving 1.5 degrees Celsius will be difficult. Developing countries wanted 1.5 degrees Celsius to be included in the agreement for damage control in nations that are vulnerable.

Nacpil calls the US’s actions unjust and who wouldn’t when the US has pulled a stunt like this before. According to Saleemul Haq, a Bangladeshi climate researcher, 20 years ago, then President George Bush withdrew his support from Kyoto Protocol for no apparent reason. Due to this, the US is now seen as an obstructionist force that stops international negotiations that are committed to slowing down climate change.

According to Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth International’s former head and a Nigerian activist, US struck a deal that was weak but just their presence in the agreement presented the possibility that things could get better in the future.

Though these activists do not represent any sample of developing countries but their worries are shared by people all over the world. Where everyone was unhappy about Trump’s decision, Energy analysts working with India’s Observer Research Foundation Lydia Powell, believe that the policy would prove good for India. In fact, several policy makers, whom she interacts with, were also happy with the policy. She says that if India burns less coal, the coal regulations will lift some of the weight from this. India continues to increase renewable energy output. If the country continues at a steady rate, it might not need power plants fired by coal for at least ten years. Meanwhile, Tong believes that sooner or later, he will find a solution to protect its country from the rising sea tides.