Editorial

What does a Paris Agreement departure mean for US energy?

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Trump's expected decision to abandon the Paris Agreement is unsurprising, given pre-election comments on climate change and the broadly pro-fossil fuel agenda of the administration. Without US participation, global greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets would ordinarily be harder to hit.

But decarbonisation — via ever-cheaper renewables, accelerating energy efficiency and waning oil demand growth — is a trend which relies far less on national or international policy than it did during the era of the Kyoto Protocol. Trump's decision to ditch Paris is therefore unlikely to materially alter the prospects for fossil fuel demand growth, either in the US or abroad. The resulting political discord internationally may be greater than the impact on the environment.

Hear more on the implications of the COP21 withdrawal from Andy Roberts, Research Director for Global Thermal Coal Markets, and watch Paul McConnell, Research Director, in an interview with Bloomberg where he shares his thoughts about Trump's decision to exit the Paris Agreement and what this could mean for US energy.

Outside of US energy and fuel demand, what other effects might this decision have? For Frank Yu, Principal Consultant of Asia-Pacific power and renewables, the US departure represents an unprecedented opportunity for China to assume a leadership role in global climate affairs and leaves an opening for Asian countries to receive a greater proportion of renewable investments. Frank expects that this development will lead to closer cooperation between China and the European Union as both parties work to reduce carbon emissions.

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