When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

eyes on the U.S.

Spotlight: Climate Change Under Donald Trump

New head of Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt
New head of Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt

Earlier today, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump picked Scott Pruitt, attorney general of Oklahoma, as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt, a New York Times investigation once revealed, has previously sent letters to government agencies that were actually drafted by energy-industry lobbyists. He has also legally challenged the Obama administration's regulation of fossil fuels. Trump's choice for the EPA is hardly unusual. As The Washington Post notes, he is the third of Trump's appointees to "have key philosophical differences with the missions of the agencies they have been tapped to run."

While many are worried about the global implications of having a U.S. president who has expressed "doubts' about humanity's role in global warming, others believe it might, and should, elicit the right reactions from other countries to make a difference. "Trump's victory is, paradoxically, great news for climate change: It will force the rest of the world to focus on technical progress and not on a fragile, unlikely and inefficient international coordination," economist Jacques Delpla writes in French business daily Les Échos.

Denouncing the "precarious naivety" of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the absence of any sanctions against transgressors in last year's Paris Agreement, Delpla argues that Trump's stance on climate change "forces us to acknowledge that climate Malthusianism is a dead end." That, he says, leaves us with only one strategy — to "find and develop technologies and radical innovations that will bring down the cost of clean energies below that of dirty energies." Delpla calls for a global equivalent of the Manhattan Project, a program that allowed the U.S. to develop its first nuclear weapons during World War II. He says this could be done at a minimum investment — an extra 1% of GDP that could be financed by a higher tax on carbon which would, in turn, create an incentive for innovation.

As for the world's poorer countries who often have no choice but to rely on polluting energies for their development, Delpla says they should be given free access to these technologies and innovations in exchange for access to their clean-energy markets. "As far as the climate is concerned, intelligence and price mechanism are more efficient than a naive and inefficient international Malthusian coordination," he says. The only question is, who will now take the lead?

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest