USA, China and climate change

8 November 2019

It is an expected move by the United States which, though US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has officially informed the United Nations of the exit from the climate agreement in Paris decided by Donald Trump in 2017.

A piece of news that comes close to the signing of the new bilateral Franco-Chinese agreement which instead foresees China’s “irreversible” commitment to respect the Paris document.

A sort of reversal of historical balance, one might think. Still Matteo Mura Scientific Director of the Global MBA in Green Energy and Sustainable Businesses, invites reflection on three aspects: “The news of Trump’s disengagement from climate agreements is decidedly negative (the USA accounts for 15% of global CO2 emissions – says Mura – but let’s not forget that during the Obama administration there was a big push towards renewable energies, and the sector already weighs twice as much compared to fossil fuel production “. It is therefore difficult to stop the growth of such a dynamic production sector.

But there are other internal thrusts go against the decisions of Trump, such as we are still in, a coalition of cities, states, universities, companies, American associations that since 2017 have taken a stand against the exit from climate agreements. “It is challenging for Trump’s denial policies to really take hold of the American economic fabric, beyond some lobbies – Mura continues – and international observers agree that they are limiting choices for the future of the US economy, destined to lose ground in a now very oriented global competition ”.

And China? Already in 2016, the Asian giant launched a five-year plan that provides for a drastic change of course compared to the past: the abandonment of fossil fuels and significant investments in the energy transition are already underway, and will be consolidated in the future. “The Chinese government realized that it was losing the consensus of a people exhausted by unsustainable levels of pollution – continues Mura – and that the social repercussions were about to escape from its control. Furthermore, it is clear to everyone that at the international level, this type of economy will represent an essential driver of development and that one cannot stay out of this sector “.

Italy in this area can do a lot: “The green companies of our country from an incremental point of view grow more than the European average – concludes Mura – and on patents and eco-innovations we have an excellent Eco-Innovation Index score. Both on a large scale (Enel and Erg, for example) and the medium and small, some of our companies are setting the course, and are making environmental sustainability a right synonym of Made in Italy “.

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