Johannes Lehmann

We spent the evening of November 8 in a bar in the lively Menara area, in search of some food and CNN election coverage in English 

Climate Shock at the UN Convention in Marrakech

November 10, 2016

Johannes Lehmann

We spent the evening of November 8 in a bar in the lively Menara area, in search of some food and CNN election coverage in English. Opinions about who would win ranged from a clear win for Clinton to jokes about a Trump world. As the evening wore on, the jokes became fewer, and being five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, even the hardiest could not stomach staying awake for the results. Indeed, nothing prepares you for waking up to a Trump world. And all of a sudden, the United Nations climate convention seems on a much shakier footing.

Johannes LehmannJohannes Lehmann, Professor, Soil and Crop Sciences at Cornell University, is a member of Cornell's COP22 delegation (watch his video)

“Why even continue,” one may ask. Without the U.S. backing the Paris agreement now ratified by more than 100 countries just days before the convention started, there may not be any follow-up. The frustration is high here in Marrakech. At the beginning of the week, Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa still said, “No politician or citizen, no business manager or investor, can doubt that the transformation to a low-emission, resilient society and economy is the singular determination of the community of nations.” This may be different now.

But many still share the commitment. The deputy chief negotiator of the Chinese delegation said at a short press conference on Wednesday, “China is taking actions much stronger than before.” And despite the gloom and doom, the agreement and momentum that has by now many champions may move forward and generate benefits for local economies worldwide. Maybe this is an opportunity for leadership by others--and for the United States to fall further behind.

Save

Save