US President Donald Trump has shocked the world once more by declaring his country’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. However, a Canadian responsible investment leader is confident that the move won’t change anything.
“Over the long term, if other players remain steadfast, Trump is irrelevant,” said Robert Walker, vice president of ESG services and ethical funds for NEI Investments
, in a statement. “Other major countries, including China, India and the EU vow to remain loyal to the Paris Agreement.”
Under the Paris Agreement, participating countries have agreed to slash carbon emissions down to 2%-28% of 2005 levels by 2025 — a reduction of about 1.6 billion tons. Trump has claimed that the accord disadvantaged US businesses and taxpayers “to the exclusive benefit of other countries.”
Walked noted that California and New York, two US state economies that are larger than the vast majority of Paris signatories, have promised to continue climate-risk action even without federal support.
Various news outlets have also reported that the state of Washington, as well as mayors of 61 US cities, have similarly pledged to uphold the Paris accords.
According to Walker, leaders of major companies worldwide have also committed to continue their support for Paris and action against climate-change risk. NEI investments also cited unwavering commitment from the world’s investment institutions.
Within the energy industry, the scales are tipping toward more environmentally friendly operations. At Exxon Mobil, the world’s premier oil and gas company, 62% of investors have expressed support for climate strategy. The Department of Energy in the US has reported a 25% increase in the solar workforce in 2016, as well as a 32% rise in wind employment. New green technologies cheaper than coal are also set to supplant oil and gas.
“There are larger economic forces at work here,” Walker said. “For example, compare 160,000 US jobs in coal to the nearly 500,000 in solar and wind, which only have around 10% market penetration, and you get the idea.”
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