Leading climate change experts have urged Donald Trump not to turn his back on the biggest global challenge facing mankind, arguing that he can make America great again – and the world safer – by standing up to global warming and embracing the trillion-dollar green tech revolution.
As new data showed that 2016 was the hottest year on record, scientists, government advisers and people closely involved with global climate talks said it would be self-defeating for Trump to pull the US out of the global Paris climate change deal as he has threatened.
Reversing action on climate change would mean the US gets left behind in the fast-growing, trillion-dollar market for clean energy, transport and infrastructure, experts told the Guardian, with one warning that this course of action would instead “make China great again”.
“The best way to make America great again is by owning the clean technologies of the future,” said Michael Liebreich, who has advised the UN and World Economic Forum on energy. “Not only will this create countless well-paid, fulfilling jobs for Americans, but it will also lock in the US’s geopolitical leadership for another generation.”
“I would say to [Trump], if you want to make China great again, you have to stay the course you have promised,” said John Schellnhuber, a climate expert who has advised Angela Merkel, the pope and the EU.
Lord Stern, a former UK government adviser, added: “If you want to make America great again, building modern, clean and smart infrastructure makes tremendous commercial and national sense. In the longer term, the low-carbon growth story is the only growth story on offer. There is no long-term, high-carbon growth story, because destruction of the environment would reverse growth.”
The Guardian interviewed more than a dozen leading global voices on climate change in the run-up to 24 hours of live, uninterrupted digital coverage, which runs from Thursday morning through to Trump’s inauguration on Friday.