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9 November 2016

Green leaders fear President Donald Trump will threaten progress on climate change

Caroline Lucas, Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben respond to the prospect of a climate change denier in the White House.

By India Bourke

Environmental leaders around the world have responded to the news of Donald Trump’s election in America with a mix of dismay and fighting resolve.

The Republican President-elect posted one of his most iconic statements on the subject to Twitter in November 2012:

He has since claimed to not be a “believer” in global warming and that he would “cancel” America’s commitment to the Paris climate deal.

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Add to this his preferences for “very, very pure, sweet, beautiful oil”, more drilling, fewer regulations, and an end to federal climate spending  –  and prospects of keeping global emissions within safe limits suddenly seem frighteningly thin.

As news spread of Trump’s victory in Florida, many pointed out the grim irony of the state’s exposure to rising sea-levels:

Eyes will now turn to the U.N Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, where over the next nine days international negotiators will battle to keep the Paris deal on track. Here’s how the world’s environmental politicians, commentators, and scientists have responded to the result so far:


Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and co-leader of the UK Green Party

She also urged solidarity with the targets of Trump’s vicious rhetoric. 


Norbert Roettgen, a senior member of Angela Merkel’s German conservative party and former federal minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Saftey.

Speaking on German radio this morning, Roettgen warned: 

“We’re realising now that we have no idea what this American president will do if the voice of anger enters office and the voice of anger becomes the most powerful man in the world.”


Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything


Bill McKibben, founder of 


John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK

This is the time to roll up our sleeves, strengthen our resolve and work twice as hard to protect what has been achieved so far. And the UK government has a fundamental role to play in showing the world that we’re holding the course on climate action. Announcing a coal phaseout is a step in the right direction – ratifying the Paris climate deal should be the next one.


Gavin Schmidt, climate modeller at the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and founder of