What Donald Trump Win Means for Climate Change in Ireland

November 9, 2016

Jim Mc Eneaney

The Climate Change Fallout of a Trump Presidency

With our friends across the Atlantic Ocean heading to the polls and electing Donald Trump, there were concerns about the environmental issues that face us both in the present and the future, which seemed to have taken a back seat in their decision-making process. The election of Donald Trump has raised concerns among environmentally conscious people in America and around the world, as it could have significant implications for climate change globally. Following the positive steps taken during the COP 21 event in Paris and subsequent agreements, the planet needed forward-thinking governments with like-minded leaders who prioritie environmentally friendly and sustainable approaches to governance. Unfortunately, this election result does not align with those aspirations, and it is particularly concerning for those in the solar industry and beyond.

During his campaign, Donald Trump made statements that were disheartening for those who care about the environment, such as calling global warming "a Chinese hoax" and expressing his desire to scrap major regulations put in place by the previous administration to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the USA. With a Republican-controlled Congress, he had the power to impede progress in this area. While this may seem far removed from Ireland, it is essential to remember that we all share the same planet, atmosphere, and melting ice caps. Developments in America can have far-reaching effects, setting an example for smaller Western nations like ours.

However, it is crucial not to lose hope. The past decade has seen significant progress in renewable energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars, with costs continually decreasing. These pillars of renewable energy have become very affordable in Ireland, and it is unlikely that changes at the federal level in America can reverse this trend quickly. Moreover, opposition to figures like Trump can energise the next generation of clean energy advocates, both in Ireland and abroad. People will continue to work towards Ireland's obligations in terms of renewable energy, with an eye on the COP 21 agreement, rather than the actions of a specific US President.

While there is no denying that the leadership change in the US has altered the landscape, it is essential for Ireland to stay committed to its renewable energy efforts and collaborate with its own government to effect change locally. The support for solar and other clean energy technologies is growing, and as climate change becomes more popular and pressing, it will likely gain traction in Irish politics as well. The Irish solar market remains in a healthy state, while there are concerns about the current external optimism in America.

Solar Energy in Ireland Will Continue To Grow and It Won’t Be Alone

The reality is, solar power, wind power and electric cars have been getting cheaper and cheaper over the past decade and although that has slowed, these renewable energy pillars have become very affordable here in Ireland, so the American federal government won’t be able to change this anytime soon, bad news on that front would be slow. In which case, you would hope the proliferation of all these technologies would outpace such federal resistance in America.

It is also possible, just like past obstacles, that opposition to a figure such as Trump will help galvanise the next generation of clean energy advocates here in Ireland and abroad. Where there is a will, there is a way and people fighting for and towards Irelands obligations in 2020 and beyond will continue to do so with an eye on the COP 21 agreement, rather than the actions of the 45th US President.

It is undeniable that the landscape has changed with one single leadership change, but the reality is, we must continue our renewable energy efforts here in Ireland and keep working with our own government in order to effect change here in Ireland. The support for solar and other clean energy technologies is continuing to grow. With politics changing to a popularity contest, the more popular climate change becomes in Ireland, the more it will seep into Leinster House.

The Irish solar market is in a very healthy state, can we say the same about external optimism for America today?


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