In 2017 | With Trump towering, nations start the climate fight-back (hopefully)

2017 should be the year where more and more people start to understand the underlying causes of the environmental and social injustices which are afflicting the globe – a broken system run by corporate power and greed

Martin Galea De Giovanni
4 January 2017, 8:10am
Perhaps, 2017 should be the year of hope – the year when hope and a positive momentum are most needed.
Perhaps, 2017 should be the year of hope – the year when hope and a positive momentum are most needed.
The news before Christmas announcing that Santa would most likely swim to you rather than be able to take off without a risk of getting bogged down in slush was a humorous headline to a rather sobering fact. Winter at the North Pole has so far been 36 degrees hotter than it should be and shows how in the long term, arctic ice melt is already affecting weather patterns where you live right now.

One needs no crystal ball to see that 2017 will be another year in which climate will be high on the agenda whether we like it or not, in fact, whether or not it will feature highly on the political agendas. But of course it will be – with the uncertainty and various gloomy predictions on what Trump as incoming US president will mean to climate policy around the world.

Apart from Trump’s rhetoric of pulling out of the Paris climate agreement and his support for the fossil fuel industry, there seems to be little or no concrete proposal or changes in policy. In democratic nations, policies and actions take many years to develop and approve, hence it will prove to be rather difficult for the Trump administration to reverse existing policies. Civil society in the US, including Friends of the Earth US are already prepared to use the courts in order to tie-up any attempts the new administration makes to undo the gains made by the movement in the past decades while also using lawsuits to go on the offence. Trump can slow down some processes, but doing away with decades of policies and agreements is near to impossible.

International agreements such as the Paris Agreement will of course continue. The US might take a back seat but will probably not be able to disengage completely. Other countries might take a stronger role but one also has to consider that the US dislikes the idea of being seen as the “bad guy” in an international setting. This is where civil society and politicians should unite as an international force in order to safeguard the gains made over the past years.

Perhaps then, 2017 should be the year of hope – the year when hope and a positive momentum are most needed. Public awareness and discontentment have increased to levels which can no longer be taken for granted. From the success of the Standing Rock communities and the blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline in the US to the victory against fracking at Woodburn in Northern Ireland, people are making their voices heard against dirty energy and false solutions which are threatening their communities around the world.

One thing is certain – this is no time to cry over spilt milk but a time for action in order to protect people and our planet against environmental injustices, destruction and greed. 2017 should be the year where more and more people start to understand the underlying causes of the environmental and social injustices which are afflicting the globe – a broken system run by corporate power and greed.

Martin Galea De Giovanni is executive director Friends of the Earth (Malta)