by Alex Onukwue
In case you have not heard, the US President, Donald Trump just dropped a ‘yuge’ fart on the planet by withdrawing from the Paris Deal.
The announcement made Thursday evening (Nigerian time) did not necessarily send shock reverberations around the world. It was somewhat expected as withdrawing from the 2015 Climate Change Agreement was one of his campaign promises on his way to the White House last year.
Nevertheless, it is still a pretty big disappointment that the second biggest polluters in the world have logged off the group chat, just like that. Though they do not effectively exit till 2020, America has surrendered its seat at the centre of the discussion table on Climate Action and Policy.
Step forward, China.
According to the Guardian, the European Union will be looking to China as the main ally in forging a leadership strong enough to convince other signatories of the need to keep to achievable aims of the agreement. On the campaign trail last year, ‘a Chinese hoax’ had been Mr Trump’s reason as his basis for rejecting Climate Change. Though still in the business of coal, China will be expected to lead the large-scale shift towards renewable energy development as part of efforts to full implementation of the Paris Accord. As part of their commitments, China aims to cut the capacity of its coal mines by 300m tonnes by 2020.
In Africa, there are already heavy investments in clean energy by Chinese companies. A 2016 report by the IEA stated that power plants and grids built by Chinese companies in Ethiopia totalled almost 1.5 gigawatts in generation capacity, are 100 percent renewable energy.
More investments are already taking place in other parts of the continent. There may be question marks as to what demands will be required of recipient countries for such investments. However, as far as cutting emissions is concerned, there are good reasons that China will definitely lead the way.
It’s not quite ‘Boycott American’ yet, but Made-in-China can feel more at ease at the moment.