Following Trump’s ascendency to the Presidency there is uncertainty over Trump’s position on global climate change. During the presidential campaign last year, Trump said global climate change is a hoax fuelling suspicion among countries that the USA could withdraw from global climate change commitment.
However, Botswana remains optimistic that despite Trump’s position on global climate change – which seems to reverse commitments that the country made during former President Barack Obama’s tenure ÔÇô they believe America will forge ahead with the agreement.
The Trump administration has already sparked fears following his decision to sign executive orders which gave the greenlight for the construction of Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. The orders have already sparked a global condemnation among environmental activists and Americans and Climate Change Activists who are against the construction of pipelines which were stalled during the Obama Administration amid fears that the pipelines posed a threat to the environment.
Botswana has already joined the chorus of those who are calling on USA to play part on combating global climate change. President Ian Khama who has been viewed as a supporter of Trump’s competitor during the Presidential race, Hillary Clinton, indicated the need for the USA to play a pivotal role in combating climate change.
In his congratulatory message to Trump, Khama underscored the role that the United States has played in international affairs, particularly in conflict resolution, the fight against terrorism, the building and maintenance of strategic alliances and combating climate change.
Khama’s who is a staunch environmental supporter has not sparred Trump following his assertion that global climate is a hoax.
Khama used the global climate change meeting last year to speak against Trump’s plan to withdraw from Paris Agreement which seeks to limit global emissions.
He had indicated that no incoming administrations should attempt to undo the collective will of the global community which is aimed at making the planet a better place and guarantee the continued existence of life on it.
However, the Meteorological Service Department’s Thabang Botshoma remains optimistic that the USA will not withdraw from the global commitment on issues of climate change despite Trump’s position that climate change is a hoax.
Botshoma indicated in an interview that currently USA is a party to the Paris Agreement which provides an opportunity for countries to strengthen the global response to threats that come as a result of climate change.
Botshoma is of the view that USA will not pull out from the agreement as some fear. He said that USA has also witnessed extreme weather events such as flooding and rising temperatures as a result of climate change.
He said that Trump’s administration is not disputing that there is climate change. “They are arguing about how the issue of global climate change has been addressed. There will be negotiations on the issue of global climate change as opposed to pulling out,” added Botshoma.
Botshoma is not anticipating seeing USA pulling out from the global climate change table.
“Even the newly appointed Secretary of the State Rex Tillerson confirmed before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that the Trump administration is fully aware of global climate change effects,”added Botshoma.
Tillerson also indicated the importance of USA presence on conversations aimed at addressing effects of climate change which requires a unified global response.
Botshoma further stated that historically the Democrats are usually hands on when it comes to issues of global climate change as compared to republicans. He said that the democrats usually drive the climate change debate while their counterparts are reluctant to make any commitments.
He said that the republicans usually are of the view that issues of climate change come with some commitments that inhibits business growth.
Botshoma indicated that the republicans want policies and laws that will bring profits and create employment as President Trump indicated on his campaign trail.
He said that the Obama administration fully agreed that American power generation which has been on a large scale was one of the countries that released large amount of carbon- dioxide into the atmosphere mostly from their massive coal plants.
Botshoma stated that USA took a position to cut emissions and invest towards clean energy such as solar power.
He said that however the current administration is going against the idea of moving away from using coal plants to generate energy.
“Towards elections Trump deliberately engaged cities that have a substantial amount of coal deposits with the whole intention of putting up infrastructure, mine coal deposits and create employment as he had promised during his campaign trail,” he added.
He said that people are not against it as it has a potential to create employment for most of the cities that were becoming ghost towns.
University of Botswana Okavango Research Centre, Acting Director Joseph Mbaiwa has also indicated that climate change is something that Batswana should wait and observe.
“It is real. We don’t need to go to America to listen to what Trump is saying about climate change .There is need to roll out education to the public for them to appreciate the effects of climate change,” added Mbaiwa.