The Trump presidency, climate change, and the prospect of a disorderly energy transition

Selby, Jan (2019) The Trump presidency, climate change, and the prospect of a disorderly energy transition. Review of International Studies, 45 (3). pp. 471-490. ISSN 0260-2105

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Download (683kB)


This article reflects on the implications of the Trump presidency for global anthropogenic climate change and efforts to address it. Existing commentary, predicated on liberal institutionalist reasoning, has argued that neither Trump’s promised rollback of domestic climate-related funding and regulations, nor withdrawal from the Paris framework, will be as impactful as often feared. While broadly concurring, I nonetheless also in this article take a wider view, to argue that the Trump administration is likely to exacerbate several existing patterns and trends. I discuss four in particular: the general inadequacy of global greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and implementation efforts; the inadequacy of contemporary climate financing; the embrace between populist conservatism and opposition to action on climate change; and not least, the current global oil and gas boom which, crucially, is being led by the US. I submit that these patterns and trends, and the Trump administration’s likely contributions to them, do not augur well for climate change mitigation, let alone for an orderly transition to a low-carbon global economy. Given current directions of travel, I suggest, this coming transition is likely to be deeply conflict-laden – probably violently so – and to have consequences that will reverberate right across mid-twentieth-century international order.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2018 14:58
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2020 15:28

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update