‘There’s no plan B’: climate change scientists fear consequence of Trump victory

‘There’s no plan B’: climate change scientists fear consequence of Trump victory

Activists and scientists at UN climate talks in Marrakech now fear a change in US policy

As news of Donald Trump’s victory reached Marrakech on Wednesday, the many thousands of diplomats, activists, youth and business groups gathered in the city for the UN’s annual climate conference were left in shock and disbelief that the US could elect a climate-change denier as president.

Some of the younger activists were in tears. “My heart is absolutely broken at the election of Trump,” said Becky Chung, a delegate for youth advocacy group SustainUS from California.

“We will see a rising-up of people’s movements committed to mass civil disobedience to keep fossil fuels in the ground. The next four years will be critical. We have to get to zero emissions by 2050,” she said.

The delegates from nearly 200 countries, many of whom had spent 20 years negotiating the complex Paris agreement that aims to limit global warming to a 1.5°C rise, were tightlipped but clearly nervous. The US delegation went into a huddle, meetings were cancelled and talk centred on whether Trump would fulfil his often-repeated threat to withdraw the US from the UN’s Paris agreement – blitzing decades of fraught but ultimately successful global negotiations.

“No one thought this could happen. Everyone here is in shock,” said Bangladeshi scientist and diplomat Saleemul Huq. “No one had anticipated this result and, hence, there was no plan B. We will have to think about what happens next.”