[On the U.S. intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and climate change] Actions on Paris undermine U.S. credibility, and the damage from that will be lasting – as they will from our actions in Syria and many other places.
[On climate and international relations] The ongoing (often petty) expansion of the trade war with China will amplify the damage to the U.S.-China relationship. That relationship is fraught with challenges that go far beyond the Trump administration, but it is impossible to get serious about climate without a serious engagement with China.
David G. Victor speaks on December 9, 2019 at COP 25 in Madrid, Spain, on the launch of a new report, “Accelerating the Low Carbon Transition: The case for strong, more targeted and coordinated international action.”
[On the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius] By setting our goals with a single set of measures, we were making the climate problem more abstract. It was hard to see the progress people were making with that indicator.
[On the up-tick in U.S. subnational climate action among cities and states, following President Trump's intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement] That was already going on, but the Trump administration really put that on steroids.
[On the challenges toward U.S. sub-national action on climate change] We're still in the talking phase, in most cases. Symbolically, it is really, really popular to be announcing things about climate change. But the real work of solving the problem is very detailed infrastructure kinds of activity, and that's much, much harder.
[On the U.S. mission targeting ISIS founder Abu-Bakr al Baghdadi in Syria and President Trump's comments on oil in the region] It is one thing to engage in operations like yesterday’s kill — where you come and go more or less on your own terms. Totally different is operating an infrastructure needed to produce and market produced oil.
[On political action on climate change] Well, the single most important thing they can do is send a clear signal that companies and individuals need to reduce their emissions. And right now that's signals not credible. And so frankly, most people are just doing what they, what they did before and continuing to emit. In fact, emissions are going up almost 3% of the year.