Scientists have confirmed that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, going past the record set only a year earlier, which trumped the one set in 2014. Since the time scientists have collected global warming data, this is the first time that temperatures have gone beyond the previous record three years in succession. Why do these findings matter on January 20, 2017? These results come at a time when the United States of America, one of the biggest defaulters in the emissions of greenhouse gases, welcome a President who has called global warming a Chinese "hoax" and promised to roll back his predecessor's efforts to mitigate the crisis facing humanity. Going to recent statements and appointments to key Cabinet positions, it seems evident that the Donald Trump Presidency will entail a rollback of clean energy initiatives launched by his predecessor.
His unflinching support for traditional energy sources is equally worrisome, especially his repeated commitments to "save the coal industry". Underlying Trump's support of traditional energy sources is his commitment to creating jobs for the millions of Americans. "I will eliminate all needless and job-killing regulations now on the books—and there are plenty of them," Trump had said. However, the US President has not taken into considering rising automation across all sectors of industry, which will blunt any job-creation efforts. Include the enormous costs borne by the environment after a return to coal, oil and other forms of traditional energy sources, and the end results aren't very flattering. Under a Trump Presidency, the Paris climate deal is under threat. A deal signed by 200 countries, including the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases (US and China), sparked belief among many that the global political class had finally come to terms with the dangers of climate change. Any attempt to break the deal will render all the commitments made after years of negotiations useless. The world will indeed walk a few steps back if this deal fell apart, leaving our planet vulnerable to future dangers.