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Greenpeace: Trump is a threat

The low-carbon momentum will nevertheless continue, the Sierra Club says.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Greenpeace: Trump is a threat
Climate advocacy groups balance between defiance and dismay after Donald Trump defied conventional wisdom to become U.S. president-elect. Photo by Barnaby Chambers/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Climate advocates said the momentum moving in support of a low-carbon economy can't be derailed by a U.S. President Donald Trump despite his expected policies.

Trump defied nearly every expectation to emerge with the victory in a divisive and long U.S. presidential race, defeating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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Even with the Paris climate agreement adopted globally, the issue of the challenges presented by warmer temperatures barely registered during the U.S. presidential season. In one of the last debates between the two major party candidates, the word "climate" was uttered only once and by Clinton, who referenced climate change alongside a sweeping mention of her proposed energy policy. Trump in the past has scoffed at the notion that a warming climate was human-induced.

Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, said Trump has the "unflattering distinction" as being the only world leader to deny the evidence that man-made factors are driving global temperatures higher.

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"No matter what happens, Donald Trump can't change the fact that wind and solar energy are rapidly becoming more affordable and accessible than dirty fossil fuels," he said in an emailed statement.

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Nevertheless, Brune said Trump as president can either pay heed to the growing support for renewable energy or face a different kind of fight.

"Trump better choose wisely, otherwise - we can guarantee him the hardest fight of his life every step of the way," he said.

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The Paris agreement calls on the global community to take action to address threats posed by a warming climate by cutting their emissions. The U.N. Environment Program cautioned that, even if all the commitments under the agreement materialize, emissions levels by 2030 could still potentially lead to a global average temperature increase of more than 3 degrees Celsius.

Some of the warming trends are attributed to a global economy that still relies heavily on fossil fuels. Trump vowed to put his emphasis on the U.S. oil and gas sector and pull the country out of the Paris climate deal.

Annie Leonard, the executive director for the U.S. branch of Greenpeace, held little back in her scathing criticism of Trump.

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"Our hearts go out today to the millions of people who voted against bigotry and hate and now have to accept the fact that the man who ridiculed and threatened them for months is the president-elect of the United States," she said. "Fear may have won this election, but bravery, hope and perseverance will overcome."

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