Correspondence | Published:

Trump: time to seize environmental gains

Nature volume 540, page 341 (15 December 2016) | Download Citation

The United States has led the global environmental movement since the 1970s, albeit intermittently. If it withdraws support for multilateral treaties under President Trump, the environment will not be doomed.

China, for example, could step into the lead (see D. Victor Nature 539, 495; 2016). China is committed to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which the United States has still not ratified, and to many other international environmental treaties (F. Wu J. Chin. Polit. Sci. 14, 383–406; 2009). If other countries support China, environmental gains can continue — irrespective of a weakened US contribution.

A Trump government that is less concerned about the environment could create space for strengthened independent initiatives, such as commitments to sustainability, by subnational units of government, cities, companies and community groups (N. Lutsey and D. Sperling Energy Policy 36, 673–685; 2008).

And if Trump's promised trade protectionism occurs, scientists could help to shape policies that safeguard the environment — such as by restricting imports from regions that do not uphold good environmental practices.

Author information

Author notes

    • Duan Biggs

    *On behalf of 4 correspondents (see Supplementary information for full list).

Affiliations

  1. Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland, Australia.

    • Duan Biggs

Authors

  1. Search for Duan Biggs in:

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Duan Biggs.

Supplementary information

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/540341c

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing