Public Release: 

Seizing environmental opportunities under a Trump presidency

University of Queensland

Australian, South African and US researchers say that although the environmental movement is in shock at US President-elect Donald Trump's election victory and its implications, it is not all doom and gloom.

"The environmental movement should proactively seize opportunities over the next four years," said lead author Dr Duan Biggs of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions and Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science (CBCS) at The University of Queensland.

"China, Australia, Indonesia, Brazil and other countries have already indicated they will forge ahead with implementing the climate treaty signed in Paris irrespective of the US position."

Writing today in Nature, Dr Biggs said withdrawal of the US federal government from the international environmental movement provided space and opportunity for other actors like cities, states, companies, and communities to take action.

"The next four years will likely be challenging for the environmental movement, and megaphone diplomacy with the US government will be needed," he said.

"But by proactively seizing opportunities, the environmental movement will be strengthened beyond a Trump presidency."

Dr Biggs is also a senior research fellow with Griffith University's Environmental Futures Research Institute and Stellenbosch University, South Africa.


Correspondence co-authors are Dr Kent Redford, of Archipelago Consulting and University of New England, Maine; UQ PhD student Hubert Cheung (CBCS) and Associate Professor James Watson of UQ's School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

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