Climate and the Trump effect
jamuna news desk: When the world triumphantly celebrated the signing of the landmark Paris climate pact last December, it was hard to imagine that only a year later it might face an existential threat.
Then again, who could have predicted at the time that a self-promoting reality TV impressario and avowed climate sceptic was months away from capturing the White House?
The Paris Agreement was bound to be tested sooner or later," said Myles Allen, head of the climate research programme at the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute.
It has just come sooner than most expected.
Campaign promises to "cancel" the 196-nation deal notwithstanding, there are reasons to think that US President-elect Donald Trump will not seek to derail it, or that he would fail if he tried.
For one thing, the first universal action plan for curbing global warming in force since last month has already been ratified by the US and 116 other countries.
That makes pulling out a highly visible and lengthy process, lasting at least four years.
"Overtly withdrawing has a cost," both political and economic, said Princeton international affairs professor Michael Oppenheimer.
Countries deeply invested in the agreement including China, the European Union and almost all the world's developing nations would likely register displeasure in other arenas.
The idea of a carbon tax on US goods, for example, has been mooted.