Some countries are likely already eyeing the positives from the move, experts said, even as U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to exit an international climate agreement sparked outrage from many quarters.
“This opens up opportunities for other countries to occupy the power vacuum that the U.S. is leaving when it pulls out of these sorts of agreements,” said director at the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute, Mark Howden.
“I could imagine some countries are very positive — seeing this as a good opportunity to start flexing their muscles internationally,” he added.
Howden said that standing to benefit will be China, Indian and EU are countries that are progressing in green initiatives.
Expected to announce intensified joint measures to reduce carbon emissions in a statement later and having already said they are still committed to the Paris Agreement on tackling global warming are the world’s second largest economy and EU leaders.
“We are going to see closer cooperation between China and the European Union in accelerating the energy transition into a low-carbon economy,” Frank Yu, Wood Mackenzie’s principal consultant of Asia-Pacific power and renewables, wrote in a note on Friday, adding that the U.S. withdrawal presents “an unprecedented opportunity for China”.
Helping countries such as India, Indonesia and Vietnam that need foreign capital to reach renewable goals would be helped as U.S. companies involved in environmentally friendly technologies will relocate renewable technology research and development centers to Asia, he predicted.
“By leveraging the strong manufacturing value chain in China and other Asian countries, cost of renewables could fall even faster and penetrate more rapidly to displace dirty fossil fuel such as coal in key Asian markets,” Yu said.
In issues that are related to the setting new standards for technologies like electronic vehicles, changing the “traditional confrontational” stance between China and the West and enhancing the already existing cooperation at taking a leading role in tackling climate change can be undertaken by China and the EU, said Director of the Center for EU Studies at Renmin University, Wang Yiwei.
However, Philippe Le Corre, a fellow at The Brookings Institution, says that being certain about the emergence of a new international order in climate change fight will still be a too early to call.
“I don’t believe this is a redistribution of cards with a new international order under the banner of China and the EU,” Le Corre said in a television interview to CNBC. He added that major shifts in the international relationships of China is likely unlikely and he did not believe that such a thing owu would happen soon enough.
“The Sino-American relationship is a strategic partnership as well as a very competitive relationship — it’s not going to go away,” Le Corre said.
(Adapted from CNBC)