ANU Dr Luke Kemp said Donald Trump’s victory could be the moment that will keep global warming under two degrees celsius.
The US could either drop out of the Paris Agreement or alternatively, the European Union and China could be pushed by Trump’s trade policies towards imposing a carbon price on imports.
Kemp says: “A protectionist Trump administration could bring the idea of climate-trade measures back to the global table. The Paris Agreement could be amended to have trade measures against countries which are not part of the deal.
“Such actions will be more beneficial for the climate than the current Paris Agreement ever could have been.
“The reaction of the EU and China will determine whether the 2016 US election becomes an epitaph for the climate, or a moment of new hope.”
If the latter occurs and Trump withdraws the US from the Paris Agreement it could be near fatal for a deal which relies on being global.
Kemp says: “The Paris Agreement sacrificed binding emissions cuts and finance for US participation, which was a short-sighted strategy that will cost the world dearly.”
The research is published in Climate Policy.