In December 2015, negotiators emerged exhausted but triumphant from all-night negotiations in Paris with an ambitious global climate change treaty. Buoyed by an uncharacteristically sympathetic U.S. administration and a willing Chinese government, traditionally progressive countries got a deal that committed its signatories to reduce carbon emissions to avert catastrophic climate change.
It was a high point after years of stalemate. A year on, the election of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump — who has stated on several occasions that he does not believe in man-made climate change, and will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement — has stunned the international community.
Erik Solheim, a former leader of Norway’s Socialist Left party who took over as head of the United Nations Environment Programme in June, is one of those tasked with rallying climate change campaigners demoralized by America’s dramatic reversal.