Erik Solheim, the worlds leading environment
diplomat, has a message for Donald Trump: hes not as
important as he thinks he is.
President Reagan did not start the digital economy. Nor did
politicians in the UK start the industrial revolution. It was the
power of business, markets, and technology which forged ahead.
People dramatically overplay the importance of Trump.
Over the course of our conversation, the head of the United
Nations Environment Program (UNEP), sets out his worldview clearly
The global economy is changing, the oil age is coming to an end
and its up to global leaders to decide whether they are on board
with that or not.
We are moving rapidly to a green economy. The only question is
whether we are moving fast enough, he says.
We are way beyond a turning point and key players from the oil
economy understand the need for change. I just got back from Saudi
There isnt another country in the world that has benefited more
from the oil economy than Saudi Arabia, but everyone I spoke to
there recognized the need for change.
The former Norwegian environment minister and center-left
politician has been the head of UNEP for a little over a year.
In that time, hes seen his agenda hit first by Brexit and then
He speaks about the situation in Britain, urging the government
to maintain strong ties with the EU on environmental issues.
Speaking as a Norwegian, obviously Im not going to lecture
anyone on EU membership!
The primary issue of concern is that the European Union has,
over the years, built up an extremely comprehensive catalog of
environmental protection measures.
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Its crucial that these not be jeopardized not just for the sake
of the planet, but for the sake of the British people. I also hope
that the UK will continue to work closely with its European
partners on advancing the goals of the Paris Agreement.
As we can see in Europe and around the world, positive climate
action is spurring innovation, jobs and growth. From a purely
economic standpoint, its not in anybodys interest to opt out of
They have plans to invest heavily in solar and renewables. They
want a more balanced economy. They understand the technological
shift of the world.
For Solheim, Trumps decision to take the US out of the Paris
agreement is a blip. An outlier, that doesnt change the overall
trajectory of the global economy.
Obviously, President Trumps decision to leave t...