In early June, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would seek withdrawal from, or renegotiation of, the Paris Agreement on climate change. The agreement was negotiated in 2015, after more than twenty years of failed attempts by key world powers to construct a durable diplomatic architecture for dealing with the climate challenge. It is the first climate accord to involve commitments from major developing countries—such as China and India—on climate mitigation activities. It also binds all countries to transparency and reporting provisions vis-à-vis their commitments.

David Livingston
Livingston was an associate fellow in Carnegie’s Energy and Climate Program, where his research focuses on emerging markets, technologies, and risks.
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Trump’s decision both surprised and disappointed a number of key allies, most notably in Europe. Reactions were swift, and often imbued with significant emotion. Europe’s immediate response oscillated between resolution and recriminations. The French, German, and Italian heads of state issued a joint statement underscoring their view that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, echoing a similar position from the UN climate body that oversees the agreement. One senior German official called the move by the United States a “major setback,” but that nonetheless the EU would intensify collaboration with China and India to advance the climate agenda in America’s absence.

Others were more confrontational. Martin Schulz, the center-left candidate for German chancellor and Merkel’s primary rival ahead of the September federal elections, said that the U.S. withdrawal from Paris must be met with a refusal by the EU to re-initiate transatlantic trade talks. Schulz said the United States would be left with a “competitive distortion” and could not be granted additional market access in such a scenario. This echoed an earlier proposal by center-right former French president Nicolas Sarkozy to levy a new border tariff on U.S. exports seeking to enter the EU in the event of a Paris withdrawal, as well as a call from the chairman of ArcelorMittal, a major global steel company, for Europe to establish a carbon border tax. The left-wing German newspaper Tageszeitung called on Germany to “start playing hardball” in light of the “betrayal of trust” and urged the EU to keep in mind its “diplomatic threat potential,” including the ability to “withdraw its ambassador, strengthen the opposition in the U.S. politically and economically, [and] support insubordinate states like California.”

Europe also registered its dissent with the decision by emphasizing enhanced partnerships with rising powers. At an EU-China summit the day following Trump’s announcement, the two powers had planned to issue a joint statement reiterating their commitment to climate action. Although unresolved tensions over trade issues stymied that statement, both European Council President Donald Tusk and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emphasized a closer embrace in their individual remarks. Tusk announced that the EU would be “stepping up [its] cooperation on climate change with China,” while Li courted Brussels by declaring that “a stable China-EU relationship is useful to counter the uncertainties in this world,” in a veiled reference to the current U.S. administration.

With emotions running high and trust between the United States and many of its traditional allies on shaky ground due to Trump’s statements, it is critical that Europe react soberly and strategically in the aftermath of the Paris withdrawal announcement. Europe is understandably frustrated with both the withdrawal as well as President Trump’s spurious portrayal of European partners as antagonists that are urging the United States to remain within a costly club.

Erik Brattberg
Erik Brattberg was director of the Europe Program and a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. He is an expert on European politics and security and transatlantic relations.

Nonetheless, there is a clear danger of overreaction by Europe. From the emotional language used by various European officials and influencers after the announcement, to the sudden and reflexive embrace of new partners with little conditionality, Europe is seeking catharsis through declarations and the appearance of action. Before going too far down this road and committing itself to a confrontational path, however, European leadership should take a step back and assess the situation more broadly.

The EU and the United States still share many areas in which there is constructive work to be done, including on energy security, innovation, and trade. The Paris announcement was for some a jarring reminder of the Trump administration’s skepticism about multilateralism. Yet it could serve as catalyst for Europe to appraise where there may be mutual interests between the EU and the United States—including of a transactional nature—and work toward a new strategy of principled pragmatism for continued cooperation on affordable, secure, and sustainable energy systems on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Decision in Context

Despite the news coverage of Trump’s announcement as a decisive and conclusive event, U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement will in practice be more of a marathon. In accordance with Article 28 of the agreement, the United States must wait three years from the agreement’s entry into force (November 2016) before notifying the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change of its intent to withdraw. At that point, one year must pass, after which the United States is considered to no longer be a party to the agreement.

This means that the earliest possible date for formally initiating the withdrawal process will fall somewhere around November 2019, coinciding with the intensification of the electoral politics leading up to the 2020 presidential election in the United States. While this provides the possibility that climate may play a more significant role in the next electoral cycle, and initial polls indicate that President Trump’s intended course of action is unpopular, environment and climate issues still rank as a low priority among American voters.

Trump also suggested in his speech that he is open to renegotiating the agreement, but multiple other signatories, including the EU, have underscored that they view the agreement as irreversible and nonnegotiable. In any case, it is unclear what the administration would hope to achieve through renegotiation, given that the agreement, including U.S. climate mitigation commitments and contributions to the Green Climate Fund, is nonbinding, ultimately unenforceable, and could have been modified by the administration without withdrawing. Moreover, the U.S. emissions trajectory is impacted first and foremost by a broad suite of domestic policies that the Trump administration had already begun to weaken or roll back prior to the Paris announcement.

The administration’s decision appears to be the outcome of a process of contestation between various White House factions. These internal divisions, between the pragmatists and the populists, are well documented in media reports, and were more or less demonstrated by the parties actually present at the announcement. Vice President Mike Pence, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, chief strategist Steve Bannon, and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus all sat in the front row. Ivanka Trump and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner—who advocated for keeping to the original agreement—were conspicuously absent.

So too was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose agency was responsible for the negotiation of the Paris Agreement under former president Barack Obama. The international oil major where Tillerson spent his private-sector career, ExxonMobil, notably came out in favor of a price on carbon while he was serving as its CEO, and more recently called for the United States to remain in the Paris Agreement.

As a political candidate and private citizen, Donald Trump’s view of climate change has fluctuated. In 2009, he joined a group of business leaders in signing a letter calling on Obama to show leadership at the Copenhagen climate conference. But Trump has also repeatedly expressed skepticism about climate change. For instance, on November 6, 2012, Trump tweeted that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” This tweet was followed by several other tweets seeming to doubt the existence of climate change, and he called it a hoax on the campaign trail. Yet, it is hard to know what Trump actually thinks about climate change from his tweets and occasional statements on the issue. It is entirely plausible that his decision was based on domestic political calculations rather than a fixed view on climate change as such.

However, Trump’s apparent doubts over the existence of climate change and his skepticism over schemes to reduce emissions are far from unique among his party. Senior Republicans in Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, lauded Trump’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Doubt over climate change and a belief in a trade-off between the environment and the economy are deeply rooted within conservative circles in the United States, such as the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for Prosperity.

Other mainstream Republicans, such as former governor Jeb Bush, Senator Marco Rubio, and Governor John Kasich, also took a skeptical view of climate change during the 2016 presidential campaign. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, the number of Republican voters who say they believe in human-caused climate change was 23 percent while the number of Democrats was 69 percent. In addition to skepticism about climate change per se, Republican opposition to the Paris Agreement included both economic reasons (such as that the Paris agreement would hurt domestic U.S. energy producers and manufacturers) and constitutional ones (such as that Obama should have sought Senate approval before signing the Paris Agreement). At the same time, a number of Republican-controlled states throughout the United States have significantly reduced their greenhouse gas emissions due to the transition away from dirtier fossil fuels to wind, solar, and gas

Trump’s rejection of the agreement is also consistent with his existing worldview. Under the banner of “America First,” Trump has questioned many of the core tenets of America’s traditional global leadership role. Although it is certainly too early to draw any general conclusions about a possible Trump Doctrine (especially since he has already backtracked from several of his campaign foreign policy pledges), a more transactional U.S. foreign policy is likely under Trump. This includes skepticism about multilateral negotiations and agreements, deprioritizing the role of values in foreign relations, a more economic nationalist trade policy, a more skeptical view of America’s traditional allies and partners, and a notion that the United States is being taken advantage of by others.

In explaining the decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, Trump and his aides argued that the deal was unfair to the United States, created legal liabilities, and would hurt American jobs, including in the fossil energy and manufacturing sectors. This is rhetoric aimed not at the Paris Agreement partners, but instead designed for the president’s political base, regardless of whether or not the administration truly believes that such harm is even possible from a voluntary, nonbinding agreement.

To hypothesize a more sophisticated approach on the part of the administration, it is possible that Trump and/or his advisers viewed the Paris Agreement as wholly separate from the U.S. emissions trajectory, which has already been impacted by the administration’s arrest or rollback of a number of federal policies, from the Clean Power Plan to oil and gas methane regulations to vehicle fuel efficiency standards. Under a certain logic, then, the Trump administration could view leaving the Paris Agreement as akin to playing with house money: it has three years before it actually needs to trigger the withdrawal process, during which it can hope that the international community makes concessions to the United States to entice it to remain in Paris. If renegotiation proves impossible and the United States initiates the withdrawal process, this will ultimately do little to impact its actual emissions trajectory.

The Way Forward

Despite Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, Europeans should not give up on engaging the U.S. administration on climate and energy issues.

Parallels could be drawn to former president George W. Bush’s decision to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol just a few months into his presidency. That decision indeed incurred collateral diplomatic damage, establishing a reputation for unilateralism in what former national security adviser Condoleezza Rice described as a “self-inflicted wound that could have been avoided.” Nonetheless, a healthy level of exchange between the United States and Europe continued even after the U.S. withdrawal, both on energy innovation (for example, biofuels, energy efficiency, and hydrogen vehicles) and on energy security assistance in the wake of the mid-2000s gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine.

Europeans should also look beyond the administration, engaging directly with a variety of state and local government leaders, NGOs and civil society, and private businesses—many of whom remain committed to combating climate change. In addition, Europe should focus on related issues, including innovation and trade, where creative engagement can help to avoid a destructive deterioration of relations, or, in the best case, actually advance energy and climate goals.

Exercise Patience and Engage Beyond the Administration

In the aftermath of Trump’s decision on June 1, over 1,200 mayors, governors, and companies across the United States voluntarily pledged to continue to uphold their climate commitments. Already, some thirty individual states have pledged to boost renewable energy activity. This is not insignificant since the economies of states, such as California and New York, and cities exceed those of most European countries that have signed onto the Paris Agreement. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has asked the United Nations to consider allowing cities and states to join the Paris Agreement. Notably, at the 2015 Paris meeting, some 400 mayors attended the Climate Summit for Local Leaders. Major American companies have also pledged to step up their efforts to invest in innovation and the transition to clean energy.

European countries could respond by creating new partnerships at a member state–to–state, city-to-city level or between U.S. and European universities, for instance. Examples of cooperation between EU member states and individual American states on climate already exist. California’s Under2 Coalition, a diverse constellation of governments around the world, includes several European participants. California in particular has substantial climate diplomacy capabilities, as evidenced by the fact that at the June 2017 Clean Energy Ministerial in Beijing, it was California’s governor who enjoyed a reception with Chinese President Xi Jinping, not the U.S. secretary of energy. Visiting European delegations will continue to find open ears to discuss climate issues within city halls, gubernatorial mansions, and corporate boardrooms throughout the country.

However, divergent national and subnational trajectories on climate in the United States pose challenges. California’s carbon market is currently linked with Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba, and provinces in Brazil and Mexico are planning to join in coming years. Further linkages with the EU Emissions Trading System, or with China’s forthcoming national-level carbon market, have also been discussed. This may seem a positive development, but it poses new risks in light of Trump’s announcement. For Canada, the EU, and other parties, these carbon pricing systems are critical, and often the central piece, of their national commitments under the Paris Agreement. As regulators outside of the United States link their markets with subnational U.S. carbon markets, carbon credits will begin flowing across borders. These regulators must be mindful of the risk that U.S.-generated credits will exist in a gray area, in terms of Paris compliance, for as long as the future of the United States’ commitment to Paris is in doubt. The EU should work not only with California but also with countries, other states, and provinces to proactively address this uncertainty.

Ensure European Energy Security: The Commercial and Climate Logic

Promoting greater European energy security has been a long-standing objective of U.S. foreign policy toward Europe. Despite significant progress made in recent years on reducing European reliance on Russian energy and enhancing the diversification of Europe’s energy supply, there is still a need for more U.S. engagement on this issue. In particular, efforts to construct gas interconnectors and address bottlenecks in the European gas market have already yielded positive results. That said, more action is clearly needed in order to curb Russian energy giant Gazprom’s still dominant position on the European gas market. It is in light of this that Nord Stream 2—a project led by Gazprom, involving an offshore natural gas pipeline between Vyborg in Russia and Greifswald in Germany—is particularly important.

Common criticisms leveled against the Nord Stream 2 project are that it contradicts the EU’s priorities of security of supply, diversification of gas sources, and the creation of competitive gas markets. The amount of gas expected to flow through Nord Stream 2 is comparable to the amount currently flowing through Ukraine. This has led to concerns that Russia would be able to cut off Ukraine, continuing to supply Central Europe with gas while increasing the geopolitical pressure by stripping the government in Kiev of valuable income. The Obama administration actively opposed the Nord Stream 2 project, concerned over the political and financial implications for Ukraine, U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Europe, and broader energy security considerations.

While the Trump administration’s position on European energy security writ large is still emerging, energy security has already been part of the conversations between Secretary Tillerson and his European counterparts. The State Department has also communicated to European capitals its dissatisfaction with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Early European concerns about the Trump administration’s commitment to energy security were compounded by broader fears about a possible U.S.-Russia grand bargain, including the potential relaxing of U.S. sanctions against Russia imposed after its invasion of Crimea in 2014. However, thus far the administration has maintained the sanctions, including the denial of ExxonMobil’s application for a sanctions waiver that would have allowed it to operate in certain Russian fields. Moreover, the Senate recently reached bipartisan consensus on a bill to broaden and intensify current U.S. sanctions on select Russian entities and individuals, as well as provide Congress with additional powers to block the president from loosening sanctions in the future.

If passed into law, the bill would further constrain the window for an unbalanced rapprochement with Russia. However, it also affords new powers to the U.S. government to sanction firms involved with Russian pipelines, most notably German firms involved with Nord Stream 2. These provisions are exacerbating intra-European, and even intra-German, tensions over the pipeline and may force a reckoning over the administration’s view on what exactly constitutes European energy security.

It is increasingly clear that the Trump administration is seeking to link LNG exports to Europe to its new overarching policy goal of “American energy dominance.” With President Trump’s visit to Poland on his way to the July 2017 G20 summit, energy and infrastructure issues will likely be on the agenda as he meets with the leaders of the Three Seas Initiative, a collection of Central and Eastern European states working to increase connections between the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic Seas. Worth watching will be if Trump uses his speech to underscore a commitment to European energy security and elucidate the role for the United States therein.

The timing is apt for such a speech. The first American LNG exports to Central Europe arrived at Poland’s Świnoujście terminal on June 7, closely following the very first American LNG shipment reaching Northern Europe, via the Netherlands, in late May. Moreover, European Commission Vice President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič on June 19 oversaw Croatia and Hungary sign a new memorandum of understanding on the construction of energy infrastructure to allow bi-directional gas flows between the countries.

This memorandum creates further momentum for the construction of the prospective Krk LNG terminal in Croatia, which would contribute to the Visegrad Group’s vision of a North-South energy corridor to improve energy security and affordability in the region even if the Nord Stream 2 pipeline moves ahead. The Visegrad Group—a collaboration between the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia—would be well-advised to place the southern portion of this corridor at the forefront of its engagement with the U.S. government, first during Trump’s visit to Poland, but also in a more sustained fashion during Hungary’s presidency of the Visegrad Group from mid-2017 through mid-2018.

Such engagement could help sharpen the administration’s focus, leading to more substantive, detailed, and institutionalized cooperation over the coming years. Ideally, the United States would commit to holding the next EU-U.S. Energy Council gathering in 2017, and would explore the opportunity for a revitalized Export-Import Bank to cooperate with the European Commission and the European Investment Bank on co-financing LNG import terminals and other strategic infrastructure on the continent. With mounting uncertainty over Qatar’s near-to-midterm future as a growing LNG supplier amid fissures in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Europe should capitalize on the emergence of the United States as an energy exporter.

With expanded energy supply options, Europe also increases its capacity to choose between various fuels on the basis of their environmental credentials, as necessitated by the EU Emissions Trading System and other climate policies. These are choices that, moreover, can be further informed and refined by utilizing new tools such as the Carnegie Endowment’s Oil-Climate Index and similar prospective indices for global gas resources.

Appreciate Political Limitations to Cooperation on Specific Energy Sources

The Obama administration, in the face of what it deemed to be unsatisfactory congressional action on climate change, was muscular in its use of Clean Air Act rulemaking. This resulted in a range of policies—from the Clean Power Plan to methane regulations for oil and gas drilling—that now face uncertainty or complete rescindment. If the Bush administration’s moves after leaving the Kyoto Protocol are instructive, the current administration may still be open to pushing its own unique energy innovation priorities. Fossil fuels factor prominently in the administration’s inchoate innovation agenda, with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and others identifying carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a priority technology that can advance a “clean coal” renaissance.

On coal and CCS, the potential for a meeting of the minds with Europe is complicated. The European Commission is unlikely to show interest, as it has experimented in the past with largely unsuccessful subsidization of CCS and now sees support for coal as contrary to trends in its larger, more influential member states. Europe saw a record 10 gigawatts of coal plant closures in 2016, and countries including Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, and Portugal are working toward aggressive coal retirement schedules or, in the case of the UK, complete phase-out plans.

In Central and Eastern Europe, however, countries with bountiful domestic coal resources that are resentful of the bloc’s push for renewable energy may greet the Trump administration’s energy policy with enthusiasm. The Polish Electricity Association has dismissed the European Commission’s energy and climate policy package as “utopian” and opposes a proposal for emission limits in determining which resources can receive support from capacity mechanisms. There is the danger of a further schism if the administration feeds these tensions by dealing exclusively with Visegrad countries on a bilateral or minilateral basis, bypassing the European Commission.

Another technological priority, nuclear power, is poised for government attention even as the industry’s prospects in the United States have rarely looked more bleak. Trump’s transition team early on expressed interest in extending the life of nuclear reactors and resuming work on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility that has been stalled amid political stalemate. A recently announced Department of Energy study into the grid stability impacts of government renewables support is largely seen as an effort to boost baseload coal and nuclear.

Nuclear, a nearly carbon-free source of baseload power, offers an opportunity for shared progress between the EU and the United States on decarbonization, even if the word “climate” is never mentioned. The challenge, however, will be for Europe to reconcile its own complicated nuclear politics. France is the second-largest producer of nuclear energy after the United States, although President Emmanuel Macron during his campaign supported an energy transition plan that would see nuclear energy shrink to 50 percent of the domestic power mix (from 75 percent today) by 2025. Other countries, such as Hungary, are enthusiastically pursuing nuclear energy via collaboration with Russian partners that recently received reluctant approval from the European Commission. And in yet other countries, such as Germany, even safer, advanced nuclear energy remains a metaphorical “third rail” in domestic politics.

While it is doubtful that a shared policy on nuclear power expansion between the EU and the Trump administration will materialize anytime soon, the EU and the United States could perhaps find common ground on a less ambitious, more security-oriented agenda: promoting the continued competitiveness of the Western nuclear industry through some combination of cooperation, regulatory reform, and/or consolidation. The nuclear sector, given its dual-use nature, implies a strategic dimension that is absent from many other energy sources.

Seeing that the vast majority of new and planned nuclear facilities in Europe and the Middle East are to be financed, built, and/or operated by either Chinese or Russian state-owned enterprises, there should be sufficient motivation for EU leaders to sit down with their American counterparts and conduct a sober appraisal of the health of Western nuclear firms and workforces. They should also consider what it would take to resuscitate these in the face of heavily subsidized competition from other countries.

Invest Further in the U.S. Innovation Ecosystem

On other critical issues, including Mission Innovation—a global initiative on clean energy R&D—the EU could consider a strategy that de-emphasizes government-to-government engagement, and instead prioritizes private-sector engagement. This would implicitly demonstrate that low-carbon innovation is increasingly driven by market forces, and also help to avoid public initiatives inadvertently duplicating or crowding out growing private-sector energy R&D. In particular, the EU could push for greater coordination between Mission Innovation and private-sector initiatives, such the Breakthrough Energy Coalition—a group of wealthy business leaders who have committed to funding low-carbon, high-risk technologies and ventures.

When the EU does engage the current administration, it could explore new approaches to innovation collaboration, possibly even including the “leasing” of U.S. national lab capacity and talent. This would be controversial to some in the United States, but less so in conjunction with a strategic partner such as the EU, particularly if such capacity is otherwise likely to be underutilized (and undermonetized) amid U.S. budget cuts.

The United States possesses a unique innovation ecosystem, comprising universities, national labs, and risk-tolerant capital pools. If it neglects this rich innovation endowment, others will inevitably fill the void, and not always favorably. Already, there are concerns that the 75 percent funding cuts for advanced battery research in President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal will lead to an exodus of researchers to China or perhaps even to France, where President Macron seems intent on poaching top American engineering, science, and technology talent. However, the presence of a thoughtful, scientifically adept citizenry in the United States is ultimately in Europe’s own long-term interest if Washington is to evolve in a more constructive political direction on these issues over time.

Create Positive Trade Momentum and Mitigate Risks

In the realm of trade policy, a few developments are poised to impinge upon the energy relationship, particularly if the EU comes to view this realm as one in which it can exact retribution or acquire leverage vis-à-vis U.S. policy in other realms, such as climate, with which it has deep disagreements.

One key matter to be resolved is the future of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Trade talks have been essentially frozen since late 2016, first due to the EU’s struggles to streamline trade agreement approval mechanisms amid the Wallonia debacle over a similar trade agreement with Canada, and then due to uncertainty over the priorities of the new U.S. administration. It remains unclear whether President Trump will authorize negotiations to proceed.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently expressed interest in restarting trade talks with the EU, be it revitalizing TTIP or establishing some sort of new series of sectoral and thematic agreements. Given the broad possibilities for addressing energy in a transatlantic trade framework, the EU should not foreclose further cooperation, particularly if this were to empower some of the more thoughtful, less reactionary principals within the administration. Ongoing talks would also lessen the incentive mechanisms for each side to slip into a trade war, a real prospect given the intensifying rhetoric about the Commerce Department’s new tariffs on steel imports.

Regardless of the fate of TTIP and natural gas export discussions, the prospect of future border tariff adjustments on the basis of climate policy, as some in both Europe and the United States have periodically advocated, is a troubling prospect. Politicians or industry representatives have used this idea to win votes or protect market share, while academics have theorized abstractly about the possibility of a virtuous trade war that would result in a gradual spread of carbon pricing across the globe. This idea is detached from empirical reality. In particular, there exists a very real possibility of retaliation taking place asymmetrically, either in different sectors or via different means entirely.

The risks of triggering a trade war are too great and far outweigh any climate or diplomatic leverage that a sudden, unilateral carbon border adjustment would seek to achieve. To mitigate these risks, a Track 2 or Track 1.5 dialogue between ex-officials, academics, policy experts, and industry representatives on both sides of the Atlantic could be established. The dialogue would meet regularly and would work to establish predictability, mutual understanding, and—eventually—best practices in the field of carbon border adjustments. Plenty of academic or quasi-academic groups on border adjustment exist, so the value of any such dialogue would lie in its composition and rigorous, game-theoretic approach. It could not only start with commonly agreed principles for consultation, transparency, and implementation but also cover anticipated responses to any unilateral moves.


When the dust settles from the Paris fissure, President Trump’s words may very well have created greater distance between Europe and the United States, but there remain key complementaries amid the incompatibilities when it comes to the two powers’ actual energy and climate interests.

The EU should avoid letting dissatisfaction with Trump’s Paris decision cloud the broader transatlantic energy and climate agenda. It befits Europeans to be forward-looking and to take initiatives to engage the Trump administration, but even more so the United States more broadly, from corporate boardrooms to neglected corners of civil society. This includes embracing, not dismissing, a constructively transactional approach to issues where the EU and the United States genuinely have shared energy interests, from energy security to innovation to trade.

It is crucial that both sides avoid a vicious cycle of cynicism, fatalism, and mistrust, and instead preserve their efforts for more promising and pragmatic endeavors. And, at this critical juncture in the history of the transatlantic relationship, it is incumbent upon Europe to take the high road and lead the way.