New York. June 2, 2017
(Father Joseph Varghese, Executive Director, IRFT.)
Pulling the United States out of the Paris climate deal would have unforeseen consequences for President Trump, his international agenda and U.S. climate policy.
It would leave the world’s superpower outside an accord meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that includes nearly every other country in the world, aside from Syria and Nicaragua.
What is the Paris Climate agreement?
At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C. The Paris Agreement is a bridge between today’s policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century.
Governments agreed a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels;
to aim to limit the increase to 1.5°C, since this would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change;
on the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries;
to undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science.
Before and during the Paris conference, countries submitted comprehensive national climate action plans (INDCs). These are not yet enough to keep global warming below 2°C, but the agreement traces the way to achieving this
Governments agreed to come together every 5 years to set more ambitious targets as required by science;
report to each other and the public on how well they are doing to implement their targets;
track progress towards the long-term goal through a robust transparency and accountability system.
Governments agreed to strengthen societies’ ability to deal with the impacts of climate change; provide continued and enhanced international support for adaptation to developing countries.
The agreement also recognizes the importance of averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change;
acknowledges the need to cooperate and enhance the understanding, action and support in different areas such as early warning systems, emergency preparedness and risk insurance.
The agreement recognises the role of non-Party stakeholders in addressing climate change, including cities, other subnational authorities, civil society, the private sector and others.
All are agreed to scale up their efforts and support actions to reduce emissions;
build resilience and decrease vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change;
uphold and promote regional and international cooperation.
What did the United States pledge?
The U.S. pledged to lower its annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2025 by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels, which would be a reduction of about 1.6 billion tons of annual emissions.
The U.S. is the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon, while China takes the top spot. Beijing, however, has reaffirmed its commitment to meeting its targets under the Paris accord, recently canceling construction of about 100 coal-fired power plants and investing billions in massive wind and solar projects.
The Obama administration pledged as much as $3 billion to less wealthy nations by 2020, with the U.S. giving $1 billion, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The argument for:
The main reason to pull out from the Paris treaty is economic. Paris Treaty will be the most expensive global agreement in world history. Cutting emissions without affordable, effective replacements for fossil fuel means more expensive power and less economic growth.
Also Trump want to keep the campaign rhetoric thought it was not meant anything to him. It is used as a slogan to grab the vote bank of coal country.
President Trump removing the U.S. from the Paris Agreement would mean America would be at odds with many of its allies, potentially putting an added strain on relations.
Removal from the Paris agreement is another step in the Trump administration’s call to roll back the fight for climate change, claiming it’s having an adverse effect on jobs.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly supported staying in the agreement, claiming it could hurt diplomatic negotiating power down the road. However, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, agreed that the U.S. should remove itself from the accord.