The Paris accord is one of the efforts made by world leaders to combat global warming. During the COP 21 held in Paris in 2015, the participating countries reached an accord on how to reduce global warming. Recently, the president of the United States, Donald Trump announced that the country would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. He argued that the agreement was a threat to the economy and sovereignty of the nation.
Mr. Trump who spoke from the Rose Garden said the landmark pact of 2015 imposed unfair environmental standards on American businesses and workers and vowed to stand with the people against what he termed as “draconian” international deal. Part of his speech read,
“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris. At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won’t be. We are getting out. But we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. The same nations asking us to stay in the agreement are the countries that have collectively cost America trillions of dollars through tough trade practices and in many cases lax contributions to our critical military alliance”
Source: The New York Times
The 2015 accord would see the United States commit up to $3 billion to aid poorer nations by 2020. The United States also pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by twenty-six to twenty-eight percent by 2025 using the 2005 emission levels as a benchmark.
This follows a wave of policy reversals – particularly those made by the past administration – made by Donald Trump leaving one to wonder if he is acting to get back at the past administration or acting in the best interest of the nation. During the presidential election campaign, it can be recalled that the president mocked the agreement and promised to “cancel” it. By stepping away from the agreement, Mr. Trump has fulfilled that promise.
A small team with the EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt as a member, is working out the modalities for the exit. The options available is whether to initiate a full, formal withdrawal which would take up to three years of go for the faster but extreme option involving exiting the underlying United Nations climate treaty.
If Trump should continue down this path, it would send a message to the world that America doesn’t see the protection of the environment as a priority. Syria and Nicaragua are the only countries that are not in support of the deal.
It all began when Trump received a letter from 22 Republican Senators including the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell calling for a clean exit. The Senate majority leader applauded the move in his statement,
“I applaud President Trump and his administration for dealing yet another significant blow to the Obama administration’s assault on domestic energy production and jobs.”
Source: The New York Times
The decision has been greeted by a backlash from big-city mayors, Congress members, and governors. Reacting to Trump’s decision, the ex-president, Barrack Obama, said,
“But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.”
Some of the reactions from world leaders are captured below:
Koichi Yamamoto (Japanese Environment Minister) said, “The decision made by U.S. President Trump amounts to turning their backs on the wisdom of humanity. I’m very disappointed…”
Justin Trudeau (Canadian Prime Minister) said, “While the U.S. decision is disheartening, we remain inspired by the growing momentum around the world to combat climate change and transition to clean growth economies.”
In defense of his decision, Mr. Trump talked about sectors of the U.S. economy that would suffer a decline in revenue and jobs if the country remained committed to the accord. Since Trump has agreed to stick with the withdrawal process stipulated by the Paris agreement – which could take four years – it will be up to the United States voters to decide in the next presidential election.