President Trump has stated his intent to pull America out of the Paris Agreement.
This is something that we all saw coming, but hoped would not – given that, y’know, the Paris Agreement is kind of significant in ensuring that we still have a planet to live on in the future and what not.
When he was elected, Trump was described as “the worst environmental candidate” in history by Khalid Pitts, the political director at the Sierra Club, the largest and most influential grassroots environmental organisation in the world.
Pitts said: “The only thing associated with his [Trump’s] campaign that remotely resembles ‘alternative energy’ are the flames from the dumpster fire that is his energy policy, and those are obviously unhealthy to be around.”
It’s clear that Pitt was right.
But why does the Paris Agreement matter so much?
The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework on Climate Change designed to act as “a bridge between today’s policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the century”, to cap greenhouse gas emissions and limit the rise in global rising temperatures.
The agreement was a huge step for the fight against global warming; the first that brought together all the major emitters of the world – in total 195 countries signed the deal. America emits more carbon emissions than every single one of those countries except China.
The plan was to restrict the world’s warming to no more than 2°C by 2100, and many people said that even this agreement did not go far enough. Scientists have already said it may be too late to save the planet. One in six animal species is risking extinction at the hands of human-cased climate change. Island nations in particular thought the deal was weak, given that rising water is already threatening their very existence.
To back out of the agreement, which Trumps says: “is not eliminating coal jobs, just transferring those jobs out of America and the United States and shipping them to foreign countries” will simply be a massive blow for the fight against climate change.