The Environment

5 Takeaways From President Trump Taking America out of the Paris Agreement

Obama believes leaving the Paris deal will not help the US economy in the future

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.

Obama Believes Pulling out of the Paris Agreement Will Impact America Negatively in the Long Run

There’s even talk that the US could lose out economically, as Trump tries to resurrect dying trades instead of focusing on the work of the future.

Barack Obama released a statement in the wake of Trump’s announcement that said: “The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created. I believe the United States should be at the front of the pack.”

Trump’s reasons for leaving the agreement were to boost the coal industry, but leaders in the coal industry were even campaigning for him to stay in and give them a seat at the table to negotiate. The coal industry is expected to continue its steady decline as it comes up against competition from cheaper natural gas, wind and solar power.

Trumps’ move puts America in a vast global minority

Currently the only other countries in the UN not part of the Paris Agreement are Syria, which as you’ll know is currently dealing with a civil war, and Nicaragua, a country in Central America between Costa Rica and Honduras, which thought that the agreement did not go far enough to clamp down on climate change.

Even North Korea is in on the deal.

Syria and Nicaragua opted not to sign up for the agreement due to their wars and principles respectively. Not because they did not believe in climate change.

Paul Oquist, Nicaragua’s lead envoy to the Paris negotiations, previously told Climate Home: “We’re not going to submit because voluntary responsibility is a path to failure.”

On the back of Trump’s announcement, it seems that he was right.

…But more countries may now follow Trump’s path

With the US, one of the biggest polluters on the planet, refusing to meet their targets and instead focusing on short-term economic gains, there’s every chance that other powers around the world will follow suit too.

Thankfully China recently stated that whatever America did under Trump, it would continue to work towards meeting its targets and more, but it remains to be seen whether the likes of India and smaller developing nations will follow suit.

Whereas under Obama the United States were a world leader on climate change for the first time, the Trump regime is now near-enough encouraging other countries to give up on their efforts. It’s looking like the $3 billion earmarked by Obama for helping developing countries reach their targets will be going no further ($1 billion was already spent by the Obama regime).

Due to the terms of the agreement, Trump can’t actually leave the agreement officially until 2020, but he due to the lack of punishment for failure to meet targets, he can effectively ignore it until then.

Trump got his numbers wrong (again) in his Paris speech

We all know that Trump has called climate change a hoax in the past, but it’s particularly hard to take anything he says seriously when he continuously gets his numbers wrong.

In his speech departing from the Paris Agreement, Trump said: Even if the Paris agreement was implemented in full, it is estimated that it would implement two-tenths of a degree of temperature reduction by 2100.”

This isn’t true. The world’s warming would be restricted to no more than 2°C by 2100. We’re currently on 1°C. Trump is way off.

…But at least he garnered a whole lot of publicity while doing it

The Paris Agreement is voluntary. Trump could have just quietly ignored it and though a lot of media organisations would have undoubtedly picked up on that, there wouldn’t have been nearly as much of a ruckus as there has been in the media in the past few days.

The Paris Agreement is now under the microscope, leaders from around the world are condemning the move from Trump and looking at what they can do to aid work on climate change further. America is becoming somewhat of a laughing stock the world over, despite Trump saying: “we don’t want other countries laughing at us” in his exit speech.

Here’s hoping something comes of all this. There’s always a place for optimism, right?

There’s an active petition you can sign against President Trump’s actions here:

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