By Koustubh Tol
On June 1st, 2017, President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the historic Paris Climate Agreement. This marks a major shift from the previous US administration, which played a pivotal role in deciding the terms of the Accord.
Following his campaign promises, Trump said, “As someone who cares deeply about our environment, I cannot in good conscience support a deal which punishes the United States”. Reiterating his commitment to the much talked about “America First” policy, Trump raised concerns over the unbalanced contributions that the Obama administration had agreed upon.
What is the Paris Climate Deal?
In an effort to reduce the impacts of climate change on future generations, 195 countries across the globe came to a consensus during the 21st Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Paris during December of 2015. Out of those 195 nations, 147 countries have ratified this deal till date.
The agreement covers issues ranging from reducing the global temperature to below two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing dependency on renewable energy resources.
Trump’s reasons for withdrawal
US President Donald Trump has been a major critic of the Paris Accord since his election campaigning days. According to Trump, the United States will end up losing money without gaining any significant benefit from the Agreement. Despite domestic and international CEOs of major companies, corporations, and scientists encouraging Trump to commit to the Paris Agreement, critics of the Accord won out.
In an effort to reaffirm his commitment to creating and keeping jobs in America, Trump blamed the Paris Accord for using American money to benefit primarily developing nations. According to Trump, the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund “costs the United States a fortune” and is an unfair redistribution of wealth. He also blamed countries like China and India (which are the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses) for taking advantage of the investments that the United States had promised.
Reactions of the international community
The sudden US withdrawal from the Paris Accord has left the world in shatters. Though major economies like China, Germany, France and India have shown a strong commitment towards the deal, the US has now left a huge financial burden on them.
The decision of withdrawal not just leaves the world in desperation but also puts the United States in a state of isolation against every other major economy. Trump has said that he is open to a renegotiation of the Paris Agreement’s terms but the international community has not been open to this so far. France’s newly elected President Emmanuel Macron assured that the two countries will still work together but won’t be engaging in dialogue on the climate change issue in the future.
With global temperatures rising every day, this action leaves countries like India and China having to take matters into their own hands. The future might see countries becoming unconventional allies in order to reach their desired goals. The effects of US withdrawal will depend on the decisions that the rest of the countries take in the future. But no matter what, things won’t be the same.
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