President Trump withdraws the U.S from the Paris Climate Agreement


Luke Dalessandro, Politics Editor

President Trump, in a statement regarding Thursday regarding his decision on whether to sustain and facilitate U.S involvement in the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement, signed under then incumbent President Barrack Obama, proclaimed the U.S will withdraw from the agreement, framing the United States as one of three nations globally to rebuff contribution and participation to the agreement. The Paris Climate Agreement, negotiated by 196 nations in 2015, was signed by 195 and ratified by 147 UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) member states with the broad aim of heightening and coordinating a global response to the threat of climate change.

The Agreement operated specifically on the scope of mitigating the global temperature rise this century to to below two degrees Celsius relative to pre industrial levels, the non-binding agreement sought to accomplish such a goal on an international spectrum by, with international cooperation and participation to ability, putting in place appropriate funding, a new technology framework, and an enhanced capacity building framework, seeking to support action in developing and impoverished nations. Funding for such programs, is intended to stem from that of nationally determined contributions.

Following President Trump’s announcement of withdrawal from the agreement, the U.S is primed to become one of three UNFCCC nations eligible to be a part of the pact yet refuse to do so, along with Nicaragua, who stated a belief the pact should include an economic or diplomatic punishment for a lack of adhering to the agreements articles, and Syria, a nation state not expected to participate in the pact due to their ongoing civil war. All the while, this comes at a time when the U.S is cited as the world’s second most prominent emitter of carbon dioxide, lagging only behind China, according to data collection by the European Commission. In spite of this, a multitude of war torn nations sanctioned by the United Nations did comply as signatories of the agreement, among them Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, and Croatia.

Image result for Paris Agreement
Among the goals and articles of the Paris Agreement outlined by the chart, is the central goal of keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, as well as the accounting of national progress on lowering of emissions and economic assistance in reaching emissions goals with foreign aid from developed nations.

Regardless of the potential for global blowback and implications of President Trump’s withdrawal, pulling out of the Paris Agreement fulfills a primary campaign promise of the President, whos framing of the non binding agreement as a pernicious attack on sovereignty and economic policy was a hallmark of his campaigns policy on environmental regulation and climate change, proclaiming at a speech in North Dakota, “We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S tax dollars to U.N global warming programs.”

However, President Trump did claim he would begin negotiations to make the Paris Agreement increasingly beneficial and less burdensome to the U.S economy and labor market, yet with multiple foreign heads of state rebuffing the ambition in response, with leaders of France, Germany, and Italy constructing a statement in response framing the accord as not up to negotiations, “irreversible.”

While much opposition to the agreement stemming from its assumed burden on the U.S to take immediate action in curbing carbon emissions in the form of widespread green energy implementation and international foreign aid, as opposed to more widespread focus on other nations of high carbon emissions, predominantly China, the response of China to the Paris Agreement does not reflect such an assumed complacency. Upon China’s ratification of the agreement, China released both its plans and nationally determined contributions for the accord. In China’s statement regarding the agreement were plans to lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60 to 65 percent from the 2005 level, and increasing the share of non fossil fuels to in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent.

In spite of President Trump’s assertions that the Paris Agreement was an attack on the ability of the U.S to conduct domestic policy without infringement upon national sovereignty, heads of state globally did contrast that the President’s withdrawal from the international agreement and refusal to continue funding of UN raises the question of the position of the U.S as a global world leader, or if the U.S is largely rebuffing the idea of acting as a leader in an international community. President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau both derided President Trump’s idea of the agreement as an attack on U.S sovereignty, proclaiming to Trump after his statement, “Make our planet great again.”