In early November the Trump administration notified the United Nations that it would withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change. It isn’t as simple as one party leaving the larger group to their own devices; the US’s exit leaves global climate decision-makers to regroup in an effort to find a way forward without the cooperation of the world’s largest economy.
Trump’s administration wasted no time in making the announcement – they did so on the first available day under the Paris Agreement’s rules on withdrawal. It triggered a one-year countdown timeline to a global superpower cutting ties with an effort, including over 200 countries, to cut greenhouse emissions and to help poor countries cope with the worst effects of an already warming planet. Here are more details from our nation’s top investigative publications:
Fact-checking Trump’s Paris Agreement withdrawal
Starting with the scientific ramifications of Trump’s decision, ClimateAnalytics.org presented the following myths with the reality of the situation:
Myth 1: Renegotiation is possible
Fact: There is no political will to renegotiate the Paris Agreement and therefore the Agreement will not be renegotiated. This was immediately stated in reaction to President Trump’s speech in a statement given by France, Germany, and Italy.
Myth 2: Trump intends to begin negotiations to re-enter the agreement under new terms
Fact: While Trump made promises to begin new negotiations, the US cannot re-enter the Paris Agreement until after it has legally withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, which won’t take place until 2020. Even if Trump is re-elected, renegotiating would be reversing his plans in a way that makes the decision to leave the Paris agreement negligible. Due to the length of these processes, there’s no turning back from this process under Trump.
Myth 3: The US will cease all implementation of the Paris Agreement immediately
Fact: The United States remains a Party to the Paris Agreement until at least November 2020. Therefore, until that date, the US is bound under international law to comply with the Paris Agreement’s obligations. It cannot simply completely make changes immediately.
(Most important for the US economy) Myth 4: The Paris Agreement hurts the US economy with loss of jobs
Fact: Employment in the renewable-energy industry is growing rapidly in the United States (and around the world), and far exceeds that in coal mining. According to IRENA, in 2016 the solar and wind industries employed around 777,000 people in the US, and more than 8 million globally.
The rest of the read is worth the time if you are unfamiliar with the ramifications of this move.
The biggest issue with the Paris Climate Agreement exit
The main “excuse” for leaving the agreement from Trump’s team has been the effort to increase jobs as the agreement straps the US economy.
In a bit provided by TheGuardian: “The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, announced the development on Monday afternoon, saying the agreement would be an “unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses and taxpayers” and that the US has already reduced its heat-trapping emissions.” This would seem to be in direct opposition to the facts presented by the Climate Analytics detailed above.
Pompeo doubled down on his thought process in a quote provided by the Washington Post: “In international climate discussions, we will continue to offer a realistic and pragmatic model — backed by a record of real-world results — showing innovation and open markets lead to greater prosperity, fewer emissions, and more secure sources of energy,” Pompeo said. “We will continue to work with our global partners to enhance resilience to the impacts of climate change and prepare for and respond to natural disasters.”
If you need a summary of the move: Trump’s administration is behaving as though they have already made a huge dent in climate issues, and feels confident enough to bail on the agreement to address the issues on their own, while most Democrats feel as though the agreement was handling the issues just fine while jobs were being lined up under renewable energy efforts.
Who replaces the United States as the major mover of climate awareness powers?
According to CNN, “A 2016 report by the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group found that the Paris goals would open up an estimated $23 trillion in investment opportunities in developing markets through 2030. Critics say that with the US out of the market, the country’s chief competitors are stepping in.
Other superpowers such as China and Russia may be allowed to continue their climate-damaging efforts in the name of industry, which on the surface seems like a patch “I’m sorry” move by Trump.
Countries in conflict the world over are experiencing mass protesting in their streets. When will the US do the same? This may be the last straw.
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