On June 1st of 2017, President Trump made the unprecedented decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord, an international agreement promoting progressive environmental action. This decision was immediately met with condemnation from environmentalists and political leaders alike, for the outcome of the U.S withdrawal will weaken efforts to combat global warming and also embraces isolationist principles.
The Paris climate accord is an agreement among 197 nations to collectively strengthen countries’ capability to deal with the impacts of climate change. Each country is required to regularly report their emissions and to make their best effort to be environmentally conscious. If the U.S were to have remained in the accord, greenhouse gas emissions were pledged to be cut 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025 and would allocate up to $3 billion in aid to impoverished countries.
Withdrawing from the accord leaves the United States standing alongside Syria and Nicaragua, who are also not a part of the deal.
By backing out of the agreement, Trump says he is making good on his campaign promise to put American workers first. This is part of a strategy to rejuvenate the coal mining industry and bring jobs back to America. Republican politicians such as Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell have applauded Trump “for dealing with yet another significant blow to the Obama administration’s assault on domestic energy production and jobs”.
As the Earth’s second largest polluter, the United States leaving the accord will make it considerably more difficult for the remaining countries to reach their goals. Americans produce more carbon dioxide per person than any other country in the world, leaving environmentalists concerned about what the withdrawal from the agreement could mean for our climate. Because of this alarming figure, more than 30 states, dozens of cities, and half of the Fortune 500 countries have plans to switch to renewable energy and to decrease their emissions.
For example, business magnate Elon Musk agreed to be a member of two business councils with Trump earlier this year, but decided to leave these panels due to his conflicting views over climate change. In the past, Trump has denied that humans have anything to do with climate change and has dismissed it as a hoax.
President Trump has expressed his desire to negotiate an alternate deal for the United States, and reportedly made calls to the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, and Canada. This may be an effort to maintain a trans-Atlantic alliance, however the leaders of France, Germany, and Italy stated that the accord could not be renegotiated. Therefore, the decision to withdrawal from the accord could potentially eradicate invaluable diplomatic relationships with other countries.
Former Vice President Al Gore voiced his concern, stating that, “removing the United States from the Paris agreement is a reckless and indefensible action” and “it undermines America’s standing in the world”.
Despite the widespread disapproval among varying parties, Trump stands by his decision and asserts that in order to “Make America Great Again”, American people must be put first.
Perhaps the withdrawal will bring jobs back to America, or perhaps the effects could be detrimental-only time will tell.