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U.S. to formally withdraw from Paris Agreement

The Trump administration formally notified the United Nations on Nov. 4 that the United States will withdraw from the Paris
Agreement. This move is a fulfillment of President Trump’s major campaign promise to cancel the Paris climate deal.
According to the United Nations, the Paris Agreement is “a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to
accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.” Nearly 200 nations
signed the agreement in Dec. 2015, and the U.S. will become the only country to leave it.
The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to reduce the emission of gases that contribute to global warming. Under the
agreement, the nations established voluntary goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and working to prevent the
planet from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. According to NASA
Global Climate Change, average temperatures have already risen more than 1 degrees C (1.8 degrees F).
The U. S. is the second largest emitter, after China, of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, according to the
United States Environmental Protection Agency. The Paris Agreement committed the U.S. to cutting greenhouse gases up
to 28% by 2025 based on 2005 levels.
Trump stated that “The Paris accord will undermine [the U.S.] economy,” and “puts [the U.S.] at a permanent
disadvantage.” According to the National Economic Research Associates, if the U.S. met all of their commitments as a part
of the Paris Agreement, it would cost the American economy $3 trillion and 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040.
“The U.S. is one of the major users of these fuels, so any commitment by the U.S. has the potential to have significant
impact on both the industries that produce and rely on these fuels, and of course consumers,” Dr. Randall Waldron,
professor of economics and international business at John Brown University, said.
“Certain industries would bear the brunt of the costs, so of course there are people who would be hurt and therefore
oppose the policies,” Waldron said. “President Trump’s decision to abandon the U.S. commitment, even short of officially
withdrawing from the agreement, plays to the interests of these industries and the people who are most connected to
them.”
President Trump’s decision to pull out of the accord does not mean that he ignored the responsibility. “In international
climate discussions, we will continue to offer a realistic and pragmatic model,” Secretary of State Mike 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.” However, actual plans and details are not solidified.
The day after the official notification, BioScience Journal reported a scientific consensus on the threat of climate change:
“We declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth
is facing a climate emergency.”
BioScience journal scientists emphasized that despite numerous accords on climate for the last 40 years, “greenhouse
gas emissions are still rapidly rising, with increasingly damaging effects on the Earth’s climate… An immense increase of
scale in endeavors to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering due to the climate crisis.”
As more environmental problems like global warming and air pollution become apparent, more people are becoming
aware of the issues and trying to keep track of what is happening and changing on the planet where they live. According to
BioScience, “policymakers and the public now urgently need access to a set of indicators that convey the effects of human
activities on greenhouse gas emissions and the consequent impacts on climate, our environment and society.”
The withdrawal from the Paris Agreement will take effect in a year, the day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Therefore, the official act of withdrawing or reentering into the Agreement will depend on the result of 2020 presidential
election.