leave paris agreement, climate change
© Gints Ivuskans

President Trump has announced plan to leave Paris Agreement in 2020, the world’s most cohesive plan to fight climate change

Currently, all countries in the world are part of the Paris Agreement, even those with interests in oil.

What is the Paris Agreement?

Here are some key take-away points from the accord adopted 12 September, 2015, in the presence of 196 countries.

  • “Climate finance”: Richer nations helping poorer, to adapt to the changes and use renewable energy, and complete transparency between all countries
  • Food security: Every State increasing their own ability to adapt, focusing on low greenhouse gas emissions development and maintaining the ability to produce food
  • 20/20/20 targets: Reduce carbon dioxide by 20%, increase renewable energy’s market share to 20% and energy efficiency to 20%
  • A five year review: Each country will be assessed by the rest of the world to see how well they are adapting to the goals
  • No higher than 1.5°C: All involved countries contribute to stop the temperature increase at 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels

Why do the US want out?

President Trump, speaking on 1 June 2017 at Rose Garden, expressed his intention to take the US out of the pact:

“The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.

“Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”

In light of recent media focus on the Impeachment Inquiry, the President has been looking to cement his earlier ideologies and control the conversation.

Responding to news that Donald Trump has initiated the formal withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change, Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

“Selfish, reckless and monstrous – the continued attempts to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement is potentially the single most destructive act of the Trump presidency.

“President Trump may believe his commitment to fossil fuels will win him votes, but it will also cost lives. By putting his own personal agenda before the needs of the world’s population, he is wilfully vandalising global attempts to save humanity.

“The climate emergency is one of the greatest threats to human rights of our age – its effects wreaking famine, poverty and homelessness on great swathes of the globe.

“And as the world’s second-biggest carbon-emitter, the US has a pivotal role to play in preventing the human rights catastrophe that will be inevitable unless greenhouse gas emissions are drastically reduced.

“By pursuing an exit of the Paris Agreement, President Trump is sending a clear message to the hundreds of millions of people whose existence is threatened by the climate crisis: he doesn’t care whether they live or die.”

Year-long withdrawal process

President Trump is beginning a year-long process to formally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. He will not be able to finalise the withdrawal until a day after the US presidential election in November 2020.

The agreement, which entered into force in November 2016, is the world’s most ambitious climate change commitment, ratified by 125 countries. Under it, the US had committed to reduce emissions to 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

Without strong action to prevent it, severe climate change is expected to cause 250,000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 – due to malaria, malnutrition, diarrhoea and heat stress. More than one billion people will see a severe reduction in water resources if there is a 2°C rise in the mean global temperature. There would also be an increase in the number of people at risk of hunger of at least 600 million by 2080, with at least 330 million displaced through flooding.

Overall, hundreds of millions of people would be denied their rights to life, health, food, water and housing. The adverse effects are likely to be disproportionately experienced by those living in poverty, particularly women and girls, indigenous peoples and others disadvantaged due to discrimination.


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