November 2020International NewsAmericas2020

The United States Withdraws from the Paris Climate Agreement

Lauren-Marie Diawatan
Staff Writer

The United States officially left the Paris Climate Agreement on November 4,  according to The Associated Press. The pact was established five years ago to combat the dangerous threat of climate change. The New York Times reports that President Trump first announced his plan to withdraw from the agreement in 2017. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then filed for the withdrawal  on November 4, 2019. Though President Trump referred to the Paris Agreement as “job-killing,” the agreement is a non-binding arrangement that does not require the U.S. to take harmful actions.

A joint statement by Chile, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom from the United Nations Climate Agency expressed “regret” for the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. The statement wrote that these countries “remain committed to working with all U.S. stakeholders and partners” to complete the implementation of the Paris Agreement and promote greater climate action.

ABC News reports that President Trump has gone back on multiple environmental protections since 2017. The United States is not currently on track to reach the goal established at the 2015 Paris Summit to reduce their carbon emissions to 28 percent by 2025. The U.S. President claimed in a White House briefing that adhering to the Paris Agreement would cost 2.7 million jobs by the projected year while allowing other states such as China and India to increase their emissions. President Trump condemned the agreement, calling it “very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States.”

The Paris Agreement was signed by 195 countries and formally adopted by 189, according to the New York Times. BBC News explains that the agreement serves to “keep global temperatures ‘well below’ 2.0 C (3.6 F) and limit them further to 1.5 C” and to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement also reviews each country’s nationally determined contributions and calls for richer countries to provide “climate finance” to aid poorer countries. ABC News writes that if the United States’ original emission reduction goal were too difficult, the rules of the agreement would have allowed the country to change them.

The New York Times reports that no other country has planned to renounce the Paris Agreement, as President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil reversed his earlier threat to do so. Greater climate commitments have been announced by European and Asian countries. The European Parliament established the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, a goal later adopted by South Korea and Japan. China also promised to reach carbon neutrality by 2060.

NPR News writes that the U.S.’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement means that the country will no longer contribute to a global fund meant to support countries with smaller economies struggling with the costs to adapt to climate change. The Trump administration withdrew two-thirds of the country’s initial contribution of $3 billion and refused to provide further aid, while other wealthy nations, such as France and the United Kingdom, increased their pledges by double.

Many American states and businesses have also agreed to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, with 12 states having already planned to get 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources. American emissions rose during the first two years of the Trump administration, with a short-term dip resulting from the 2020 pandemic. An analysis report by the World Resources Institute think-tank explains that investment in renewable energy generates more jobs than the fossil fuel industry.

The Associated Press reports that the next round of UN climate talks will take place next year in Glasgow, Scotland. On the day of his presidential victory and the United States’ withdrawal, President-elect Joseph Biden announced on Twitter that the U.S. will rejoin the Paris Agreement under the Biden administration. The New York Times writes that while other countries in the agreement will allow the Biden administration time to transition, they want to see reductions in domestic emissions take effect sooner.

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