A crucial and historical resolution has been made by the US President Donald Trump with regards to the latest Paris Agreement controversy after Elon Musk threatened to walk away if a leave decision was to be made. Trump broke off from the Paris climate accord completely disregarding the framework convention’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This may not come as a surprise as he continuously reiterates that climate change is a ‘hoax’. His decision to leave the global pact is apparently the best move for the country to give way to taxpayers and workers. Trump said that the Paris Agreement is “very unfair at the highest level to the US”. The president also said that America will renegotiate with the international platform for fairer climate change deal.
[Image Source: Matt Johnson via Flickr]
Russia, on the other hand, reinforces the existence of the global climate agreement as they confirmed their support earlier today. “President Vladimir Putin signed this convention when he was in Paris. Russia attaches great significance to it”, says Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “At the same time, it goes without saying that the effectiveness of this Convention is likely to be reduced without its key participants”, he added.
The architecture of the Paris Agreement
Even now that Trump has stricken his country off the Paris Agreement, it won’t be technically effective until 2020. The architecture of the agreement means that the newly elected president of the US, in 2020, has the chance to jump back aboard the platform that tackles the global issue of climate change. One of the disadvantages of leaving the international climate platform now is that America won’t be able to weigh in any future discussions and that the country can’t participate in any global move to cut down GHG emissions.
It’s not just America
More than 190 countries have united to back the Paris Agreement, a United Nations initiative, back in November 2015 to fight the serious consequences of climate change. But two countries, Syria and Nicaragua, didn’t commit to the consensus because it fails to put a stop on catastrophic levels of global warming. This is according to the Nicaraguan lead envoy, Paul Oquist who represented the country’s president at the 2015 meeting.
“We’re not going to submit because voluntary responsibility is a path to failure”, said Oquist. “We don’t want to be an accomplice to taking the world to 3 to 4 degrees and the death and destruction that represents”, he added.
Nicaragua is a small contributor to the global emissions of GHG pollutants, sharing a total of 0.03% according to the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research. And their refusal to commit to the climate change agreement in Paris is a complete reproach to the UN process.
On the part of Syria, the Assad government was unable to commit to cutting down the country’s GHG emission due to the conflict it was under when the Paris negotiations were made. However, isolated countries like North Korea or others that are also under a state of conflicts such as Iraq and Yemen were able to sign the climate accord.
Energy giants in support of the climate accord
Energy giant Exxon Mobil showed their support for the climate accord on Wednesday by voting in favor of it. 62% of Exxon’s shareholders voted in favor of the agreement, contrary to their initial decision where they heavily influenced against it.
“Energy needs are a function of population and living standards”, said Darren Woods, Exxon’s CEO. “When it comes to policy, the goal should be to reduce emissions at the lowest cost to society”.
The world’s largest independent oil and gas producer, ConocoPhillips, also expressed their strong support for the global agreement to cut down greenhouse pollution. “It gives the U.S. the ability to participate in future climate discussions to safeguard its economic and environmental best interests”, said the company’s spokesman Daren Beaudo.
Other corporate giants like Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Unilever, Starbucks, Adidas, Morgan Stanley, and many others were also strong advocates of the Paris Agreement, which they hoped that their influence would help the case of the climate accord.
What happens to America now?
The American renewable energy industry has expressed concerns that the country may find it difficult to expand its clean energy sector now that they are no longer part of the key global pact tackling climate change.
Former US climate envoy, Todd Stern, warned against the president’s intention to leave the Paris Agreement as it would resonate terribly on the nation’s reputation on an international scale.
Professor of environmental and international law at Stanford said that if the US were to leave the Paris Agreement, then rivaling country China will take over global leadership on the issue. And this seems to be the foreseeable international scenario as China reaffirmed its commitment to the global climate change pact.
The US president said that the Paris Agreement is a massive redistribution of the American wealth to other countries. He also said in his announcement that the US will be one of the cleanest countries with clean air and clean water despite his decision to leave the climate accord.
The whole world now holds their breath as one of the key global GHG contributors pulls out from the international climate framework.