Trump: Forget Paris

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During his election run, everybody made a joke about Donald Trump destroying the world, but this could actually be it. The US has decided to bail-out from the biggest climate agreement the world has ever seen. Surprisingly, he announced the decision from the WH Rose Garden. The US now joins Nicaragua, which did not sign the accord because they think the deal is not strict enough on rich countries, and Syria, because they already have a humanitarian crisis at hand.

Trump said, “The Paris Accord puts USA at a great economic disadvantage”, which has been refuted by companies including Apple, Unilever, Schneider Electric, Microsoft and 20 others, so much so that they went on to publish a full-page advertisement on the first page of New York Times arguing that future jobs wouldn’t favour coal industries. Trump had characterised the concept of global warming as a hoax perpetrated by China and attacked China and India over their coal production, whereas over the history, the US has emitted, by far, more carbon than any other nation, in totality as well as per person. Essentially, according to the agreement, each country sets its own goals, which they have to review and set further ambitious goals after every five years. An essential point that was deliberately left out was that reduction in greenhouse gases was purely voluntary and India and China had already submitted ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ to reduce their own emissions. Trump also said that he was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, and not Paris (fact: Trump lost Pittsburgh), and we have reasons to believe that citizens of Paris thank God every day for this.

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On the other side (of the wall), this decision has actually united the world in support of the Paris agreement, where more than eleven US States have individually signed up to reduce carbon emission. His words for India might affect the Modi-Trump meeting later this year, considering allegations that India was demanding billions to implement the Paris Agreement was patently false and India’s recent admission in the SCO.

Even Kim Jong Un recognises climate change as real. Pyongyang slammed Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, calling Trump’s move a “short-sighted and silly decision”. North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called global warming “one of the gravest challenges humankind is facing today”.

Though Donald Trump stated US would consider renegotiations on the deal, but within hours of announcement, this possibility was rebuked by the world leaders. British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni, among many other heads of state expressed their refusal to return to the drawing board. If renegotiation happens, US cannot “reenter” the Paris agreement until the end of 2019. Once withdrawal is initiated, it takes another year of negotiations before the process in complete. This means the US will essentially remain in the agreement for the remainder of Trump’s current term as president.

Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla who encouraged Trump to remain in the Paris agreement, has already resigned from White House business councils as a result of Trump’s decision. The very agreement Donald Trump regarded as ‘draconian’ aims at holding the global average temperature below 2°C, which is the red line and if crossed, according to UN, would’ve irreversible effects. Trump administration could’ve simply used their sovereign power to reduce the voluntary commitment to safeguard USA’s economic interests and could’ve saved him from isolation, but this administration gets the idea of reversing every decision of the previous administration equivalent to a victory. The bottom line is, US cannot be made “great” by rejecting global responsibility and embracing coal.


About the Author:

Parth Gupta (Dept. of Economics, PU Campus)

Parth Gupta (Dept. of Economics, PU Campus)

I’m 18. I play a bit of guitar. Eternally on tap to share good music. Only problem with political jokes is that they get elected, and I write about them.

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