By AMINA RANA
June 8, 2017
“For the US, as an instrumental partner in such deals would mean that our sudden backing out would take years to undo. “
We’ve heard the ruckus by now, the US has officially backed out of the Paris Climate Agreement, undoing a milestone of international cooperation and surely setting the globe back in confronting global warming.
The US now joins Nicaragua and Syria, in abdicating itself from the landmark agreement. Nicaragua cited less stringent obligations for rich countries as its reason for not signing, while Syria has become a pariah in the international community. The US, however, remains mute on the exact reasons for its departure–other than the feeble response of its negative effects on jobs.
What does it mean? Where do we go from here and what should we expect in the future?
Back in 2015, when the Paris Agreement was adopted.
For starters, the legal unbinding of the accord would take four years. The Paris Agreement was itself a considerable success for the international community because of the many clauses and accommodations it made for the 190 countries that signed it.
The US, however, remains mute on the exact reasons for its departure–other than the feeble response of its negative effects on jobs.
For the US, as an instrumental partner in such deals would mean that our sudden backing out would take years to undo. In fact, the US officially backs out on November 4th, 2020, which is after the next presidential election cycle. This does allow for some space for the president in the next election cycle (should Trump not move forward) to rejoin the Paris Agreement.
The effect it has on the climate is unclear. This is in part because of the nature of our Republic and autonomy gifted to the states, permitting cities and counties to take action where the federal government refuses to.
In fact, local leaders across the US have already voiced their defiance, affirming their dedication towards creating a greener globe. In fact, 180 mayors have agreed to adopt the accord themselves.
Other countries in Europe have also made clear their interests in keeping the stability of the global climate. The President of France even took to mock President Trump’s campaign slogan calling on the world to “make our planet great again” in response to the US’ sudden withdrawal.
Still, there is little doubt that the US’ exit will impact at least part of the agreement. Part of the agreement relied on the US to send $3 billion to poorer countries to assist in their development of green technologies. Without such funding, Europe may be forced to compensate.
It is unclear whether Europe will remain committed to the climate change cause, not solely because the US has exited, but because there remain obstacles in harnessing confidence in addressing climate change. It will prove to be difficult if the leader of the free world has just exited and evidently debunked the idea of climate change. Nonetheless, leaders of Germany and France have reaffirmed their commitment and call on cooperation among the international community.
The effect it would have on the political spectrum is perhaps more obvious. In backing out of the Accord, President Trump has isolated himself in the international community. The backing out of the Accord was preceded by what was arguably a pivotal G7 Summit, where President Trump shoved foreign leaders and listened to speeches without translation.
A fog of confusion looms the White House too, as Press Secretary Sean Spicer has failed to provide any answers on the President’s stance on climate change.
Time will tell where the Accord will go, meanwhile, Trump has voiced his desire to open negotiations and amend it.