In 2015, 195 nations at the 21st UNFCCC conference agreed to jointly combat the threat of global climate change by curbing global temperature rise below the 2-degree Celsius. But the deal is in jeopardy considering the announcement of withdrawal, by Donald Trump, of US from the deal, which will be formally effective from November 2020. The move to back out has come more of as a shock to many world leaders.
Why did US decide to withdraw?
The incumbent US president has been skeptical about climate change and global warming and has publicly denied such phenomenon’s. During the US presidential elections, he had vowed to end US commitments to Paris climate deal, if elected. The reasons that led to such a drastic move by the US are as follows:
1. The corporate background of Donald Trump has been closely tied to the energy industry. And these fuel groups had played a very significant role in the US presidential elections which Mr. Trump eventually won. The withdrawal of the Paris climate deal will ultimately help the energy companies to garner huge revenues and profits.
2. The current political winds seem to be in Mr. Trump’s favor and the social and ideological viewpoint of the Americans seem to define the presidential administration and thus leave little room for opposition. Sensing this, Trump might have decided to declare the exit hoping to woo the electorate.
3. Trump has always been vocal about his skepticism to climate change. In one of his speech, Trump stated that “The Paris Accord is very unfair at the highest level to the U.S. and compared China and India’s mitigation obligations with U.S., taking no notice of the common but differentiated responsibility principle.” And changing such stand will be unyielding and uncool.
4. The ‘American First’ propaganda by US administration seems to go to one of the extremes. While the former US president Barak Obama saw Paris climate deal as the one enhancing America’s environmental commitments, quite to the contrary, Donald Trump sees the deal that undermines US competitive edge and employment abilities. Trump ignores the ecological benefits and puts a lot of emphasis on the additional costs which arise while adhering to the deal.
5. Also, some people view Trump’s moves as his personal bias against his former rival Barak Obama. Trump seems to be bent towards destroying Obama’s legacy and regulations. Trumps decision to roll back most of Obamas policies after taking office, are a testimony to these estimations.
US decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal can have serious consequences which are as below:
a. The backing out of a major superpower of the world poses a major question on the universality of the Paris agreement. Till now the agreement found its niche from the fact that it included all the developed and developing countries under its ambit, thereby further becoming efficient and effective.
b. The Paris agreement is characterized by the backing of strong leadership of nations like USA, China and the European Union. With the EU absorbed by the Brexit and the Catalonian crisis, coupled with the withdrawal of USA from the deal, the implementation of the Paris agreement seems to be at crossroads.
c. Post withdrawal, US will no longer bound by the emission control measures of the deal thereby enjoying the benefits of free riding on other nations mitigation efforts. Even though most countries have reaffirmed their stance after US exit, what needs to be seen are the long terms commitments and sustainability of the stand.
d. As per the Paris climate deal, the developed nations are obligated to provide finances to the developing nations in order to curb climate change. But the moving out of the largest donor, USA, will make it hard for the developing nations to adapt to climate change due to insufficient amount of finances.
As can be seen, the US withdrawal from the deal will do more harm than good. The withdrawal tumbles the foundation of global climate governance and disrupts the process of international environment cooperation and collaboration.