Withdrawal from the Paris agreement on climate change will leave the United States as one of just three countries outside the accord, alongside Syria and Nicaragua.
US President Donald Trump announced on June 1st that America will not ratify an international pact to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. In a speech delivered in the White House Rose Garden, Mr Trump – who has now been in office for 137 days – stated that the Paris agreement would pose an economic burden on America and tarnish its sovereignty.
According to a recent survey by the Yale Programme on Climate Communication, not only do 86% of Democrats want to remain in the accord, but so do 51% of Republicans.
So far, numerous global leaders have been critical of the decision. Newly elected President of France Emmanuel Macron became a trending hashtag on Twitter on Saturday after using Trump’s campaign slogan to finish off a speech condemning the US President’s decision: “wherever we live, whoever we are, we all share the same responsibility; make our planet great again.”
Across the channel, British Prime Minister Theresa May declined to echo other EU leaders, who have urged the leader of the world’s largest economy – and second greatest polluter – to think again. “It’s up to the President of the United States to decide what position the United States is going to take on this matter,” she told reporters on the campaign trail.
However, according to Matthew Karnitsching in Politico, “Trump’s decision to ditch the Paris climate deal only cements his reputation in Europe as a danger to the planet, transforming Europe’s newfound air of superiority into a full swagger.”
It should be noted that the US President’s power over environmental policy is limited. States have substantial autonomy on climate policy, and in many cases – such as in California – have even stricter standards than Washington. “The administration’s decision to leave the Paris agreement will have no impact on those regulations” said The Washington Post.
During his electoral campaign, Trump infamously called climate change “a hoax created by and for the Chinese.”
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told reporters during a visit to Berlin that fighting global warming was a “global consensus” and an “international responsibility.”
Scientists say Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming sooner if the US retreats from the Paris agreement because of how much America contributes to rising temperatures. Their withdrawal could release up to 3 billion additional tons of carbon dioxide a year – enough to contribute to higher seas, disappearing ice caps and extreme weather.