UPDATE (02/06/2017): So, he’s done it. President Trump has announced that the US will be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. The UN deal on climate change anyway didn’t include legally-binding measures, and so the move from Trump is largely symbolic. Nevertheless, could it encourage other countries to follow? And, as America is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world after China, will the rest of the world be able to meet the goals laid down in the Paris Agreement without the US? Let us know your reactions in the debate below!
ORIGINAL (01/06/2017): Donald Trump is planning to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. That’s according to sources inside Trump’s (notoriously leaky) White House. His final decision will be announced in a speech today in Washington DC at 3pm local time (9pm CET).
During his election campaign, Mr Trump pledged that in his first 100 days in office he would “cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of US tax dollars to UN global warming programs.”
Upon election, he softened his stance and said he would take the time to learn more about the issues before coming to a decision. His approach has greatly frustrated America’s allies in Europe, and even Pope Francis himself has been lobbying Trump not to pull out of the deal.
The UN Paris Agreement was adopted on 12 December 2015 and came into force in November 2016. It aims to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (so far, average temperatures have risen by a little under 1 degree Celsius). The USA is one of the largest carbon dioxide emitters on the planet, so if Trump does pull out of the agreement it could have a huge impact in the fight to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Europe and China have vowed to forge on with the Agreement even without the US. Famously, the US did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol which preceded the Paris Agreement. So, on paper, it would be going too far to describe the deal as “dead”. However, even without the Kyoto Protocol, previous US administrations have recognised the dangers posed by climate change.
It’s currently unclear whether President Trump agrees with the overwhelming scientific consensus behind man-made climate change. His proposed federal budget would essentially gut the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with budget cuts totalling nearly 30%. So, could Trump put the Paris deal into jeopardy?
Is the Paris climate change deal dead? What happens if the US pulls out? Will Europe, China, and the rest of the world be able to salvage the agreement? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!