In 2017, former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement, calling it a “disaster” for America. Just hours after being inaugurated, on January 20, 2021, President Biden re-entered the United States into the pact. The readmission officially took effect on February 19 the same year. The following is a discussion of the reasons behind Trump’s withdrawal as well as what it means for the United States to rejoin.
What Is The Paris Agreement?
The Paris Agreement, hammered out over two weeks in Paris during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) and adopted on December 12, 2015, marked a historic turning point for global climate action, as world leaders came to an agreement comprised of commitments by 195 nations to combat climate change and adapt to its impacts. This 2022, there are numerous global events surrounding climate change and the Paris Agreement for you to look forward to.
Whether you call it an agreement, a contract, a set of goals, or a pact, it all refers to one basic goal: to combat climate change and its harmful consequences. The pact intends to drastically cut global greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep global warming to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels this century while also investigating ways to keep it to 1.5 degrees
The Paris Agreement features a “ratchet mechanism,” which means that every five years, each country must set a more ambitious target for decreasing emissions. By the end of 2020, updated NDCs are expected.
The Paris Agreement also lays out a method for wealthier countries to aid poor countries in their climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.
The human-caused climate disaster has already raised global temperatures by around 1.2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. According to the World Meteorological Organization, there is a 20% possibility that global temperatures would reach 1.5 degrees Celsius in at least one year between 2020 and 2024.
Obama Brought the U.S. Into The Paris Agreement
Because the agreement placed no new legal duties on the US, President Barack Obama signed an executive order bringing the United States into the pact in 2016. There was no Senate approval required. The United States already has a variety of instruments in place to reduce carbon emissions, thanks to legislation approved by Congress. After presenting an application for participation, the nation formally joined the pact in September 2016. The Paris Agreement could not take effect until at least 55 countries had formally signed, representing at least 55 percent of global emissions. This occurred on October 5, 2016, and the agreement entered into effect on November 4, 2016, 30 days later.
The United States, the world’s second-largest emitter, has vowed to cut emissions by 25% by 2025 compared to 2005 levels. However, analysts estimate that the government is only on course to accomplish a 17 percent decline. Former President Barack Obama offered $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund as part of the Paris Agreement to assist poorer nations in adapting.
Why Did Trump Withdraw From The Paris Agreement?
Even while the US economy grows and its inhabitants have access to inexpensive energy, the United States has lowered all sorts of pollution. The nation’s outcomes are self-evident: Between 1970 and 2018, US emissions of key air pollutants that have an impact on human health and the environment decreased by 74%. Even though the US economy increased by nearly 19%, net greenhouse gas emissions in the United States fell by 13% from 2005 to 2017. However, it’s worth noting that in the first two years of the Trump administration, emissions in the United States increased slightly. This is due, in part, to the Trump administration’s repeal of carbon emission limitations for power plants, vehicles, trucks, and fossil fuel activities. So despite the fact that U.S. emissions are decreasing, the rate of decrease is much too slow, according to climate experts, to avert catastrophic warming.
When Donald Trump was elected president, he attempted to withhold $2 billion from the Green Climate Fund. In 2019, 27 nations pledged $9.8 billion in contributions. The United States declined to help.
Why Has Biden Rejoined The Paris Agreement?
As mentioned above, The United States is currently the world’s second-largest emitter, behind China, and has contributed more to global climate change over time than any other country. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there have already been 16 climate-related catastrophes that have cost at least $1 billion apiece in 2020. Since the industrial age began in the mid-1800s, no country has released more cumulative carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the United States.
“The Paris Agreement establishes a revolutionary framework for global action. We know because we helped create it and see it through to completion.” In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated. “Its purpose is both simple and broad: to assist us all in avoiding catastrophic global warming and building global resilience to the consequences of climate change that we are experiencing.”
Re-joining the Paris Agreement was one of President Biden’s primary goals. He issued an executive order launching a 30-day procedure to re-enter the accord only hours after taking the oath of office.
According to Blinken, the Biden administration would incorporate climate change into its most significant bilateral and international dialogues.
Because the Paris Agreement was always intended to be an interim measure, not a full-fledged blueprint to save the planet, climate scientists and environmentalists believe that countries need to significantly increase their targets from their 2015 commitments in part to compensate for the United States’ absence for the past four years. Even with the US rejoining the pact, which was the missing key in the Paris Agreement, many challenges still lie ahead. Yet, the fight against climate change should be initiated from every single individual. Join us at Tenere to save our future.