Trump Withdraws U.S. From Paris Agreement
In a grave blow to global efforts to address the challenges presented by climate change, the President of the United States of America (POTUS), Donald Trump, announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.
Photo: Gage Skidmore.
With this move, the U.S. becomes one of the three countries to disregard the Paris treaty. The other countries are Nicaragua and Syria. While announcing the withdrawal, President Trump said “The Paris deal hamstrings the United States while empowering some of the world’s top polluting countries … That’s not going to happen while I’m president, I’m sorry.”
A global treaty to combat climate change with the vision to hold the global rise in temperature to “well below two degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels…”, the Paris Agreement falls within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and was signed by 195 countries, including India, in 2015.
The POTUS’ decision met with criticism from not just global leaders but also citizens of the United States. In fact, the governors of the three states of Washington, New York and California have stated that they will uphold the terms of the Paris Agreement despite President Trump’s decision. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, who took several steps towards climate change mitigation during his tenure, also condemned the decision. “Even in the absence of American leadership - even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future – I'm confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we've got," said Obama.
Irate world leaders publicly expressed their disappointment and anger at the announcement, with France, Germany and Italy going so far as to release a joint statement to categorically address Trump’s suggestion to renegotiate the terms of the treaty. “We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies…” they said.
Though the United States’ withdrawal from the ground-breaking Paris Agreement is a major obstacle towards meeting its goals, some believe that this is an opportunity to re-double efforts on climate change action. In the words of Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Asia: “When absurd positions are taken on life-threatening situations, it galvanises even apathetic people to think. Right now we are passing through what is rightly called the ‘Anthropocene’ and our inexperience with planet management is perfectly demonstrated by the arrogance of the ‘most powerful man in the world’. He therefore leaves us with just one option… unite against his ignorance, or perish.”