The Indian Express – US to withdraw from Paris Climate agreement, Donald Trump says deal not tough enough on India, China

“As President I can put no other considerations before the welfare of the citizens,” Donald Trump said after announcing that the US will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

Amitabh Sinha

New Delhi, 2 June 2017. Confirming the worst fears, President Donald Trump today stunned the world with the announcement that the United States would withdraw from the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement that seeks to safeguard the planet from the increasingly disastrous impacts of climate change.

“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Trump, leader of the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, said in one of the most nervously-anticipated announcements ever.

Trump said he will begin negotiations to “re-enter” the Paris accord or “entirely new” agreement on “terms that are fair to US, its businesses, its people, its taxpayers,” he said. Trump said the agreement was putting every other country at an advantage by putting America at a “great financial disadvantage”. He called the Paris agreement a “self-inflicted major economic wound”.

He said the deal was not tough enough on India and China. “India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020,” he said, adding even Europe was allowed to do that. Trump’s decision to withdraw means the United States will become just the third country to remain out of the Paris Agreement, the other two being Nicaragua and Syria, both of which, unlike the US, never joined.

Trump said he was willing to work with Democrat leaders to reenter the Paris agreement on terms fair to the US. “Until we do that, we are out of the agreement,” he said. He said America was committed to protection of environment but the onus had to be borne by all participating countries equally.

The US action jeopardises the carefully built and delicately balanced agreement that was the result of decade-long intense negotiations. The Paris Agreement asks each of its 195 member countries, 194 after US pull out, to make self-determined ‘contributions’ in the global fight against climate change, with the overall objective of restricting the rise of earth’s temperatures to within two degree celsius as compared to pre-industrial times.

Trump had criticised the Paris Agreement, which the United States under the eight years of Barack Obama administration had played a key role in negotiating, during his campaign trail and had promised to pull the US out of it, if elected. He had also described climate change as a ‘hoax’.

To be sure, the Paris Agreement will not fall apart as a result of US withdrawal but there is a possibility of some other countries following suit or losing interest in the agreement objectives.

In the absence of the United States, the biggest historical emitter, the Paris Agreement is also in danger of meeting the fate of Kyoto Protocol that has remained a major under-achiever. Kyoto Protocol is the climate treaty that Paris Agreement seeks to replace.

Negotiated in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol is supposed to die in 2020. The United States was not a member of the Kyoto Protocol either.

Besides the fact that the emission reductions from the United States are crucial to achieving the global targets, Washington’s ability to mobilise financial and technological resources to fight climate change are absolutely vital for the success of the Paris Agreement.


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