Can climate change wait for the US to rejoin the Paris agreement?

President Trump Announces Details of the U.S. Special Operations Forces Mission Against ISIS Leader. President Donald J. Trump addresses his remarks to the nation Sunday morning, Oct. 27, 2019, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, to announce details of the U.S. Special Operations Forces mission against notorious ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound in Syria. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The US administration informed the United Nations (UN) two days ago that is starting the official process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement the moment that the whole world is experiencing the warmest October of the last forty years according to a research from a global group of around 11.000 scientists.

On the other hand, France and China are attempting to combat climate change by agreeing on the “irreversibility” of the Paris climate pact. Will it be enough and are the rest UN nations able to replace one of the world’s biggest CO2 emitters?

US commences withdrawal process

It was back in 2017 when Donald Trump announced that the US will withdrawal from the Paris agreement leaving everyone worrying for the faith of the environment. The US administration could only formally start the procedure after the 4th of November 2019 based on the agreement’s rules. And as expected the process commenced, is about to last one year and will be concluded after the US elections.

The announcement was made by the US government which sent the paperwork to the United Nations informing about its withdrawal. Furthermore, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter: “The U.S. approach incorporates the reality of the global energy mix and uses all energy sources and technologies cleanly and efficiently, including fossils fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable energy”.

EU joins forces with China

The EU expressed its regret about the US decision to exit the Paris pact and is expected to act swiftly together with China to fill in the gap that the US will leave behind. Emmanuel Macron and Xi Jinping are going to sign a deal in Beijing today that will seal the “irreversibility” of the Paris climate accord. More specifically, France mentioned on the US president’s action: “We regret this and this only makes the Franco-Chinese partnership on the climate and biodiversity more necessary.”

The French President seems determined to take the lead and increase the EU and world climate pledges in order to tackle the climate change and reverse the ongoing situation. In detail, Mr Macron stated at a trade fair in Shanghai yesterday: “If we want to be in compliance with the Paris agreement, we will need next year to enhance our commitments to reduce emissions, and we must confirm new commitments for 2030 and 2050. The cooperation between China and the European Union in this respect is decisive. Next year, we need, in the agenda of enhancement, to be collectively up to the task.”

Climate scientists’ continuous warnings

A new study from more than 11.000 scientists from 153 nations showed that climate crisis is increasingly affecting planet Earth and people’s lives and reported that governments are currently inadequate to address it. The necessity of immediate actions is imperative in order to prevent the irreversible effects of climate change. The humanity should focus mainly on the growth of human and animal populations, per capita meat production, global tree cover loss and fossil fuel consumption according to the report. In detail, the scientists said: “The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected. It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity… An emergency means that if we do not act or respond to the impacts of climate change by reducing our carbon emissions, reducing our livestock production, reducing our land clearing and fossil fuel consumption, the impacts will likely be more severe than we’ve experienced to date”.

Climate Next Day

The future of climate looks ominous the moment the US has stopped long ago contributing on keeping a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and is also expected to exit the Paris agreement next year. Thus, the burden is now on the “shoulders” of the remaining UN countries who have signed the Paris pact such as the EU countries and all the developed nations. What is more, it is about time that the developing countries raise their climate pledges and curb emissions as much as possible.

However, even if all the other nations increase their contributions, it is very hard to counterbalance the US share as it is the world’s second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. It is possible though that the framework changes with the White House to remain in the Paris accord if the next US President is a Democrat and decides to cancel the decision of Donald Trump. The latter is of course up to the American citizens to decide but it is indeed a huge incentive against the climate battle.

All in all, the environment keeps on demonstrating that human actions are leading to a climate crisis where it will not be long till we face an era with devastating conditions. All scientific studies are pointing towards it and urging for immediate measures that will bring the planet back to its normal state.

It seems that it will be up to the US citizens and the world leaders to express their environmental sentiments and increase their climate pledges by just looking purely at the scientific data and the impacts of climate change in their everyday lives.

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  1. Irrespective of the presence of the US, I believe the Paris Agreement is taking the right step in ratcheting ambitions. We strongly need more ambition and better compliance if this Agreement has to be effective in any way.

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