Should Trump Bail Out of the Paris Climate Accord

by Luke Bauer

 

Trump is currently meeting with his advisors to determine whether America will stay in the Paris Climate Agreement. This is an extremely important issue, because it won’t only determine emissions coming from the U.S., it could affect the whole world. Already, 143 of 197 parties in the U.N. have ratified the agreement,[1] and will make efforts to reduce climate change based on the abilities of the country. The accord seeks to keep the temperature rise in the next century under 2 degrees Celsius. America is the second largest source of carbon emissions[2], and we are supplying many of the funds helping countries produce renewable energy. We have already given $500 million to the “Green Climate Fund,” and are expected to give significantly more over the course of the agreement. This means that, currently, the U.S. is one of the driving forces behind the entire deal. If we back out, the agreement loses much of its credibility, and it will become even farther from achieving its goals. We must stay in the agreement and continue to support its completion. If we do not, there will be many consequences from increased global warming to destruction of America’s credibility.

 

Donald Trump stated on his campaign trail that he will undo all of Obama’s climate change policies and deals. This include the Paris Climate Agreement, which he claims will go against America’s coal interests and only favor the rest of the world. He and his more conservative advisors believe that this deal will cost the U.S. enormous funds in exchange for little to no U.S. benefit. Since many of them don’t believe in climate change, this belief isn’t exactly surprising. A more valid potential complaint is that the current goal isn’t ambitious enough, and won’t accomplish a change worth the cost. For Trump, personally, it will be better to back out of the deal since that will show that he is keeping his campaign promises. It also aids his goal to revitalize the coal industry. By severely crippling the EPA, and killing many of Obama’s Climate Change programs such as the Clean Power plan, Trump has already made it extremely difficult to keep our promises to the Paris Climate accord. In addition to this, he wants to officially back out of the deal.

 

There is a lot to lose if Trump leaves this agreement. First, is the obvious problem of the agreement falling through without U.S. backing. It is possible that the accord survives without the U.S., but we are the second largest source of carbon emissions. We also have pledged one of the largest reductions in pollution. Without us, the agreement loses a lot of its credibility and strength. WE also have a lot to lose diplomatically. If we formally leave this agreement, we are making a clear statement that we are not trying to prevent global warming. This could take us out of the discussion when it comes to climate change. Finally, there is the fact that staying in this deal and accomplishing our promise, benefits the U.S. in many ways. We improve our technology, create jobs, and reduce pollution.

 

A few of Trump’s advisors are suggesting that we stay in the accord, but change our pledge so that it doesn’t hurt our economy[3]. While this is obviously less than ideal, it could be a method to allow Trump to save face, while not causing too much damage to the agreement. Although, this is dependent on the level of reductions proposed. Supporting this accord and accomplishing the goal is extremely beneficial. The U.S. could potentially benefit by 2 trillion dollars by 2030[4]. America needs to stay in the Paris Climate Accord. We will develop technology, save the environment, save a lot of money in the long run, and look good doing it.

 
Andrew comment:
Great blog about the Paris Climate Agreement, Luke. I like how you took a strong stance on the issue at the end of the first paragraph, then backed it up with what America stands to gain by staying in the agreement. I’m curious how your 4th source got the number 2 trillion from, as I didn’t really understand the “social cost of carbon” it talks about. However, I agree that diplomatically (although maybe not locally) it would be smart for Trump to stay in the agreement because it would show we’re committed to combating climate change. I’m curious how much of a change would have to be made to the agreement before Trump would agree to stay in it, as these changes may take much of the meaning out of the agreement depending on how big they are.

 
Wei comment:
I agree with you that backing out of the Paris Climate Accord has many consequences, both environmental and political. However, the discussion here about the benefits of staying in the accord has failed to provide much evidence. Specifically, how does staying in the accord create jobs? I am also confused by your claim that the complaint of the PCA not being ambitious enough is cited as a valid reason to back out. Are you implying that the Trump advisors who cited this as a reason to back out are pursuing stronger global warming controls? If so, how then will backing out from the PCA worsen global warming? Furthermore, you did not elaborate on why staying in the PCA will save the US “a lot of money in the long run”. Overall, I do not see this blog as convincing in its arguments at all.
 
 


 
 
Citations
 
[1] United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Paris Agreement – Status of Ratification. N.p., 11 Apr. 2017. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.
 
[2] “Each Country’s Share of CO2 Emissions.” Union of Concerned Scientists. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

[3] Davenport, Coral. “Trump Policy Advisers, Split Over Paris Accord, Will Debate U.S. Role in Pact.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 Apr. 2017. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

[4] Harvey, Chelsea. “Why a Paris climate agreement could actually be very good for the U.S.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 05 Nov. 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2017

 

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