The decision of the Trump administration to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change is a big blow to the move to protect the earth for future generations. The Trump administration formally notified the United Nations on Monday (Nov 4) that it is pulling out of the agreement.
This means that
global climate leaders and diplomats would have to chalk out a plan to move
forward on climate change without the cooperation of the US, the world’s
The US gave its
reasons. Announcing the withdrawal on Twitter, US Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo said the accord would impose intolerable burdens on the American
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,”
believed that the accord would cripple growth in the US and intrude on American
The US move will
trigger changes in the plan on climate change. To restart the accord without
the US will witness a shift in diplomatic strategy that will require other
major polluters like China and India to step up their efforts. China, now the
largest emitter of planet-warming pollutants, has made significant promises but
Beijing’s ability to deliver is still in question.
China will have
to make major compromises as its industries are the major polluting centres.
Shutting them down will hit the economy and lead to unemployment – something that
China would like to avoid in the light of a major trade war with the US.
India too will
have problems as it fights issues like stubble burning in the northern states
of Punjab and Haryana.
But under United
Nations rules, China and India are considered developing countries and are not
obligated to curb emissions. They agreed to do work on curbing pollution as the
United States was taking action. With the United States out, other
industrialised nations will have to put extra diplomatic efforts on India and
Last year, the
European Union pledged to provide millions of dollars to aid Chinese
emissions-control efforts. But so far China has resisted moves to speed up its
initial emissions-control targets, which foresee greenhouse gas emissions
rising until 2030.
Some nations are
now considering punitive measures. France and Germany this year proposed a
European carbon tax to impose on countries with less stringent climate
protection policies. But any European tax on goods imported from the US would
trigger trade tensions with the Trump administration. Europe has been
threatening such a tax for years and, so far, has not followed through. But now
there may be a re-think.
move to pull out of the accord trigger a domino effect? While no other nation
has followed Trump’s footsteps, few are toughening their stand of
emissions-reduction targets. Without pressure from the US, nations may become
bold. But Trump administration’s antagonism toward climate action could dampen
Though the US
has decided to pull out of the agreement, environmentalists are pressing
states, cities and businesses to cut emissions and move to renewable energy
sources like solar and wind power. One
heartening feature is the hundreds of local governments and businesses have
made emissions pledges under a movement called We Are Still In. This shows that
Americans are behind the Paris Agreement even if the administration is not.
Though a welcome
move, Trump’s stand will jeopardise the future of our planet.