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Why Did The US Withdraw From The Paris Climate Agreement?

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Following a Trump’s first foreign trip, the US is officially pulling out of the Paris Accord on climate change, as Richard Wagner explains.

European Diplomacy

It’s hard to say how much of this was influenced by the diplomacy of the last week.  Newly elected French President Macron was cordial with Trump during their informal meeting preceding the G7 Summit, though many in the media exaggerated the tensions between the two of them.  It’s likely that they discussed the Paris Accord off the record, but Trump had not yet made his decision.

Since Trump’s return to the US, former President Obama has visited Berlin to speak to a crowd along with Chancellor Merkel about democracy and global responsibility.  This need not necessarily offend Trump, but some might see it as Germany, and Europe’s way of saying they preferred Obama; and it also plays into a growing narrative that Merkel is becoming the acting “leader of the free world” as Trump has expressed his distaste for such a role.  At no point did Obama take any jabs at Trump during his visit, however, nor did Merkel.

The internet continues to fly with rumors exaggerating the tensions between Trump and European leaders.  Even Huffington Post stepped into it, claiming that a photo of Nordic Leaders with their hands on a soccer ball was to “troll” Trump.  This was supposedly a mockery of the photo of Trump with Saudi leaders placing their hands on an orb in the new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology.  CNN has since debunked this rumor, but that doesn’t stop it from flying across social media.

In truth, the Europeans were diplomatic and professional during Pres. Trump’s visit, as were America’s political leaders.  The mainstream media…not so much.  If anything the Macron’s diplomacy along with the Pope, caused Trump to take pause before still deciding to withdraw from the Paris Accords.

What next?

Much like TPP, Trump has withdrawn while expressing a willingness to enter a new agreement if it is more favorable to American businesses.  The withdrawal will officially take place in November 2019, as per the terms of the agreement.  The US is only one of a few countries in the world that will not be part of this agreement.

During this time, nations in the agreement theoretically could attempt to get the US to rejoin, but this is unlikely.  Former President Obama believes that increased environmental standards translate to a stronger economy with “green jobs”.  Trump strongly disagrees.  Only time will tell.

According to a release from the US Press Secretary, “The United States had already become the leader in cutting CO2 emissions while still leading in oil & gas production.”  “The Paris Climate Accord could cost the United States economy millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in economic output over the next several decades.”  Citing an analysis from the National Economic Research Associates (NERA):

o   By 2040, the American economy could have 6.5 million fewer industrial sector jobs, including 3.1 million fewer manufacturing jobs.

o   Industries such as cement, iron and steel, coal, natural gas, and petroleum would be forced to cut production under President Obama’s Paris Climate Accord.

This release also pointed out that the US would be forced to cut CO2 emissions by 26-28% by 2025, while China would not be given any requirements for the next 13 years.

China continues to get “third world” handicaps, despite the fact that they’ve become the industrial power house of the world, and their GDP has surpassed the US.  This makes their economy the largest in the world.  Meanwhile, Beijing’s air is so polluted that the people buy air pollution masks.

Clearly China can afford reduce their carbon footprint, and needs to do so more than the US or any European country.  Any renegotiation of the Paris Accords, or new agreement in its place, should hold China to the same standards as the “first world”.

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About the author

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He conducts independent study on the American conservative movement and foreign policy. When he is not talking politics, Richard is an aspiring novelist, and culinary hobbyist. Richard holds MSc from London School of Economics in Political Science.

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