Climate Change in the Trump Era: US Withdrawal from The Paris Agreement

By Samantha Chang, NYU Florence student

Sea levels will rise. Growing season will be different. Hurricanes will become stronger. Precipitation patterns will change. Unless you are unaffected by the temperature, weather, availability of food, or expanding ocean, climate change will impact you. Fortunately, there are those who are fighting back. The leaders of 197 countries have banded together to form the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement forms a coalition of nations to combat the threat of climate change. It aims to unite the world in  a cohesive effort to combat global warming, adapt to its effects, and enable developing countries to become more sustainable. The agreement’s  main priority is keeping this century’s global temperature rise  below 2 degrees Celsius. This goal is ambitious — the rate of global temperature increase has nearly doubled in the last 50 years, and a lot of reforms must be made if that’s going to change. Specifically, countries will need to reduce their carbon dioxide and methane emissions. These emissions are caused primarily by electricity production, transportation, industrial production, commercial and residential building consumption, agriculture, land use and forestry, so naturally, people involved in these production processes will be affected. To ensure the stability of these industries and the millions of people they employ, governments must help them adapt technologically and financially.

These changes are a point of controversy in the United States, which recently withdrew from the Paris Accords because their leader, President Donald Trump, felt that the agreement was in conflict with the interests of the American people.

Trump claims that the accord will redistribute American wealth to developing countries and leave U.S. citizens to absorb the cost, which he cites as approximately 3 trillion in lost GDP. He claims that the promises made in the accord will not contribute significantly enough to combating climate change for the United States to make the sacrifices necessary to uphold their commitment to the agreement.Trump plans to negotiate a deal that would be “fairer” to the interests of America, now one of only three countries in the world that will not participate in the agreement. However, according to the reaction of other world leaders and experts in the field of climate change, this may not be so easy. Watch the following video to find out why they distrust Trump’s declarations:

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