It seemed the whole world watched in dismay as the U.S. president decided to withdraw from the Paris Accord, a global pact to fight climate change.
Whilst the widespread condemnation of the decision amongst many world leaders, industry experts and citizens is evidence in itself of a bad choice, we take a look at what this means.
What is the Paris Accord?
In 2016 a first-of-its-kind agreement was made between all nations that global temperatures would be kept from rising more than 2C. To contribute, each country would decide their own contribution to the overall goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and develop their own strategies to do so. For perspective, scientists believe a rise of 2C would be disastrous.
What does the U.S. exit mean?
As the world’s biggest carbon polluter over time, this presents a large, dangerous, problem to other nations, making harder the overall pledge to reduce global emissions. Going against pleas from the EU, the U.S. appear content to wash their hands of global environmental responsibility, whilst those assumed initially opposed to the mission – India and China – have maintained their support. Without the U.S. they have a chance to spearhead the campaign, although this may prove difficult as China’s biggest efforts in the past have been joint with the U.S.
So what now?
A large portion of American cities, states and businesses have vowed to plough ahead and strive towards the commitment, openly opposing their President’s stance. A reported thirty states have shown their loyalty to the original mission.
Whilst it remains to be seen whether this solidarity will suffice in a battle of such importance, the international reaction combined with national uprising makes clear that responsibility of the environment is not only being accepted, but embraced.