Paris Climate Accord – Implications of US exit

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On June 1, 2017, President
Trump formally announced that US would quit
the Paris Agreement.

There has been widespread condemnation of US
exit at global level. UN Secretary General’s spokesperson called it a major
disappointment and EU termed it a sad day for the world.

 Us coal
industry and some Republican members supported the move.

What is under Paris Accord?

Paris agreement calls for holding the increase
in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels
and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above
pre-industrial levels.

Paris agreement, which takes effect in 2020,
calls on nations to establish a fund of at least $100 billion a year in
climate-related financing by 2020.

Paris agreement do not have historical
responsibility clause.

Paris agreement is non binding.

Why such a decision by Trump Administration?

Trump mentioned the Paris Agreement would cost
US millions of jobs.

Trump wants to fulfil his promises made during election
campaign. He wants Paris Agreement to get renegotiated.

Green Climate Fund is costing the U.S. a vast amount
of money.

What is the validity of claims made by Trump Administration? Do you think
Paris Agreement would be more effective in cutting pollution or cutting jobs?

After declaration of withdrawal of US from Paris Agreement former
US President Obama released a statement. “The nations that remain in the
Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and
industries created”

Clean Energy sector is the one of the fastest growing sector
of US.

Growth in solar energy outpaces the growth in other sectors
not only in US but across the World. Millions of jobs have been created in
Solar, Wind, Advanced Batteries, Energy Efficiency etc.

What are USA’S INDC?

To reduce its carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 26-28
per cent by 2025.


Are the efforts taken by USA sufficient?

Historically, the U.S. is the largest contributor to climate
change, responsible for 21 per cent of the accumulated stock of carbon in the
atmosphere. It is the second-largest contributor (with 14.34 per cent share,
after China’s 29.51 per cent) to the current flow of global carbon emissions.
It is also well known that with the current Paris pledges, the global
temperature rise by the end of century will be about 3.3 °C, which means
countries need to ramp up their commitments a great deal more, not lower them.


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) demands of
developed countries, is 25-40 per cent reduction below 1990 levels in order to
stabilise GHG concentrations, so that the temperature increase is limited to 2


From 1990 to 2005, U.S. emissions rose by 17 per cent,
making its Paris commitments just 9-11 per cent from 1990 levels.

While, the E.U. made a commitment of “at least 40 per cent”
reduction from 1990 levels. In reality, therefore, the U.S. is greatly
advantaged compared with the E.U.


Impact of USA’s withdrawal from the agreement

The Financial aid for the developing countries
in order to develop clean energy capabilities  is in jeopardy.  The road map for rich countries to provide US
$100 billion annually starting 2020 looks more dubious than before.

Agreement comes in to force in 2020. So  rules to be made. Will US upset the rule
making process.

US by its actions also sets a bad precedent on other
players who could follow US foot-steps.

Clean Power Plan of Obama administration  which aimed at combating anthropogenic climate
change (global warming) was also revoked by Trump Administration. The Plan meant
to reduce emissions from electricity sector by an estimated 32 percent below 2005
levels by 2030 with a view to shift away from coal fired energy and limit usage
of natural gas.

Additionally, Obama’s administration six moratorium
on climate change were also repealed bringing to light that US administration’s
focus is on fossilizing its economy and achievement of climate goals seemed no
in near future.

There is no punitive measures u can take against

Renegotiation will be more disruptive. Paris
agreement was itself a huge compromise.

What about the countries which are not capable
like Maldives, Bangladesh.

Implications on India

US largest most responsible nation has walked
away, now countries like China and India may have to take more responsibility.

Climate Funding for cleaner technologies may get
affected which will further limit the climate protection measures.

India’s per capita emission is very less.


Would it also impact the Geopolitical Importance of United States at
International Level?


This is not the first time that the U.S. is pulling out of
an international climate agreement. It withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol on the
grounds that emerging economies did not have quantified emission targets.


with the U.S.’ withdrawal
from the Paris climate accord and from the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), U.S. influence is at its weakest
in a generation. With the U.S. government

cutting its expenditure on
diplomacy, it is likely that “American influence” will wane even more.

While Us talk about Freedom of Navigation but they haven’t
signed Law of the Sea Convention.While they are talking about adhering to the
principle3s which the convention endorses.


Will it make Weak Paris Agreement more weaker?

Principles of equity and
differentiated responsibilities remain on table but no progress on
operationalizing them in the Paris Agreement rulebook.


How the withdrawal Mechanism works under Paris Climate Agreement?

The agreement, which was negotiated by 195 parties to the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on December 12,
2015, in Paris, came into force on November 4, 2016. A year is required for
actual withdrawal once the UN has formally received the withdrawal application.
Therefore, Trump can only start the process for withdrawal by November 2019

Article 28 of the Paris Agreement states that parties cannot
apply for withdrawal for first three years.

What is the way forward for Trump Administration?

According to Article 28.2 of the agreement, even if the
Trump administration were to submit a written notification on withdrawal to the
U.N. Secretary- General on the very day of expiry of the three-year period, the
notification could take effect only after a year from that date, which means
that a U.S. withdrawal can take effect at the earliest on November 4, 2020.

Efforts with in the United States towards Environment Protection

There are states in US like California and New
York which has their own regulations that are very advanced. Other example in
terms of Environment protection are, states like Virginia which have switched
to gas from coal.

Californian Governor signed an agreement with
China to work towards lowering greenhouse gas emissions. 

How EU can manage the situation in during such climate crises and withdrawal
of US?

EU needs to forge a strategy of dealing with players like US
who are all set to re-fossilize their  economies
thus greatly undermining the goals of the Paris Agreement.

EU-China joint leadership on climate  change is a welcome step but at the same time
it would also be tough to implement considering that China has no track record on
dealing with soft issues like climate change.  Besides, Chinese leadership may not be too welcomed
by other developed and even developing countries.

Way Forward

Climate change
is the global problem so will affect US too. We need to find the strategy to
strengthen the Paris Agreement. As the global community
is struggling to implement the Paris Agreement, the
International Organisations like EU needs
to step up its action. Climate change, green finance, and
sustainable development were high on the agenda during latest G-20 meet
in Hamburg (2017).