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Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Context

  • Donald Trump has decided to pull U.S.A out of the Paris Climate Accord.
  • World Leaders, scientists and environmentalists have condemned Trump’s decision.

What is Paris Agreement?

It is an agreement within the UNFCCC dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The Paris Accord is considered as a turning point for global climate policy. Aims: The central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature … Continue reading “What is Paris Agreement?”

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Current Issue

  • On 1st June 2017, President Trump announced to pull U.S.A out of the Paris Agreement.
  • However, that there is strong support for the Paris Agreement among many individual States and cities in the U.S.
  • President Trump had suggested that he would seek a new deal
  • The withdrawal also implies the cancellation of U.S contributions to the Green Climate Fund.

Rationale behind the withdrawal

  • Trump had announced during his Presidential Campaign that he would withdraw U.S.A from the Paris Accord.
  • Trump also commented that he was ready to negotiate for a better deal. However, European leaders did not welcome the suggestion.
  • According to Trump, the decision to withdraw would help American business and workers especially those in the fuel industry.
  • On June 1st, Trump had also cited India’s financial needs as a reason for inaction, despite the fact that India has moved further and faster down the path of clean energy than most, based entirely on domestic resources

How can U.S.A withdraw from the Agreement?

  • The White House had announced that it would abide by the UN rules for withdrawing from the agreement.
  • Under the provisions of the Accord, U.S.A cannot withdraw before 2020.
  • Countries can only officially withdraw after three years of the agreement coming into effect and must give a one-year notice prior to withdrawing.
  • As the agreement is not legally binding, U.S.A could simply choose not to follow the agreement.
  • A faster option could be withdrawing from 1992 UNFCC. This would take a shorter time period.

Impact of U.S.A’s decision to withdraw

  • Withdrawal of U.S.A can be a major setback to effective climate action.
  • Since U.S.A is currently the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, it has a major role to play in reducing the emissions.
  • Withdrawal from the Agreement also includes cancellation of all U.S contributions to the Green Climate Fund.
  • Environmentalist and others fear that this decision may lead to a ‘domino effect’. Other countries might follow U.S.A and withdraw from the Paris Accord.

Other opinions

  • Many are of the opinion that U.S’s withdrawal is not the worst decision but the second worst.
  • More damaging would have been the other options Mr Trump was reportedly considering: stay in the Paris Agreement but substantially lower the U.S. pledge.
  • But sanctifying a weaker U.S. pledge would have violated the principle of ‘progression’ that lies at the heart of the Paris Agreement.

India amidst the issue

  • India had announced that it would continue its support for climate action
  • According to many, India could play a leadership role in mobilising the climate-vulnerable countries, to recommit to and strengthen the Paris Agreement.
  • India could also formally make cause with China and the European Union.
  • China and EU have reportedly planned alliance to lead the implementation of the Paris Accord.
  • Recently, the price of solar energy has fallen and the need for coal has also decreased substantially.
  • This indicates that India is well placed to make a transition to clean energy use.

 

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