What’s the big deal about the Paris Climate Agreement?

The recent buzz about President Trump withdrawing the U.S from the Paris Climate Agreement has been spreading worldwide. But the major question for a lot of people has been, what exactly is the Paris Climate Agreement? The Paris Climate Agreement was adopted on 12 December, 2015. 196 countries negotiated the agreement and it came into effect by consensus. The agreement basically outlined the responsibilities of each country in combatting climate change. The key points are as follows:

  1. Each nation can determine how much they are going to contribute in reduction of their carbon emissions. Meaning it is their decision as to how much resources their country is able to provide in the fight against global warming.
  2. The contributions are not binding. Meaning there is no law forcing the countries to meet these set goals and there are no penalties for not meeting them.
  3. The only fallback is a “name and encourage” system, or in other words a name and shame campaign. If the targets are not met, the countries that haven’t met their goals will be identified for the whole world to see.

What exactly is the big deal about the Paris Climate Agreement?

The aims of the Paris Climate Agreement are to firstly increase our ability to deal with climate change by switching to renewable sources without affecting our food production and ability to function. Secondly, it puts the importance in ensuring that countries understand that the future of their economies should move towards financing renewable sources in order both boost their economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most importantly, the Paris Climate Agreement aims to hold the increase in the Global Average Temperature as below 2 degrees Celsius as possible.

If the global average temperature increases beyond 2 degrees Celsius, scientists have determined that it will have irreversible effects to the planet.

What it Means For The U.S to Pull Out

The U.S pulling out has a great deal of significance for the world. First of all, there are only 3 countries that are not a party to the agreement. Nicaragua, because they thought the agreement was not strict enough on developed countries. Syria, because they are facing war and cannot deal with this issue. And now the U.S, because President Trump has deemed it a way for the rest of the world to diminish the U.S economy. By pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the U.S has now demonstrated once more to the world that they have become unreliable. It affects their image with the rest of the world. Furthermore, being one of the greatest contributors to carbon emission, it’s dangerous for them to make no contribution to the curbing of their emissions. But most importantly, by leaving the agreement they set an example for other countries to not police their contributions well. They can now become lax and maybe even reduce the amount they wish to commit to reducing their emissions.