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In December 2015, nearly every country in the world — 195 in all — agreed to the global pact aimed at reducing emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases. It was a landmark diplomatic achievement and the pinnacle of President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda.

The idea of the Paris climate accord was that every country, rich and poor, would set goals to curb carbon emissions in an effort to avert the worst effects of climate change.

Scientific studies show that if the world’s carbon emissions continue unchecked, atmospheric temperatures will continue to rise. The planet won’t just be hotter, but it will also suffer from rising sea levels, more powerful storms, droughts that lead to food shortages and other extreme conditions.

United States backed out from the Paris deal

President Trump announced Thursday (June 1) that he would pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. The decision makes good on his presidential promise and aligns with Mr. Trump’s “America first” message. It is also a major setback for the worldwide effort to combat global warming.

Under the accord, the United States had pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and commit up to $3 billion in aid for poorer countries by 2020.

By stepping away from the Paris agreement, the president made good on a campaign promise to “cancel” an agreement which he repeatedly confessed was a “hoax”.

“China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years – 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries”, Trump said on Thursday, describing what he said was “unfair, at the highest level”.

“But will we start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”

US President Donald Trump named India and China among chief reasons for his decision to pull out of the Paris Accord.

The United States would remain a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and could still participate in future U.N.-sponsored climate discussions. But Mr. Trump said he would not abide by any of the United States’ previous commitments under the Paris agreement and would rejoin only if the accord were drastically renegotiated, an unlikely prospect.

But pulling out of Paris also means the U.S. will refuse to make any additional contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund. The fact that the world's largest economy and the largest per capita emitter will decline to take on policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions and simultaneously refuse to contribute to a fund largely devoted to adaptation measures in the world's poor countries is dangerous and unprecedented.

Mr. Trump is creating a vacuum of global leadership, David E. Sanger and Jane Perlez write, and China may be the biggest beneficiary. China said on Thursday that it was committed to the Paris goals no matter what Mr. Trump did.

Whether the world can avoid the impending fate may now depend on countries like China, the world’s largest emitter, which is poised to assume a dominant role in future talks. China is investing heavily in wind, solar and nuclear power in an attempt to level off its once-insatiable coal consumption. But it is unclear how far China’s leaders will go in pressuring other countries to raise their ambitions. In the past, China has argued against rigorous transparency standards to review nations’ progress.

“Our response to climate change bears on the future of our people and the well-being of mankind,” Xi said, according to the Associated Press.

Beijing’s resolve was the result of a growing awareness of the dangers of pollution and climate change and how “there is a national interest in China in the low carbon transition and in being the leading suppliers of the clean technologies that we will need in a carbon-constrained world”, as what he said.

India and China are showing strong leadership to combat climate change and the decision by the US to withdraw from the Paris Agreement will not deter these global efforts, the UN environment chief said

With the United States unlikely to allocate any additional capital to the multilateral Green Climate Fund (GCF), China is likely to sense an opportunity. On the one hand, Beijing’s rhetoric can be expected to continue emphasizing the importance of the GCF and bemoaning the lack of follow-through on the part of the United States. In private, however, Chinese leadership is acutely aware of the GCF’s torpid trajectory, owing to not only a stingy American government but also a cumbersome and overly-political GCF design. China will quickly seek to capitalize on the vacuum with a push for so-called “South-South” aid and investment flows from China to other developing and least-developed countries. 

China peaked its coal use in 2013. Since then, they have become the world’s biggest solar market and have been poised to adopt America’s climate leadership role in the event of them pulling out of Paris.

Similarly, India has recently announced it won’t build any new coal plants after 2022 and forecasts that renewables will generate 57% of their power by 2027, far exceeding their Paris pledge.

This opens up opportunities for other countries to occupy the power vacuum that the U.S. is leaving when it pulls out of these sorts of agreements," said director at the Australian National University's Climate Change Institute, Mark Howden.

China, India and European union are countries that are progressing in green initiatives and will stand to benefit, Howden said.

The Chinese quickly seized the opportunity to claim the mantle of global leadership and have made clear that they will stay in, even as the United States pulls out. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is riding the wake of Trump’s disastrous visit to Europe, where China and the European Union are expected to release a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to combating climate change. This follows Xi Jinping’s defense of globalization and the importance of countries’ looking beyond their own national interests at Davos earlier this year. Beijing will win an Olympics-sized soft-power boost by staying in while the Washington reneges.

Pulling out of Paris will likely result in creating jobs in China that could have been created in the United States. It will give Chinese and other countries’ companies a leg up in the growing and competitive green economy, putting U.S. companies at a serious disadvantage.

The United States will be relegated from a global leader, economically and otherwise, to a member of a lonely camp of pariah countries that haven’t signed this global pact, together with only Syria and Nicaragua.

"The science on climate change is perfectly clear: we need more action, not less. This is a global challenge. Every nation has a responsibility to act and to act now," UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Erik Solheim said in a statement responding to President Donald Trump's announcement that the US will withdraw from the ambitious climate pact.

 

"The US decision to leave Paris in no way brings an end to this unstoppable effort. China, India, the European Union and others are already showing strong leadership. 190 nations are showing strong determination to work with them to protect this and future generations," Solheim said in a statement.

 

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Written By Shreshta Sharma

Shreshta Sharma,an undergraduate at Lady Shri Ram College for Women.Interested in debates/discussions she writes and reads about social & political issues.

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