After a year-long process, the US has officially withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, also known as the Paris Climate Accord. The accord is a United Nations agreement, signed by President Obama in 2015, aimed at lowering greenhouse-gas emissions and preventing global warming. “The Paris Agreement central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” reads the official website. President Trump has long been a critic of the accord, arguing it harms the strength of the US economy.
“The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers – who I love – and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories and vastly diminished economic production.”President Donald Trump
The Right supports the decision. The Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee agree with President Trump that remaining in the accord “would have disadvantaged the U.S. economy and compromised American competitiveness.” One article pointed out that the US has seen “the largest absolute decline” of carbon emissions of any country since the year 2000:
“Thanks to its nonlegally binding emissions standards, the Paris agreement was a prime piece of virtue signaling, but it never was going to affect emissions standards. Yet, technological innovation and markets did so instead…Capitalism may very well save the world.”Tiana Lowe, Commentary Writer for the Washington Examiner
Jordan McGillis of the Institute for Energy Research called the agreement a “Cooperation Mirage.” It is argued that the agreement “set unrealistic emissions targets at the expense of billions of American taxpayer dollars without the approval of Congress.” Political consultant Kellyanne Conway noted that Obama entered the agreement without the approval of Congress: “If these are such wonderful ideas…then why go right around Congress? That’s the way the ‘swamp’ works and the way the people that elected Donald Trump don’t want the ‘swamp’ to work anymore.” The editors for National Review wrote that through the decision, “the president…has made good on his promise to put America first.”
The Left decries the decision. It is argued that remaining apart of the agreement would actually benefit the US economy and “unlock additional flows of investor capital to support sustainable growth and job creation” in the US. “The decision to exit the Paris Agreement leaves the United States globally isolated in its defiance of scientific realities, and causes real harm to people, the planet and the economy,” stated the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“No country can withdraw from the reality of climate change, and no country bears greater responsibility, or possesses greater capacity, to lead the world in confronting this reality head-on.”Bob Perciasepe, President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has declared that if he is elected president, he will rejoin the Accord “on the first day of his presidency.” However, others argue that despite their belief that the US should ultimately rejoin the accord, US companies and individual states are making environmental progress and are continuing to move forward “with clean technologies and new business practices” on their own.