To say that The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 is an extraordinary feat is quite possibly an understatement. Not only could The Paris Climate Agreement be the path by which our planet escapes the worst ravages of global warming, The Paris Climate Agreement was also agreed upon by 195 countries and has been signed by 145 of those original 195 nations (http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php). Yet as we all know, one of those original countries might be walking away, which would do great damage to The Paris Climate Agreement and thus our planet.
The overarching vision agreed upon at The Paris Climate Conference was that global warming would be curtailed and a climate-neutral way of life would be established by the end of the century (https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiations/paris_en). In order to create this climate neutral future, a “bridge” was deemed necessary – to take us from our current policies to those of this climate neutral future, and thus The Paris Climate Agreement was created to be that “bridge” (Source: see above).
A key benchmark that The Paris Climate Agreement anchored itself to is average global temperature – and so it was agreed to keep the rise in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is .5 degrees below the widely agreed upon point of no return, namely 2 degrees Celsius. In order to achieve this vision, each signatory country provided a national climate action plan, which explained how that country would begin to make progress towards reducing their polluting ways. These action plans were regarded as just the beginning with the expectation that nations would “strengthen” their efforts in the years to come – as without ever more reductions in pollution, the 1.5 degree Celsius mark cannot be reached. (Sources for this paragraph: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiations/paris_en, http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php, http://unfccc.int/focus/indc_portal/items/8766.php).
Now why anyone would actually want to walk away from and threaten The Paris Climate Agreement is rather hard to understand… but then again. Trump’s exact rationale for pulling out of The Paris Climate Agreement is rather dubious as well as unclear – it seems that there is no real reason to do so other than he said he would. Businesses, such as the world’s fifth largest grocery chain (Tesco), jeweler Tiffany & Co., Apple and even Wal-Mart have reached out to Mr. Trump urging him to stay in The Paris Climate Agreement (https://www.ft.com/content/536fb55a-374e-11e7-bce4-9023f8c0fd2e, https://www.good.is/articles/tiffanys-trump-paris-climate; https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/opinion/the-business-case-for-the-paris-climate-accord.html?_r=0). Scientists, environmentalists have all done the same – and now it is our turn, for it is far wiser to have the U.S.A. stay in The Paris Climate Agreement and be a lackadaisical member than to truly break our agreement.
As Todd Stern, Obama’s special envoy for climate change, explained to John D. Sutter, who referenced the conversation in a piece he wrote for CNN, “Think of the Paris Agreement like a big global party…. [I’d] rather see Trump’s America ‘sitting in the corner sulking’ than leaving the party entirely. Because then … the other countries would start to think, ‘all of a sudden it feels like, well, this isn’t a very interesting party’… And then maybe they cancel the party entirely” (http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/04/politics/sutter-paris-climate-one-sentence/index.html).
Whether other countries would doubt the wisdom of The Paris Climate Agreement if the U.S.A. left is uncertain, but it is utterly clear that without the United States cutting its carbon emission global warming cannot be curtailed, as the U.S. is the world’s second biggest carbon emitter (https://www.statista.com/statistics/271748/the-largest-emitters-of-co2-in-the-world/).
For a list of Fortune 100 companies that signed on to a letter urging Mr. Trump to stay in The Paris Climate Agreement: https://www.c2es.org/docUploads/business-letter-white-house-paris-agreement-final-04-26-2017.pdf
To listen to more on Trump’s decision regarding the Paris Climate Agreement: http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2017/05/11/trump-paris-climate-accord