Rachel Maguire
Rachel Maguire
Author
3 min of reading
  • In June 2017 President Donald Trump announced his intention to pull the U.S. out of the agreement.
  • The withdrawal has not only hurt climate action in the U.S. itself.
  • If he wins the 2020 election, Joe Biden has pledged to put the U.S. back in the Paris climate agreement.

The U.S., the world's second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, officially withdrew on November 4. from the Paris Agreement, which has been ratified by 189 countries. It is the most important international agreement on fighting climate change.

In June 2017 President Donald Trump announced his intention to pull the U.S. out of the agreement. He argued that its rules

[disadvantage] the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries.

The withdrawal has not only hurt climate action in the U.S., but also the agrrement in its entirety. Its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is not the first time the U.S. has abandoned an international climate agreement. As a matter of fact, the U.S. never ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases.

In response to Trump's withdrawal from the agreement, other companies took action. All parties to the deal are due to submit new emissions targets, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

If he wins the 2020 election, Joe Biden has pledged to put the U.S. back in the Paris climate agreement “on day one”. 

The Europe is still hoping for an eventual U.S. return to the Paris Agreement, according to Rachel Kyte. She is dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts. If the U.S. doesn't re-engage in the global fight against climate change, it could find itself on a collision course with other world powers. “For international climate leaders, the 'real power' of having the U.S. as an ally is its ability to use investment and other financing to drive climate action in other countries”, says Andrew Light, a public policy professor and former state department official under Obama administration.

Aside from leaving the Paris Agreement, Trump blocked diplomatic resolutions on climate. He cut contributions to the U.N.'s Green Climate Fund. But on a federal level, the Trump administration rolled back more than 100 environmental and climate laws. And, while the country has pledged to achieve climate neutrality in the country before 2060, it has not always kept an eye on the climate outside.

A 2016 report from the World Bank's International Finance Corporation found that the Paris agreement would trigger $23 trillion worth of investment opportunities in emerging markets. 

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