Trump dilemma in Paris deal exit

By Bishnu Hari Nepal
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, June 6, 2017
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U.S. President Donald Trump announces to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, a landmark global pact to fight climate change, during a speech at the White House in Washington D.C., capital of the United States June 1, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

"I am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world." - @elonmusk Elon Musk, White House Advisory Council for U.S. President Donald Trump

After his Saudi Arabia and Israel visits, President Donald Trump was busy in Brussels, in Sicily and at the Vatican. The main activity was the separate meetings with EU, NATO and fellow G7 leaders. Among them, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the key participant and important American ally from Europe.

She was mostly with Donald Trump during the diplomatic maneuvers. Besides official G7 meetings, the leaders also organized informal meetings to convince Donald Trump to remain in the Paris global climate deal.

Merkel played a crucial role using other channels, even talking to Ivanka Trump. However, after the G7 Summit she disclosed, "…very difficult, not to say very dissatisfying, was the entire conversation on the subject of climate change." She also touchingly remarked that it was all G6, and, if adding the EU, all G7 in favor of the U.S. remaining in the Paris deal.

When Merkel was busy in welcoming Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Berlin, before the China-EU Summit in Brussels, she was shocked to hear that Trump had really decided to exit the Paris Agreement. In fact, Trump not only challenged the Paris Agreement but also insulted its decision makers indirectly.

He said, "The Paris climate accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the U.S., to the exclusive benefit of other countries…it could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Research Association."

Trump's trouble was reducing America's greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, as required. However, he neglected to mention that America is the second largest country (at 15 percent) accountable for carbon emissions. That's why the Paris Agreement was signed by America together with 195 countries and ratified by 147 countries including the U.S.

Therefore, Trump's decision not only damages America's image in the world, it also violates international jurisprudence in seeking to save the planet for generations to come.

On Trump's argument of wanting to protect job, the Financial Express, on June 2, wrote that studies funded by the solar industry show more Americans now work building, installing, and maintaining solar panels than are employed by coal companies, and even if coal output increased, that might not lead to more jobs, thanks to increased automation.

If we take a single instance from U.S. presidential advisor Elon Musk, Tesla is at the forefront of the clean energy revolution building popular electric vehicles, solar roofs and battery packs to integrate energy consumption in the United States.

Research by "The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication" at the time of last year's presidential election shows that nearly 70 percent of the Americans were in favor of the Paris Agreement. That's a strong message for Trump who insists he is fulfilling the people's mandate.

International agreements like the Paris accord don't always lead to nations meeting their commitments, of course. For instance, the Copenhagen Fund 2009 that was supposed to offer $30 billion as compensation to LDC's for 2010-2012 and the Rio Fund of $100 billion did not receive all the promised pledged cash. The Paris Agreement was indeed the only hope to save the planet.

As former President Barack Obama remarked after Trump's declaration to withdraw, "The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created. I believe the USA should be at the front of the pack."

Fortunately, politicians at state and city level are pledging to fulfill the American commitments made in Paris.

And, contrary to what he says, Trump is simply not listening to the voices of businesses like Silicon Valley titans, 3M, Cargill, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, investors, City Mayors, not to mention his own close advisor Ivanka Trump, his Secretary of State and his Secretary of Defense.

Instead he's only listening to what The Guardian (online June 2, 2017) termed the "Big Oil Darlings" who contribute heavily to political campaigns like his own.

American scientists observe that, if the U.S. does not meet its commitments to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, in a worst case scenario, "3 billion tonnes of additional carbon dioxide will be released in the air each year."

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that sea levels will rise as much as three feet in Miami by 2060. By the end of the century, some 934,000 existing Florida properties are at the risk of being submerged, including ones owned by Trump himself.

Dr. Bishnu Hari Nepal is a Theorist and Practitioner in International Relations, Peace, Conflict, Security and Development Studies.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of


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