Bye Bye, Paris Agreement

Illustration for article titled Bye Bye, Paris Agreement
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The White House began its formal process to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement on Monday.

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It comes as no surprise—seemingly everyone has been biting their nails, staring at their screen waiting on the announcement. Though Donald Trump said back in June 2017 that he’d take this grave step, his administration couldn’t actually launch the process until now. November 4, 2019, marks two years since the international agreement became official, and the official date that signatories would be allowed to back out under its agreements.

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The Paris Agreement is all the world’s really got to reign in its greenhouse gas emissions. The global agreement aims to keep the planet from warming 2 degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrial levels. Ideally, the goal is to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by setting targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions over the next few decades.

The current administration gives no fucks, though. In the formal announcement, the State Department writes:

As noted in his June 1, 2017 remarks, President Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because of the unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers by U.S. pledges made under the Agreement.

Funny, because a 2017 report found the opposite: All these investments in renewable tech could inject $19 trillion into the world economy. Guess that’s all out the window now that the U.S. put in its notice of withdrawal to the United Nations. The process takes a year before it’s finalized. Ironically enough, this day should come the day after the 2020 elections where—God, please—Trump will be voted out of the White House.

This is pretty bad news. The future of humanity depends on the next decade of action. The Paris Agreement isn’t perfect: It won’t stop sea-level rise or mass extinction. Still, it’s all we got. Cities and states have stepped up in wake of the president’s decision to be a complete fool and abandon the targets set forth in the agreement, but he won’t even let them get to it without causing a whole lot of drama—*cough* California *cough*.

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Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.

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DISCUSSION

cmallen
C.M. Allen

Let’s be honest — even if the entire world did agree to and follow the Paris Climate accord, it was still little better than a bandaid on a severed limb. Nobody wanted to take the kind of drastic actions necessary to reverse course because it was too expensive, it was too negative to vested interests, it required significant changes to socio-economic constructs all over the world, etc, etc. No, the powers that be are perfectly happy to ride our species into an early grave, so long as it had a higher ROI than stopping it. And when you can externalize the actual costs of polluting, it will always be ‘more profitable’ to pollute than not.