Issue Brief on “Fallout of Trump’s Withdrawal from Paris Climate Change Agreement”

President Donald Trump announced on June 1, 2017, that he will withdraw the United States (US) from the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change which was adopted in 2015. The US, which is the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter had largely abstained from agreeing upon any climate deal previous to the Paris Agreement, which had been a major hindrance towards any major global climate change consensus.[1] The decision to withdraw from the climate accord was influenced by a letter from 22 Republican US senators. Trump characterised the Paris Agreement as a deal that aimed to hinder, disadvantage and impoverish the US, costing it $3trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million jobs.

When President Obama made the US signatory to this agreement, it was a major victory for environmentalists, but the latest proclamation from the White House has sent reverberations around the world. During the negotiation process, the US pushed to make the agreement flexible to bring all countries on board and to keep them in the fold even if their situations and priorities changed. This flexibility means that US withdrawal would be completely unnecessary on the argument that the Paris Agreement is unfair because large polluting countries such as India and China are not required to do anything until 2030. Trump’s decision signals a policy shift with wide-ranging repercussions for the climate and America’s ties with the world post Conference of Parties (COP) 21.

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