Paris vs Pittsburgh

About two days ago, Donald Trump once again proved to all of humanity just how incapable he is to fill what can possibly be considered the world’s most important position. He announced the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement, stating that he ‘’was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris’’. Though that line effectively cemented the utter disregard which the President has for raw facts (Pittsburgh voted for Hillary Clinton with an 80% majority), it also dismissed the most important and extensive act of collective global citizenship of this century.

The Paris Agreement, signed in 2016, has its core at keeping the global average temperatures from rising above 2℃, beyond which our planet is at risk of rising sea levels, the melting of ice caps, alternate weather patterns and resource shortages. Although containing no specific demands for how this must be done, the deal provides a framework for countries, with a special focus on the reduction of greenhouse emissions. The United States for one, had pledged to reach a 26% reduction by 2025, a goal now seemingly impossible. In order to account for the divide between the abilities of rich and poor countries to contribute, more developed countries also promised aid in the form of $100 billion annually by 2020.

Now that Trump has promised to leave the deal, it will take 4 years for the process to be complete, with the US officially exiting on November 4, 2020 - only one day after the next presidential elections. Without American cooperation, it will be up to China, India and the European Union to take lead. Since the agreement is nonbinding, a major concern remains whether the US stepping back will result in other signatories doing the same. Although most countries so far are lagging behind in keeping with their promises, the repercussions of one of the world’s primary emitters no longer being part of deal are sure to be felt in the years to come.

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