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Religious Tolerance logo

Part 18: President Trump Severs
the U.S. from the Paris Accord
.
U.S. and World Leaders React.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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Climate change 1

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During late 2015, the U.S. and 195 other nations committed themselves to a historic environmental pact: the Paris Agreement. It requires almost all the countries of the world to start to abandon their use of fossil fuels and convert to green energy sources. The latter include: wind turbines, solar panels, geothermal energy, hydropower generation, hydel power (power from ocean waves or tides), and nuclear power generation. This would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses added to the atmosphere, and thus eventually reduce global warming/climate change. However, the change in Earth's surface temperature would take many decades to react after the level of greenhouse gasses is reduced.

According to the United Nations Climate Change Newsroom:

"The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. ... Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change." 2

Two ºC (Celsius) is equivalent to 3.6 ºF (Fahrenheit); 1.5ºC is equal to 2.7 ºF.

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Article 2 in the Paris Agreement expresses the belief that limiting the future increase in global average temperature would:

"... significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change." 3

Unfortunately, there is no consensus about exactly when world industrializing started and precisely what the average temperature was at that time. Jonathan Amos, writing for BBC News, concluded that most researchers use the temperature during the interval 1850 to 1900 CE as their reference point. The most recent UK Met Office analysis indicates that the average Earth temperature during 2016 was "around 1.1C" above this baseline." However, a paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) suggested that the years 1720 to 1800 should be used instead. 4

The Agreement automatically entered into force on 2016-NOV-04, when 147 countries out of the 197 parties to the convention (75%) had ratified it.

Only two countries in the entire world refused to join the agreement:

  • Nicaragua: Although government officials are convinced that global warming is happening and that it is caused by human activity, they refused to join the agreement. Their objection was because it is based on countries making voluntary pledges. There are no penalties if these pledges are not met. They wanted a tougher, compulsory, and more ambitious agreement.

  • Syria: The meetings that led up to the Agreement happened to be held during the the heaviest fighting in the long-standing civil conflict in this country. Also, members of the government are under European and U.S. sanctions and could not freely travel internationally to attend meetings. 4

At the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily during late 2017-MAY, representatives of six of the seven member countries reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement. They were Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. The only exception was the United States; President Trump was present at the Summit, but declined to give his support.

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2017-MAY-10: Governors and CEOs take action:

The governors of California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington anticipated that President Trump might decide to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement. They joined together to continue their work to meet the Agreement's targets independently of any action by the federal government. Together, these seven states represent almost 15% of the country’s emissions. Of the seven governors, two are Republican: Charlie Baker in Massachusetts and Phil Scott in Vermont!

CEOs from 30 major companies wrote a letter to President Trump asking that he keep the U.S. in the Paris Agreement. They included 3M, Bank of America, Campbell Soup, Cargill, Chevron, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Corning, Dow Chemical, E.I. DuPont, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Pacific Gas and Electric, Procter & Gamble, Tesla, Virgin Group, the Walt Disney Company, etc.

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2017-MAY-25: Senator James Inholfe recommended a U.S. exit from the Paris Agreement:

Senator Inholfe (R-OK) sent a letter to the President recommending that he rescind President Obama's Clean Power Plan. Ending that plan would allow increased greenhouse gas pollution of the atmosphere, and thus increase global warming. It was cosigned by 21 other Senators -- all Republicans.

Jameson Dow of Electrek appears to refer to 22 Senators as having been "bought by the oil industry." 5 One of the most serious problems with the federal government is the ease by which corporations and very rich individuals can purchase the votes and loyalty of members of Congress.

Inholfe attempted to make the case that American groups concerned about global warming may launch a lawsuit to force reinstatement of the Power Plan. He suggested that the lawsuit would be argued on the basis of the U.S. obligations under the Paris Agreement. To prevent that from happening, he and the other Republican senators recommended that President Trump "make a clean exit from the Agreement." 6

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2017-JUN-01: President Trump carried out his threat to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement:

A week after Senator Inholfe's letter was sent, Trump announced that he is starting the process to withdraw the country from the agreement. During his campaign for president, he had called climate change "a hoax" and promised to cancel the country's involvement with the agreement which he said was decimating industries and killing jobs. However, U.S. activity within the agreement is also creating jobs in the solar, wind turbine and other industries, which clearly represent the future of energy sources in the country and throughout the world.

He said:

"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris. As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. ... We’re going to have the cleanest air. We’re going to have the cleanest water. We will be environmentally friendly. But we’re not going to put our businesses out of work. We’re not going to lose our jobs. ... We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. If we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine. ..."

"The rest of the world applauded when we signed the Paris agreement. They went wild. They were so happy. For the simple reason that it put our country, the United States of America, which we all love, at a very, very big economic disadvantage. ..."

"We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore -- and they won’t be."

Washington Post covered President Trump's announcement in the following video:

 7

2017-JUN-01: President Trump will implement the withdrawal sometime over the next four years:

, writing for the Washington Post, said that the U.S. membership in the Paris Accord is:

"... heavily backed by U.S. and global corporations, including oil giants Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil and BP. Large corporations, especially those operating in international markets, have had years to get used to the idea of reductions on carbon emissions, and they have been adapting their businesses accordingly for some time.

Withdrawing the United States from the agreement could take years because of the accord’s legal structure and language, but such a move would weaken its goals almost immediately. The United States is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter and would otherwise have accounted for 21 percent of the total emissions reductions achieved by the accord through 2030." 7

China is the largest emitter, partly because of its population: 1.4 billion compared to 323 million for the U.S.

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Article 28 of the Paris Agreement states:

1. At any time after three years from the date on which this Agreement has entered into force for a Party, that Party may withdraw from this Agreement by giving written notification to the Depositary.

2. Any such withdrawal shall take effect upon expiry of one year from the date of receipt by the Depositary of the notification of withdrawal, or on such later date as may be specified in the notification of withdrawal. 8

The Agreement entered into force on 2016-NOV-04. Article 28 implies that the U.S. withdrawal take place no earlier than 2020-NOV-04. By coincidence, this is one day after the next presidential election!

Alternately, the U.S. could leave the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from which the Paris Agreement was later derived. A country can leave that Convention with only one year advance notice. This would immediately terminate commitments to the Paris Agreement.

Still a third option would be for the U.S. to remain a party to the Paris Agreement, but simply ignore its obligations. There would be no penalty for doing so. 8

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Reactions to President Trump's decision by politicians and the UN were quickly posted, and powerfully written:

  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said:

    "Our president is choosing to put American jobs and American consumers first. Our president is choosing to put American energy and American industry first. And by his action today, President Trump is choosing to put the forgotten men and women first."

  • Senator Jim Inhofe, (R-OK), a former chairperson of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, told MSNBC that the Paris Agreement would have caused:

    "... a huge job loss for America. ... I don't know what would happen to our manufacturing base."

  • French President Emmnuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni issued a joint statement expressing regret. They said:

    "We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies." 7

    President Macron's initiative President Macron later promoted an initiative, saying: "I want to make our planet great again. He addressed a message "To all responsible citizens:"

    "On the 1st of June, President Donald Trump decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement, which [had] gathered more than 190 countries united against climate change.

    This decision is unfortunate but it only reinforced our determination. Don’t let it weaken yours.

    We are ONE planet and Together, we can make a difference.

    France has always led fights for human rights. Today, more than ever, we are determined to lead (and win!) this battle on climate change.

    He is officially encouraging climate researchers, businesses, students, NGOs, etc. to move to France, and fight to counteract climate change. 9

  • Former President Barack Obama strongly supports the Paris Agreement that his administration had negotiated to:

    "... protect the world we leave to our children. ... I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack. But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this administration joins a small handful of [two] nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got."

  • Erik Solheim, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, said that:

"... the biggest losers will be the American people. It’s obviously regrettable. The world needs American leadership. However, the impact is less than most people would believe, because China, India and Europe will provide leadership." 7

  • Chrystia Freeland, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister said that her country can no longer count on the U.S. to play an active role on the world stage. She gave a major speech in Parliament which listed three ways in which Americans appear to want to "shrug off the burden of world leadership." She cited first Trump's decision to pull out of the the Paris Agreement. She also referred to Trump's criticism of NATO members for not paying their fair share and his talk of protectionist trade barriers.

She said that:

"Many of the voters in last year's presidential election cast their ballots animated in part by a desire to shrug off the burdens of world leadership."

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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Some more reports on the environment/ climate change that may be of interest to you:

  • Part 1: 2013: Quotes. Background. Bay of Bengal incident. Decline in Canada's arctic ice cover.

  • Part 2: 2013/2014: Canada loses its seasons. 316 North American cities to be under water.

  • Part 3: 2013/2014: Christians, Republicans' & Democrats' beliefs differ. Volcanoes cause pauses in global warming. Americans' views on climate change.

  • Part 4: 2014/2015: How Americans viewed climate change. HFC limits. Groups abandoning ALEC. Paris Conference reaches agreement.

  • Part 5: 2016-FEB to AUG: Climate change concerns: Ocean levels rising. Displacement of animal species. Greenland glacier melting. "Third Pole" glaciers melting.

  • Part 6: 2016-SEP: Flooding on the U.S. East coast. U.S. and China ratify the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Pres. Obama: trends are "terrifying."

  • Part 7: 2016-SEP: Obama comments on warming (Continued). 31 countries ratify Paris agreement. Trump zigzags on Climate Change.

  • Part 8: 2016-Summer/Fall: Events showing that climate change is adversely affecting life on Earth

  • Part 9: 2016-OCT: Did God send Hurricane Matthew as an anti-LGBT message to humanity? Alternate opinions. Hurricane Matthew re-enters Atlantic Ocean.

  • Part 10: 2016-NOV: U.S. Costal real estate threatened. Rapid temperature rise in the Arctic. Very large poll about climate change.

  • Part 11: 2016-DEC: President-elect Trump's climate change beliefs. New heads of federal government departments. Extinction of 11 species.

  • Part 12: 2016-DEC: President-elect Trump's 16 promised plans on energy and the environment.

  • Part 13: star 2017-JAN: 2016 Was The Hottest Year On Record, Ever.

  • Part 14: star 2017-JAN: Recent climate change measurements.

  • Part 15: star 2017-JAN to APR: Climate Change beliefs are changing; more people accept it as real, and are now debating its cause.

  • Part 16: 2017-JAN to APR: Donald Trump Becomes President. EPA Foe Installed as Head of EPA! Hundreds Die During Flood in Columbia. Carbon Dioxide
    in Atmosphere Reaches New High.


  • Part 17: 2017-JAN to APR: Studies of the effects of sea-level rise in California between now and the year 2100.


  • Part 19: star More Reactions to the U.S. Withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Record high temperatures in San Francisco and elsewhere.

  • Part 20: star2017: Group of 20 summit meeting. Hurricane Harvey attacks Texas.Is climate change increasing the severity or frequency of hurricanes?

  • Part 21: Can government regulations help? Is Harvey a message from God? U.S. record high temperatures. Hurricane Harvey attacks Texas.
    Hurricane Irma attacks Caribbean, FL, SC. GA.

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Image downloaded from Stock Free Images. © Tass
  2. "The Paris Agreement," United Nations Framelwork Convention on Climate Change, updated 2017-APR-17, at: http://unfccc.int/
  3. Paris Agreement, FCCC/CP/2015/L.9/Rev.1" UNFCCC secretariat. This is a PDF file.
  4. Jonathan Amos, "Defining a true 'pre-industrial' climate period," BBC News, 2017-JAN-17, at: http://www.bbc.com/
  5. "1,219 governors, mayors, businesses and universities declare 'We Are Still In' on Paris Climate Agreement," Electrek, 2017-JUN-05, at: http://www.electrek.co
  6. James Inhofe, Letter to President Trump, 2017-MAY-25. This is a PDF file that can be downloaded at https://www.inhofe.senate.gov/
  7. "Trump announces U.S. will exit Paris climate deal, sparking criticism at home and abroad," The Washington Post, 2017-JUN-01, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  8. Madison Park, "3 ways Trump could dump Paris climate agreement," CNN, 2017-JUN-01, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  9. President Macron's initiative is at: https://www.makeourplanetgreatagain.fr/

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2017-JUN-
Latest update: 2017-JUN-
Author: B.A. Robinson


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