Paris Dis-Agreement

Michael Space, Staff Writer

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If you were told that 196 countries could agree on one thing, what would you think that one thing was? The correct answer is the environment. On December 12, 2015, 197 countries met in Paris to discuss an international agreement to prevent climate change, preserve the environment, and specifically to prevent the global temperature from rising 2℃, which is widely considered the point at which we will amass irreparable damage. Of the 197 countries who met in Paris, 195 of them signed the agreement, including America. This agreement is commonly called the Paris Climate Agreement. The only holdouts were Syria and Nicaragua. Syria was holding out because they are in the middle of a civil war. Nicaragua held out because they feel the agreement did not feel the deal went far enough to reduce emissions and it placed blame and responsibility on countries who hadn’t contributed to climate change However, this recently changed. Syria and Nicaragua are now in and America’s out. This came as a bit of surprise to Americans



seeing as, in 2015, then President Obama was one of the biggest advocates for an international push for climate change prevention. President Trump announced in May of 2017 that the United States was officially going to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. When President Trump was asked the why the US would be leaving the Paris Agreement, “The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and va


stly diminished economic production.” This has been seen as an upset in global politics. Other countries are starting to question America’s reliability, Americans are confused and unsure of our national stance on protecting the environment.
One of the first questions that comes to mind about the American withdrawal is if there are actually any grounds to be withdrawn. President Trump’s reasoning is slightly misleading. It is true America does pull a lot of weight with this agreement. America helps to fund many poor and less fortunate countries. In fact, as of recently, the United States was contributing $3 billion to help other countrie

s restrict emissions to prevent temperatures from rising. So, obviously a responsibility is placed on the American worker and taxpayer. As for a loss of jobs, there are less concrete facts. When Trump refers to a loss of jobs he is primarily referring to coal jobs. Coal has been a dying industry for some time so whether this counts as a loss in jobs is up to the citizens. On withdrawing from the agreement, Will Rogers a sophomore, said , “I’m all for the U.S. being out of the climate agreement. I also think that we should look at other energy sources including clean coal.” Another student, Seamus Byrne when asked about if leaving the Paris climate agreement is worth it said, “No, we should be setting a precedent for lesser developed countries, if we can’t prevent contributing to pollution, how can they be expected to.”
This brings us to the fact that there is a great deal of uncertainty in America on where we stand as a nation in regards to the climate and climate change. Americans worry that this decision will affect not only the climate, but international relations as well. Americans fear that if the US withdraws from the agreement global temperatures will rise by 2℃ and we will cause irreparable damage to the earth and its inhabitants. But, it’s not just American emissions on the line, there’s all the less fortunate countries who rely on the US for funding their efforts on containing there emissions. When America leaves it will cause a ripple effect. It should be stated that America is not totally abandoning their commitments. According to the New York Times the states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington; plus Puerto Rico have pledged to meet their parts of the deal even if the United States withdraws from the agreement. America

’s credibility and reputation might be at stake as well. Americans are worried that our word, in the eyes of the world, will start to mean less. If the rest of the world feels like they can’t trust America then that puts America in a pretty bad position.

This is one of the greatest trials America is facing at the moment. No matter which perspective you view this issue from, there is potential for a net loss on both sides. On one side, there is a loss in money and potentially jobs on the other is the threat of climate change. It is a dangerous issue and someone will get hurt.


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Paris Dis-Agreement