The Paris Climate Agreement is an environmental accord that almost every country in the world signed up to in 2015 as a way of addressing climate change. The aim of the deal is to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the world in a bid to slow down the temperate increase to two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, as well as trying to find a way to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.
Included in the Agreement are commitments from every major emitting nation to reduce their own climate-changing pollution, along with a promise to do more over time. A pathway is included in the pact for developing nations to help one another in their efforts for climate adaption and mitigation. It also establishes a framework for transparent monitoring and reporting of each nation’s climate goals, both individually and collectively.
History of the Paris Climate Agreement
The Agreement was drawn up over two weeks during a convention in Paris in December of 2015. Leaders of 195 countries came together to agree to commit themselves to the fight against climate change, a turning point for international climate action. President Barack Obama formally entered the U.S. into the agreement under international law via executive action, as there were no legal obligations placed on the U.S. in the process. There are multiple tools on the U.S.’ books under laws that Congress had already passed, to reduce carbon pollution. The U.S. formally signed up to the Agreement in September of 2016 after submitting its intention for how it could help. The Agreement could only take effect once a minimum of 55 countries representing a minimum of 55 per cent of global emissions had joined. Fortunately, this occurred in October of 2016, with the Agreement going into effect on November 4.
How many countries are involved?
As of now, 197 nations, which is every country on earth, with Syria being the last to agree, are included in the Agreement. The vast majority (179) of these have had their climate proposals formally approved. The only countries that have yet to join formally are Iran, Russia, and Turkey.
Donald Trump and the Paris Climate Agreement
Climate denier Donald Trump, who thinks that China created the idea of climate change as a hoax, announced in Jun of 2017 that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. Fortunately, however, it isn’t as simple as all that. A requirement of the withdrawal process requires that the agreement be in force for a three-year minimum before a country can formally state its intention to withdraw. It then requires a further one year before being able to leave.
Therefore, the earliest date that the U.S. leave officially would be November 4, 2020- one day after the next presidential election. Even if the U.S.’ withdrawal becomes official, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that it’s permanent, and experts have said that a future president could sign the U.S. back in to the Agreement in as little as a month.