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USA Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

The United States of America has officially notified the United Nations (UN) of its withdrawal from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, drafted in the year 2015 which aimed to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. The agreement had together 188 Nations together including India to try and mitigate the effect on global warming on the planet.

The Paris Climate Accord was signed during the United Nations ‘COP 21’ held at the French Capital. The US President Mr. Donald Trump had announced his decision to withdraw from the historic agreement, way back in June 2017, but the process begins now with the official notification to the UN and the US will be out of the pact on November 4, 2020.

As per the US Government, the deal puts an unfair ‘economic burden’ on the Americans. However, hundreds of local governments, businesses and organizations in the US have joined the We Are Still In movement, pledging to cut emissions and move to renewable energy.

Key Implications of the US Pullout
There is no doubt that the US Pullout will make it tougher for the other world to reach the goals set for itself under the Paris Accord. The US contributes to about 15% of the total world carbon emissions and on other hand it is also a significant source of finance and technology for the developing countries in their efforts to tackle the global emission problems. It is also bound to have adverse implications on the US as well. These may include:

  • USA’s Pullout will be an opportunity for China:
    Former US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping were instrumental in brokering the Paris Accord. While US takes a back step, China has rapidly reaffirmed its commitment to the deal and is set to gain popularity among the world leaders. This will make them gain quite a few supporters in the ongoing US-China trade tussle.
  • Disappointment on the part of Global Business Leaders:
    Leaders of various leading companies including Google, Apple, major fossil fuel producers etc. had urged the US President to stick with the deal. The Pullout is sure to disappoint them and affect the commitments between these companies and the US Government.
  • Coal is unlikely to make a comeback:
    The shift in the US away from coal is mirrored in other developed countries. The UK will phase out coal for generation of electricity by 2025 – the number of jobs in the US Coal industries has now just half of the number employed in the solar sector. While developing countries are likely to still depend on the coal for decades to come as their primary source of energy, the impact on air quality and public anger about pollution will be a limiting factor.

Despite the US withdrawal, the country’s carbon emission will continue to drop as per projections. That’s because US energy production is powered more by gas than coal. Although it will not go down well with the global leaders and remains to be seen as to how they react to such a move.

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