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Trump Withdraws U.S. From Paris Climate Accord, Seeks Renegotiation

by Countable | 7.17.17

Speaking from the White House Rose Garden Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that his administration will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, and begin renegotiating the Paris accord or a new agreement on more favorable terms. Trump said the U.S. will look to begin the renegotiation process immediately.

Trump called the Paris Agreement "the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries," saying it would lead to “lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.” He also said that even if the accord were fully implemented, it’d only lead to 0.2°C decrease in global temperature by 2100, and as a result is “less about the climate, and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the U.S.”

What is the Paris Agreement?

The Paris Agreement is the first comprehensive, global agreement to combat man-made climate change. It is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The goals, from Article 2 of the convention, are:

  • Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;

  • Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production;

  • Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

In general, the Paris Agreement functions by having each signatory nation develop a climate plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It contains no penalties for noncompliance, instead hoping that diplomatic pressure will encourage countries to abide by their stated goals. The U.S. committed to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, and pay out $3 billion in aid to poorer countries by 2020 ($1 billion has been paid so far.

The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at a UNFCC conference in Paris and adopted by consensus on December 12, 2015. Signing began on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. By October 2016, there were enough countries that had ratified the agreement that produce enough of the world's greenhouse gases for the agreement to be enacted. The agreement went into effect on November 4, 2016.

As of May 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the treaty, 147 of which have ratified it. The only other two U.N. member countries who have not signed it are Syria and Nicaragua.

How can Trump withdraw?

When the Obama administration committed to abide by the Paris Agreement, it feared that the Senate wouldn't ratify the deal as a treaty and thereby make it permanent. Instead, former President Barack Obama entered into an executive agreement by pledging to support the accord. By their nature, executive agreements aren't binding, so future administrations can choose to continue or abandon them at their discretion.

Tell your reps what you think of the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and what renegotiations should look like using the Take Action button.

— Eric Revell and Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: National Park Service / Public Domain)

Countable

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  • Scott
    06/01/2017
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    Donald Trump is pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement. This will take 4 years, so the good news is the Democrat elected in 2020 will reverse this stupid decision. Sadly, a lot of damage will be done, not so much because of today’s decision alone, but because of the overwhelmingly harmful environmental decisions being made daily by the Trump Administration. Trump’s decision is based on ignorance, the sway of environmental extremists, dishonesty, and gross negligence. This decision: 1. Will not do a thing to bring back coal jobs. They are not returning. Period. End of story. Coal is no longer competitive or efficient, and the world and this country are moving beyond it. 2. Will not serve as a job creator overall either. 3. Will make the U.S. less competitive globally. China and Europe, and possibly India, will take the lead on alternative energy sources and reap the economic benefits of doing so. 4. Will add to the growing number of reasons why Trump has cast the U.S. as no longer being a world leader. That role has been thrown away due to a number of Trump’s decisions, among them his stance on NATO, pulling out of TPP, his erratic, juvenile and buffoonish behavior, his attacks on our allies and cozying up to despots and tyrants, and his bigotry and racism. This is but one more critical failure for the Trump Administration. 5. Will continue a 4 month assault on the environment that is the equivalent of shuttering the CIA, Homeland Security and the FBI. The single greatest threat to our security is climate change. If you are not working to seriously address the issues involved in slowing and reversing climate change, you might as well cease all other security measures. Even war with North Korea would not do the long-term damage that failing to fight climate change will do. 6. Is a sellout to environmental extremists like the Koch brothers. Donald Trump's four plus months sullying the White House with his presence have now done, possibly, irreparable harm to the United States and the world. He has risked our economic standing, damaged our security and disgraced us before the eyes of the world. And he is lying to his supporters, who are mind-numbingly or willfully stupid. Now, states like California and New York must lead this nation in fighting back against this blatantly irresponsible idiocy. Today is a dark day in our nation’s history.

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  • Julie
    06/01/2017
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    I don't believe that the president should have autonomous authority to make a decision that affects so many. Should be a decision made congressionally.

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  • Erich
    06/01/2017
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    This is utter craziness. What is more important, life on this planet or money? I know where Trump stands, you need to get him out of office!

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  • NMorella
    06/01/2017
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    The man is an idiot.

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  • Bert
    06/01/2017
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    Withdrawing from the Paris climate accord is as foolish and shortsighted an idea as any I can think of. It will be our grandchildren and children who will suffer the most. Over 200 other nations are staying in and we should too. Shame on the USA if we don't.

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  • Vanessa
    06/01/2017
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    One giant step BACK for mankind.....

    Like (241)
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  • Gail
    06/01/2017
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    This willful wanton destruction must stop. He not only puts citizens of the United States at risk, but the entire planet. Refuting science and fact for some selfish, political end is evil.

    Like (176)
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  • Adam
    06/01/2017
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    It's disgusting that because of our federal government, our country is on the way to be the worst polluting nation in the world.

    Like (138)
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  • Sally
    06/01/2017
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    Trump's announcement today isn't the step forward we wanted, but it's also not the end. Congress has the ability to keep us on a path of climate action, so I am counting on you to do your utmost to keep us on a path that will make the world livable for our future generations.

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  • Kathleen
    06/01/2017
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    I'm tired of all the winning. Please go away now.

    Like (90)
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  • Heather
    06/01/2017
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    I didn't think he would do so many dumb things in such a short time. He is an utter disgrace.

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  • Cabraswel
    06/01/2017
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    Whatever confefe this is I do not support it. We pay more money in the Paris Agreement because we emit more CO2 than most countries. It's not a bad deal, we are just big polluters!

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  • Sarah
    06/01/2017
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    Okay so Kathy Griffin is more harmful to Barron Trump than global warming. Got it.

    Like (68)
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  • Marcella
    06/01/2017
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    This is inexcusable. Republicans need to step up to protect the environment. Can't wait to vote all those who work against the environment out of office!!!

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  • PrestonBarclay
    06/01/2017
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    Fucking disaster.

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  • WaterHopsBarley
    06/01/2017
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    None of you can call yourself leaders, let alone adults, if you let this decision stand. This is unthinkable. We now sit as only the third nation to not be a part of what the rest of the world agrees upon. This is so damaging to not only our reputation, but our economy as well – or, that is, the economy outside of special interest fossil fuel corporations that line GOP politicians' pockets. This is unforgivable. Generations will look back in horror at this administration and its greed and ignorance, deliberately denying responsibility for our planet.

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  • Jfreer
    06/01/2017
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    This is a self-centered choice by the United States. The message is essentially "every man for himself." We must NOT leave this accord!! Trump keeps talking about "watching out for the Americans he was elected to represent and make America great" - if he doesn't get his head out of his ass, the very people and businesses he claims to be "helping" will suffer the consequences of Climate Change and there will be far less business and a smaller country. This is a short sighted and ego based decision. WE MUST NOT LEAVE THE AGREEMENT!

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  • Joella
    06/01/2017
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    Once again this administration show their ignorance and disregard for the people of the US and our environment. The US is going backwards!!

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  • A.
    06/01/2017
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    This is utter craziness. What is more important, life on this planet or money? I know where Trump stands, you need to get him out of office!

    Like (49)
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  • Edward
    06/01/2017
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    Rejecting the Paris accord is a disaster that the Republicans own.

    Like (46)
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