US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the US will no longer be part of the Paris climate accord [text, PDF]. 195 nations have signed on to the deal making it a world-wide effort to curb global warming. Foreign leaders, business executive and Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump [official website], campaigned against [CNN report] withdrawal. Trump contested the climate agreement during his presidential campaign in the fall saying it was bad for the US economy. “The agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of the United States and ships them to foreign countries. This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” he said from the Rose Garden at the White House. Trump reiterated his belief that the climate deal was biased against the US saying, “[t]he Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States.” Critics of Trump’s decision worry that the US will now be isolated from global efforts and demoted from being a world power. European Commission [official website] President Jean-Claude Juncker stated that Europe is ready to replace the US as a global climate leader.
According to many experts, climate change [JURIST backgrounder] as a result of global greenhouse gas emissions is one of the most pressing and controversial environmental issues facing the international community today. The Paris Agreement is the world’s first comprehensive pact seeking to reduce carbon emissions and halt climate change. The threshold of 55 parties, making up more than 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, triggering the entry into force of the agreement was reached in October. [JURIST report]. In September US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping formally committed [JURIST report] their nations to the Paris Agreement. These two nations alone are responsible for roughly 40 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions. In May government signatories to the Paris Agreement discussed safeguards [JURIST report] against potential human rights violations which could arise in relation to the Agreement.