Almost two years ago, the United States, one of the world’s biggest powers, confirmed they would exit the Paris Climate agreement as soon as they could. If the United States goes through with the exit, they will be the ONLY country that will not be a part of the agreement, as Syria has told the world that they will sign into the agreement. What do you mean that the United States will be the only country not a part of the agreement? I thought the United States had already pulled out of the agreement?
Well, not really. According to Article 28 of the Paris Agreement, Section 1 specifically states that a party (or nation) may submit a written notification about their withdrawal to the Depositary, three years from the date from which they have entered the Agreement. However, Section 2 states that the withdrawal will take place a year after the notification is submitted. The United States entered the Paris Climate Agreement on November 4th, 2016. Looking back at Section 1 of Article 28, this means that the earliest the United States could submit their withdrawal notification is November 4th, 2019, almost 8 months from today. Now looking at Section 2 of Article 28, November 4th, 2020 is the earliest that the United States can officially exit the Agreement. While the United States is officially in the Agreement, the party may not obstruct its implementation under international law.
According to the New York Times, Syria announced on November 7th, 2017, that they will sign the Paris Agreement. Syria was the last nation in the entire world to sign the Agreement after Nicaragua signed the Agreement a month prior. If the United States goes through with exiting out of the Agreement under the Trump Administration, they will be the only nation on the planet to reject the Agreement. President Donald Trump has stated that the only way that the United States will not exit out of the Agreement is if the party can re-enter on better terms that are favorable for them. One must not forget that while Donald Trump is a president, he is also a business man.
The United States initially agreed on cutting down about 17.89% of global gas emissions. This number is so high due to the party being the second-largest emitter in the world. Since the announcement of the exit, cities around the United States have teamed up with climate change groups to fill in the gap President Trump is trying to open. European allies have lobbied against the United States’ exit, however, nothing seems to budge President Trump. Experts, such as former Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, state that the exit may barrage the United States on unrelated diplomatic issues. Others think that the United States will have its global leadership and national security sabotaged.
President Trump’s announcement of the U.S. exiting the Paris Agreement is by far the worst news the world could have received. Reducing 17.89% of global emissions is a big responsibility to take and is also a number that other countries cannot easily make up for. President Trump is resisting the Agreement as he claims it will bring about an economic downfall, however, this is not a valid reason as climate change has the potential to destroy the planet in the blink of an eye.