PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw the United States of America from the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change is a setback for the efforts of responsible countries trying to reduce carbon emissions. It certainly puts the agreement’s goal of limiting global average temperature to within 2°C above pre-industrial levels in doubt.
Apart from having jumped on a populist bandwagon that is in denial about climate change during his election campaign last year and denigrating the Paris Agreement just because it was signed up to by then President Barack Obama, we’re not sure what the reasoning behind Trump’s withdrawal is and what level of scientific advice he took to inform his decision. Is it just that he does not want to row back on yet another of his election promises?
Of course, this is not the first time that a Republican Party US President has done something like this. Back in 2001, George W Bush withdrew his country from the Kyoto Protocol. This had the effect of galvanising other countries in their determination to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.
While the joint statement from the European Union and China urging the US not to withdraw from the Paris Agreement demonstrated the type of solidarity that is required on this important issue, not having one of the biggest players on board will undermine this first serious global effort to confront climate change.
So, we must all redouble our efforts now, because as the Irish Environmental Pillar stated in condemning the Trump decision, ‘We have a duty to generations to come to leave the planet in a condition that is fit for all life and not riven with famine, refugee crises, water shortages and war.’