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Will the Paris Agreement still be able to deliver after the US withdrawal?

Bill Hare writes in The Conversation (2.6.17) about President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, and what this means for global efforts to combat dangerous climate change.

‘In the short term, the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement will certainly have ripple effects globally. But rather than fatally undermine the Paris Agreement, it will likely cause other countries to reaffirm their firm commitment to the full implementation of the climate deal.

‘We are already seeing this effect in the forthcoming accord between the EU and China on climate and energy, focused on increasing ambition in the Paris Agreement.

‘In the White House Rose Garden, US President Donald Trump said he wanted to start to renegotiate to see “if there’s a better deal. If we can, great. If we can’t, that’s fine,” he added.

‘… If Trump doesn’t come back to the Agreement, we will have to wait 2020 to see what happens. A new president coud seek to reenter the climate deal quickly to catch up with the market leaders, likely China, the EU and India, and to recover its political, technological and economic leadership that will be squandered by the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

‘With this outlook in mind and with California taking a strong lead, many states, municipalities, companies and civic society are expected to move ahead with climate action over the next few years, and if successful the US may well be in a position to catch up quickly once the Trump period passes.’

The end of America’s global leadership?

Simon Reich writes in The Conversation (2.6.17) that America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement represents a watershed moment when the country abandons its oft-proclaimed role as global leader.

‘American presidents in recent decades have spent a great deal of time proclaiming U.S. leadership of the global system. The decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement undermines much of what they have said. For any student of global politics, it represents a watershed moment when it comes to debating America’s role in the world.

‘… Despite Trump’s claim to the contrary, the diplomatic and economic costs will likely be significant. And the greatest cost will likely be to America’s global leadership. It is hard to retain the pretense that a country leads when America First entails ignoring the pleas of its closest allies and the United Nations’ leadership.

‘Just as with the Trump administration’s withdrawal from global and regional trade agreements, China has expressed a willingness to step in and fill the void, and become “a leader on climate change.” 

‘Historians decades from now will no doubt debate the issue of if and when America abdicated from its role as “the indispensable nation.” But, looking back, many may well claim that June 1, 2017 was the day that America’s global leadership ended.’

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