The Paris Agreement for Climate Change was agreed to in 2016 and signed by 197 nations in 2016. Its aim is to keep the rise in global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius, ideally at 1.5 degrees celsius, by the end of the 21st century. This will only be accomplished with herculean effort made by all the 197 countries who have signed, to drastically change their habits, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The News: When US President Donald Trump came to power, he stated his opposition to American participation in this agreement. This week, he has formally told the United Nations of his intent to withdraw America from the landmark agreement.
Why is he doing this? He believes that there will be too much of a negative impact on US companies if they are forced to move away from traditional sources of energy, such as coal and fossil fuels.
Why does this matter? This is distressing as the United States is one of the biggest polluters in the world when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions.
What happens now? The US government will withdraw from the agreement within a year unless there is a new US President elected in 2020, who reverses this. A lot is riding on this election!
In addition, a number of American businesses, environmentalists and other leaders and still committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and are trying to change their practices to do so, and to raise awareness and get more companies and businesses to sign up to doing this.
The other countries who are part of this agreement are in the meantime, coming up with alternate plans that do not require the participation of America. This means that the rest of the countries who signed the pledge will feel more of a burden to halt global warming.
Stay tuned to see what happens.
Written by: Sunaina Murthy