Nations vow to move forward with the Paris Agreement, with or without the US
Trump’s rejection of the Paris Agreement has generated “an unprecedented sense of solidarity among all the countries,” says Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists. Other nations expressed their determination to implement the deal.
“Country after country has said that they intend to move forward to implement and strengthen Paris,” Meyer says. “You've seen that from subnational governments, from California to Ontario to German states and others. You've seen that from cities around the world, and just yesterday over 360 US companies came out and implored Mr. Trump not to pull the US out of Paris, and said they are committed to decarbonizing their business models. So, it has really united the rest of the world. There has not been one single country that has said if the US pulls out they will follow.”
The Paris Agreement came into full force just before this year’s high-level UN Climate talks (COP22), which took place in Marrakech, Morocco, and wrapped up on November, 18. As the agreement is now international law, it would take four years for the US to withdraw.
No one knows for sure whether Trump will fulfill his campaign promise. Just recently, he seemed to soften his stance on the agreement in an interview with the New York Times. At the same time, a close adviser on environmental issues has suggested “zeroing out” funding for climate research at NASA, calling the science “politically correct environmental monitoring.”
Under the agreement, if Trump decided to withdraw, he would have to wait three years, and then give one year’s notice, but “apparently they're looking at shortcutting that with some kind of executive action to try to undo what President Obama did to join the Paris Agreement,” according to Meyer.
“I'm not a lawyer, and I don't know all the intricacies, but apparently they are looking at different options,” Meyer says. “They're also apparently considering the option of pulling the United States off the Rio framework treaty from 1992, where the waiting period is just one year, not four. But, of course, that would take the US out of every aspect of the international climate regime. I call it the 'nuclear option.'”
At the meeting, US Secretary of State John Kerry gave a powerful speech, describing why it is in the world's interest to move ahead with the Paris Agreement. “He was talking about the impacts on the United States. He talked about the clean energy revolution, the rapidly falling prices for efficiency and renewable energy technologies and how this can be a driver of economic prosperity for countries that move in this direction, including the United States,” Meyer says.