Jade Powers: The "Mood Change" Caused by the United States' Decision About the Paris Agreement
Day one of COP23 has concluded, and already so much taken place. Upon arrival, I was surely not alone in being curious about how other countries will respond to the recent decision made by the Trump Administration about withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. We all know that President Trump is a huge advocate for coal and oil industries, but taking the United States out of the Paris Agreement has proved to be a bit rash. The Paris Agreement is an initiative that allows countries to come to a consensus about what action each individual country needs to take in order to reduce global emissions. In the words of the COP22 president pertaining to this agreement, "Look into the future, we need to act fast...no need for show of force, we only need to show commitment for future action." This statement was made during the opening ceremony at COP23, and set the tone for the rest of the conference.
The Paris Agreement offers a joint vision for all those involved. However, for this vision to be effective, all countries that are a part of the agreement must show their support and focus toward the goal. During a press conference that my colleagues and I attended -- Diffused Leadership and The Paris Agreement: The India Story -- we heard the insight from members of the CEEW (Council on Energy, Environment and Water) about their thoughts about the U.S and the action taken concerning the Paris Agreement. This was the "India Story" because as one of the larger contributors to carbon emissions, along with China and America, the withdraw made by the U.S. is quite concerning. Even if India and China dramatically released their carbon emissions to practically nothing, if the U.S. doesn't take any action to reduce emissions, the goal of keeping global temperatures below 2 degrees will be next to impossible. Thus, the lack of action that might be taken by America is troubling to other large powers such as India and China. The CEO of CEEW, Arunabha Ghosh stated, "after the U.S. withdraw from the Paris Agreement, there has been a mood change in Bonn." After which, I asked the question, what is this 'mood change' that you are referring to exactly? (refer to 9:35 in video below) Ghosh responded by explaining how since the United States is such a large power, the choice to withdraw has created a lack of trust. The Paris Agreement must be an enforceable agreement with no loose ends, this means that each country has confidence in the other cosigners in regards to holding true to the pledge of taking action towards mitigating climate change. On a lighter note, although the U.S. has withdrawn, individual states and cities in America have held true to their pledge and still honor the agreement. This gives hope that even though the federal government may have made a poor decision, there is still a chance that small local governments can honor the pledge that the United States originally made when signing the Paris Agreement at COP21.
7/11/2017 05:49:28 pm
Because the United States is not part of the Paris agreement it is a big deal , this agreement allows countries to work together to see what each contry needs to do to reduce global emissions. I think it is a good Idea this agreement offers a joint of vision for all the countries involved, Because every country has the right to show what their beliefs are.
9/11/2017 12:40:42 am
Ana, I agree it is a huge deal. What I have found from speaking to people at COP23, there is still hope in the sense that even though the U.S. federal government is not honoring the agreement, there are still local and state governments who are. If you watched the video in the link, you can hear the speakers discuss the fact that as a large power the United States is NEEDED in order for climate change to be mitigated as the Paris Agreement intended. As such a large power, and one of the greatest carbon producers in the world, the United States needs to take action in order for the goal of 2 degrees to work; because even if all other countries practically eliminated their emissions, we cannot move forward with the goal unless the U.S. participates as well. Unfortunately, until our government decides against the withdraw, we can only have confidence that the action taken by individual states and localities will be enough.
9/11/2017 07:05:20 am
Although the United States as a whole could not uphold there end of the deal with the Paris Agreement, small counties and local governments can work to make the same change and maybe soon get the federal government back on board. I hope that even though the mood has changed in Bonn due to the United States withdrawing from the agreement, that the conference will still be just as effective for those involved in order to fulfill the true effectiveness and the true purpose of the agreement.
15/11/2017 11:53:13 am
Since the United States has left the Paris Agreement there has been a huge setback. Other countries may have to pull more weight when they can not afford to . The US is a huge country with a ton of opportunities, we should be able to easily cut back, but since a few upper level people don't want to believe that climate change is real the US has been taken out as a whole, though there are a few states deciding to keep following the Paris Agreement. Hopefully more states will follow lead and allow for the setback to be lessened.
16/11/2017 10:54:47 am
I am glad Miss Powers pointed out the quote stated by the president of COP22 where he said "...no need for show of force, we only need to show commitment for future action." I hear a lot of Americans express concern about how the UN is trying to overpower the US federal government, but as pointed out, this is not the case. Nations do not need to enact policy by force in order to make change. Lots of companies are simply doing this on their own because they are motivated and inspired by the UN's commitment to fighting climate change. Nobody is forcing them. Every major corporation will make its transition into renewable energy when they are ready, but denying climate change in fear of carbon taxes does not encourage corporations to peruse renewable energy. The greatest innovations in technology were largely driven by the desire to solve a problem. So why pretend that there is no problem.
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