By Dalir Khan
President Trump in his speech to large audience stated that that he will pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement famously known as COP 21, a group of 194 countries that have promised to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. The then US president Obama administration supported 2015 climate pact. US policy reversal will greatly harm global environmental protection considering the fact United States is the largest contributor of greenhouses gases and carbon emission followed by China. What makes wonder is that, President Trump accused other nations for not paying enough rather they have put entire burden on United States.
However, this logic holds no weight because almost 194 countries agreed on historical climate agreement and showed their willingness to share their part.
As part of the Paris agreement, the U.S. had agreed to cut its emissions between 26 and 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. In contrast to that pledge, the U.S. effectively cedes leadership on the issue to other countries, including the world’s second top emitter, China. Chinese President Xi Jinping has stood by the agreement, calling it a “hard-won achievement” that should be honored.
This is indeed praiseworthy and like China, other states including France, Germany, UK and other European states are fully committed to protect climate from further degradation. The climate agreement signed by 194 countries and it elaborates how countries will take action to achieve the goal of averting a 2 degrees’ Celsius rise in the global average temperature, including by ceasing net additions of carbon to the atmosphere due to human activity by 2100. The 2-degree threshold is globally recognized by scientists as the level at which catastrophic effects become unavoidable.
Before winning the presidential elections, President Trump called climate change a hoax, and once tweeted that global warming was a concept “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive”. The US president also faced immense pressure during his first foreign trip since taking office to uphold the pact –from world leaders and Pope Francis, who gave Trump his papal encyclical on climate change during their meeting at the Vatican.
There is general agreement in the world that Climate Change is reality not a myth. It has been considered as one of the greatest threat to human existence. Unfortunately, one state cannot take appropriate measures to deal with this threat alone. It’s a shared responsibility and global community should welcome it despite of the differences.
United States being the leader of free world must acknowledge the importance of Paris agreement. President Obama moved an extra mile to convince Chinese leadership to take preventive measures to stop environment from further destruction.
President Trump has no other option but to accept that Climate Change not only hurt Americans in particular but entire glob in general.
Global community must recognize and encourage those voices in America who are pro climate and consider it serious threat. This is how we can move towards safe and better human life on this mother land.
There can be enormous challenges and obstacles in the way forward to COP 21. Yet one should not lose hope for a better but healthier future. It’s our collective responsibility and we must prepare ourselves to meet the challenges of future
Dalir Khan is an M.Phil Student of International Relations at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad