Will America Really Leave the Paris Climate Agreement?

The Paris agreement between the United Nations is a call to arms against the threat of climate change. It is a plan of action to cooperate to fight the causes of it and protect against any further damage form the effects of climate change. Donald Trump recently has stirred up a huge debate by threatening to withdraw from the Paris climate accord and conversation still hasn’t died down. It wasn’t very long ago that Barack Obama came forward and announced America’s endorsement of the Paris Climate Change Agreement along with the Chinese President Xi vowing.  In only a few months so much has changed and many people are rightly concerned.

Trump revealed during his presidential campaign as well as earlier that he was sceptical of climate change and the devastating results so many officials and experts have predicted. He had even planned to redirect the funding expended on fighting climate change to infrastructure projects, although there is little to say as to whether or not this plan will ever be executed. Trump has also shown strong approval for fossil fuel industries and has unofficially announced plans to further the industry and increase the amount of sites for gas, oil and coal extraction.

One of the main issues with America potentially pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement is that one of the main reasons why Obama accepted it in the first place was because he wanted to set an example for other leaders. His announcement might have been the call to arms for the Chinese President, meaning that there was potential to reduce the damage done by the two biggest contributors to climate change: China and America. Without America on board will China pull out as well?

The real question everyone’s asking first and foremost is: will it happen? According to the French environment minister, withdrawing isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. Once the agreement has been entered into you are prohibited from exiting it for three years in addition to a yearlong notice period. The U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also attempted to derail Trump’s statement by saying that the agreement is irreversible. It cannot be negotiated and it is too powerful for anyone to back out of. He is convinced that Trump will change his mind once he understands the ramifications of attempting to withdraw from it.

Although there are some means of Trump withdrawing America from the agreement leaders are discussing ways of dissuading him from doing so, including imposing a carbon pollution tax on imported American goods. Foreign Green Peace members are also already arranging their American visa form to prepare for preventative action against Trump’s attempts to reverse Obama’s environmental efforts. It’s difficult to say whether or not he has any clear intention of acting on his words, but the implication that it is a possibility has only served to help strengthen the relationship between the countries that are still in support of the Paris agreement. Trump’s willingness to negotiate terms rather than withdraw completely already shows that he has some understanding of the gravity of the situation, but only time will tell what will become of the U.S.’s contribution to saving the planet.