A Clinton administration would have worked to strengthen the pact over time, something which it sorely needed and indeed underscored in the wording of its framework. Regardless, even if the hallowed 2°C (3.6°F) warming limit was breached – and most experts think that it probably would have been unless fossil fuel usage dropped off immediately – it would have likely prevented 4°C (7.2°F) of warming by 2100.
By all accounts, this would be catastrophic. 2°C of warming will see more powerful hurricanes and increased conflict and famine in developing nations. Millions living alongside coastlines will be displaced by rising seas. 4°C would be a completely changed world, both scorched and submerged to extreme degrees.
The Paris agreement is legally binding now, and it would take the US four years to pull out of it. In two years’ time, a Democratic-controlled Senate, and perhaps House of Representatives, may have appeared, which would give lawmakers the power to block President Trump’s attempt to renege from the climate pact.
There is hope that it will be rescued from this political abyss, but in the meantime, it seems likely that plenty of damage to it will be done. At the very least, Trump can simply ignore the agreement until he has signed enough legislation to attempt to officially withdraw from it.
“We're not giving up the fight and neither should the international community,” May Boeve from 350.org told BBC News. “Trump will try and slam the brakes on climate action, which means we need to throw all of our weight on the accelerator.”
[H/T: USA Today]