If The USA Exits The Paris Agreement, This Is What Will Happen

The Eiffel Tower is illuminated by green lights in order to celebrate the ratification of the Paris Agreement. Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Robin Andrews 27 May 2017, 17:21

America’s Influence In The World Will Shrink

One of the few arguments that Trump may pay attention to, this is the primary concern touted by those in his inner circle that advocate staying within the treaty, including his own daughter.

The Paris agreement is one of the largest diplomatic undertakings in human history, and not even one of the other signatories have said they’ll withdraw from the pact if America does. Most notably, both the European Union and China have stepped up to the plate.

China is a nascent superpower that is often in active competition with the US. Although it has likely come to realize that it needs to cut down on its emissions to protect its own civilians from the scourge of pollution and climate change, it sees an opportunity here to lead from the front.

If America does withdraw from Paris, China will at this rate become the de facto leading voice on climate change. This will boost its global image among otherwise wary nations, and America’s influence will wane significantly as a result.

The Wider World Would Suffer Too…

If the world’s second-most prolific GHG producer fails to stick to Paris, the world will be a far more dangerous place – that much is very clear indeed.

Developing nations, those who rely on America’s payments to the UN, will fall by the wayside and probably stick to cheaper coal. There’s a chance that the Paris agreement will fail without America’s contributions, and the world will breach the 2°C limit by 2100 – or worse.

…But, There Is Hope

Cautiously, though, things might still be fine. While it’ll undoubtedly be a blow to everyone else if America does withdraw its support, there are signs that the rest of the world is working so hard at phasing out coal and oil that the Paris agreement may still be adhered to some degree.

Just look at the US. Trump may have recently signed away a raft of Obama’s climate measures, but even the objectives for cutting GHGs proposed in the now-defunct Clean Power Plan (CPP) are already being met way ahead of schedule.

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