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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 November 6 - 12  > US withdrawal from Paris accord shows US irresponsibility toward global climate challenge
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2019 November 6 - 12 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

US withdrawal from Paris accord shows US irresponsibility toward global climate challenge

November 7, 2019

Akahata editorial

The U.S. Trump administration has officially notified the UN of its withdrawal from the “Paris Agreement”, the international framework for combating the climate crisis. This is a totally selfish act given that the fight against climate change is a major focus of the international political situation as shown by the fact that many countries expressed their intent to step up efforts to advance the Paris accord at the UN Climate Action Summit in September.

Danger of ‘America first’ policy

The Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) and went into force in 2016. The accord seeks to keep the global temperature rise to below 2 degrees C and below 1.5 degrees C, if possible, at the end of the current century compared to the pre-industrial levels (around 1850). It also sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero in the latter half of this century. This is an epoch-making agreement as it is a commitment made by both developed and developing countries to jointly tackle the climate crisis by overcoming differences among them.

Just before the Paris Agreement enters into full effect in 2020, the U.S., the second largest carbon polluter after China, pulled itself out of the accord, which will hinder global efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

The Trump administration in June 2017 expressed its intent to abandon the climate accord by criticizing it as being unfair to the United States. Trump’s “America first” policy disregarding the international agreement attracted severe criticism. The U.S. officially submitted the withdrawal notification to the UN this past week.

Hoping to win support from the coal industry ahead of next year's presidential election, President Trump in order to justify the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement said that it costs a fortune and puts an unfair economic burden on American workers and businesses. However, 25 U.S. states and organized territories with a population accounting for a majority of the total already formed a group called "the United States Climate Alliance (USCA)" so as to meet the reduction target. Many U.S. private enterprises have also been active in promoting "decarbonization" and the use of renewables. The Trump administration's disengagement from the global climate framework is obviously running counter to ongoing trends in the U.S. itself. It is a matter of course for the USCA to issue a statement criticizing Trump's withdrawal notification as the "wrong policy".

The scientists' international forum "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)" has repeatedly warned about the dangers of climate change and global warming. Even if the "1.5C limit" as set in the Paris deal is achieved, it will not guarantee the protection of the global environment. Supposing that all countries met their current reduction targets, the temperature would still go up around 3 degrees C by the end of the 21st century, according to projections. The need is for the world leaders to increase efforts to tackle this issue.

In response to the call "Let's do it now!" by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, a growing number of young people worldwide have been standing up for the climate challenge like a huge wave. Politicians of the world's governments must respond to their concern.

It is impermissible for the Trump administration to turn its back on the issue which will determine the present and future of this planet.

Japan's Abe gov't also comes under question

In December, the COP 25 where the Paris Agreement's implementation guidelines will be compiled will take place in Madrid, Spain. Serious actions, including increases in each country's reduction target, are urgently needed. In regard to the Abe-led Japanese government's measures to prevent global warming, criticism against its extremely low target and its heavy reliance on coal-fired power generation have been arising both at home and abroad. Japan must end this backward-looking policy.
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