First lets start off with what we know by definition. An accord defined by Oxford is, an official agreement. A treaty is defined by Oxford as a formally concluded and ratified agreement between countries. In the context of The American Constitution, a treaty is an agreement proposed by the President to the senate, the senate then votes on the treaty and if two thirds of the senate vote in favor of it, it is an official treaty. The Paris Accords or Paris Agreements are not a treaty. They were never ratified by our senate. Instead, they were agreed upon by an executive order issued by Former President Barak Obama.
This is what the Agreement meant to the United states, but there is also the matter of what was in the Accords and what it obligated or didn’t obligate nations to do. The Accords are not at all enforceable; they are non-binding, they have no punishment for failure to meet standards and have no legal authority in the United States because it was only ratified by 147 out of 197 countries who signed it, and by no surprise it was never brought before the US senate, therefor making it non binding. The Accords never outlined any specific actions countries are to take. The Accords only listed goals like keeping greenhouse emissions down, pursuing efforts to limit temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2025, and keep global temperature “well below” 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. They also had monetary “requirements” like “climate financing” and the Green Climate Fund. “Climate Financing” encourages countries who are contributing the most to the accords, like the United States, to pay countries who can not or do not contribute as much. This could mean that the US pays China, who is not pushed to meet all of the energy reduction policies as the US is, to help them lower their CO2 emissions (as if China needed any monetary help). The Green Climate Fund is the money behind the Accords, this is where all of the nations payments go towards. The Green Climate fund or GCF is worth approximately 2.2 billion USD and the US has payed 1 billion USD or around 45.5% of the ENTIRE fund’s worth.
Now getting back to Thursdays events, current President Donald Trump said in a briefing that The United States will back out of the Paris Climate Accords. Not to copy him but let’s back up a bit, the US must stay in the Accords for 3 years and as of now 1 year has passed leaving 2 more. Also, it will take approximately 1 year to formally withdraw and exit. That is if everything is done “by the books”. However, I am betting that because POTUS is not a “by the books” kind of guy, he will stop paying and ignore what the US has already said they would put forth and simply go along business as usual until the US can formally leave. A political move I find intriguing and gutsy.
All of that is good and well, yet I do have some problems with the way all of this has been handled. President Trump said that the US is withdrawing from the Paris Accords, instead President Trump should have said that he wants to renegotiate the deal. In doing this, the US could have withheld payments like every other country in the Accords until we can get a better deal done, one that makes all countries pay fairly. I believe that President Trump should have been able to get this done, after all he knows The Art Of The Deal. Also, saying that would have been beneficial in three ways. First, it would NOT have given reason for people to attack him saying he is anti-environment and a global warming skeptic. Second, despite the media attention Trump said, “I’m willing to immediately work with Democratic leaders to either negotiate our way back into Paris, under terms that are fair to the United States and its workers, or to negotiate a new deal that protects our country and its taxpayers.” Mr. Trump is obviously open to stopping climate change, but in his speech he should have hit harder on that so more of the American people know what he is willing to do. Lastly, President Trump listed off some statistics that were done by the EPA. These stats say that the US will loose 3.3 trillion USD in GDP by 2040 and that 2.7 million jobs will be cut. He also mentioned that some industries could be reduce by 84% if the accords stayed in place. Although, he forgot to mention new industries emerging in the clean energy business and added jobs in solar and renewable energies.
Overall, I believe that this was a very difficult decision for the President to make, even though I think it could have been handled better and easier, it was ultimately the right decision