Climate, Politics/Capitol Light©, is a service of The JBS Group and Civil Notion
November 6, 2019
The big news of the week—kind of—was Trump’s starting the paperwork for getting the US out of the Paris Climate Accord (Accord). Although Trump announced his intentions in June 2017, the rules of the Accord prohibited any formal action before a few days ago. The US won’t actu-ally be off the Accord until November 4, 2020—a day after the next presidential election.
At one level, the Accord with or without the US has not achieved what had been hoped. Only a few nation-states have upped their voluntary greenhouse gas reduction pledges to the point needed to keep global temperatures from crossing the temperature threshold the science community warns of as being points of no return.
Trump’s withdrawal, however, sends the wrong message. It will be used by populist leaders in Brazil, central and eastern European nations, and elsewhere as an excuse for them to retract their country's support for the Accord.
The withdrawal diminishes US standing in climate negotiations, as well as its moral leadership position—not just now but into the future. As in so many other areas, Trump’s willingness just to walk away—with no regard for what’s left in his wake—is making the US an unreliable partner.
Joel Stronberg, MA, JD., of The JBS Group is a veteran clean energy policy analyst with over 30 years’ experience, based in Washington, DC.