As many as 36 Democratic Senators have urged US President Donald Trump not to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, arguing that the historic climate change deal for the first time made major emitters like India and China acknowledge that they have a responsibility to curb carbon pollution. “We write to express our strong support for the Paris Climate Agreement, and to urge you to keep the United States party to the agreement,” the Democratic Senators wrote in a letter to Trump ahead of this week’s G-7 meeting.
They argued in the letter that backing out of the agreement after years of negotiations and strong US leadership on the issue would be a self-inflicted injury to America’s economy and leave its interests unrepresented on the world stage.
The Senators said that reneging on the agreement could put American health and safety at risk, and would leave the US economy and small businesses to miss out on vital investment and job opportunities while the rest of the world moves forward with trillions of dollars of investment in resilient infrastructure, low-carbon energy, sustainable agriculture and new technologies.
“While American communities and businesses grapple with the impacts of climate change, we know that this is a global challenge and it demands a global response,” the letter said yesterday.
“That is why the Paris Climate Agreement is so vital. For the first time, the Paris Agreement provides a platform in which all countries acknowledge that they have a responsibility to do their fair share to curb the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, including other major emitters like China and India,” the Senators wrote.
Over the next several years, parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet to determine how the Paris Agreement will be implemented when it goes into effect in 2020. Issues of longstanding bipartisan interest will be discussed and decided in those meetings, including matters of transparency and verification of emissions reductions from other countries.
“A US retreat from the Paris Agreement would isolate us from the 196 nations working together within the framework of the Paris Agreement, reaching outcomes on international economic policy that will effect US interests whether we are party or not,” the Senators warned.
“A retreat from Paris would harm the trust, faith, and goodwill that America has earned from other nations, and will inevitably harm our ability to work cooperatively to advance our foreign policy goals. Our allies were insulted by the Bush Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, and we suffered real foreign policy and diplomatic setbacks as a result,” the Senators said.
According to a senior administrator, Trump believes that the Paris Agreement on climate change is not good for the US and he would stay in this international agreement only if he feels that it would improve the economy and create jobs. “The President believes that the Paris agreement is not a great deal for America,” the official said.
“I think that it’s very simple: if the President could find a way to make it a good deal for America, then I’m sure he would be open-minded to potentially staying in, but if he feels like it’s a deal where other countries do nothing and are able to keep up high levels of pollutants, and it really puts restrictions on American industry, then he’s gonna get out,” the official said, giving a sense of clarity into the thinking of the Trump Administration on this issue.
The Trump Administration is currently doing a review of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. A decision on this is expected to be taken in the next few weeks. Trump has “got the right to get out”, the senior administration official asserted.
“So that’s kind of where he’s at. We’re doing an internal review now, we’ve concluded that the agreements are not legally binding, so that’s a good thing, and so we do have flexibility. For them now it’s really a function of deciding what ultimately he wants to do,” the official said.