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Has Donald Trump effectively stalled the global war on climate change?

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. On the 2nd of June, U.S. President Donald J. Trump announced that the United States will be withdrawing from the Paris Accord on Climate Change – thus fulfilling a major campaign promise. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, and not Paris” Trump thundered. In a rare tirade against China, India, and the EU, the President declared that the whole international system is fleecing the United States of jobs and money. “I’m gonna change that” he added for good measure.

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The United States is the world’s second largest carbon – dioxide emitter.

The withdrawal makes the United States the only nation other than Syria and Nicaragua to stay out of the Paris Agreement. Although the action itself is not surprising – analysts had already predicted that the Trump Administration will withdraw from the Accord to retain its traditional voter-base – it is rather unfortunate. Like it or not, climate change is a real and an almost imminent threat to our survival, and the world’s second largest carbon-dioxide emitter has a critical role to play to make sure that humans are able to control climate change before it’s too late. Some political commentators are saying that the U.S’s withdrawal has virtually doomed the global fight against climate change, but is the situation actually that bad or is it just unnecessary hysteria being created by the media? Come follow me as I try to answer just that question.

As the decision itself was not surprising, scientists had already made models simulating the impact of a potential U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. And unfortunately, the models don’t portray a rosy picture. Calculations suggest that President Trump’s decision will potentially add up to 3 billion tons of extra carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere each year, thus accelerating the already rapid pace of climate change even further. But these figures still don’t address the core question –  whether Trump’s decision to withdraw will stall the global movement against fossil fuel consumption and the larger battle against climate change?

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaffirmed their support for the Paris Accord.

The answer can be found in the global outrage and condemnation against the U.S. President’s decision.  Within hours of the announcement of the decision, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, in a joint statement, reaffirmed their support for the Paris accord and chided Trump for the “short-sighted” decision. In yet another press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted their support for the agreement. Chinese President Xi Jiping said that China is  ready to lead the global green-energy movement. All of this confirms the view that the world is ready to move into the era of renewable energy – with or without America.

Even within the United States, voices against the decision dominate the voices supporting the decision. From the Chambers of the U.S. Congress to the streets of Los Angeles, the American people have firmly rejected the order and have vowed to continue their battle against global warming. Over 200 US Mayors adopted the Paris Agreement, defying the federal order to withdraw. These Mayors represent 54 million Americans and some of the largest U.S. cities including New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Ordinary citizens have contributed over $10 million to “Green Climate Funds” within days of the decision.

Ironically, the decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement has further bolstered support for a collective, concerted effort to fight climate change. The issue, which was placed on the back-burner – with media focusing on the daily antics of the Trump Administration and the political slugfest in Europe – has been made an international priority once again. Major CO2 emitters like China and India are set to easily exceed the targets they set for themselves in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The EU is also lighting the way for other nations around the world by investing billions of dollars in the renewable energy industry. Thus, even though the United States’ withdrawal is a big blow to the attempts to slow down climate change, it is nowhere near a death-blow to the global efforts to save our planet. Simply said – The world will march on as a Trumpian America fumes.

Note:- All the opinions stated in the above article are the author’s own.

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