US President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he will pull the US out of the landmark Paris climate change agreement, following through with a key campaign promise.
“I don’t want anything to get in our way,” Trump said. “The US will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord, or a really entirely new transaction with terms that are fair to the United States.”
“We’re getting out, we’ll start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” he continued. “If we can, that’s great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”
This decision will have ramifications not only for climate change, but also for global governance.
The decision to leave the Paris accord, as well as the decision to pull out of Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trump’s recent trip to Europe, “reinforces the message that [President Trump] does not value international order,” Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said in a tweet.
“I’d say US leadership globally is now at its weakest since the Marshall Plan,” Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, told Business Insider via email. “There are many reasons for this beyond the American president [and] plenty of blame to go around: the rise of China, weakness of Europe — Brexit, Putin… But Trump’s abandonment of multilateralism and, more broadly, American values — at home and abroad — drives a spike in it.”
“If you want a watershed moment beyond Trump’s inauguration, American withdrawal from the Paris Accord is it,” he added. “Pax Americana is over. Nobody else is capable or willing to take its place (China’s not close). Welcome to the G-Zero.”
The term “G-Zero world,” coined by Bremmer and political scientist David F. Gordon, refers to a power-vacuum world in which “major powers set aside aspirations for global leadership — alone, coordinated, or otherwise — and look primarily inward for their policy priorities.” In this kind of environment, global governance institutions become confrontational hotspots, and, as a result, economic growth and efficiency slows.
The Paris Agreement, which 195 nations signed in December 2015, set a global goal to keep the planet from warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, a threshold that scientists say could keep the planet from launching into a tailspin of irreversible consequences, including unpredictable superstorms and crippling heat waves.
China, India, and the European Union all doubled down on their support of the deal and said they would lead the world in fighting climate change if the US wouldn’t. Experts have said the US exiting the accord could lead to a weakened agreement, either by other countries leaving or by not honestly reporting their carbon emissions.
“It does have broader implications when it comes to climate change in general, but it also means that the United States is increasingly growing into an isolationist position,” Gregory Daco, the chief US economist at Oxford Economist, told Business Insider ahead of the announcement. “And that will have implications when it comes to relationships on a geopolitical front, on an economic front, on a trade front.”
“[If] you think about the climate change issue, it’s very important for the United States to lead the way when it comes to climate change,” he continued. “It is one of the biggest economic powers out there and if China or other major economies see the US moving in the wrong direction in terms of climate change, I think it wouldn’t be a good sign for the other countries.”