By deciding to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, President Trump has ceded U.S. climate leadership on the global stage. The U.S. will be joining Syria as the world’s only refuseniks. The other non-signatory is Nicaragua, which didn’t sign the agreement because it didn’t go far enough.
The EU and China are stepping into the vacuum the U.S. leaves, asserting their climate leadership and spelling out exactly how they plan to meet their targets under Paris. With the U.S. pulling out, 21 percent of total emissions reductions the Paris agreement envisioned will have to come from somewhere else. China and Europe will need to play even bigger roles than they planned, and everyone else will have to step up their reductions targets.
But we need not give up hope for U.S. climate action, because American grassroots groups, environmental organizations, municipalities, individual states and business leaders can carry the ball. With or without a treaty or federal mandate, they can get the U.S. to the Paris goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.
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