“Most Americans Support the Paris Agreement.”
By Dr. John J. Hidore
Geological evidence indicates that the earth is now the warmest it has been in the last 650,000 years. Data also indicates the 20th Century was the warmest century in the past 1000 years. Most of the warmest years of record have occurred since the beginning of the year 2000. Climate change is now taking place faster and faster and is responsible for historic catastrophes around the world. It is clear to the majority of human beings inhabiting this planet that there is a serious problem of change taking place in our weather and climate.
The Paris Climate Conference-Cop21
In the fall of 2015 the historic Paris climate conference-cop21 (Conference Of Parties) was held. Out of that conference came what is generally know as the Paris agreement. The main goal of the group is to keep the mean temperature of Earth from increasing less than 2 degrees above the pre-industrial average temperature. It has already risen about half that. This means keeping the global temperature from rising no more than another 1 degree F. By reducing this much it would bring the level of carbon dioxide back to where it was at the beginning of the industrial revolution.
An agreement was finalized on December 12, 2015. It was ultimately approved by nearly all nations. The group committed to keeping the global temperature rise to 1 degree F by the year 2100. A key difference in this agreement from previous agreements is that each individual country could set its own goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement imposes no penalties for countries which do not meet their own goals.
Prior conferences wanted to set the goals for each country. Some poor countries still wanted the richest countries to bear the biggest share of the cost or to make the biggest cuts in carbon emissions. The wealthier countries did commit $100 billion a year to help pay the costs for the poorest countries.
Trump and the Paris Agreement
During the election campaign of 2016 and as President, Trump stated he would take America out of the Agreement. During the presidential campaign in 2016 he declared that climate change was a hoax. He also stated that if elected he would take the United States out of the 2015 Paris Accord.
On Thursday, June 1, 2017 the president of the United States announced that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement. The reason he gave was that the agreement was unfair to this country and, as president, he has the right to do that. That this decision on his part has trashed America’s image abroad is an understatement. The United State has been leading the effort to take action to reduce or halt the human induced portion of climate change. However, on Monday, December 2, 2019 President Trump again announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement. This left the other signatories of the agreement to plan action to combat climate change without participation of one of the major contributors to the problem.
Support of the Paris Agreement
Most Americans Support the Paris Agreement. Millions of individuals have now become activists on reducing climate change. People are changing their life styles to use less energy. They are publicly active to get local governments to cut energy use and to change to less carbon based sources of energy. The governments of a number of states have publicly declared they will continue to support the agreement. They will move ahead on measures to reduce greenhouse emissions and climate change.
California, which is the sixth largest economy on the planet, is pushing ahead to become a carbon free region. Other states are following suit even if they do not officially support the Paris agreement. The number of states has now reached about a dozen at the time of this writing. More will participate I am sure.
Mayors’ Action on Climate
Groups of cities are actively working to reduce greenhouse emissions. More than 250 American cities officially adopted the Paris agreement. They are part of a group called Mayors National Climate Action Agenda. Among the cities that have agreed to support the Paris Agreement is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is the very city which Trump stated he represented although he did not represent the Paris Agreement. There is no doubt that the position the current president of the United States has taken is a shock to the rest of the world, let alone to the majority of the people in this country. However, the people of this country will not turn their backs on the rest of the world. They will stand with all nations that are committed to reducing the extent of climate change which, is even at this date, resulting in catastrophes.
Island nation populations are being forced to move or cease to exist. Inland rivers are undergoing record floods. Extreme high temperatures are doing tremendous damage to plants and animals.
How great the catastrophes are in the future depends on what our nation, along with nearly all others, does in regard to climate change. Let the United States lead the way!