Anxiety had filled the air when Trump took office in January; most people were ambivalent on whether he would fulfill his campaign promises or it was just a bluff. Few months down the line, we have witnessed undeterred Trump act tough on climate issues, of course in reversing any efforts made to this course, with first serious stub being the appointment of Pruitt to EPA. Recently, the talk about climate change in the US is much louder as compared to when we made the commitments alongside other countries to check our emission levels and this talk is all about Trump’s decisions rather than the whole substance. In the first place, why do we get into these agreements or even, why do we commit resources to their implementation?
To be able to answer these questions, we need to understand the history of climate change relative to U.S’s industrial era. The industrial era of the 1850s that span to late 1970s proceeded with zero knowledge about its devastating impacts on the environment. Manufacturers produced and aimed to produce more; railways were built, smaller factories came up and the number of wealthy people continued to soar. It was until the period of 1962 when Racheal Carson wrote the ‘Silent Springs’ which provoked a scientific inquiry into the state of the environment compared to the previous years that people and industries began realizing that they had done an acute damage to the environment and if such patterns continued, then the planet will just collapse under its knees.
To this date, very accurate statistics show that the U.S and China alone contribute up to 45% of the entire global carbon dioxide emission. Lucky enough before Pruitt was appointed as the new EPA director, the overview of greenhouse gasses and its sources for the US between 1990 and 2014 had been archived. It shows that in 2014, the GHGs totaled 6,870 million metric tons of carbon equivalents. Something important to note in this is that the 2014 emissions were below by 9% compared to that in 2005. Electricity production is the leading emitter of the GHGs followed by transportation, then industry, residential and finally agriculture.
If these figures are anything to go by and with the love for big life that Americans embrace, then we are in for shocking levels of emissions just a few years from now. Most of the republican politicians including the House Speaker Ryan and the president himself defend the anti-climate change move based on the economic principle that the cheaper the sources of energy the cheaper the energy in the U.S households. Do the U.S. citizens need cheaper energy or sustainable livelihoods?
The Paris agreement is a historic treaty that was signed by all countries apart from Syria and Nicaragua and disappointingly, by the U.S. 195 parties had already ratified the treaty including the European Union. The primary aim of this agreement is reducing the risk to lives and economies everywhere while at the same time building the foundation for a more prosperous, secure and sustainable world. Now the U.S is no longer part of this and probably, Trump wants to renegotiate the agreement so that the U.S. can be excused from its already unrivaled levels of emission.
Article Download Link: Trumps Withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord_PDF_Ian Tenido_EnvironmentList
Vitali, A. (2017). Trump Pulls U.S. Out of Paris Climate Agreement. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-pulls-u-s-out-paris-climate-agreement-n767066.