U.S. President Donald and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Chief Scott Pruitt both share the belief that the United States should exit the climate agreement, despite scientific evidence showing the country’s huge contribution to carbon dioxide emissions.
It is no secret that the Trump administration is not a fan of the Climate Change Agreement, which was signed by almost 200 countries in 2015, and Trump is already close to officially withdrawing from the deal. The pending decision is a cause for concern to many, especially scientists and experts who worked on models and predictions on what could really happen if Trump turns his back on climate change.
Possible Effects Of A US Exit
The climate change agreement seeks to limit the global temperature rise to less than 2° Celsius (3.6° Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels but, if the United States exits the deal, scientists and experts believe that the country could undo what other parts of the world are working hard to prevent.
According to reports, the world already warmed more than half of the target and the United States is responsible for one-fifth of the emissions that led to the temperature rise. Scientists predict that the exit could lead to an additional 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually, enough to ensure that the ice sheets and glaciers would melt faster and weather would become more extreme.
Expert groups ran several simulations that would show the possible effects of the said exit. One group came up with a worst case scenario showing every other country but the United States lowering their emissions. The model showed that, by the end of the century, the country will have contributed a 0.3° C (0.54° F) temperature rise. Other similar simulations resulted between 0.1°C (0.18°F) and 0.2°C (0.36°F).
“Developed nations – particularly the U.S. and Europe – are responsible for the lion’s share of past emissions, with China now playing a major role… This means Americans have caused a large fraction of the warming,” Jennifer Francis, a Rutgers University climate scientist, claims.
A Domino Effect?
Some fear that more than the country’s direct effect, Trump’s actions could create a domino effect and other countries could follow suit. Not all agree with this, however.
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Director John Schellnhuber believes that a U.S. exit would not have a great impact on the decision of other countries.
“Ten years ago (a U.S. exit) would have shocked the planet… Today if the U.S. really chooses to leave the Paris agreement, the world will move on with building a clean and secure future,” Schellnhuber said.
While this could be true, Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe believes the United States is still a major influence because the country’s choices after an exit would create ripple effects that will affect the world.
Both make good points but, perhaps we should not forget that there are already many people within the United States who actively fight climate change, such as the state of California, which is keen on upholding its strict auto emission standards.