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President Trump Has Decided To Exit The Paris Climate Accord, But May Renegotiate The Terms. What Are The Consequences?

ArmchairPolitiicianClimateChange, June 3, 2017, by Brad Peery, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com, www.ArmchairPolitician.US

Twenty states and Washington, DC have adopted their own greenhouse emissions targets. The Paris Accord sought U.S. reductions of 26-28% below 2005 levels. Twenty-nine states require utilities to sell a prescribed amount of renewable energy in their states. Some states such as Texas are ramping up renewable energy, such as wind power, because prices are competitive. This will aid the U.S. clean tech industry. The states will largely assure that the Paris targets are pursued. Some states approved the withdrawal. West Virginia’s Senator Capito said it would aid their coal industry, which has been devastated by Obama’s anti-coal policies.

China, which is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and whose emissions are expected to peak in 2030, said it would continue to meet its’ commitment. There are transparency issues with respect to China actually meeting its’ commitment. However, one of President Trumps’ objections to the Agreement, was that the U.S. would reduce its’ fossil fuel emissions significantly, while China would continue to build new coal plants until 2025. China is also investing heavily in clean technologies, such as solar, and will be a difficult competitor in those areas.

An additional stumbling block for President Trump was a provision that developed countries would financially support underdeveloped countries, including India, by financing their renewable fuels efforts to the tune of $100 billion per year in 2020. Trump objected to foreign countries forcing the U.S. to make what he considered to be foreign aid. This would have added tens of billions of dollars per year to our deficit. Additionally, Obama signed this Accord, and it was not ratified by the congress.

With Trump supporting fossil fuel development in the U.S. including natural gas and the large fracking industry in the U.S. Fracking is controversial because of the possibility that underground water supplies may become polluted. These issues can be addressed by the state and local governments. They will also be addressed by the EPA, which despite being weakened by Trump, cannot unilaterally disregard environmental impacts from fossil fuels, including carbon and fracking.

ArmchairPolitician Opinion:
It will take until 2020 for the U.S. to officially withdraw from the Paris Accords. It does not seem likely that U.S. involvement will be renegotiated. Because of state renewable fuel activities, and market realities, coal will not likely make much of a rebound. Other than the elimination of U.S. financing for underdeveloped countries, the effect of Trump’s Paris Accord withdrawal does not appear to be a negative for the U.S. And, it will not have much of an effect on rising ocean levels and global temperature increases.

See
ArmchairPolitiicianClimateChange, May 12, 2017, by Brad Peery,
The Trump Team Debates Climate Change: What Are The Evidence And The Issues?

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