White House official: Trump plans to pull United States from Paris deal

03 June, 2017, 02:09 | Author: Essie Rivera

That's because America contributes so much to rising temperatures.

"Generations from now, Americans will look back at Donald Trump's decision to leave the Paris Agreement as one of the most ignorant and risky actions ever taken by any President", Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a statement.

But on Tuesday, he threw the equivalent of a last-minute "Hail Mary" pass during a speech at New York University - making the case for the U.S. to remain committed to the Paris climate accord in terms that he hoped would change Trump's mind, by warning of a drop in the US's global influence if it pulls out of the agreement.

"I am terribly disappointed that he may be pulling out, horrified", said Christy Gerrits, a retired science teacher for the Campbell County School District and a member of the landowner rights organization, the Powder River Basin Resource Council. More downbeat was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the leaders' talks were "very hard, if not to say, very unsatisfactory".

That leaves Trump with two clear choices: withdraw from Paris or revise the United States pledge downward to something more realistic in light of domestic policies, but nonetheless stay in the accord.

Responding to Trump's pointing to his city, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto called the decision "disastrous for our planet, for cities such as Pittsburgh", and a step that "has made America weaker and the world less safe".

Calculations suggest withdrawal could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide a year - enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

"Then, we must find partners to continue, because this work must not stop", Sipila said. "It looks bad for us and it's just a disaster", said a protester. America's largest coal miners, FirstSolar fell more than three per cent.

Scientists are split on how reasonable and likely that scenario is.

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Almost 200 nations, including the United States, agreed in 2015 to voluntarily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to combat climate change. Senior adviser Jared Kushner generally thinks the deal is bad but would like to find a way to see if US emissions targets can be changed.

Another computer simulation team put the effect of the USA pulling out somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.18 to 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit). Overall, the general consensus was that without the US, the planet's rate of warmth would be much faster and more intense. Withdrawing would leave the United States aligned only with Russian Federation among the world's industrialized economies. An overwhelming majority of scientists say humans' use of fossil fuels for energy is driving climate change.

After sitting down with two dozen climate scientists and analyzing a computer model of the potential scenario, The Associated Press found that a lack of US participation in the Paris Agreement would make it more hard to stop Earth from crossing into a risky temperature threshold.

"So we must do our utmost to increase ambition and action until we can bend the emissions curve and slow down global warming", he said. The Paris agreement is, after all, the first global accord on climate change action that has managed to unify both developed and developing nations behind a single framework to cut emissions. "Guterres pressed the case for the United States to stick with the Paris deal, but also left no doubt that China can and will replace America as the global leader in the fight against climate change".

The ultimate goal of the Paris agreement is to hold the warming of the planet to "well below" two degrees Celsius of warming above the temperatures found in the preindustrial times of the late 1800s.

Climate Action Tracker, a competing computer simulation team, put the effect of the USA pulling out somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.18 to 0.36 Fahrenheit) by 2100. It uses a scenario where US emissions flatten through the century, while Climate Interactive has them rising.

The executive director of the Sierra Club is calling the expected US pullout from a global agreement on climate change a "historic mistake". The U.S. only sources about 13 percent of its electricity from renewable energy.

Last week in Germany, McKenna met Chinese special envoy for climate change Xie Zhenhua and European Union environment commissioner Karmenu Vella and discussed jointly hosting a meeting of environment ministers this fall to chart a path for implementing Paris among the world's major economies.

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