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World & Current Events > Au Revoir Paris, welcome USCA? US - EU together not anymore?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13751 comments So President Trump announced the withdrawal from Paris agreement, France, Germany and Italy announced they are not interested in negotiating a different deal, 10 US states started an Alliance supporting the agreement on a state level, Musk leaves White House advisory board. A big mess and further confrontation among close allies and even between subjects of the same country.
If Wiki summarizes the agreement correctly: "In the Paris Agreement, each country determines its own contribution it should make in order to mitigate global warming.[5] There is no mechanism to force[6] a country to set a specific target by a specific date."
Is it much ado about nothing or the agreement is so disadvantageous for the US?
Where to now in the context of US-EU relations? And whom UK to side?

message 2: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) Agreement came into force in Nov 2016. It has compulsory 3 year run and then withdrawal in 12 months i.e USA can leave in Nov 2020.

US has apparently paid $1bn of $3bn commitment to UN funds - of course it can stop paying immediately if Congress agrees - no different from other UN funding which I understand US has not paid (like many other countries)

UK has not signed European letter (not EU just led by France and Germany) of protest about withdrawal as it was written before a telephone call between PM and Trump but apparently the PM expressed disappointment and disagreement to President, which should increase global warming by a further fraction due to hot air and wood depletion for sending meaningless letter.

Meanwhile in other news the Great Barrier Reef is dying off due to water temperature increase/salinity/pollution/tourists/tidal changes/magnetic shift/aliens (select one or more). The Borneo rain forest (just come back) is being hacked down for Palm Oil but Malaysia needs money for growing population and building more skyscrapers and shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur

message 3: by Faith (new)

Faith Jones (havingfaith) | 51 comments The UK will comply with the targets and make supportive noises to the EU but will then side with the US.

A question for your friends to get wrong: What is the largest structure ever made by Earthlings? Answer: The Great Barrier Reef. It would be incorrect to think of humans as the only Earthlings, just as it would be equally wrong to think that planetary ecology is all about resources for us. We should get ourselves in perspective.

message 4: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin As usual, Trump acted without thinking further than his nose and followed the advice of the Neanderthal sub-group of his advisors led by Steve Bannon, ignoring all the scientific data accumulated to date about climate change. And for what? To save a few hundred jobs in the coal mining industry? He obviously didn't think about the immense future cost the USA will have to pay in a few decades to protect itself from the effects of climate change (rising sea levels, droughts, severe weather patterns, etc).

It is sad to see that so much hubris and ignorance still controls American politics.

message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9725 comments The problem Faith raises is excess CO2 and resultant acidification of oceans, and in some ways that is worse than the heating. It is not just the barrier reef; all shell fish that depend on aragonite to make their shells are in danger of being exterminated, and that alters the whole ocean food chain sequence. What the Paris agreement does not seem to do is to encourage large re-afforestation.

There are actually a number of things the US could do to help here; unfortunately, Trump's attitude does not give us a lot of confidence, and his habit of tearing up previous agreements and saying he will renegotiate does not give other countries much confidence in his policies, if he has any.

message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13751 comments Faith wrote: "It would be incorrect to think of humans as the only Earthlings, just as it would be equally wrong to think that planetary ecology is all about resources for us. We should get ourselves in perspective...."

We should, indeed. Seeing though how little we (through our political representatives) sometimes care about other human beings, chances that we'll care more about corals or other species are yet slimmer

message 7: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2151 comments Michel wrote: "As usual, Trump acted without thinking further than his nose and followed the advice of the Neanderthal sub-group of his advisors led by Steve Bannon, ignoring all the scientific data accumulated t..."

To a lot of Americans issues like these aren't about the individual "issues," but about the overall role of the government. While time after time, we've seen where this country could not survive without a strong central government, the issue is how much control should that government have.

As many have pointed out, the US had made strides and progress when it comes to solar and wind production. Cities across this country have been converting their public lighting to LED to cut back on their electrical use, and they've been replacing public vehicles with electric or hybrid to reduce their dependence on gasoline. From what I understand, many European countries have been pushing for renewable energy for years, and China was already pushing renewable energy to fight their smog problem.

This begs the question of why we need such an agreement to continue this drive? Nothing stops Europe from continuing their push for renewable if the agreement didn't exist. Nothing stops China from building more hydroelectric dams and solar and wind farms if they weren't a part of the agreement. And frankly I don't see how the solar and wind industry is going to magically disappear from the US because Trump pulled out.

This debate over the agreement ignores the simple fact that we the people have our own personal responsibilities in a citizen government. For example, how many light bulbs have you (I mean "you" in a general sense, not singling you out, Michel) switched out in your home? Do you unplug appliances and electronic you're not using to eliminate that tiny amount of power they draw even when shut off? What kind of a vehicle do you drive? Or have you abandoned the car in favor of walking/biking? Have you put solar panels up on your roof to reduce your dependence on whatever coal-fired plants your electric company uses? Do you garden? - reducing the emissions from the trucks that transport your produce across the country while promoting additonal plant life that reduces even a tiny amount of CO2 from the air. Or are you driving a gas-guzzling SUV, leaving every light on throughout your house when you're not in a room, while complaining about the government not doing enough?

That's not to say critics of Trump's decision aren't doing anything on their own. I have no doubt a lot of people who care about the issue are making some kind of effort, but there's always more we can do as individuals. Just as the rest of the world suggests we, the US, should lead on this issue, it is up to our own citizens to set the example for the government. I believe California has announced it's going to continue with its standards, and we have cities across America vowing to push their own standards.

But to direct this next point inward, if this agreement was so important to Obama and the Democrats, then it should have been sent to Congress for approval. The whole argument over Republican obstructionism is nonsense, because if it was so important, he should have fought for it instead of taking the easy way out, signing an executive order, and leaving it open for Trump to cancel it. From Article 2, Section 2 of the US Constitution: He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur. The Constitution doesn't make exemptions because something might be hard or the other side might not agree with the President.

message 8: by Krazykiwi (new)

Krazykiwi | 193 comments I don't understand how this decision will help "the American worker" and fix the coal industry.

Coal is labour intensive and time consuming to produce, ship and use, and the global coal industry was failing (and continues to fail) long before the Paris accords. There is pretty much nothing that will save the US Coal industry in the long term, as far as I can see.

Global corporations would prefer consistency and if they're reducing emissions in some countries (because they have to) it's just as easy for them to implement the same controls everywhere - lots of big companies have made public commitments to continue trying to reduce their carbon footprint at the very least. Consumer demand also pressures these kind of companies into "doing the right thing". So for a lot of those companies, the changes were either already in place or in the works, and it'd just cost to much for too little gain to change direction again now. No change there for American workers.

Many parts of the US are anyway going to continue with their own efforts to improve emissions, with or without the US being in the Paris Accords. Won't make much difference in those places, and they include many of the highest population areas. For instance, Pittsburgh (I'm not American, but in my head, that's an "industrial" city, yes?) recently committed to 100% renewable energy by 2035, and they're far from alone.

The Green fund payments, sure, US doesn't want to pay to a fund to help developing countries, but half that money was to come from the private sector - in actual impact on US taxes, not paying that will be minimal at best, and won't help American workers much, if at all.

And finally, the emissions targets were both voluntary and the US is already well ahead of them. They could have just said "We've done ours, we're just not going to spend any money in this direction during this administration, and we will be renegotiating the terms." and it would have pretty much had the exact same effect, and they still probably would have ended up in line with the projected targets, likely ahead of many other countries too.

And withdrawing can't even happen until ~2020, at which point being no longer party to the Accord, the US will then have no negotiating power whatsoever (power it does have, as a member, albeit somewhat limited.)

So basically, to me this is all grandstanding and will make very little difference to anyone during the term of this administration, but makes the US (or at least, the Trump administration) look like a renegade unwilling to think globally or with an eye to the future.

Nothing new there either, now that I think of it.

message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9725 comments It is true that individuals can "go green", but governments still have a role to play. In general, governments now fund most of the underpinning basic scientific research, and the fact is, we still do not know how to do enough to solve this problem world wide. Just cutting back fossil fuel emissions will not stop the problem of rising sea levels - it merely buys more time. The problem is there is a net warming now, and the gases in the atmosphere causing that will be around for a couple of centuries at least, still doing their net heating. Also, the US happens to do more scientific research than much of the rest of the world. The government can use its funding power to ensure attention is given to this problem. Issues like the Manhattan project or the Apollo program did not arise from the private sector.

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