During a joint press conferencewith Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg on 10 January 2018, PresidentTrump said “We could conceivably go back in” regarding the Paris Agreement onclimate change. President Trump has receivedmuch criticism both at home and abroad for deciding to withdraw from the ParisAgreement, and his actions have affected both the image and influence of theUnited States in Europe. One of the maincritics of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris ClimateAgreement is French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been vocal about hisdisapproval of President Trump’s governance (such as his tweeting) on multipleoccasions.
It is imperative for theUnited States to maintain a good relationship with France, as numerousdisagreements with France could have negative repercussions on our presence andinfluence in Europe. Re-entering theParis Agreement will improve US relations with France and the European Union,and strengthen the American government’s image at home and abroad. In addition, investing in climate-friendlyindustries such as renewable energy will positively impact our economy in manyways. Recommendation: That theUS use the momentum from the joint press conference with Prime Minister Solbergto re-enter the Paris Agreement on climate change Background: Because ofour shared values and similar political, economic and security policies,relations with France have been generally active and friendly since thefounding of our nations. Indeed, theFrench provided the US with assistance during American Revolutionary War, andFrance was the first country to recognize the United States of America as anindependent nation in 1778.
Re-entering the Paris Agreementcould lead to better cooperation between the US and France. Both countries are among the founders of powerfuland influential international organizations such as the United Nations, NATO,the G-8, the G-20, and the World Trade Organization. But nowadays when negotiating with France, weare actually negotiating with the European Union. Therefore, hindering the United States’relationship with France could directly impact our relationship with the restof the European Union. There could bemany consequences, from trade restrictions to a decrease in American influencein Europe. For the sake of the USeconomy and the American government’s influence and image abroad, it isimportant to maintain a good relationship with France (and the EU).
Re-entering the Paris Agreement will have apositive effect on our relationship with Europe and strengthen the image of theUS abroad. The US is already experiencing the consequences of withdrawing from theParis Agreement; by not being included in important global events andcoalitions, the US is being set aside from other influential world leaders. On 12 December 2017, exactly two years afterthe Paris Agreement, President Macron hosted the One Planet Summit in Paris todiscuss new solutions to climate change, with an emphasis on the finance sector.
The Summit was co-organized with the help of thePresident of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, and the Secretary-General ofthe United Nations, António Guterres; participants included many world leaders,as well as very influential public and private organizations andcorporations. The event resulted in the12 International Commitments, which include actions for “stepping up forfinance adaptation and resilience to climate change”, “accelerating thetransition towards a decarbonized economy”, and “anchoring climate issues atthe center of the decisions of finance and its actors”. President Macron did not invite President Trump to join the One PlanetSummit, a direct consequence of the United States’ decision to withdraw fromthe Paris Agreement last summer.
Inan interview with CBS News on 11 December 2017, French President Macrondiscussed President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris ClimateAgreement: “The U.S. did sign the Paris Agreement. It’s extremely aggressive todecide on its own just to leave, and no way to push the others to renegotiatebecause one decided to leave the floor.
I’m sorry to say that. It doesn’t fly.” Additional Points: TheParis Agreement is not strictly binding; re-entering it can only be beneficialto the US. It will not only be verypositive for US leadership, but also strengthen image of the US at home and abroad,boost the economy with more and better paid jobs, and help counter terrorism andthe refugee crisis. Following the US decision towithdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement this past summer, Erik Solheim,the UN Environment head, released a statement emphasizing the responsibilitiesdeveloped countries have in committing to climate action and the benefitsparticipating countries can reap from these actions: “Climate actionis not a burden, but an unprecedented opportunity. A shift to renewable energycreates more jobs, better paid jobs and better quality jobs. Decreasing ourdependence on fossil fuels will build more inclusive and robust economies.
Itwill save millions of lives and slash the huge healthcare cost of pollution.… Committing to climate action means helping countries like Iraq and Somaliaon the front line of extremism and terrorism. It means helping coastalcommunities from Louisiana to the Solomon Islands. It means protecting foodsecurity and building stability to avoid adding yet more refugees to what isalready an unprecedented global humanitarian crisis.
” The G-20 economies areresponsible for the largest share of greenhouse gas emission, in particularBrazil, China, the EU, and the United States, which were responsible for about50% of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 (den Elzen et al., 2016). Refusing to re-enter the Paris Agreement whenthe US is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gas is being perceived asselfish and irresponsible by other world leaders (notably President Macron),who could become less inclined to doing business with a country who is notcontributing their share of the burden.
A study by Carraro and Davide(2017) on the effects of climate policies on the economy in the EU argues that “theworries about costs induced by climate regulation are usually overestimated.” Theirfindings prove that the impact of EU climate policy on households (whetherlow-income or not) are minimal, and welfare losses and GDP costs are alsolimited. Indeed, Rogelj et al. (2016)found that “measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have multiplesocio-economic benefits.
” Economically, investing in new green industries makes more sense thanreopening coal mines, and it isless risky than contaminating aquifers with fracking byproducts, let alone (re)openingArctic Refuge and offshore areas to oil and gas drilling (see August 2017 Memoon the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge). Finally, as opposed to common belief thatcommitting to the Paris Agreement will not effectively reduce global warming, denElzen et al (2016) found that “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (theParis Agreement national commitments) do lead to reductions compared toprojected current policies trends.” Many American companies andfinancial institutions have already publicly committed to continue supporting climate action to achieve theUS commitments under the Paris Agreement. Re-entering the Paris Agreement is a mere formality that will guaranteea better relationship with France and Europe, and improve the image of the USgovernment at home and abroad. Americacannot be first if we continue to beexcluded from essential global events.