Opinion Author: Sakib Imtiaz Comments

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced that the US is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Trump claimed the agreement would cost the US $3 trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million jobs - while rival economies like China and India were treated more favorably.

The Paris agreement was intended to bind the world community into battling rising global temperatures. Stopping climate change is only possible when the global community will work together. Mr. Trump said during last year's presidential election campaign that he would take the step to help his country's oil and coal industries.

Michael Brune, chief executive of the Sierra Club, said, “Trump has abandoned the standard of American leadership, turned his back on what the public and the market demand, and shamelessly disregarded the safety of our families just to let the fossil fuel industry eke out a few more dollars in profits.” (The Telegraph, June 02, 2017)

Christophe Mc Glade & Paul Ekins published an article in Nature, which suggests that, globally, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80 per cent of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of 2 °C. Development of resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil production are incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 °C. Results show that policy makers’ instincts to exploit rapidly and completely their territorial fossil fuels are, in aggregate, inconsistent with their commitments to this temperature limit. (McGlade & Ekins, 2015).

The Paris agreement commits the US and 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. For reaching this target, it definitely needs a significant paradigm shift from the fossil fuel to renewable energy. The few attempts are seen at reducing carbon emissions have been driven more by policy and regulations than action. Instead of taking action, the fossil fuel industry has invested huge amount of money to appoint lobbyists. Thus, the Fossil fuel industry has already emerged as big threat for 1.5°C target. The  business  lobby  has  also  proven  that  it  can  rapidly  change  strategies. Previously, corporate  lobbyists  were supporting climate denial concept and trying  to  convince UNFCCC  delegates  that  the  fossil  fuels production should continue  on  without any barriers. When the declaration of IPCC were largely accepted by the international community, these same business lobbyists shifted strategies by partnering with the UN and started acting as a part of the problem solving team. Now, this industry has big influence on national and international policy. In addition to this, departure of the world’s second-largest polluter from Paris climate deal is a major shock for the global community.

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