DONALD TRUMP SECOND US PRESIDENT TO WITHDRAW FROM A GLOBAL CLIMATE DEAL

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

As it was widely expected, US President Donald Trump has pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, a global climate pact to deal with emission of greenhouse gases under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 195 countries signed the agreement document in December 2015 and 147 countries have ratified it so far and the agreement came into effect on November 4, 2016, days before the US presidential election on November 8, 2016.

US withdrawing from it is certainly a bad news as the country is the second largest emitter of the greenhouse gases. China, the European Union and the US account for more than half of the glbal greenhouse gas emissions, an analysis from the World Resources Institute says. And the US exit is bound to affect the norms and goals of the Paris accord even if other larger emitters including India, Russia, European Union and China has reiterated their commitment.

Trump has been a vocal critic of the Paris climate deal and he had promised to cancel the deal if he became the US President. Trump and his associates would refer to the Paris deal “a bad idea” that would be detrimental for the US economy and therefore for the US jobs. During the recently held G7 Summit in Sicily, Trump behaved on the issue like he was acting unilaterally. While six G7 members, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Japan and Canada reiterated their commitment for the 2015 Paris climate deal, Trump remained non-committal saying he needed more time to think over it.

During his recent visit to European countries and to the Vatican, European leaders and Pope Francis urged him stay with the climate pact. During the G7 Summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was blunt in her criticism over Trump’s stand saying the developments say the US will not stay with the climate deal. But his final decision says he had already made up his mind.

It is the second occasion when the United States has walked out of a global climate deal after endorsing it and on both occasions, it was a decision by a Democrat president that was overturned by his Republican successor.

In 2001, then US President George W Bush, a Republican, had withdrawn from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, that was accepted by his Democrat predecessor Bill Clinton. The agreement document was signed by former US vice-president Al Gore but could not be ratified by the US Senate. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was also aimed at reducing emission of greenhouse gases that are chiefly responsible for global warming. Like Trump says about the Paris Accord, Bush would say the same about the Kyoto Protocol that it “would have wrecked the US economy”.

This time also, it is a Republican president who has overturned a decision by his Democrat predecessor Barack Obama. The Republican controlled US Senate would never ratify the deal and therefore the agreement document signed by Barack Obama is considered an executive agreement as a traditional international treaty would require ratification by the US Senate, media reports in the US said. Under the Obama curated deal, the US had agreed to cut its 2005 emission levels by 26 to 28 per cent by 2025. Since the Paris Agreement was not ratified by the US Senate, its many provisions were not binding on the US. And since it is an “executive agreement”, Trump is well within his authority to withdraw from it.

©SantoshChaubey

COP21 AGREEMENT: IT IS GOOD THAT IT IS FLAWED.

It is good that it is flawed.

That sums the essence of why the Paris climate accord is an achievement – after 23 years of bickering, dissents, disagreements, debates on terms like ‘carbon budget, climate justice, differentiation between developed and developing countries, carbon credit, transparency, accountability, historical emissions, emission targets’ and so on – the world has, at least, agreed to a common paper to map the further roadmap.

The world, with all its participating countries in such events, that include almost the whole planet – right from the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro – has, so far, consistently failed to reach at this elusive common draft that the 195 participating countries could reach at in Paris.

Why they had failed so far?

Because there were very few global polluters and the most were the silent victims.

Because the victim lot was rightly demanding to be compensated for the legacy of historical loss (historical emission) they had been burdened with.

Because the polluters were not ready for it in unequivocal, transparent terms.

Because, over the years, the polluters, too, in turn, had become victims of their continued exploitation of nature.

Because, developing clean technologies to keep fossil fuels away was too costly and a privilege of the rich nations.

Because, the developing block of the countries was putting forward the logic that why they should pay for the deeds of the rich, industrialized world at the cost of impeding their growth that was going to be heavily dependent on energy supplied by fossil fuels.

Even if both blocks were now equivalent in facing the wrath of nature – global warming, glaciers melting, rising sea levels, irregular rainfall patterns and floods, recurring drought spells and other unpredictable weather parameters and so on.

Because, if the low lying coastal areas and cities have to submerge (rising sea levels with increasing temperature due to global warming), it will be across the world and not just in America, Europe, China or other industrialized nations.

Because, if the world is increasingly facing erratic weather behaviour and freakish weather patterns and problems thereof, it is not just in India, but it is across the world – in Gulf countries, in America, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa and elsewhere.

The global agreement (Framework Convention on Climate Change – Adoption of the Paris Agreement) that the world reached at in Paris cannot be a perfect document because it has tried to take in concerns of as much groups as possible – and it is good for this reason.

An agreement that accommodates concerns of 195 nations or so, divided in multiple blocks, is bound to have some ‘flaws or imperfections’ for every block on the go – and the world leaders have accepted it while lauding the development. Here, everyone has something to question for, but everyone is attached to this ‘legally binding agreement’ by a common goal for a larger good that affects everyone.

The world community has honestly accepted it – after an honest effort this time with a ‘do or die’ proposition – after 23 years of the Earth Summit – giving us the first document that will be legally binding on every nation – and that is the best thing about COP21 or Paris Climate Summit.

We need to rush to save out habitations and our habitats and this ‘flawed agreement’ reached at in Paris may well be that elusive perfect beginning that we all need.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

COP21: IRRESPECTIVE OF CLIMATE DEBATES..

Yesterday, while inaugurating the India Pavilion at COP21, Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, said – ‘India is not responsible for climate change and the crisis due to it the world is facing’ – and he said it quite right.

The only thing is – saying so would not serve any purpose – because whatever be the reasons, whosoever be the culprits – the crisis cannot be restricted within borders – and is affecting the whole planet – and can cause irreparable damage to human habitations across the globe (including India) if something is not done seriously and urgently.

It is like the basic concept of building democratic nations and running civilized societies – build tomorrow based on what is there today and not on ‘what, why and how’ of past.

It is like the raging ‘tolerance Vs intolerance’ debate in India – a misplaced issue in an India that is poised to become a country of global stature with an elite presence in geopolitics and world affairs.

Who exploited whom, who grew at the cost of whom, who got this and who didn’t get that – a nation cannot grow if it keeps going back to such baggage from its past. India’s reality and India’s strength lie in India’s pluralistic society and diversified culture and if the country has to grow to become a true world power, it needs to keep that in mind.

The same concept applies to the issue of climate crisis the world is facing.

It doesn’t matter if most of it is due to the United States of America.

It doesn’t make any difference that the developed world and China have brought the whole planet on the verge of desperate ‘do or die’ measures to arrest global warming and climate change.

Because, if the low lying coastal areas and cities have to submerge (rising sea levels with increasing temperature due to global warming), it will be across the world and not just in America, Europe, China or other industrialized nations.

Because, if the world is increasingly facing erratic weather behaviour and freakish weather patterns and problems thereof, it is not just in India, but it is across the world – in Gulf countries, in America, in Europe, in Asia, in Africa and elsewhere.

Irrespective of the answerability of the so-called culprits of climate deterioration or irrespective of the debates around terms like ‘climate injustice’, the whole humanity faces imminent danger of changing weather patterns.

Irrespective of which countries brought the planet to this juncture of global warming, glaciers melting, rising sea levels, irregular rainfall patterns and floods, recurring drought spells and other unpredictable weather parameters, every country of the day is going to face nature’s wrath or is facing nature’s fury.

And we are running short of time to address the problem.

Let’s see if anything tangible comes out of COP21.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/