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Leaving the Paris Agreement Is a Bad Deal for the United States

Added 05-19-19 07:34:02pm EST - “Trump's plan to quit the accord would provide serious cover for major emitters like China and India.” - Foreignpolicy.com


Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Foreignpolicy.com: “Leaving the Paris Agreement Is a Bad Deal for the United States”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

Shadow Government: Leaving the Paris Agreement Is a Bad Deal for the United States Leaving the Paris Agreement Is a ...

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation this month aimed at preventing President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2016 Paris climate accord and mandating that the United States develop a strategy to achieve the commitments it made under the agreement.

The Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to give it the green light—and Trump could begin withdrawal procedures in November and formally withdraw from Paris a day after the 2020 election. All indications suggest that this is his goal. In Trump’s June 2017 speech announcing his intent to leave the accord, he disparaged it, saying it “punishes” the United States while imposing “no meaningful obligations” on major polluters, such as China and India, that will take advantage of the United States’ supposed sacrifice. Ever since, many Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have backed him up by crying foul that other countries got a better deal.

Before the Paris agreement, the world had failed to reach a functional global agreement on climate change despite trying for decades. The reasons for this are complicated, but it essentially boils down to two issues. First, climate change presents a massive coordination problem. Every country has an economic incentive to underinvest in reducing emissions, which, like any investment, requires near-term expenditures for long-term gains—both domestic economic benefits such as reduced energy costs and improved air quality and global benefits from addressing climate change. Such free-riding countries hope that others will collectively do enough to contain global warming.

Second, even if all act together, countries disagree on which should cover more of the upfront investments to transition the world toward a more sustainable economy. That’s because developed countries are mostly responsible for global warming to date, but emerging economies will account for the majority of future emissions as they modernize. This is why the Paris agreement was designed to avoid placing onerous obligations on any country, including the United States, or to punish any country that signed on.


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