Trump Policies Hamper U.S. Ability to Meet Paris Climate Goals

By Yessenia Funes Mar 21, 2017

The current policy direction of the Trump administration will make it difficult for the United States to meet its commitment under the Paris climate agreement, according to InsideClimate News.

The accord came about out of the annual Conference of the Parties, which had gone on for 22 years before the agreement was solidified. It exists to put the planet in a trajectory that would avoid any further catastrophe as a result of climate change. When former President Barack Obama signed the accord back in September 2016, he pledged to reduce greenhouse gases by 26 to 28 percent below its 2005 levels by 2025. That’s equals 1.7 billion metric tons.

The former administration had succeeded in reducing emissions by a third due to a dwindling coal industry, energy efficiency and regulations. The rest would decrease with help from the Clean Power Plan and other Obama-era climate regulations, including methane regulation. Even with all these items, the U.S. would be short 17 percent of its emissions reduction target, InsideClimate News found.

President Donald Trump has been repealing many of the key climate legislations created under Obama. If he continues, the country’s emissions will stop reducing, as reported by environmental lawyer David Bookbinder in an analysis he published last month with the Climate Leadership Council. The U.S. would actually be 1 billion metric tons short of reaching the goal Obama originally set forth.

"There were people at the [EPA] hard at work on 2.0 [of climate policy], and they were going to ratchet it up, and it was going to be justified by Paris. It all would have worked, except for that whole election thing," Bookbinder told InsideClimate News. "Now, it’s all over…We’re at square zero."

The United States is one of 136 parties that has ratified the agreement. While the president hasn’t taken direct steps to leave the agreement, his proposed budget did lay out a plan to discontinue “international climate change programs.” Reuters reported on March 15 that the president was reaching out to U.S. energy companies for input on the international agreement.

Leaving the accord would prove unprofitable though, according to a report produced by the International Renewable Energy Arena Monday (March 20). The report lists $19 trillion of profit if the global economy invests in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

(H/t InsideClimate News