The abrupt pulling out of the World’s first economy from the Paris Agreement is ridiculous.
It had all started as a sunny day of early summer (crazy how it comes earlier and earlier!) in the White House’s not-so-aptly-named Rose Garden. Another day in America. Then, an orange dude seized the microphone and with no further ado left one of the most ambitious World agreement since the creation of the UN in 1945 in San Francisco.
While the US are glued to the (under)ground of fossil fuel, major economic powers (cough*China*cough) are embracing this formidable transformative revolution.
What did the Paris agreement say?
Each country came up with their own targets, with in mind the red line (or should I say “cliff”?) of limiting global warming to +2°C. Simple enough. Each country could determine what it was willing and able to achieve, and there was no enforcement mechanism.
It also confirmed the financing of the Green Fund for climate of $100Bn/year as a lower limit starting in 2020. This was designed to strengthen the resilience of particularly vulnerable places like the low-lying archipelago countries of the Pacific.
Forest conservation and preservation were included as a central aspect of Carbon emission reduction. The extension of the REDD+ program, designed to monitor, measure and enforce preservation performance to some of the key countries was a huge step in the fight for reforestation. The Plan A 100,000 trees reforestation campaign plants in such countries as Brazil, Kenya or Madagascar, which are home to the most pristine jungles on the planet.
With the current national contributions, the 2°C bar will not be met. A system of target reevaluation was put in place to counter this caveat. Every five years, countries are to submit more ambitious national contributions refining and accelerating its ecotransition strategy.
What now for the planet?
The Paris agreement is still in effect. The US position, or that of any other country for that matter, doesn’t affect the commitment of the remaining 194 nations within the agreement. The probability of renegotiating new terms is very slim.
COP21 was a window of opportunity. It took such a long time to finally reach a worldwide consensus, signed by Russia, China, and virtually every other country out there. Even Israel and Palestine are on the same side on this! The planets were aligned, there was a moment.
The terms of the agreement state that Trump must wait until November 2019 to formally request to leave. Then starts a one-year observation period. This takes us to… the next US presidential elections in November 2020. That also means that this zigzagging administration, or the next president, can reverse this decision as soon as it comes into effect.
Congratulations, you have just made environment the probable biggest topic of the next vote! Decisions like these blow the coals of the environmentalist cause. No pun intended.
We will keep on swimming, with or against the tide. We are many and we are determined. And We will not let this planet down.
There is no Plan B for our planet. www.plana.earth