The Paris Agreement is the covenant within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Agreement was adopted to deal with the issue of greenhouse gas emission by ensuring that there are mitigation, adaption, and finance from the year 2020. The United States has renounced the treaty but it has not yet withdrawn from it. Zhang et al. (2017) opine that the resolution of the Donald Trump administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement weakens the basis of global climate control and letdowns the progression of climate cooperation. This means that the decision to withdraw from the agreement dents the universality of the Paris Agreement and damages the state's assurance in climate cooperation. This decision further causes a deficit of leaders to address the global issue and it is a bad example for international climate cooperation because other states would withdraw from the agreement. This paper addresses the US foreign policy regarding climate change and the future of the Paris Agreement
Reason to Initiate Changes
The foreign policies adopted by the United States government under president Trump is that of withdrawing from Paris Agreement and other related instruments that advocate for climate change. The decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement was announced by President Trump on June 2017. He further opined that the State would cease from making financial contributions and stop implementing the National Determined Contribution. According to Zhang, et al. (2017) the reason why the US is withdrawing from the Agreement is that President Trump seeks to renegotiate the Agreement and build his political reputation. The United State makes a contribution to climate change, therefore withdrawing from the Agreement means that the United States will save on foreign expenditure. If the Agreement is renegotiated as the United States wants it, the common but differentiated principle would be challenged again. The Agreement is seen as restricting the US while empowering other countries, therefore there was a need to re-enter the treaty to ensure there is fairness for the benefit of the United States. The claim that the United State is not fairly treated when it comes to the matter of climate change was also raised in 2001 by President Bush who averred that climate vindication was not in the best interest of the State, thereby declining to sign the infamous Kyoto Protocol. According to Rubenzer (2007), the reason for adopting the change is that Republicans backs the growth and use of fossil fuel energy since they are conservatives.
Since the United State policies influence the policies adopted by the other countries, it means that the State would get it to bargain to renegotiate the Agreement. According to Kemp (2017), the US climate change policy would influence global climate governance. The United States is the second highest country that emits the greenhouse gases, owing to its industries, therefore, full implementation of the Agreement would see the country lose revenues and its industrial activities curtailed. This, therefore, requires the country to rethink on the effectiveness of implementing the Agreement.
Alternative Policy Options
The verdict of the United States to pull out from the Paris Agreement was not for the best interest of the US and the entire world, that why the administration has intimated of renegotiating the agreement. Obama (2017) points out that His administration believed that the Paris Agreement was actually enhancing America's climate security, promoted America's low carbon economy and renewable energy industry. The proposition by Obama indicates that the decision to withdraw from the Agreement would have negative effects. Instead of withdrawing from the Agreement, it would be prudent for the government to reduce the amount of money it contributes towards the climate change initiative. It is also in place for the United State to support the agreement because the climate change affects all the people, therefore taking measures to reduce the amount of greenhouse emission would be in the best interest of the country.
The Trump administration thinks that the Agreement undermines the competitive age of the State and impairs its employment and industries. Liptak " Jones (2017) have pointed out that President Trump has personal acrimony against former president Obama, that why he is keen to destroy his legacy, including on climate change. This points out that the policy measures adopted by President Trump are not entirely for the benefit of the US, but to settle the score. It would be in line with the best interest of the United State to adopt the Agreement because it would promote the use of alternative source of energy, use of sustainable energy like wind and hydroelectric as well as nuclear power would be adopted instead of fossil fuels.
Pros and Cons of Alternative Policy Options
The adoption of alternative policy options would present a number of advantages and disadvantages to the country. When the United State sticks to the Agreement, it would still continue being sidelined and its economy would suffer. There would be an increase in unemployment as many industries would be forced to reduce their production. However, if the Agreement is renegotiated, the United State would grow its international relations that is currently declining due to its withdrawal from the agreement. The current and future generation would have a conducive environment to live in, where there is no acidic rain and global warming that is associated with greenhouse gas emission. Changing the policy to adopt the agreement would result in the adoption of other energy sources that do not emit carbon dioxide such as wind and nuclear. Companies would also reduce carbon dioxide emission because they would be liable for the amount of greenhouse gas emitted. On the other hand, renegotiating the agreement would offer an opportunity for the United States to negotiate terms that save and serve the people of the US. Concentrating on his administration would be an effective means of dealing with current issues affecting the United States instead of political fighting with Obama. This means that the policies developed should not be a political tool to oppress the others. Liaising and collaborating with other countries that emit greenhouse gases such as China would enhance the foreign relations and strengthen climate change campaign.
A decision to stick to the Agreement would see the United States incur an increased mitigation cost with a reduced carbon emission space. This means that the short terms benefit that would be reaped from the Agreement would be small since the country would incur additional mitigation cost. However, the benefit of such decision would be seen much later
The best alternative is for the United State to remain in the Paris Agreement. The renegotiation of the terms of the agreement would be beneficial to not only the Americans but to the entire globe. According to Dai, Zhang, " Wang (2017), the disappointment of the United States to uphold its NDC obligation to diverse degrees would increase the US Carbon emission space and decrease it mitigation cost. On the contrary, the carbon space of other parties such as China, EU, and Japan would decrease while their mitigation cost would increase. This indicates that the other parties are willing to incur additional mitigation cost in an endeavor to reduce carbon. Withdrawing from the treaty has received criticism from states, international organizations and leaders, they argue that the decision to withdraw is not the best way to deal with climate change. This indicates that the policies adopted have caused foreign relations to decorate. It would also help in improving the multilateral climate change resonance mechanisms because the US would not be a consumer but would be support dealer of replies to global climate control. The future of the Paris Agreement without the support of the United States would be rough because the States has been its major financier and is the second in emission of carbon gas, therefore its (U.S) support is crucial.
Summary and Conclusion
The discussion has pointed out that the decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement is not for the best interest of Americans. It is affecting the foreign relations of the country and has caused the country ridicule. The decision to renegotiate the agreement is welcome because it would allow the United State contribute in combating climate change. Considering the benefits of withdrawing from the agreement with the benefit that would accrue, it is worth concluding that the United States should renegotiate the Paris Agreement.
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Kemp, L Better out than in Nat. Clim. Change, 7 (2017), pp. 458-460
Liptak, K., and A. Jones. "With Latest Jabs, Trump–Obama Relationship Reaches Historic Nastiness." (2017).
Obama, Barack. "The irreversible momentum of clean energy." Science 355.6321 (2017): 126-129.
Rubenzer, Trevor. Today's Foreign Policy Issues: Democrats and Republicans. ABC-CLIO, 2017.
Zhang, Hai-Bin, et al. "US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement: Reasons, impacts, and China's response." Advances in Climate Change Research 8.4 (2017): 220-225.
Zhang, Yong-Xiang, et al. "The withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement and its impact on global climate change governance." Advances in Climate Change Research 8.4 (2017): 213-219.