November 11, 2019

Trump Administration Withdraws From Paris Climate Deal—What Does It Mean?

Last week, the Trump administration formally notified the United Nations that the United States will remove itself from the Paris climate change accord. President Donald Trump pledged in 2017 to withdraw from the agreement. The president’s decision means the United States is not required to reduce the nation’s greenhouse emissions 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025.

The withdrawal will take effect in one year, on November 4, 2020, just one day after the 2020 presidential election. As Scientific American explained, the decision easily could be reversed if President Trump loses the election. It would only take a single letter and a 30-day waiting period to re-enter the agreement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “President Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement because of the unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers by U.S. pledges made under the agreement.”

MSCI has argued international climate change agreements must not put the United States and Canada at a competitive disadvantage, and that countries like China and India must be bound by the same requirements developed countries are. Former President Barack Obama signed onto the agreement in 2015, and it took effect in the United States and 89 other countries Nov. 4, 2016. Today, the agreement has 187 members, including China, Indian, North Korea, Russia, and Syria.

The president’s announcement came the same week that at least one business trade association changed its stance on the Paris accord. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce came out in support of the pact last week. On its website, the USCC now says the agreement “established a comprehensive framework for international action.” The USCC argues there must be “greater collaboration between governments and businesses … to build the best models to tackle climate challenges.” The USCC also noted the organization is an official United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) observer and, as such “will continue to work with its overseas business partners to pursue a formal channel to push for greater business input to the UNFCCC.”