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Paris deal prospects

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  4 Jun 2017 12:00 AM GMT

As he had warned many a times on the campaign trail and thereafter in the White House, Dold Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris climate deal. This comes as no surprise from a Head of State who has been known to dub global climate change a ‘hoax’. But on Friday, President Trump marshalled his arguments around his ‘America First’ slogan, contending that the Paris deal is ‘unfair’, that it ‘punishes the US while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters’. On this point, he singled out Chi and India for criticism, saying: “...under the agreement, Chi will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years — 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.” Conveniently pointing fingers at Chi, India and Europe, Trump belongs to that section of American leaders who ignore the fact that the US has historically been the world’s largest polluter, and remains so in per capita terms. In gross quantity of carbon dioxide emitted, Chi is followed by US and India. But Trump’s approach to the issue is not much different from another US President George W Bush who in 2001 had junked the Kyoto climate protocol as harmful to the American way of life. tiolists in Republican Party have long been arguing that global climate deals like the Paris deal put Americans out of work and lay claims on American dollars. What President Trump’s tirade underlines once again is Washington’s propensity to blame other countries for global warming while refusing to take responsibility for its own major role in the greenhouse gas mess. In this respect, Trump is hardly the maverick; rather, he is reiterating the stand of a section of US establishment.

It is true that Trump’s predecessor Barrack Obama was a prime mover of the Paris deal that came into force on 4 November, 2016, adopted by 195 countries to replace the largely ineffective Kyoto protocol. The agreement was to keep the worldwide rise in temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times, while ‘to pursue efforts’ to hold the increase under 1.5 degrees Celsius. In the protracted negotiations leading up to the deal, it was agreed that developing countries would be given some time to switch over to cleaner altertive fuels. Since this ‘low-carbon economy’ would require appropriate technology, the developing countries argued why they should be forced to forego the route countries like the US took to development, why should their populations be deprived of rapid development, and why should they be made to shell out money for technology so that developed polluters can now breathe easier. Filly, the Paris deal came through after the developed bloc agreed to provide funds to the tune of 100 billion dollars every year to developing countries by 2020, and raise the fincing to this Green Climate Fund further from 2025. While Obama and other Democratic Party leaders took the stand that the US needs to take a leading role to shoulder responsibility, the pendulum swung the other way after the Republican Party took control of both Houses of US parliament. The Trump administration’s stand now has reverted to the pressure Washington in earlier decades used to apply on developing countries — that they should contribute to a planetary cleanup fund. In particular, Trump has taken strong issue with the Paris deal for allowing ‘Chi and India to build hundreds of additiol coal plants, while the US will have to ‘get rid of its coal plants’. This is in line with the promise Trump had made to the American coal miner lobby that he will do everything to keep their mines and coal-fired power plants open. This stand flies in the face of American energy experts suggesting that the US should position itself as the prime developer of clean power technology, even as its economy has begun moving away from coal. While the US will still require some four years to exit from the Paris deal as per its terms, it is heartening that Chi, India and European Union countries have renewed their commitment to the deal. Funds will be a major problem in the coming days, but opportunities are opening up to move towards a low-carbon economy, like India taking the lead in Intertiol Solar Alliance. What is more, India and other developing countries will no longer have to bow to Washington’s admonitions to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions just because the US cannot (now will not) do so. As the US goes it alone, other major tions can go green more according to their actual situations.

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