Editorial

Economy over climate

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/6/2019 11:52:33 AM IST

 What environmentalists have been planning for decades to save planet Earth was negated when US President Donald Trump formally announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the 195-member United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which signed the historic Paris climate agreement in December 2015. As one of the most important outcomes of international multilateral progress, the Paris Agreement showed the willingness of member countries to cooperate and clearly signalled the need for the low-carbon transformation of the international society. The global community has prepared for the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement after Donald Trump was elected as US president. However, Trump’s formal declaration of withdrawal still caused worldwide reaction. Trump’s predecessor Obama’s support and his cooperation with China were seen as major factors leading to the convention’s early success. As per records, in 2019, the top carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters were China(27.2 %), the United States(14.6 %), the European Union(9%), India(6.8 %), the Russian Federation(4.7 %), and Japan(3.3%). As can be seen both China and the US contributed around 41% of carbon dioxide emissions in the world. These data include CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, as well as cement manufacturing and gas flaring. The Paris climate deal signed in December 2015 at best, was a first step toward fixing the problem that has been in evidence for decades by melting ice sheets in the polar regions, rising seas and flooding of coastlines etc. Yet some of the consequences of an overheated planet might be avoided, or at least slowed, if the climate deal succeeds in reducing emissions. The withdrawal will leave America as the only country on Earth outside the accord, that does not agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep temperatures from rising to dangerous levels. Formal notice of the U.S. withdrawal comes just as global emissions keep rising, climate ambitions keep falling short, and climate scientists warn of increasingly dire consequences including drought, extreme weather, and rising sea levels. As per Article 28 of the Paris Agreement, the earliest possible effective withdrawal date by the United States cannot be before November 4, 2020, four years after the Agreement came into effect in the United States and one day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The long-term goals and international cooperation on climate change will be affected by budget cuts in American climate change research and the cancelation of donations from the multilateral environmental fund of the U.S. The US withdrawal stems largely from Trump’s 2016 election pledge to withdraw from the UNFCCC as part of his promise to ‘make America great again’. That means, the US will continue to take unilateral decisions not in consonance with the climate change agreement in order to pursue its economic interests. In line with policies for reducing fossil fuel emissions, countries like Germany which adhere to the emission standards would be hit by the US withdrawal. German autos will be costlier on account of fuel emission standards while those of the US will be cheaper. A UN report warns that if greenhouse emissions are not brought under control within the next 25 years, 310 million more people will suffer adverse consequences related to temperature increases, 20 million more people will fall into poverty and 75 million extra people will be displaced by climate change and would become environmental refugees.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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