By Sarah Carlon
On Nov. 7, Syria signed the Paris Climate Agreement. This leaves the United States as the only country who will not be a part of the deal, if President Donald Trump follows through on his promise to continue to keep the U.S. out of the agreement.
The Paris Climate Agreement was introduced to recognize the threat that climate change poses and to try to mitigate its harmful effects. As described in Article II of the official agreement, the countries involved are expected to participate in “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below [36 degrees Fahrenheit] above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to [35 degrees Fahrenheit] above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change” as well as making an effort to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere.
President Trump has openly criticized the agreement, describing it as “draconian” and claiming it posed unfair environmental standards on American businesses as well as American workers. Although the administration has not given a clear answer on whether or not President Trump believes in manmade climate change, it is clear from past tweets, and his filling of his administration with climate change deniers, that he is not completely convinced that climate change is a real threat.
President Trump’s tweets commonly allude to his denial of climate change. “President Obama was terrible on @60Minutes tonight. He said CLIMATE CHANGE is the most important thing, not all of the current disasters!” He tweeted in 2015.
President Trump’s decision to pull out of the agreement sparked condemnation and criticism worldwide. Former President Barack Obama said in a statement, “The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created. I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack.”
Elon Musk, the CEO of technology company Tesla, resigned from his position on the White House business council in protest of Trump’s decision.
After Syria joined the agreement, Paula Caballero, Director of the climate change program at the World Resources Institute, told the New York Times, “The U.S.’s stark isolation should give Trump reason to reconsider his ill-advised announcement and join the rest of the world in tackling climate change.”