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“The action, which came on the first day possible under the accord’s complex rules on withdrawal, begins a yearlong countdown to the United States exit and a concerted effort to preserve the Paris Agreement, under which nearly 200 nations have pledged to cut greenhouse emissions and to help poor countries cope with the worst effects of an already warming planet.”
How Bad is This?: The Paris Agreements is a non-binding structure to encourage international action on climate change. While many have argued that it doesn’t hold nations’ feet to the fire to accomplish enough emissions reductions, many experts agree that it is a necessary foreign policy framework that signals America’s commitment to abating the climate crisis.
Faulty Agrugment: The Trump Administration keeps claiming that the Paris Climate Agreement places an unfair economic burden on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers. Data shows time and again that this is not true. Not only are the two fastest-growing jobs in America in wind and solar but renewable energy could save $160 trillion in climate change costs by 2050.
“The Trump administration could have pursued a more radical means of withdrawal from the Paris agreement, but it is still going by the book — and in this case, that means Article 28 of the Paris agreement. That text specifies that after joining the agreement, a country can’t leave for three years, after which there is a one-year waiting period for the leave to be fully in effect.”
However, this formal step could be reversed by a future administration after 30 days.
Why This Matters: Experts have lamented that the commitments made under the Paris Climate Agreement were too modest and countries are failing to meet them anyway. Regardless, the agreement demonstrated to the rest of the world that the United States was serious about curbing climate change. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) was the mechanism by which the U.S. was to meet its commitment to the Paris Agreement, and while the Trump administration replaced with a far weaker policy, the original plan wasn’t going to significantly reshape the U.S. fuel mix. However, Trump’s moves to weaken climate policy underscore the urgency for the next president and Congress to enact comprehensive climate action.
A new, nationwide public opinion survey conducted by Yale from April 7–17 found that a record-tying 73% of Americans think global warming is happening and only 10% deny it, but most believe it is happening to others and not to them.
Why This Matters: The pollsters expected they would find that because the public is so concerned about the pandemic that they would not have the ability to maintain their concern about climate change — a theory that social scientists call the “finite pool of worry.” But that was not the case.
Cornell University’s Board of Trustees announced on Friday that the University will make no new investments in fossil fuels, and it is believed that they have been divesting of their previous investments for several years, though the details of their endowment are not public.
Why This Matters: The climate movement has been led by young people and one easy focus of their activism is the universities they attend.
When the coronavirus crisis first began, climate activists were hopeful that political leaders could manage the outbreak while simultaneously keeping their commitments to climate action. But the cost of the COVID-19 response on state budgets has been profound and there’s a fear that environmental programs will be cut as governors grapple with staggering budget shortfalls. […]
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