The decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is a symbolic setback for the global effort to combat climate change and may have little impact on commitments already made from the US private sector, said the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The EIU’s Lead Analyst, Energy Peter Kiernan said on the US’ potential departure of the Paris Agreement: The departure is a symbolic setback given that the US is the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind only China.
“However, even if the Trump administration decided to stay in the Paris agreement the US commitment to the modest policy targets pledged by President Obama would have been been severely weakened anyway.
“A presidential Executive Order in late March, which put the Clean Power Plan under review and reversed other Obama-era climate policies, demonstrated that President Trump always had the intent to weaken Obama’s climate policy agenda,” he said.
He said that given that this is the case the US exit from Paris simply formalises this new reality, and a decision to remain in the agreement would have involved a significantly watered down American commitment to its goals.
Kiernan went on to say that a global climate agreement that involved countries making voluntary commitments to tackle emissions has been abandoned by the new US administration.
But rather than this announcement setting off a chain reaction of policy reversals elsewhere, the US at the national level is more likely to be left behind as other players, such as in Europe and China, demonstrate greater commitment to deploying low carbon technology solutions.
“The Trump administration’s exit from Paris may also have little impact on commitments already made from the US private sector, and from state and local governments, to de-carbonise.
“Indeed the direction of travel regarding the tackling of climate change has been determined, with the only uncertainty going forward being the pace of it.
“As a result the US abandonment of the Paris Agreement may slow down this process globally, but will not reverse it,” he said.