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Trump’s America Cannot Escape From World Ecological Setback – OpEd


There was much excitement and euphoria around the world when the draft agreement was signed in Paris climate conference in December 2015, when the countries agreed to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degree celsius , while pursuing efforts to keep temperature rise to 1.5 degree celsius. This was followed by another event on 22nd April, 2016 when 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement at a ceremony in New York

Counter productive decision of President Trump

Former US President Obama enthusiastically supported the decisions of the climate conference and pledged US support. Of course, at that time, the Republican Party in USA and Donald Trump criticized the decisions and threatened that Republican Party would not honour the commitment made by Obama administration , if it would be voted to power in the Presidential poll.

However, nobody in the world thought that the successor for Barrack Obama would go to the extent of dishonouring the commitment made by US government. To the utter dismay of the world community, Republican President Trump has now thought it fit to carry out the threat to withdraw US support from the Paris agreement.

It is shocking that President Trump has taken this decision on such serious matter without a second thought. Obviously, he has not cared to think about the adverse implications to the world at large because of his counter productive decision.

Alarming trend and need for urgency

There is alarming situation due to increase of global warming in recent years. Is President Trump and his administration not aware of this?

Between 1880 and 2010, the mean temperature in the world increased by one degree celsius and between 2010 and 2015, it was reported to have increased further by 0.15 degree celsius

United Nations Weather Agency has reported that extraordinary temperatures are “said to become the new norm”.

Going by current trends in global warming, the earth would have become warmer in 2018 by 0.1 degree celsius compared to 2015 level, moving closer to 1.5 degree celsius warming level.

The world realizes that there is little time to act and very urgent steps are required to address the climate change issues but is President Trump not concerned about this at all ?

Different perspectives on Paris climate declaration

While extraordinary efforts were put forth to discuss the issue in Paris climate conference among the world governments and some unanimous decisions were taken , some quarters thought that the conference agreed on the need to aggressively address the climate change issues but failed to detail with clarity as to how it would be done.

Further, it was thought that aggregate pledges to reduce greenhouse emissions made by the nation states of the world fell far short of what is needed to begin to address the looming catastrophic climate change. Another criticism was that Paris Agreement failed to acknowledge the need to decarbonize the world economy and made no reference to fossil fuels such as crude oil, coal in the agreement.

What the critics wanted was more efforts and not less as President Trump seems to think.

Inappropriate decision of President Trump

While many countries have signed the agreement , the ground reality is that the interest and responsibilities between the countries diverge widely, ranging from the strong industrial economies of the global north such as USA, Canada and others to industrializing nations such as China and India to the most vulnerable nations already facing climate change disruptions, such as Kiribati, Tuvalu ad Vanuatu.

President Trump seems to think that China and India pose high level of threat to the global climate, as they use fossil fuels in a big way and are rapidly expanding the industries. However, the contribution of countries like India to global warming is much less than the countries like USA, as the level of industrialization of USA and other industrialised countries are much more than countries like India.

President Trump is ignoring this fact and ground reality that USA also has to contribute substantially to reduce the global warming by initiating positive actions on it’s soil and cooperating with other countries. It is shocking that President Trump is distancing himself from the mainstream and scientific views on threat of global warming and consequent ecological damage all over the world.

The global warming impact will be total and would affect the entire world community. Trump’s America cannot escape from this grim scenario.

If President Trump thinks that the decisions of the Paris climate conference need changes he should discuss in the world forum and seek corrective measures instead of running away. But, his decision to unilaterally withdraw is nothing but short sighted approach and amount to lack of responsibility to the needs of the world.

The World cannot afford to ignore the negative decision of President Trump, as America is also a polluter and contribute to the global warming.

One only hopes that the wisdom would prevail and the world opinion would assert itself to force President Trump to retract from his disastrous decision.

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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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