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US backsliding will drag on global climate progress

Friday, June 16, 2017

Subject

The Paris Agreement and US withdrawal.

Significance

President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change on June 1, prompting criticism from around the world. While current pledges are unlikely to change and the agreement will not see flight or withdrawal by other countries, US withdrawal imperils the ability of the agreement’s structure to accelerate climate action to a scale necessary to meet its objective of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees centigrade by 2100.

Impacts

  • The US private sector and sub-national polities will increase their climate action, though the loss of federal support will still be felt.
  • A future US administration could re-enter the agreement, but substantial momentum will be lost diplomatically in the intervening years.
  • Calls for greater adaptation -- rather than mitigation -- funds from climate-vulnerable states will grow more strident.
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