Why Leaving the Paris Agreement Is a Bad Deal: Debunking All Arguments Against It
By: Jalen Nash
In 2015, one hundred and ninety-six countries committed themselves to a worldwide agreement to help curb the effects of climate change caused by global warming. The goals were simple: to hold the increase in global temperature to below 2° Celsius, to safely lower greenhouse gas emissions and to protect the environment from the harmful effects of global warming. It made history as the first worldwide climate change agreement.
This deal was non-binding allowing for voluntarily determined goals. As the global leader in carbon emissions, the United States played a particularly large role in this agreement, agreeing to cut our greenhouse emissions by about twenty-six percent in the next decade, and to provide three billion dollars to aid struggling nations throughout the world. United States support in this agreement helped to legitimize the issue of climate change both on a global and national level.
With a new administration focused on a campaign promise to restore American jobs, with little emphasis towards protecting the environment, recently, President Donald Trump decided to pull the US out of this agreement.
This decision was justified in a few ways. Some argued that the deal hurt our labor industries and took away jobs from Americans. Others justified the action by saying that we’re simply spending too much money that we don’t have. Many reasoned that a two-degree change in global temperature wasn’t worth the $3 billion we had to contribute. Finally, some argued on the grounds that “(climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese)”.
Based on these arguments, we have developed a comprehensive list of rebuttals to each of these claims.
TAKING AWAY JOBS
Popular rhetoric in support of Trump’s move stated that the Paris agreement was taking away thousands of jobs from our coal and oil industries, thus hurting everyday Americans. This attack is somewhat true, but misleading. Coal and oil jobs are on the decline… however, this is mostly due to tremendous advances in technology. In the last decade, there has been a major movement away from natural gas and mineral power and towards solar and nuclear power. That said, while jobs in coal and oil have decreased, jobs in developing solar panels and similar sources of renewable energy have increased tremendously throughout the last decade. Leaving the Paris agreement will not bring these industrial jobs back. It will instead slow down progress towards growth in renewable energy resources and ultimately take away more potential jobs than staying in the deal.
TOO MUCH MONEY
$3 billion is a lot of money… but look at what we’re spending on everything else. For our executive departments (i.e. EPA, Department of Education, Department of Sanitation, Department of Transportation) we spend $582 billion a year. For our military, we spend another $582 billion. With a combined cost of almost $1.2 trillion, these two major services make up about 30% of our annual spending. That said, spending $3 billion to protect our planet would not, in any way, critically harm our economy or take away from the everyday lives of Americans.
TWO DEGREES MAKES NO DIFFERENCE
Despite arguments to the contrary, two degrees is a big deal. Two degrees Celsius is equal to about 3.1 degrees Fahrenheit. At thirty-three degrees, water is a liquid, at thirty it is ice. This difference applies to more than just snow days, ice cubes and icy roads. Entire continents and nations could be put in serious danger if the climate raises by just two degrees. Not only these places will be effected, the residual effects of the temperature rising to this point could be catastrophic. Sea levels would rise, ecosystems will be destroyed and the spread of disease can become more prevalent throughout the world. This increases the chances of worldwide crises, from flooding, to drought, to sickness. Climate change will also disproportionately affect poorer nations, which is why the United States agreed to provide aid to them in the first place. With many problems already unresolved in poorer countries, effects of climate change can only serve to exacerbate the already hard-to-fix problems.
IT’S A HOAX
95% of scientists, both national and international, agree that climate change poses a legitimate threat to the safety of both the environment and the people living in it. Despite loads of scientific evidence, many people still insist that climate change either doesn’t exist, or is a natural process of the earth. At the end of the day, the debate over climate change is a debate of fact versus fiction. It is a fact that the world is warming up, in large part due to manmade causes. Anyone who disagrees with this is simply wrong.
Ultimately, leaving the Paris Agreement was a bad deal for both America and all other countries of the world. As a country heralded the “leader of the free world”, our lack of urgency in addressing climate change sets a precedent for other nations to do the same. It is a scientifically proven fact that the climate is progressively getting warmer. It is also a fact that a warmer global climate can have devastating consequences for us all. We are in a race against time to save our planet. By leaving this agreement, the United States has made the clock tick even faster. Fortunately, the Paris Agreement takes four years to completely back out of - completing raising the stakes for the 2020 Election,