Trump stated that “The Paris accord will undermine (the U.S.) economy,” and “puts (the U.S.) at a permanent disadvantage.” During the presidential campaign, Trump had pledged to withdraw from the pact, saying a withdrawal would help American businesses and workers. Trump stated that the withdrawal would be in accordance with his America First policy.
In accordance with Article 28 of the Paris Agreement, the earliest possible effective withdrawal date by the United States cannot be before November 4, 2020, four years after the Agreement came into effect in the United States and one day after the U.S. Presidential Election.
The White House later clarified that the U.S. will abide by the four-year exit process. Until the withdrawal takes effect, the United States may be obligated to maintain its commitments under the Agreement, such as the requirement to continue reporting its emissions to the United Nations.
Studies in NATURE have said that as of 2017, none of the major industrialized nations were implementing the policies they had envisioned and have not met their pledged emission reduction targets, and even if they had, the sum of all member pledges (as of 2016) would not keep global temperature rise “well below 2 °C”. According to UNEP the emission cut targets in November 2016 will result in temperature rise by 3 °C above preindustrial levels, far above the 2 °C of the Paris climate agreement.
A 2018 published study points at a threshold at which temperatures could rise to 4 or 5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial levels, through self-reinforcing feedbacks in the climate system, suggesting this threshold is below the 2 degree temperature target, agreed upon by the Paris climate deal. Study author Katherine Richardson stresses, “We note that the Earth has never in its history had a quasi-stable state that is around 2C warmer than the preindustrial and suggest that there is substantial risk that the system, itself, will ‘want’ to continue warming because of all of these other processes – even if we stop emissions. This implies not only reducing emissions but much more.”
At the same time, another 2018 published study notes that even at a 1.5C level of warming, important increases in the occurrence of high river flows would be expected in India, South and Southeast Asia. Yet, the same study points out that under a 2.0C of warming various areas in South America, central Africa, western Europe, and the Mississippi area in the United States would see more high flows; thus increasing flood risks.
James Hansen, a former NASA scientist and a climate change expert, voiced anger that most of the agreement consists of “promises” or aims and not firm commitments. He called the Paris talks a fraud with ‘no action, just promises’…