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What Exactly IS the Paris Climate Deal? Is the U.S. Right to Withdraw?

06-01-2017
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President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he will pull the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.

The 2015 accord currently includes nearly 200 nations agreeing to voluntarily cut back on greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change. 

Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide produced from the burning of fossil fuels. Climate scientists have blamed global warming on man-made climate emissions.

Under the agreement, the United States pledged to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2025 by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels, according to Fox News. That's cutting back on annual emissions by about 1.6 billion tons.

China is the world's largest emitter of carbon, followed by the United States.

At a news conference Thursday in Berlin, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called battling global warming a "global consensus" and an "international responsibility." 

"China in recent years has stayed true to its commitment," Li also said.

On Wednesday, the United Nations tweeted a quote from Secretary General Antonio Guterres, "Climate change is undeniable; Climate action is unstoppable; Climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable."

The president met this week with Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Fox News reported. Both Trump and Pruitt have been skeptical of climate scientists who advocate that humans are responsible for global warming.

Both have also have taken steps to delay or roll back federal regulations requiring the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

E. Calvin Beisner, the founder of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, a non-profit evangelical organization made up of theologians, scientists, economists and others, which promotes biblical environmental stewardship, hopes Trump will withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement.

"It's a bad deal, with enormous costs ($70 to $140 trillion through the remainder of the century) and no significant benefit (0.3˚F reduction in global average temperature by 2100)," Beisner wrote in an email.

He also claims the computer models that are the foundation of concerns over "dangerous manmade global warming are invalidated."

"They predict two to three times the warming actually observed over the relevant period," Beisner wrote. "They, therefore, provide no rational basis for any predictions of future temperature, and therefore no rational basis for any policy."

The Cornwall Alliance founder also believes going along with the Paris accord would cause billions of people to live in "extreme poverty for generations by denying them access to the abundant, affordable, reliable energy without which no society can rise and stay out of poverty."

Other evangelicals, like those who are a part of the Lausanne Creation Care Network, have supported the Paris accord.

"As leading evangelicals engaged in addressing the issues of poverty, creation care, and climate change, we welcome the Paris Agreement signed on Saturday 12 December 2015," the group wrote. "For the first time in history, the world has a global climate change deal where almost every nation on earth has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and has agreed to pursue efforts to keep global average temperature rise below 1.5 degrees C."

Martin Schulz, a former European Parliament president who is running against German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the country's upcoming general election, doesn't want Trump to withdraw. He said if the U.S. pulls out of the Paris agreement, the European Union should try to offset the economic benefit that American companies might acquire without climate regulations.

"Those who want to export their goods and services to our market also have to accept our standards," he said.

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