Paris Agreement: What Experts Say vs. What the White House Says

Paris Agreement President Trump

In June, President Trump announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement. In his speech announcing his intention to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement, and several times in the intervening months since, he made multiple false and misinformed statements.

PROCESS: The US is still party to the Paris Agreement

  • Trump has stated multiple times that the US could potentially rejoin the Paris Agreement if it were “a fair deal”. However, the US is still party to the Paris Agreement and will remain so until November 2020.
  • How would a withdrawal actually work? In August, the State Department sent an email to the United Nations alerting the UN that the United States intends to withdraw. But, the Agreement states that notification cannot officially be given until November 2019—three years after the agreement went into force. At that point, the administration may formally notify the UN when the withdrawal will take effect, as long as that date is at least one year or more in the future. This puts the earliest potential withdrawal date at November 4, 2020—the day after the 2020 presidential election. For more information on the withdrawal process, see our Paris Agreement FAQ.

COMPETITIVENESS: Acting on Paris will increase US competitiveness and create jobs

COMMITMENTS: Paris extracted meaningful commitments from all the major polluters

  • China is already investing more than double the United States in clean energy, and its carbon emissions have stayed flat or declined for the past three years. By 2030, China will install more renewable energy than US capacity in 2017 from all energy sources.
  • India’s solar and wind industries are booming, and it remains committed to Paris.
  • Paris also created a system to monitor and verify that China and India to their fair share.
  • The “bottom-up” approach meant that every country brought to the table only what it felt it could deliver. So no one’s getting a bad deal, because everyone chose what they would do.

ENERGY: The US risks being left behind on clean energy and outcompeted by China if it leaves Paris

  • According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, China was the top solar PV employer, with 1.7 million jobs in 2015, “due to its undisputed lead in both manufacturing and installations.”
  • Wind power is now the largest renewable energy source in the U.S., according to the American Wind Energy Association. Installed wind capacity totaled over 82 gigawatts last year, enough to power 24 million average homes and surpassing America’s 80 gigawatts of hydropower.
  • Since 2007, the U.S. economy grew by 12 percent while overall energy consumption fell by 3.6 percent. The rapid growth of clean energy and energy efficiency made 2014 the first year ever that the world’s economy grew without carbon emissions also growing, according to the International Energy Agency. The trend continued into 2015.

CLIMATE: The deal is a great start that reduces the risk climate change poses to America

  • Reducing emissions in the energy and transport sectors could prevent almost 300,000 early deaths caused by air pollution each year in the US by 2030, according to a Duke University study.
  • Reducing emissions reduces the risk of extreme weather events that cost Americans dearly, in terms of human life as well as tens of billions of dollars economic losses.
  • The MIT researchers whom Trump cites said in response “this is not our finding.” Their analysis shows the Paris agreement would reduce future warming by 1 degree C (1.6°F) by 2100, if initial targets were met, with the potential for much more.

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