United States Non-Cooperation and the Paris Agreement
22 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2017 Last revised: 10 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 9, 2017
In June 2017, the Trump administration decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, a landmark climate agreement adopted in 2015 by 195 nations. The exit of the U.S. has not just raised concern that the U.S. will miss its domestic emission reduction targets, but also that other parties to the Paris Agreement might backtrack on their initial pledges regarding emission reductions or financial contributions. Here we assess the magnitude of the threat that U.S. non-cooperation poses to the Paris Agreement from an international relations perspective. We argue that U.S. non-cooperation does not fundamentally alter U.S. emissions, which will likely continue to decline even in the absence of new federal climate policies. Nor does it undermine nationally determined contributions under pledge and review, as the Paris Agreement has introduced a new logic of domestically-driven climate policies and the cost of low-carbon technologies keeps falling. However, U.S. non-participation in raising climate finance could raise high barriers to global climate cooperation in the future. Political strategies to mitigate these threats include direct engagement by climate leaders such as the European Union with key emerging economies, notably China and India, and domestic climate policies that furnish benefits to traditional opponents of ambitious climate policy.
Keywords: Paris Agreement, Climate Change, Donald Trump
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