Over the edge. © J. Ashley Nixon
On June 2, 2017, I wrote an article lamenting the decision and lack of world leadership shown by President Donald Trump who, speaking from the The Rose Garden, a normally beautiful part of the White House in Washington DC, made it his “solemn duty” to withdraw the United States of America from the Paris Agreement.
Today, he followed through on that electioneering promise and set in place the first formal step in a year-long process for the USA to withdraw from the global pact to tackle climate change. At a time when report after scientific report points to the climate emergency that we all face, the world’s second-biggest greenhouse gas emitter (after China) views its internal economy more important than working alongside almost every other country* on the planet to address its most pressing environmental issue.
The USA’s pull-out process is scheduled to be completed on November 4, 2020, the day after the next presidential election. A new president, a new leader, in the White House next year should revoke that decision, get America back from the edge with renewed targets and action plans, and return the country to being a leader, not a laggard on climate action.
*As of November 4, 2019, 187 Parties (countries and the European Union) had formally ratified the Paris Agreement. Ten countries had yet to ratify: Angola, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, South Sudan, Turkey, and Yemen. The USA is the only country that has indicated its intention to pull out of the accord.