How scientists reacted to the US leaving the Paris climate agreement

Jun 2, 2017

By Jeff Tollefson & Quirin Schiermeier

Nature rounds up reaction from researchers around the world to US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.

Jane Lubchenco, marine ecologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis and former administrator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

Where to start? President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement shows a blatant disregard for the wishes of most Americans and business leaders, an irresponsible and callous dismissal of the health, safety, and economic well-being of Americans, a moral emptiness in ignoring impacts to the poorest people in the US and around the world, and gross ignorance about overwhelming scientific evidence. Far from “protecting America” as the president stated, withdrawing from Paris will make America more vulnerable and diminish its world leadership. It is terrifying that the individual who should be leading the rest of the world is so arrogant and irresponsible.

Our collective future and that of much of the rest of life on Earth depends in part on confronting climate change and ocean acidification. Doing so requires global collective action. It’s hard to imagine anyone consciously choosing to leave a legacy of impoverishment, economic disruption, increasingly bizarre weather, health impacts ranging from heat strokes to spread of diseases, rising sea levels and flooding — but that is just what the president has done. Moreover, the new path and the president’s proposed budget would forego significant economic opportunities.

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9 comments on “How scientists reacted to the US leaving the Paris climate agreement

  • @OP – Far from “protecting America” as the president stated,
    withdrawing from Paris will make America more vulnerable and diminish its world leadership.
    It is terrifying that the individual who should be leading the rest of the world is so arrogant and irresponsible.

    The levels of Trump’s egotistical stupidity go right off the scale!

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  • Well, I don’t think the Paris agreement will or would make much difference one way or the other. It is more symbolic than any sort of binding treaty. The limits are voluntary per country, and the language lacks enforcement.

    As a symbolic step in the right direction each country has nothing much to lose. We have the chance to periodically set our own voluntary limits, so pulling out was rather silly but I don’t think it will have much impact on actual emissions.

    Much worse will be elimination of actual pollution regulations. Those regulations have the force of American federal law and if Trump cuts regulations he will increase pollution which will be the sort of terrible thing any reasonable person knew he was going to do.

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  • It looks like much of the world has decided to simply ignore the stupidity of the incompetent White House science illiterates as far as possible!

    EU to bypass Trump administration after Paris climate agreement pullout

    Brussels rejects Trump’s offer to renegotiate landmark deal, as global politicians, business leaders and US state governors criticise president

    The European Union has rejected Donald Trump’s offer to renegotiate the Paris climate agreement and pledged instead to bypass Washington to work with US business leaders and state governors to implement the historic accord’s commitments.

    Less than 24 hours after the US president announced his decision to withdraw from the 2015 agreement and strike a new, less ambitious deal with the rest of the world, Brussels declared its outright refusal to engage in such talks.

    EU officials will instead cut out the White House to deal directly with the US states and major corporations, many of whom have already pledged to live by the terms forged in Paris.

    Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, described Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris pact as a big mistake, but said the fight against climate change would continue with or without the US.

    “Strong transatlantic ties are far more important and far more durable than the latest unfortunate decisions of the new administration,” Tusk said, as he addressed a joint press conference with the Chinese prime minister, Li Keqiang, at the end of an EU-China summit in Brussels.

    “China and Europe have demonstrated solidarity with future generations and responsibility for the whole planet,” Tusk added, in reference to a joint EU-China statement that vowed to “step up” efforts on global warming, including the raising of $100bn a year by 2020 to help poorer countries cut emissions.

    Miguel Arias Cañete, the European commissioner for climate action, said the global agreement would not be allowed to fall at the whim of a domestic election. “The Paris agreement is fit for purpose,” the Spanish politician said, gripping a copy of the document that 195 countries have pledged to support. “The Paris agreement is here to stay.
    The 29 articles of this Paris agreement are not to be renegotiated. They are to be implemented. That’s what the EU will do.”

    He added: “The fight against climate change cannot depend on the result of elections in one country of another. When a country signs an international agreement it has to fulfil its commitments. There will be new administrations. I’m pretty sure President Trump hasn’t read the articles of this treaty. There is nothing to renegotiate here.”

    Senior EU officials said they had been pleased by the reaction of the leaders of corporate America and the federal states, with whom they would now work, in a remarkable example of Trump’s isolation on the world stage.

    The US president’s decision had been met with a chorus of disapproval from blue-chip companies including Facebook, Apple, Ford and Microsoft.

    A number of the governors of US states have also vowed to ignore Washington.

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  • Scientists and those seeking advice from scientists have made their positions clear!

    Days after President Trump announced that he would be pulling the U.S. out of a global agreement to fight climate change, more than 1,200 business leaders, mayors, governors and college presidents have signaled their personal commitment to the goal of reducing emissions.

    In an open letter, the signatories vow to “continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement,” even “in the absence of leadership from Washington.”

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  • While this is a fair-weather peak, it indicative of things to come in the UK;-

    Renewable sources of energy have generated more electricity than coal and gas in the UK for the first time.

    National Grid reported that, on Wednesday lunchtime, power from wind, solar, hydro and wood pellet burning supplied 50.7% of UK energy.

    Add in nuclear. and by 2pm low carbon sources were producing 72.1% of electricity in the UK.

    Wednesday lunchtime was perfect for renewables – sunny and windy at the same time.

    Records for wind power are being set across Northern Europe.

    The National Grid, the body that owns and manages the power supply around the UK, said in a tweet: “For the first time ever this lunchtime wind, nuclear and solar were all generating more than both gas and coal combined.”

    On Tuesday, a tenth of the UK’s power was coming from offshore wind farms – a newcomer on the energy scene whose costs have plummeted far faster than expected.

    So much power was being generated by wind turbines, in fact, that prices fell to a tenth of their normal level.

    At the time of Wednesday’s record, 1% of demand was met by storage; this will have to increase hugely as the UK moves towards a low-carbon electricity system.

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  • Meanwhile Theresa May is persevering in sucking up to Trump, but even Trump may not be playing ball – and it looks like the British public and many politicians aren’t! !
    Downing Street says there has been “no change” to plans for a UK state visit by US President Donald Trump.

    It comes after the Guardian reported Mr Trump had called Prime Minister Theresa May to say he did not want to carry out the trip until he had support from the British public.

    As Captain Oates said on Captain Scot’s failed Antarctic expedition: – That “may be quite some time”!

    The Guardian reported that, according to a Downing Street adviser who was in the room, Mr Trump made a call in recent weeks in which he stated his reservations about the visit.

    Mrs May is reported to have been surprised by Mr Trump’s position.

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has posted a message on Twitter, welcoming the “cancellation” of the visit.

    Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said Mr Trump was “clearly terrified of the British public”.

    He added: “He knows that the British people find his politics appalling and that they won’t be scared to make their views known.

    “Theresa May should be embarrassed that she was so quick to offer Trump a state visit.
    Now neither of them want to be seen with the other.”

    Mr Trump’s own Twitter account, through which he regularly makes announcements, has not made any recent mention of the UK state visit.

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    Extreme weather could kill up to 152,000 people yearly in Europe by 2100 if nothing is done to curb the effects of climate change, scientists say.

    The number is 50 times more deaths than reported now, the study in The Lancet Planetary Health journal said.

    Heat waves would cause 99% of all weather-related deaths, it added, with southern Europe being worst affected.

    Effects would likely be worse in Africa and parts of the Americas, which already have warmer climates and more extreme weather.

    If nothing is done to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to improve policies to reduce the impact against extreme weather events, the study by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre says:

    Deaths caused by extreme weather could rise from 3,000 a year between 1981 and 2010 to 152,000 between 2071 and 2100
    Two in three people in Europe will be affected by disasters by 2100, against a rate of one in 20 at the start of the century
    There will be a substantial rise in deaths from coastal flooding, from six victims a year at the start of the century to 233 a year by the end of it

    The research analysed the effects of the seven most dangerous types of weather-related events – heat waves, cold snaps, wildfires, droughts, river and coastal floods and windstorms – in the 28 EU countries as well as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

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    The Trump administration has issued its first written notification that the US intends to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

    But in the notice to the United Nations the US state department said Washington would remain in the talks process.

    President Donald Trump drew international condemnation in June when he first announced the US intention to withdraw.

    He said the deal “punished” the US and would cost millions of American jobs.

    Friday’s announcement is seen as largely symbolic as no nation seeking to leave the pact can officially announce an intention to withdraw until 4 November 2019.

    The process of leaving then takes another year, meaning it would not be complete until just weeks after the US presidential election in 2020.

    Any new US president could then decide to rejoin the agreement.

    “Today, the United States submitted a communication to the United Nations in its capacity as depositary for the Paris Agreement regarding the US intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as soon as it is eligible to do so,” the US statement read.

    Meanwhile; we have the above – from the centre for ignorant denial, disregard of legal requirements, carbon industry propagandist drivel, and pseudo-science, known as the Trump Administration!

    “The United States will continue to participate in international climate change negotiations and meetings… to protect US interests and ensure all future policy options remain open to the administration.”

    In June, Mr Trump indicated he was open to another climate deal “on terms that are fair to the United States”.

    However, key signatories to the accord quickly ruled that out. The Paris Agreement took decades to finalise.

    So Trump is still in the land of delusional denial, and fanciful pseudo-science!

    Climate change may kill or impoverish millions, but hey! Being (Trumpy) “fair” to the (corporate elite) United States, is an urgent priority (for some) which over-rides all this sciency climate evidence stuff, which thicky stooges, can’t, or don’t want to, understand!!

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