Skip to main content

Trump's executive order sounds death knell for Paris climate pact (downtoearth,)

US President Donald Trump’s executive order on “promoting energy independence and economic growth” is set to destroy his former counterpart Barack Obama’s green legacy.

Trump’s order, which was signed on Tuesday, literally starts the process of dismantling the Paris Agreement—the landmark international pact adopted in 2015 to fight climate change.

Stating that “my administration would put an end to war on coal”, Trump’s executive order lifts the ban on federal leasing for coal production. It also lifts restrictions on production of oil, natural gas, clean coal and shale energy. The big question is will this move put an end to war against climate change?

By this order, the Trump administration, known for its skepticism on climate change, has overturned Obama’s policies on climate change. It has revoked many of the former president’s climate policies.

It also calls for immediate reviewing of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which was at the core of Obama’s climate action plan to cut down emissions. Earlier, the budget decided to eliminate funding for the CPP. The CPP is literally over with this order.

The CPP regulation aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from US power plants by 32 per cent below their 2005 emissions level by 2030. Internationally, as part of its climate commitments, the US has pledged to reduce its emissions by a weak target of 26-28 per cent by 2025 against the 2005 levels.

Earlier in its budget, the Trump administration cancelled its funding of the global Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is meant to help developing countries address climate change.

With the budget declaration and current executive order, it is evident that the US has gone back on its climate commitments.

Key features of the executive order

The order revokes moratorium on coal mining on US federal lands. This will lead to increasing production and consumption of coal
It calls for immediate review of all agency actions and cancels, revises or revokes any rule or action that potentially burdens the development of domestic energy resources
It revokes six previous presidential executive orders under Obama’s administration, including the one on preparing the United States for the impacts of climate change, and also the memorandum for the power sector carbon pollution standards. The US power sector is the major emitter of greenhouse gases. In 2015, it alone was responsible for emitting 2 billion tonnes of CO2.
It revokes the climate action plan strategy to reduce methane emissions
It initiates an immediate review of the CPP initiative.
What this means for the US

The US has clearly signaled its intention of completely fossilising its economy, implying reckless production and consumption of fossil fuels, leading to increased carbon emissions globally.

Trump’s speech, as he signed the executive order, focused on eliminating federal overreach and prioritising American jobs over addressing climate change. Accordingly, the strategy of restoring or increasing jobs is the development of domestic sources of energy. However, market trends reveal that there is an upsurge in jobs in the clean energy sector and in this regard Trump’s decision could actually prove to be counter-productive.

Who will lead the climate efforts?

In the current political muddle that the European Union (EU) is facing, it is unlikely that the EU, though a leader in the climate change issue earlier, would immediately step into the driver’s seat at this juncture. China has shown willingness to take up leadership role, but the international community waits to see how it tackles climate change domestically and internationally, and also what it does to improve its credibility. There is uncertainty on who would lead a country or a coalition of countries, one has to wait and watch.

What about the Paris Agreement

The US administration has not indicated any immediate plan to withdraw out of the Paris Agreement. It will thus be part of the negotiations and hamper the progress towards addressing climate change. This is substantiated by the nomination of climate skeptic and ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson as the Secretary of State, who will also serve as the chief climate negotiator.

Further, the executive order of the US sets a bad precedence for other countries that may also follow the US’ footsteps and dilute their climate actions or choose to opt out of the Paris climate deal.

Considering the increasing frequency and intensity of climate-related impacts, ideally the US, being the largest historical emitter, should revamp its energy administration and scale up its ambitions.

On the other hand, the US under Trump, has completely shrugged off its responsibility to address climate change and has chosen to have a fossil fuel-based economy and back off on its climate commitments of emission cuts and finance.

The US failing to accomplish its climate targets would mean that achieving the objective of the Paris Agreement to stay within the safe temperature limits of 2 degrees Celsius and strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius would be next to impossible now. The onus then falls on other countries to heavily scale up their climate efforts and try to save the planet.


Popular posts from this blog

El Nino may make a comeback in 2017, but unlikely to affect southwest monsoon (downtoearth,)

In 2016, the world witnessed the strongest El Nino on record, which resulted in above average temperatures. The year experiences record-breaking heat for nine consecutive months. It had also ruined the Indian monsoon for two years. After two successive droughts in 2014 and 2015, last year witnessed erratic rainfall both in terms of geographical spread and time. Thanks to El Nino, the southwest monsoon in 2014 and 2015 witnessed a deficit of 11 and 14 per cent respectively.

While the 2016 monsoon season in India saw 97 per cent rainfall, it was far less than the 106 per cent that the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had forecast in July. The lesser-than-expected rainfall, especially in the second half of the monsoon season, has been attributed to the absence of a strong La Nina phenomenon in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that is known to help the Indian monsoon.

According to a recent forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there’s a 50 per cent chan…

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 21 December 2016

Q.1- Which of the following is/are correct regarding Nirbhaya missile?

1. It is a cruise missile
2. It is hypersonic in speed
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None

Q.2- Khanjar-III is military exercise between which of the following countries?

A. India and Russia
B. Russia and China
C. India and Kyrgyzstan
D. Russia and Afghanistan

Q.3- UPI has been in news recently, what is the full form of UPI?

A. Unified Payment Interchange
B. Unified Payment Interface
C. Unified process interchange
D. Unified process interface


Answer  1-A, 2 -C, 3-B

Indian Polity Elections (MCQ )

1. Who of the following has the responsibility of the registration of voters
a) Individual voters
b) Government
c) Election commission
d) Corporations

2. Democracy exists in India, without peoples participation and co operation democracy will fail. This implies that
a) Government should compel people to participate and cooperate with it
b) People from the government
c) People should participate and cooperate with the government
d) India should opt for the presidential system

3. Which of the following are not the functions of the election commission
1) Conduct of election for the post of the speaker and the deputy speaker, Lok sabha and the deputy chairman, Rajya sabha
2) Conduct of elections to the state legislative assemblies
3) Deciding on all doubts and disputes arising out of elections

a) 1 and 2
b) 1 and 3
c) 2 and 3
d) 2

4. Which of the following electoral systems have not been adopted for various elections in India
1) System of direct elections on the basis of adult suffrage