In June, 2017, I attended The future of the Paris Agreement and global climate change cooperation without U.S. leadership at the Brookings Institution. The event focused on what is next for the Paris Climate Accord following Donald Trump’s announcement that the US will leave the agreement. There were many good insights, but what struck me most was the enormity of Trump’s actions.
With the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world committed to taking serious action on climate change. The agreement is a monumental achievement that brings together almost every country on the planet to pursue limiting end-of-century temperature rise to two degrees Celsius or less. It brings together countries that have added tremendous amounts of carbon to the atmosphere with those that have added little; it brings together countries that are well developed and countries that are just reaping the rewards of development. It brings all these countries together in a framework that commits them to work toward the agreement’s common goal regardless of each country’s perspective as a victim, a contributor, or a neutral player.