By Mireynna Hernandez, age 11
Despite evidence of global climate change, the United States is in the midst of breaking with the rest of the world and leaving a landmark agreement that could have big implications for the environment.
In June, President Trump announced a withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, which ensured the United States would cut down on harmful emissions and give $3 billion in aid to poorer countries in their efforts. Trump said he wants to renegotiate the 2015 agreement’s terms.
Nearly all of the world’s countries agreed to keep global temperatures from rising above two degrees Celsius, limit pollution and review each country’s contributions. The only eligible holdouts were the Vatican, which only observed the committee rather than voting, but can change its status and sign at any time; Nicaragua, which declared the agreement not strict enough and vowed to fight climate change on its own; and Syria, which was never expected to sign due to its ongoing civil war.
The agreement operates on “peer pressure,” accountability and diplomacy, rather than penalties like taxes, which could be unfair for less wealthy countries. The United States cannot officially begin withdrawing until November 2020, when Trump’s term expires.
What do you think other countries will do now?
Climate change: Process of warming of the Earth that results in change of weather patterns.
Peer pressure: The desire to do something because other members in the group are also doing it.