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Better out than in – US and the Paris Climate Agreement

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Continued US membership in the Paris Agreement on climate would be symbolic and have no effect on US emissions. Instead, it would reveal the weaknesses of the agreement, prevent new opportunities from emerging, and gift greater leverage to a recalcitrant administration.

Luke Kemp Nature Climate Change (2017) doi:10.1038/nclimate3309 Published online 22 May 2017  See publication here

After the election of President Trump and a two-house Republican majority, many fear for the future of US climate policy. The new administration has indicated that they will abolish Obama’s climate legacy through executive orders1. The repeal of domestic measures will likely result in the US missing its first nationally determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, which is an inadequate target of reducing emissions by 26–28% compared to 2005 levels by 2025. If other countries adopted comparable targets, global warming would likely exceed 2 °C (ref. 2). The US would need to implement the Clean Power Plan and additional measures to reach its NDC3. Preliminary research suggests that the policies of the Trump administration would instead lead to emissions increasing through to 20253….


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