Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
The US Department of State has submitted a formal notification of its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change to the United Nations (UN) Secretary General. This is a step towards fulfilling the promise of “America first” during the election campaign of US President Donald Trump, since he stated that Washington’s participation with pledges in the global agreement brought an unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers in the US.
The US President complained that the Paris Agreement would cost the US trillions of dollars in losses, leaving American workers, and taxpayers to absorb the consequences in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, and hindering oil, gas, and coal mining industries.
The process of withdrawing from the global agreement lasted a year, which means that the US will no longer be a member of the Paris Agreement from November 4 next year.
The above decision of the US has made a significant impact on the fight against climate change. As the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, the US is outside the joint effort of the gun-free fight. Many countries and within the US themselves strongly criticized the decision of US President Donald Trump on withdrawing from a necessary and irreplaceable agreement, in the context of the earth facing risks due to climate change. Japan, France and many countries stated their ‘regrets’ at the US pulling out from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The responsibilities of the remaining countries participating in the global agreement to combat climate change continue to play an important role in the health of the earth. Donor countries have pledged to raise US$ 9.8 billion for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to support developing countries to tackle global warming. It is an impressive figure, although not equal to US$15 billion as planned. The UK, France and Germany agreed to double their contribution to compensate for the loss of the US contribution to the fund. The GCF, based in the Republic of Korea (RoK), was launched as the countries’ effort at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, whereby governments agree to donate US$ 100 billion a year to 2020 to help developing countries in the field of the environment.
The World Green Economy Summit, held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), has recently called for more drastic policies, including shifting to a green economy to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on combating climate change. Assistant United Nations Secretary-General Ovais Sarmad warned that the world is facing an “existential crisis”. According to him, countries have reached a lot of agreements, set policies and have a lot of tools, but what is needed now is to strengthen the full implementation of the contents of those agreements. Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, owner of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, warns that the threat of climate change has overtaken the prospect of nuclear war as the most pressing concern facing humanity.
Nearly 200 countries and territories around the world participating in the Paris Agreement on climate change have set targets to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
In order to meet the targets, especially in the context of emissions in atmosphere continuing to increase that causes heat waves and storms, the United Nations encourages countries to continue their own efforts. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged the world’s biggest carbon polluting nations to jointly agree to tax emissions at US$75 per ton in the next decade to keep climate change at safe levels. According to the IMF, the tax emissions will provide incentives to cut down on environmental pollutants.
In the fight against climate change, the rich countries need to implement their responsibilities on supporting poor countries to achieve common goals. However, there are still many challenges when each country has its own calculations, leading to profound disagreements in policies and actions. That is not to mention many countries fall into the state of insufficient financial capacity to implement “green” projects as the set goals. Meanwhile, the financial contribution to the GCF is only a small part compared to the commitments of rich countries.