Over the past decades, governments have undertaken concerted efforts to strengthen the global response in mitigating climate change effects. The Paris Agreement is one of the treaties that followed negotiations under the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). It was adopted by 196 parties and came to effect in 2016. However, the United States withdrew from the accord in 2017 after former President Donald Trump contended that it would place the country’s economy at a disadvantage (Smilowitz, 2017). On February 19, 2021, the current president Joe Biden finally issued an executive order to bring the US back to the treaty. In my view, the action to rejoin the Paris Agreement is a prudent one as it positions the country at the forefront of a global action plan to mitigate climate change.
In addition, the decision to rejoin the treaty motivated leaders across the US and around the world to ramp up efforts to advance clean energy solutions as part of the goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions as stipulated in the agreement. As one of the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions after China, the success of the treaty is highly dependent on the commitment of the United States to tackle global climate (Lamb et al., 2021). Moreover, the US already has elaborate environmental policies, technological know-how, and financial resources that can help developing nations mitigate and adapt to climate change effects. There is much support from the public and interest groups reflecting the strong will of Americans to take part in initiatives aimed at accelerating efforts to combat climate change from the local to the international levels.
I believe that Earth will experience global warming more this century than in the twentieth century. However, there is no consensus among scientists whether it is a natural phenomenon or an anthropogenic event. However, an overwhelming majority of scientists agree that human activity is causing global warming (Oreskes, 2018). The evidence shows that burning fossil fuels is the leading cause of climate change as it increases greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases trap radiation, and thus heat, from the sun, thereby causing a rise in global temperatures.
The Paris Agreement provides a clear framework and measures for monitoring and reporting each country’s greenhouse gas emissions relative to their emission reduction targets. In doing so, countries can evaluate their individual and collective success toward reducing emissions. The agreement’s long-term goals are to limit the global average rise in temperature to below 2 degrees Celcius through carbon reduction targets (Legget, 2020). The framework also provides a way through which developing countries can get assistance, technologically and financially, to assist them lower emissions and increase their resilience to climate change.
There is a need to urgently address the impacts of global warming, which makes the Paris Agreement very important. Global warming has disrupted climate systems worldwide with the result of shifting weather patterns (Şen, 2009). Areas with water scarcity have become drier as water resources deplete due to prolonged drought, heat waves, and wildfires. The shifting global weather patterns have also exacerbated deadly floods and storms, including hurricanes, which have led to the contamination of drinking water supplies. The result of contaminated water has been increased risk of water-borne diseases, such as diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, and malaria. Extreme weather patterns, such as rising sea levels, have wreaked havoc on public infrastructure and homes, particularly in countries like Indonesia.
Lamb, W. F., Wiedmann, T., Pongratz, J., Andrew, R., Crippa, M., Olivier, J. G., … & Minx, J. C. (2021). A review of trends and drivers of greenhouse gas emissions by sector from 1990 to 2018. Environmental research letters.
Leggett, J. A. (2020). The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement: A Summary. Congressional Research Service, January, 29, 2020.
Oreskes, N. (2018). The scientific consensus on climate change: How do we know we’re not wrong?. In Climate modelling (pp. 31-64). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-65058-6_2.
Şen, Z. (2009). Global warming threat on water resources and environment: a review. Environmental geology, 57(2), 321-329.
Smilowitz, Elliot (June 1, 2017). “Trump: We are getting out of Paris climate deal.” The Hill. Retrieved February 2, 2021.