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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The real impacts of America leaving the Paris climate agreement

In case you missed it, our naive commander in chief chose to make the U.S. one of three countries in the world not aligned with the Paris climate agreement.

The 31-page accord was crafted in December 2015 to encourage nations to prevent drastic climate change and keep our planet out of harm’s way. Its main goal is for countries to work together to keep global average temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius. It warns that if the planet were to warm beyond 2 degrees, we will risk dangerously high seas, changes in weather patterns, and food and water crises.

Anyone with a third-grade-level education is aware of the undeniable fact that climate change is real and poses an alarmingly real threat to our planet. As President Donald Trump announced last week that the U.S. would soon withdraw from the agreement, the nation and world went into another Trump-induced frenzy.

After the initial upset, we had time to assess the true implications of our president’s decision. What we learned over the past several days is the U.S. departure from the agreement probably won’t change too much. Firstly, the accord itself was not very strict. Had America stayed in the accord, there is no saying we would have made any real effort to go green, just that we would publicly acknowledge there was a problem.

Furthermore, many states, companies and individuals have been making an effort on their own to reduce, reuse and recycle in an attempt to prevent the effects of climate change. In fact, Trump’s announcement has actually created a spike in these efforts.

Since 2005, Wells Fargo has spent $5 billion on a financing program for green businesses, solar and wind energy projects. Crayola has declared its favorite color as green by using renewable energy, reducing waste and protecting the rainforests. Around the world, major car companies like Audi and Toyota have created cars with the ability to run on battery power, allowing drivers to forgo or lessen their usage of fossil fuels.

Americans have chosen to buy these products, as well as many others, in a personal effort to keep the planet in tip-top shape.

Green efforts have been happening independently for years, but with the U.S. leaving the agreement, people now feel even more inclined to put their best foot forward when it comes to helping the planet.

The city of St. Petersburg has become the first in Florida to officially commit to using 100-percent clean renewable energy. Other world leaders have released statements declaring their devotion to “make our planet great again,” giving Americans solace in knowing other nations will not dwindle in their efforts to keep the planet safe. America is but one nation, and we forget that without us, there are still plenty of other powerful nations who are making smarter choices than we are right now.

We believe that after the U.S. officially leaves the agreement, the world will be in no more danger than it is right now. The largest impact this decision will have is the way America is perceived internationally. To speak candidly, it is embarrassing that we are one of three nations to reject the agreement. Under Trump’s rash decisions, America is losing respect and falling as a world leader. Instead of leading the world in conservation and acting as a role model for less wealthy and powerful nations, we are a laughing stalk and a flight risk. We can only hope these other nations are able to make up for our shortcomings and keep the planet in line.

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