As though it were the final episode of The Bachelor — or sure, The Apprentice — Trump has decided to announce his decision regarding the Paris climate agreement live on Thursday in the White House Rose Garden at 3 p.m. ET. Administration officials have told CNN and other news outlets that Trump is expected to withdraw from the international deal to reduce carbon emissions. That would be bad news for the planet in general, but there are at least nine unintended consequences the United States will face for leaving the Paris climate accord, as well.
Hopefully, the world can soldier on without the United States. China has already doubled down on its commitment in advance of Trump's announcement, according to the BBC. Premier Li Keqiang, while on a trip to Germany, told reporters Thursday that fighting climate change is good for China.
"China will continue to implement the promises made in the Paris accord. But of course we also hope to do this with the co-operation of others," he said.
The European Union is also set to recommit in a joint statement with the Chinese that will be released on Friday. Russia has promised to meet its emissions reductions too, but also noted that it would be less effective without "its key participants."
But don't let other countries' commitments placate you. Trump pulling out of the agreement would limit the agreement's effect; the United States emits a huge amount of carbon into the air. Thus here are just a few unintended consequences of Trump's potential decision to leave the accord.
Bye, Bye Diplomacy
Save the U.K., whose current conservative government doesn't seem to want to pressure Trump much, the world is going to take notice of this decision, and it could potentially undermine future international agreements. Former President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, George Shultz, explained the potential blowback in an op-ed for The New York Times:
Global statecraft relies on trust, reputation and credibility, which can be all too easily squandered. The United States is far better off maintaining a seat at the head of the table rather than standing outside. If America fails to honor a global agreement that it helped forge, the repercussions will undercut our diplomatic priorities across the globe, not to mention the country’s global standing and the market access of our firms.
Mar-A-Lago Could End Up Underwater
Perhaps the other signatory countries can put climate change on pause, but it's unlikely without the United States' participation. One big consequence could be Mar-a-Lago ending up under water thanks to rising seas. Estimates vary, but it's bound to happen unless this warming trend is reversed.
Another serious consequence of unchecked climate change would be an increase in disease, two public health experts with ties to Democrats wrote in The Washington Post Tuesday:
While the interactions between climate change and disease are hard to predict with certainty, the scientific linkages are unmistakable. If we fail to integrate planning for the impact of climate change with planning for the prevention and management of pandemic disease, the consequences will be deadly.
Disease-carrying insects like ticks and mosquitoes explain a part of that, since they do better in warm environments. But humans and animals sharing more habitats and fighting over resources, like in the Ebola outbreak, could also pose a problem.
No More Guac
Prepare yourself. This is a tragic consequence of climate change. Already there have been avocado shortages, but with climate change some scientists think the crop could decrease by 40 percent. Even Chipotle has acknowledged it may not be able to serve it forever.
Even Exxon Won't Be Happy
Perhaps surprisingly, it's not big oil that is pushing Trump to pull out of the agreement. Both Exxon and Conoco support staying in the pact, and Exxon shareholders have pushed the company to publish on a yearly basis "the long-term portfolio impacts of technological advances and global climate change policies."
If all of this isn't overwhelming enough, imagine dealing with it while you're exhausted. That's potentially going to be the new norm if climate change continues. A new study showed that warmer temperatures make it hard to sleep.
Of course, there's always the chance that President Trump comes to his senses and does not withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. But if not, be prepared for these consequences, and more, in the years to come.