Donald Trump's decision to remove the United States of America from the Paris climate accord shocked everyone on both national and international fronts. And now that Trump has withdrawn, the question that has surfaced is a simple — but disconcerting — one. What happens to the Paris climate agreement now?
The accord requires member countries to agree to lower global temperatures, which are exacerbated by carbon emissions from primarily human activity such as industrial pollution. The agreement also asks that the countries work to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and hold each other accountable.
In a statement given to the press on Thursday, Trump said the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord and try to renegotiate it, stating that his plan is to "begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its business, its workers, its people, [and] its taxpayers. So we're getting out."
Trump added a nonchalant note saying that it was "great" if the United States and the Paris accord could reach a common ground based on a renegotiation and "fine" if it couldn't. France, Italy, and Germany unanimously replied that it couldn't be renegotiated.
What happens to the Paris climate deal from this point on is clearly evident in the swift response from international leaders to Trump's controversial decision. At this very moment, it will remain as it is. It will take the United States likely until 2020 to withdraw from the deal.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that Chinese commitment to the accord will continue while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "We do not have the right to spoil the environment for future generations." In a joint statement given by French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump's decision to withdraw was acknowledged "with regret."
By treating the Paris climate accord like any other business deal, Trump's refusal to remain in the agreement carries devastating consequences for our environment. But from the statements provided by various international figures across Europe and Asia, it is clear that Trump's demand to renegotiate the Paris climate accord will not be entertained. The reason to refuse such a realignment seems to be fairly straightforward: The future of the earth is not up for negotiation.