At the end of his Middle Eastern and European tour, President Donald Trump went to a beautiful Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea to talk about key issues facing the world with other leaders from the G-7. One of the biggest topics was climate change, but Trump decided to leave the fellow leaders hanging, wondering what he would do regarding the global pact on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. So what if Trump pulls out of the Paris climate accord? There would be a number of detrimental effects that could cause huge issues.
This is something to truly worry about. He tweeted on Saturday, "I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!" But it sounds like he could be leaning against leaving the deal. Axios reported Sunday that Trump has told the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and others that he will leave the Paris Agreement, the landmark agreement made under President Obama with another 174 countries — among them China and India — as well as the European Union. The deal holds the countries to targets to reduce greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
The worst results of leaving then would, of course, be environmental. The Associated Press released a report Saturday after speaking with some 12 climate experts, and the news was not good. The scientists they spoke with said the United States leaving the deal would make a bad problem worse, and cause global warming to potentially become irreversible. The U.S. pulling out could result in 3 billion more tons of carbon dioxide being released.
That would, according to the AP's experts, mean that polar ice melts quicker, seas rise further, and weather patterns become more extreme. Some of this would be lessened if the other countries stick with their targets, despite the U.S. pulling out but that's unpredictable.
And while a few feet of seas rising might not seem like a big problem in some parts of the country, in coastal cities it could be quite the challenge. Ironically, even Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort could be submerged in 30 years time if climate change goes unaddressed.
On top of the environmental problems such a decision could cause, there's the chance it could hurt some of the United States' relationships with allies. The Washington Post reported this month that the Germany environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, wrote a letter to the EPA's Pruitt with a warning:
I am very concerned that a U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement would cause lasting damage to the long-standing mutual trust and close cooperation between our two countries and between the U.S. and other countries in Europe and elsewhere.
That kind of rhetoric was somewhat echoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel after the G-7 meeting ended. "The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying," Merkel told reporters. "There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris agreement or not."
Hopefully Trump will follow his fellow leaders on this issue. If not, the environmental and political effects could be disastrous.