The Possible Consequences of US Rush Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement
Everyday grocery prices are skyrocketing, a glimpse of snow is near impossible, and polar bears no longer exist. The year is 2050, a little over 30 years from now. A few decades ago, the US made the decision to exit the Paris Agreement that had promised a clean, safe and healthy future. Currently, the earth is getting 1°f warmer by the decade, and countries have been doing close to nothing to fix it till the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is a meeting of 194 countries signing a pledge to limit their overall CO2 release by 3.6°c as of 2050 (Britannica). The United States has 4.5% of the world’s population but emits 28% of the total amount of CO2 every year (procon, climate change debate), and President Obama (2008-2016) decided to commit to the environment in making the world a healthier place to live. The current president, President Trump had made the decision to pull out of the Paris agreement as he believed the US should focus on their economy above others, and used some evidence claiming that global warming was false according to an article written by New York Times. Although leaving the Paris Agreement may have seemed like an intelligent move for the US, evidence shows that the Paris Agreement could help the United States financially grow, rather abandoning it would cause many devastations across the world and although one of Trump’s reasons of exiting the Paris Agreement was that global warming isn’t as effective as it is claimed, many statistics show otherwise, in favor that global warming is occurring right now.
Exiting the Paris Agreement was supposed to release the country of an economic burden according to President Trump, but evidence shows staying in the agreement can help the economy grow. Renewable energy is one of the fastest growing markets as start up companies become more interested in it. It is estimated by 2030, the market for renewable energy will be worth $6 trillion and still increasing, according to New York Times. In the past decade, the solar energy employment has grown by over 10 times and the coal mining industry has been losing jobs after the discovery of a cheaper gas (NYT). Global warming is causing plant growth to become more and more unstable. For every degree that our planet rises, corn yields go down by 7.4%, wheat goes down by 6%, rice goes down by 3.2%, and soybean yields go down by 3.1%, according to a study conducted by PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Another study conducted by the National University of Singapore found that for every degree that the earth got warmer, biomass (or the body) of some fruit plants, grass and grains will get 3%-17% smaller. The less accurate the crop yields become, the more expensive they will become as they are at a higher risk of failing. Low supply means high demand, causing the prices to rise. Many families are already struggling to put food on the table, so imagine the problems rising prices of daily necessities could cause. Imagine the difficulty as a single parent supporting a family of growing kids. It becomes more and more difficult to put healthy, nutrition packed meals on the table. You have had to reach into your pocketed savings for the house you were one day hoping to buy for your family for your kids. Damage to crops would hurt the economy along with already limiting jobs in the coal industry and the unused potential of employment towards renewable energy. President Trump’s excuse for exiting was that the agreement would economically pull back the US, but results show that the country would be better off in the agreement.
Although evidence used by President Trump claimed that global warming’s effects alone shouldn’t worry the nation and therefore the US should show no interest in preventing it. This argument could make sense from PhD scientist William Happer’s research, temperatures rise and fall: “The climate of Greenland was warm enough for farming around the year 1100 A.D., but by 1500, the Little Ice Age drove Norse settlers out…” While this may be true, brief temperature rises are natural rather than the abrupt heating of the earth with strong indications of human at fault. In 1958, ppm levels were 315.7, but as of Jan 2015 levels had reached 399.96 (ProCon, Climate Change debate). Basic knowledge combines pollution and global warming, resulting in greenhouse gasses. While Dr. Happer’s evidence is convincing, he used Greenland to express his knowledge. Greenland is up north, therefore would be more prone to a freezing period, while the earth has held an average temperature for the last 8,000 years and not until recently started heating. Furthermore, the earth has risen 0.56°c in the last 30 years (Climate Change, by Brezina, Corona). Numbers aren’t the only way of expressing temperatures rising. Animals sensitive to temperatures changing are going extinct, ice shelves are collapsing and melting, and extreme weather is becoming more common (according to National Geographic and Climate Change, by Brezina, Corona. It may seem like global warming is less effective because of the evidence given by Dr. Happer, but he was one scientist out of 3% of the scientists in the world who believe climate change isn’t real. Truth be told, 97% of all scientist believe in climate change while a mere 3% don’t. So while President Trump may use whatever evidence he wants, accurate or not we are surrounded by so much more evidence pushing in the opposite direction. Temperatures are rising, rare extinctions are occurring, and pollution is getting worse than ever. It would be absurd to claim none of these effects are connected, or impacting the US, or any other countries. The US has every right to be concerned about the extreme heating of the earth, and start to solve the problem.
If the earth continues to heat at this rate, many devastations can occur across the world. The most prominent example is that animals have been and are going extinct by the decade due to their habitats heating and the animal not having the ability to control their body temperature. The North Atlantic cod is a fish that resides in the North Atlantic Ocean. The change of weather made the currents move and eventually froze the fish. The north Atlantic cod may not seem like an important part of the ocean, but the fish is crucial in the north Atlantic food chain. With the cod dying out, sharks, larger fish, and seal will have to turn to a new source of food, messing up the food chain entirely. Another example is the polar bear. The polar bear’s habitat is melting faster than they can keep up and the bear is disappearing with the ice. Polar bears find refuge on stray ice chunks, and with the tides pushing the chunks away, polar bears become stranded and hungry, and eventually starve (National Geographic). This has caused 30% of the polar bear population to perish in the period of 35 years according to a article on Britannica (Climate Change). Extinction is a difficult topic to understand, but imagine drifting from your home with no intention of leaving. Imagine watching your own children starve, because you were unable to provide for them.
Global warming is the prime reason of extinction, but global warming is also responsible for lengthening the fire season by approximately 2 months. For every ½ °c it gets warmer, the fire will burn an additional 35% due to drought according to USA Today. Rising waters lead to flooding and give hurricanes the opportunity to destroy more. People are losing their homes, belongings, and everything they have ever known. Global warming impacting the weather has been destroying homes across the world. John D. Sutter met people across the world, struggling to keep their homes. A girl in Louisiana evacuated her home due to intense flooding. Her home would not be available for stable living condition for another 6 months. People in the Marshall islands depend on coral reefs to keep their people alive but are being wiped out by heating of the ocean. A young mother told Sutter, “We are as good as dead”. Extinctions, death, extreme weather and severe losses come back to us. The Paris Agreement was one of the last opportunities to turn this around, but if we continue to avoid it, ¾ of the world’s species could be extinct within the next couple centuries (CNN), and we may follow.
Heating of the earth, increasing natural disasters, extinction, economies failing, lives being lost; these are all examples of effects of global warming. Citizens all over the world have every right to be concerned about their future. The Paris Agreement was made for the future. If the US had stayed in the agreement, many of the disasters mentioned could be simply avoided, as the US is one of the top pollution contributors. The Paris Agreement is the last chance for the future, and there really is no losing situation, in other words, all will benefit. It’s not too late. The US should not have left the Paris Agreement, and should rejoin for the future.
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