Paris…and Russia?

Donald Trump is sending the strongest signal yet that he is leaning toward leaving the Paris Climate Accord. Currently, the only two countries who have not signed the agreement are Syria and Nicaragua. The United States would join the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and a civil war-ravaged country in the Middle East if we decide to no longer be part of the accord. Other consequences include:

  • Other countries could place “carbon tariffs” on goods manufactured in the United States. Trump’s stated goal of bringing back manufacturing jobs could be in jeopardy if other countries begin charging more for products made in Missouri, Ohio, or North Carolina, for example.
  • The United States stands to lose out on significant economic opportunity and could be locked out of markets for clean energy – a global market that will be worth an estimated $6 trillion by 2030. As a person with a strong sense of future business opportunity, it’s nothing short of amazing that Donald Trump doesn’t see the what this could present to U.S. manufacturing.
  • By leaving the accord, Donald Trump risks additional diplomatic sanctions from other countries against U.S. businesses and consequences that could hamper our interests. As we face threats from terrorist organizations, we need more cooperation with other countries – not less.

It’s unclear what Donald Trump stands to gain by exiting the Paris Accord. While it was a clear campaign promise of his, the “endangerment finding,” a U.S. court ruling that identifies carbon as a health risk that the EPA must manage, presents more of a challenge to industries that rely heavily on fossil fuels. A poll published by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication indicates that 70% of Americans support the Paris Accord and want the United States to lead and address the challenges of climate change.

It’s still unclear what Trump will do, though sources are indicating that he is inclined to pull the U.S. out – his tweet this morning indicates that he’ll try to get maximum attention for as long as possible. And besides, when we’re talking about Paris, we’re not talking about Russia.