More Information Monday: Paris Agreement

More Information Monday: Paris Agreement

This week we will address one of the biggest topics currently in the news: The Paris Agreement


What is this Paris Agreement?  Is this where we all decide to wear berets and eat crepes and croissants all day?

Unfortunately, no.  The Paris Agreement (also referred to as the Paris Accord) is the agreement made within the U.N. Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In December 2015, 195 countries met in Paris to come to an agreement regarding the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions on a global level.  Each country was asked to put its best effort forward, and submit an action plan that said here’s what we are going to do as our part to improve climate change.  This is unlike previous efforts that were made which tried to set the same standard for every country.  Those attempts at change did not get nearly the same support as the Paris Agreement since each country is allowed to set its own standards.

The agreement’s main goal is to keep the global temperature from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius (that’s 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).  This agreement is also unique from ones in the past because they are going to address financial needs of developing countries or countries who need help reaching their goals of reducing gas emissions.  

There is also going to be a meeting to check on how the collective effort towards the reduction goals are going in 2018.  Then in 2020 (5 years after the agreement was signed), the countries will meet and report on their progress.  Basically, not only did the UNFCCC assign the homework, but they will also be checking to see how each of the countries did on it.

(Source 3, 4, 6 and 8)


What did the U.S. plan look like?

The U.S. submitted an action plan that promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% by the year 2025.  This included a reduction from all areas of greenhouse emission (i.e. burning oil, coal and natural gas, in addition to using fertilizers, raising livestock, and the maintenance of landfills).

In addition, the U.S. promised $3 billion dollars to help with the global funding of the Paris Agreement for all nations to be able to reach their promised targets.

(source 1, 5, and 9)


Didn’t President Trump just announce we’re breaking up with the Paris Agreement?  Can he do that?

Yes, apparently we are on a break.  On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement because he feels the agreement imposes unfair standards on American businesses.  He said that he felt the Paris Agreement was a disadvantage to the U.S. and an advantage to other countries, both due to the lost of jobs/wages that the cuts would make on factories and economic production as well as the financial contributions that U.S. is making to the overall success of the program. He said that the U.S. would re-enter the Paris agreement under different terms which are more fair to Americans or under a new deal that would protect the country and its taxpayers.

And yes, because President Obama entered the Paris Agreement without a vote from Congress, President Trump can withdraw from it without a vote from Congress.

(Source: 2, 8 and 9)


Why does this matter?

Scientists have continually gathered data that shows strong evidence of global warming.  Both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA both did separate studies that marked 2016 as the hottest year on record – beating the records that 2014 and 2015 had set.

(Source: 6 and 7)


So it’s over?   We just start seeing on other environmental deals?

Like any break up, it’s not exactly over; it’s more complicated than that.  President Trump did say that he would follow the withdrawal procedures outlined in the Paris Agreement.  Under the terms of the Paris Agreement, the U.S. wouldn’t actually be able to withdraw until November of 2020.

Keep in mind also that President Trump could have remained part of the Paris Agreement, but slashed the programs that would allow the U.S. to meet the proposed targets.  Conversely, the U.S. emissions could still go down even with the U.S. withdrawing from the agreement.  In addition, he has also referenced negotiating a new deal or a revised deal.  

(Source: 2, 8 and 10)


Join us tomorrow to see what the two sides have to say on Two-Sided Tuesday!



1: Harrington, Rebecca. “Here’s what the US actually agreed to in the Paris climate deal.” Business Insider, 1 June 2017, Accessed 3 June 2017.

2: Shear, Michael D. “Trump Will Withdraw U.S. From Paris Climate Agreement.”, 1 June 2017, Accessed 3 June 2017.

3:Adams, Jill U. “Energy and Climate Change.” CQ Researcher 15 June 2016. Web. 2 June 2017.

4: “The Paris Agreement – main page.” United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Accessed 3 June 2017.

5: UUSA First DNC Submission. United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change, Accessed 3 June 2017.

6: I“Climate Change: Should the U.S. government take aggressive steps to address climate change?” Issues & Controversies, Infobase Learning, 18 Mar. 2016, Accessed 3 June 2017.

7: “2016 marks three consecutive years of record warmth for the globe.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 18 Jan. 2017, Accessed 3 June 2017.

8: “Paris Climate Agreement Q&A.” Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Accessed 3 June 2017.

9: Domonoske, Camila, and Colin Dwyer. “Trump Announces U.S. Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord.”, 1 June 2017, Accessed 3 June 2017.

10: Domonoske, Camila, and Colin Dwyer. “Trump Announces U.S. Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord.”, 1 June 2017, Accessed 3 June 2017.