Despite being the defining emergency of our times, the climate crisis has certainly been overlooked this year. Amid the numerous calamities 2020 has rained down upon us, it’s important to remember the greatest threat of all: an impending doom that threatens to destroy the finely tuned life support machine we live on. The Earth has been exhibiting record-breaking temperatures, rising sea-levels, and extreme weather events. If climate change was a somewhat abstract notion a decade ago, today it is taking shape into a very real and brutal truth. Nonetheless, governments around the world have not been giving global warming the sustained attention and prominence that it demands. In particular, the United States has shown little heed.
According to estimates published in ‘The Washington Post’, the U.S. has contributed to a whopping 27 percent of all global emissions. Yet, on November 4, a day after the presidential election, the United States has planned to formally withdraw from the Paris agreement on constraining global heating. For context, the Paris Agreement was signed in 2016 within the United Nations. It sets out a global framework for dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance. Out of the 175 parties that have signed it, many belong to developing nations. The agreement aims to strengthen countries’ ability to combat the impacts of climate change and support them in their efforts.
As recorded in his June 1, 2017 remarks, President Trump made the decision to withdraw due to the unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers by U.S. pledges made under the Agreement. The explanation may serve as justification to the American people; however, what will never be equitable is this: The U.S. is a rich country. It has a myriad of resources, riches and technological advancements. In the event of rising sea levels and other climate related catastrophes, it will have the capacity to pay a lot more in order to adapt. On the other hand, poorer countries will not afford such luxury and will be radically less able to cope. It serves to be a reminder that even in a rapidly changing world, one thing remains the same: human greed continues to overtake principles.
Paris Agreement (2020, September 30)
Mooney, C. (n.d.). Retrieved from
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