On Thursday, President Trump withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, joining Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries not on board with the international accord. The New York Times looks at what happens next with the agreement and climate change. First, the formal withdrawal process takes four years, ending the day after the next presidential election, meaning a future president could rejoin. In the meantime, other countries could relax their own plans to curb emissions with the US out of the picture. But other experts predict a "galvanizing effect" among the remaining countries. Here's what else you need to know about Trump's decision:
- First, Fortune explains the Paris climate agreement. The gist is that countries agree to work toward keeping the global average temperature from rising 3.6 degrees over the pre-industrial average, at which point scientists believe the effects of climate change would be irreversible.
- In a statement, Al Gore called Trump's decision "reckless and indefensible." But he adds the transition to clean energy will be continued by mayors, governors, the business community, and the American people.
- Bill McKibben, writing for the New York Times, calls withdrawing from the agreement "our nation's dumbest act since launching the war in Iraq" and one that hurts not only civilization's ability to survive climate change but also civilization itself by undermining both diplomacy and science.
- Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry in the Week counters that outrage over the decision is "absolute nonsense" in that the agreement was weak and ineffectual, with countries left to set their own goals for reducing emissions. (Though he also says withdrawing from it won't do anything to add jobs in the Rust Belt.)
- President Obama says leaving the Paris climate agreement is a rejection of the future, leaving the countries that remain to "reap the benefits in jobs and industries created," the Hill reports.
- Elon Musk is leaving Trump's presidential advisory council over the decision, tweeting, "Climate change is real."
- Weather.com was also, clearly, not a fan of the decision. Below a livestream of Trump's press conference, it ran stories about "Antarctica turning green" and "California's coast disappearing into the sea" in an effort to get the American public to care about climate change.
- Finally, Quartz reports a US not fully committed to reducing emissions may have actually hurt the climate agreement more by staying in it. "It is a club for countries who are part of a global effort to tackle dangerous climate change ... The US no longer meets these admission criteria,” says a member of Ireland's Climate Change Advisory Council.
(Read more Paris Agreement