The European Parliament backed their commitment to share the Paris Climate goals and push ahead even though Trump pulled the United States from the 195-nation pact. There was an overwhelming majority, in a vote of 534 to 88, in favor of slashing greenhouse gas emissions for the transport, agriculture and waste management sectors. The agreement’s overall goal is to reduce emissions to at least 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2030. This probably is not the reaction that Trump was anticipating and there is no surprise in the rejection by the EU politicians to reject his call to renegotiate what Trump referred to as “draconian” economic costs.
The refusal of the US to commit to the Paris agreement will push the rest of the world to be even more united against climate change.
Months of tough talks sought a compromise between ambitious climate measures and concerns among the EU’s 28 members states on the economic strain in shifting to low-carbon technology. Campaigners for the environment hailed the draft law’s call for increasing the baseline for calculating emission-reduction targets, but the parliament voted against a proposal to decrease the amount of credits from well-managed forests that can be used to offset emissions. That would seem counter-intuitive, but there are factors such as lower-income EU member states, pro-coal Poland and Britain’s exit from the EU that need to be considered.
Today’s vote gives a crystal clear signal to Donald Trump: Europe acts on its commitments under the Paris agreement and seizes the opportunities of green growth, with or without you.
In order to do this, the EU governments are pledging to team up with China, the world’s largest polluter, to defend the agreement and its goals to limit global warming. There is something to be said about these nations in the agreement in forging ahead despite Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement. The withdrawal has only served to provide additional motivation and prove to the United States that the sectors being created around emission reduction and cleaner energy will benefit everyone in the long-term; both in economic growth and cleaner living. These are sectors that the United States will be blocked from participating in because of Trump’s short-sighted thinking and a misguided focus on the coal/gas/oil industries.
It is now up to every American to make an effort to do what they can, now, to help the Paris agreement be as successful as it can be. If we decrease our dependence on gasoline, we’ll use less oil. If we embrace solar and wind energy for our homes, we’ll use less electricity produced by coal/gas-fired power plants. A future for our children is more important than making a quick buck in our present.