• Walter Einhart (he/him)

Opinion: Is the Paris Climate Agreement Ultimately Beneficial?

Updated: Mar 19


Image Credit: Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA/Shutterstock.com

The Paris Climate Agreement, an international treaty on climate change, was adopted by 197 countries on December 12, 2015. The goal of the Paris Climate Agreement is essentially to prevent average global temperatures from reaching 1.5-2०C higher than they were in the pre-industrial period. Opponents of the Paris Climate Agreement, such as former President Donald J. Trump, argue that country’s like China and India should be held to the same standards as the US, they also argue that the Agreement has an overall negative impact on the United State’s economy. This argument is ultimately incorrect, however, as shown by the fact that the US’s GDP (gross domestic product) did not increase significantly in the years following Trump leaving the Paris Climate Agreement, and on average the GDP was actually lower than it was during the Obama administration. The good news is that in the days following his inauguration Biden has reentered the Paris Climate Agreement, this will force the United States to become more environmentally cautious in the years to come. And while the United States is still being held to a standard that other primary polluters like China and India aren’t, I must ask, so what? Of course, it doesn’t make sense that two other massively polluted countries aren’t being as regulated as we are, but the Paris Climate Agreement is still ultimately beneficial. It may not force all the same standards on different countries, but under the Paris Climate Agreement, larger countries (like the US) are being propelled into a more environmentally friendly future. So once again I must ask, is the fact that not all countries are held to the same standards under the Agreement really a reason to not be a part of it? My answer is no, as it still forces the US to become more environmentally aware than it previously was. Although only time will tell if the Paris Climate Agreement ultimately works, here’s hoping it does, because if the planet dies, we all die.


- Walter Einhart, Editor of TeensForNature

Sources:

Davenport, Coral, and Lisa Friedman. “Biden Cancels Keystone XL Pipeline and Rejoins Paris Climate Agreement.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Jan. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/climate/biden-paris-climate-agreement.html.

Unfccc.int, unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement.

Team, Reality Check. “US 2020 Election: The Economy under Trump in Six Charts.” BBC News, BBC, 3 Nov. 2020, www.bbc.com/news/world-45827430.

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