The United States is on track to achieve the goals set by the Paris climate agreement, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw the country from the deal, the UN secretary general said Thursday.
Following the announcement of Donald Trump in June 2017, cities, states and businesses across the country have pledged to honor the goals set in the French capital at the end of 2015. “There are hopes that regardless of the government’s position, the United States could be able to meet the commitments made in Paris as a country,” UN chief Antonio Guterres told reporters.
“We have seen in the cities, and we have seen in many states, a very strong commitment to the Paris agreement, so that some signs are even in a better direction than was the case recently,” Guterres said.
Under the agreement, the United States committed itself, under the leadership of the Obama administration, to a reduction of 26% to 28% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 compared to to 2005. Nearly 200 countries and organizations had signed the agreement in Paris, after intense negotiations, pledging to reduce their carbon emissions.
President Trump had justified his withdrawal, which provoked an international outcry, on what he calls a “bad deal” for the US economy.
It will take about 4 years for the United States’ exit from the Paris agreement to become effective. However, the Trump administration has other levers to hobble the fight against global warming, as reported Thursday a New York Times article, indicating that the White House is preparing to relax the regulations on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption of vehicles.
According to a spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), quoted anonymously by the New York Times, the White House should present a plan to ease current regulations, which would be a victory for the automotive industry and potentially lead to reduced requirements on these topics globally.
The international community wants to limit the rise of temperatures to 2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era but the boss of the UN warned that more efforts were needed to reach this goal by 2020. Climate change is “the most systemic threat to the human species,” Antonio Guterres warned, adding that recent data on extreme weather events have shown that “2017 has been (a year) full of climate chaos”.
The UN chief plans to hold a major summit next year to take stock of the progress made in implementing the climate agreement. The presence of the American president is more than uncertain.