Nov 5, 2019

Trump's ticking Paris clock

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. started the one-year clock this week to formally abandon the Paris climate deal.

One big question: Will the U.S. move affect other big polluters' climate efforts, especially as new national pledges under the pact come due next year?

  • Andrew Light of the World Resources Institute says the U.S. was a key player in getting other nations to put up meaningful pledges in the first round a half-decade ago.
  • The question now, he tells me, is to what extent other nations step forward and fill that role as countries craft their updated submissions.

Where it stands: The federal posture going forward depends on the 2020 election outcome. The NYT's Lisa Friedman reports that "supporters of the pact say they have to plan for a future without American cooperation."

Speaking of the election, every Democratic White House candidate has pledged to re-enter the pact, which can happen relatively fast under its rules.

  • One thing to watch, however, is if President Trump's move shakes loose how exactly the candidates would write the updated U.S. pledge (called a "nationally determined contribution").
  • The next U.S. target would extend through 2030, and Light says what's important is not only the targeted emissions-cutting level. “The next president is going to have to not only articulate a number, but explain how they can do this," he said.

The intrigue: Trump's rejection of Paris puts him at least rhetorically at odds with some major corporate interests.

  • But for all the chatter about K Street splitting with Trump on climate, two key groups — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable — kept a low profile yesterday.

What they're saying: If you asked the Chamber, you got this statement: "The Chamber supports U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement because greater collaboration between governments and businesses is essential to tackling the climate challenge."

  • It notes that they're an observer at UN climate talks and will keep working with overseas business partners on the matter.
  • The Business Roundtable, in response to a query, said: "Whether or not the U.S. is participating in this international agreement, Business Roundtable supports actions designed to address risks associated with the changing climate."

Go deeper: Trump begins formal withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement

Go deeper

Once a critic, Chamber of Commerce now backs Paris Climate Agreement

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Ahead of President Trump’s move this week to complete America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce quietly updated its position to support it.

Why it matters: This is the starkest reversal from the Chamber, America’s most powerful business lobby group, since it began pursuing a broader shift months ago to more readily acknowledge and engage on climate change.

Go deeperArrowNov 8, 2019

U.S. exit from Paris accord chips away at global climate commitment

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Trump administration's formal notice of its intent to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement drives another nail in the coffin of U.S. ambitions to fight climate change and pushes the world closer to a less stable future.

Why it matters: Because the U.S. ranks as the second-largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, its retreat from the global battle against climate change exacts a heavy toll. This decision weakens pressure on other countries to reduce emissions at a time of peak global temperatures and atmospheric carbon concentrations higher than at any point in human history.

Go deeperArrowNov 5, 2019

UN climate summit opens on heels of sobering emissions data

Photo: Pierre- Philippe Marcou/AFP via Getty Images

COP25, a big United Nations climate summit, opens Monday in Madrid, Spain.

Why it matters: It follows fresh reports in recent days showing how the world is far off track from even beginning the steep emissions cuts needed to meet the Paris agreement's goals.

Go deeperArrowDec 2, 2019