Before the horrible terrorist attacks in London, President Trump pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement was the big US news in Japan.
Just as with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the US leaving the Paris Agreement does not mean that the initiative is doomed, but the conspicuous absence of a major player such as the US will surely be felt.
Before I continue to summarize a little bit about NHK’s report (トランプ大統領 パリ協定脱退の方針を発表, 2 June 2017), I want to make two points clear:
One is that the US emits the 2nd highest amount of CO2 emissions in the world (15% of the global total), behind… drum roll… China! (at 30% of the global total). India is at 3rd place with approximately 7%. Since the US is the 2nd highest contributor of CO2 emissions in the world, you would think that its leader would step up and take some responsibility.
If a country emitting 15% of CO2 emissions drops out of the agreement, then what is to keep countries that emit less (like Japan at 4%) from wanting to participate? Those smaller countries add up quickly.
Second, not only did the participating countries rely on the US to reduce it’s CO2 gas emission, but they also relied on the US’s financial support. Participating in the Paris Agreement costs money–infrastructure needs to change, especially in areas like manufacturing and agriculture. Poorer countries participating in the agreement entered into the pact with the hopes of getting financial support from the US and other wealthy nations. The US is leaving the table and taking its wallet with it.
The title of the report from 2 June 2017 translates as “President Trump announces his plan to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.”
- The article drives home the fact that the US is the 2nd highest emitter of green house gasses behind China
- The article says that the US’s withdrawal will have a huge effect on the agreement
- Trump’s rational is that the agreement is unfair to American workers and manufacturers
- The article mentions that during his campaign, Trump was a Global Warming denier–so this is a reflection of his campaign promises
- Trump’s stance on the Paris Agreement is OPPOSITE of President Obama’s
- Trump is revisiting all environmental reforms that the Obama administration passed and will most likely repeal them
- Pulling out of the Paris Agreement fulfills the promise Trump made during an April 2017 speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (an old coal & steel city)
- Finally it shows the contradictory nature of the Trump-beast: at the last G7 summit in Italy Trump said that the environment was a very important thing and something that he is concerned a lot about. Which begs the question why pull out of the Paris Agreement?
Since the Tohoku Disaster, energy has been a key issue in Japan. Fukushima’s TEPCO nuclear reactor is still in a critical stage. Ten’s of thousands of Japanese people all over the country have been protesting against the further use of nuclear energy.
Cleaner energy, and hence cutting back on fossil fuel emissions, has been a hot topic in Japan. Seeing the US take a leadership role in the Paris Agreement would have encouraged Japanese people looking for greener energy sources in the future. The US leaving the Paris Agreement could lead to Abe LDP to re-consider its internal energy policies.