How Europe is combating Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement

US National security adviser H.R. McMaster recently denied that Donald Trump is reconsidering his widely criticised decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement.

When Trump made the announcement in June of his America First agenda, the world was shocked. In response, a number countries increased their commitment to the Paris climate agreement.

The agreement, which aims to limit the rising global temperature to maximum of 2 °C above pre-industrial levels in order to curb human-induced climate change, has been signed by every country, with the exception of Syria, who are in the midst of a civil war, and Nicaragua, who felt that the accord didn’t go far enough.

At first, Trump tried to renegotiate the agreement, even though the agreement allowed each country to decide for themselves how to cut carbon emissions, but the European Union rejected this and opted to bypass the White House altogether by working with state and local governments.

This is because, in many cases, state environmental laws are often stricter than those at the federal level, according to The PanEuropean, a news site which aims to connect and inform European citizens regardless of political affiliation.

So, four months down the line, how is the European commitment to the climate accord looking?

France

Back in June, President Emmanuel Macron was trending on Twitter after he used Trump’s own rhetoric against him in a speech about making “our planet great again”, a statement he echoed at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September.

France is now working with China on climate change policy and strengthening the Paris climate agreement. They are standing strong on the principle that there is no renegotation for the accord.

The UK

Prime Minister Theresa May originally declined to condemn Trump’s decision and the recently released post-Brexit foreign policy plan makes no mention of climate change, leading some to believe that the UK may be heading down the same path as the US.

However, at the UNGA, May argued that the US’s withdrawal could be as big a threat to global security as North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. For the moment, the UK’s commitment is up in the air.

Germany

At the time of writing, Germany was preparing for their elections and as the results are unknown, so too is the climate policy.

Although they are currently set to miss two key targets on carbon emissions and renewable energy; the good news is that many of the parties support phasing out coal-use whilst finding replacement jobs for those working in the industry, and expanding the use of renewable energy.

Angela Merkel also promised that she would find a way to meet Germany’s 2020 targets on greenhouse gases, while some other parties laid out plans for a Climate Protection Law.

The EU

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker recently outlined Europe’s leading role in the fight against climate change and insisted that Europe would not back down from its commitments.

So, what do you think of these European countries committment to tackling climate change? Does it go far enough? Does it go too far? Let us know in the comments below.

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