Paris climate agreement likely to go into effect this year
The climate agreement reached in Paris last year will almost certainly go into effect this year, according to a report from the government of the Marshall Islands.
A tally by the Pacific island nation found that countries representing 54 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are planning to ratify the pact this year, including the United States, China and Peru.
That’s just barely below the pact's threshold. The deal mandates that it take effect 30 days after emitters of 55 percent of the world's greenhouse gas sign on.
If it takes effect, it will be difficult for Republican Donald Trump to undo if he becomes president.
“What we agreed in Paris at the end of last year will likely now have the force of the law by the end of this year,” Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine wrote in a statement about the report from her foreign ministry.
“This is a big recognition of the urgency with which we must now get on with the job.”
The other requirement for ratification is that at least 55 nations ratify it, a threshold that the Marshall Islands expects to be exceeded.
The agreement, reached in December, includes emissions cuts or limits that each country determined on its own, such as the United States’s pledge to reduce emissions 26 percent to 28 percent.
But the emissions cuts are not binding on the countries that sign onto the pact, so it is up their individual governments and international pressure to meet the goals.
Trump has said he will pull the U.S. out of the agreement. But how can he pull us out if the Senate never votes us in?
Obama will seek to fufill U.S. targets for emissions cuts by executive order and new EPA regulations. There will be no advise and consent vote in the Senate – even many Democrats would vote against the accord. So, by imperial decree, the president will seek to tie the U.S. to this ruinous regimen where we will reduce greenhouse gases by 25%.
If a President Trump could get the Congress to declare the agreement null and void, what are other countries going to do? Nothing. There is no enforcement of the agreement – only the word of governments that they will cut their emissions.
It is likely that the new EPA regulations on carbon emissions will still be in the courts when the next president takes office. Withdrawing those regulations should be one of the first things on Trump's agenda if he wins.