By Wisdom Mumera
COP23 takes place next month in Fiji with the United States (US) and Syria as the only remaining nations not part of the Paris Agreement after Nicaragua recently agreed to join in the climate action.
This would be cause for celebrations were it not for the fact that the US is the world’s second highest emitter of carbon dioxide after China.
According to media reports in 2015, the US “released 5.1 million kilotons of carbon dioxide, more than all 28 European Union countries combined, and makes up almost a sixth of all global emissions”.
To put this into perspective it would take industrialised nations such as Canada over 10years to match the US; New Zealand 154 years and Iceland a staggering 1007 years.
This means that despite Nicaragua finally signing into the Paris Agreement, COP23 is still faced with the enormous challenge of an absent US.
Statistical information on emissions provides the starkest reality of how the numerical multiplicity of nations in the Paris Agreement does not translate into a comprehensive effort against pollution and climate change.
According to Climate Tracker, global temperatures will have reached 4.6° by 2100 if trends continue at the current pace. If the stipulated Paris Agreement maximums are reached the temperature will be a lower 3.3°.
The US as an emitter does more damage to the globe warranting less of rhetoric amongst those angry at Trump and more of diplomatic negotiation to bring understanding and agreement.
The world may welcome Nicaragua into the Paris family but as long as the US is allowed to continue along the same path of emissions, progress is set to be banal and minute.
According to a CNN report former President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the Agreement, said the decision to exit the Paris Agreement by the Trump administration would hurt American workers, saying “the nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created.”
The reality is that no one will ultimately benefit as the repercussions of the gradual global warming has no atmospheric boundaries. Sadly, the negative the effects will be felt more by the same poor developing nations such as Nicaragua.
It is thus crucial that the members attending COP23 find means and ways for the US to rejoin the Paris Agreement.
According to some media reports in America, some Mayors and Governors have promised to disregard Trump and implement the commitments of the Accord. Members need to target these cooperative individuals to ratchet the pressure on Trump as they seek to advance the aims and ambitions of the Paris Agreement in Fiji.