Donald Trump is gearing up to make a crucial decision: should the U.S. remain committed to the Paris climate agreement, or else withdraw from that accord altogether?
According to certain U.S. officials, Trump seems to favor the latter option.
But what would a U.S. withdrawal from this agreement represent on the global stage? America has long prided itself for being both a responsible leader and a moral beacon to the rest of the world. Should it choose to sever its pledge in combating climate change, such a move would place it behind the likes of North Korea, which has already signed itself on board to the Paris Agreement.
Indeed, North Korea has a history of supporting the fight against global warming. Prior to ratifying the Paris agreement, the rogue nation had also committed itself to the Kyoto Protocol—an international treaty which also aimed at curbing the world’s output of noxious greenhouse gases.
North Korea likewise made headlines by launching “a war on deforestation” back in 2015.
As a diplomat of North Korea put it, Kim Jong Un “has declared war on deforestation and has put forward a massive project to turn all the mountains of the country into mountains of gold, thickly wooded with trees.”
According to that diplomat, the nation plans to undertake a massive tree-planting program which will attempt to cut its greenhouse emissions by 37 percent.
If Trump decides to abandon the Paris climate agreement, America will join with two other nations—Syria and Nicaragua—as the only countries to have rejected the accord, while over 190 others have either signed or ratified it.
Yet Trump’s decision to abstain would nonetheless be in keeping with his past rhetoric.
In one of his most infamous tweets, Trump proposed that global warming was nothing but a scam “created by and for the Chinese.” And during the campaign, he promised that he would pull away from the Paris agreement within his first 100 days in office (a deadline we passed a few weeks ago).
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
But despite these remarks, Trump has yet to officially announce his decision regarding the agreement. In a recent comment to reporters, he mentioned that he’s currently listening to arguments from both sides.
His daughter, Ivanka Trump, is likely one of the few people in his inner circle now pushing the president to stay on board. She famously arranged for her father to meet with former Vice President Al Gore, along with actor and UN Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio, to discuss the dangers of climate change during the days leading up to Trump’s inauguration.
But Ivanka is not the only one pulling for Trump to honor the Paris agreement. In fact, most Americans likewise support it. As Alexandra Wilts wrote in an article for the Independent, “Nearly 70 percent of Americans, including a majority of people in all 50 states, support the Paris climate deal that Donald Trump is expected to withdraw from this week.”
That statistic demonstrates the sheer contrast between the views of the American public and those held by President Trump when it comes to climate change. But Trump is not alone in his skepticism. Other Republican lawmakers, as well as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, have also denied the science behind global warming.
Now that almost the entire world has come together to combat climate change, including even the most unlikely of countries—North Korea among them—America runs the risk of falling far behind the pack.
All depends, ultimately, on Trump’s decision. If he elects to pull out of the Paris agreement, North Korea may appear even more progressive than the U.S. in regards to climate change, which happens to be one of the most vital issues of our time.
Trump is expected to announce his decision this Thursday in the White House Rose Garden, at 3 p.m. EDT. Stay tuned.
[Featured Image by Wong Maye-E/AP Images]