The election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. president has cast a shadow over the Paris Agreement, which requires all parties to cooperate in taking countermeasures against global warming. This is because the president-elect has declared that the United States will withdraw from the pact on the grounds that "man-made global warming is a hoax."
However, it is a common view in the international community that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through the consumption of fossil fuel have caused global warming. Abnormal climate and natural disasters caused by global warming have dealt a serious blow to the poor, bringing about refugees and conflicts. Moreover, these problems could spark terrorism. The United States cannot be spared from the impact of global warming.
If the United States joins hands with other countries in combating global warming, it will eventually benefit the country. It is intolerable for the United States to break away from this historical agreement that has been reached after years of negotiations.
During his election campaign, Trump also pledged that the United States would suspend financial contributions to U.N. programs aimed at supporting global warming countermeasures among developing countries. Moreover, he declared that Washington would abolish the Clean Power Plan to reduce CO2 emissions from thermal power plants, which was adopted by the government of President Barack Obama. By doing so, Trump is aiming to protect the coal sector and other industries in the U.S.
The Paris Agreement came into force less than one year after the pact was adopted because the United States and China, the world's largest emitters of CO2, ratified the accord this past September. Under a clause in the agreement, no party can break away from the pact over a four-year period after it came into effect.
Still, Trump can ease domestic restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions and suspend U.S. financial contributions to the United Nations. Such moves would adversely affect worldwide efforts against global warming.
It has been a global trend for countries to pursue economic growth by taking measures to transform themselves into a low-carbon society, such as the introduction of renewable energy.
Countries that participated in the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the first session of the Conference of the Parties to the Paris Agreement in Morocco jointly called for the highest commitment to combat global warming, noting that this trend is irreversible.
U.S. companies such as Nike and DuPont have urged Trump not to withdraw the country from the Paris Agreement, saying, "The right action now will create jobs and boost U.S. competitiveness."
Leading the world toward a low-carbon society is consistent with Trump's pledge to "make America great again."
A road map toward setting detailed rules on the Paris Agreement by 2018 was adopted at the COP22. By steadily making progress on the negotiations to that end, the international community should demonstrate its will to protect the Paris Agreement in a bid to urge Trump to change his mind.
Japan, which was late in ratifying the Paris Agreement, should increase its presence in the international community by stepping up its measures to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions and by continuing to urge Trump to respect the pact.