If President Donald Trump decides to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, as many news outlets are reporting, it will have a devastating impact on the effort to reduce man-made global warming.
The U.S. accounts for 21 percent of the total reductions that would be achieved before 2030 by the 2015 accord, according to Climate Interactive, a non-profit Washington, D.C. think tank backed by Bill and Melinda Gates’ New Venture Fund that focuses on educating the public about climate change. China, the only country that produces more emissions than the U.S., accounts for 27 percent.
The goal of the Paris agreement was to prevent global temperatures from rising this century to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a threshold that scientists say could bring significant drought, rapid sea level rises, and severe storms.
If the U.S. pulls out of the deal and continues its current trajectory of emissions, the world would warm an additional 0.3°C by 2100, the authors of Climate Interactive’s analysis wrote.
That doesn’t account for the ripple effects that the U.S.’s action will have on other countries — or the damage that has already been done by the U.S. abdicating its leadership on the issue.