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In response to the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, IGES has compiled two data sheets "Reactions to the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement" and "Comparison between leaving the Kyoto Protocol by President George W. Bush and President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement".

Reactions to the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement

IGES Climate and Energy Area has gathered responses and comments from national and local governments, international organisations, leading companies/industry associations, NGOs, think tanks, etc. on the decision of the US to withdraw from the Paris Agreement announced by President Donald J. Trump on 1 June 2017 and compiled them into one tabulated list (it does not cover all the reactions and comments across the world, and the analysis below is within the scope of the list).

At the national level, comments came not only from developed countries such as G7 countries, Australia and New Zealand but also emerging countries such as China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Latin American countries. Almost all countries expressed their "disappointment" or “regret” against the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and stated that they would continue their commitments to the climate actions under the Paris Agreement regardless of the US decision. According to the press, Russian President Vladimir Putin said "I wouldn’t start to condemn President Trump" and Polish deputy minister of energy commended President Trump’s decision, there is no country which supported the US decision in their official statement.

Out of 50 states in the US, 16 states are against the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, with all of those states representing 22% of US greenhouse gas emissions and about 40% of US Gross Domestic Product (GDP). On the contrary, there is no US state that supports the decision.

Many leading companies, including energy and material-related companies, and industry associations including influential associations in Japan, Germany and the UK, expressed their "disappointment" and "regret" at the US decision, while indicating their support to the Paris Agreement, its emission reduction targets, and continuous commitments on climate actions. As a background to this, companies see climate change as a reality, and climate actions as investment opportunities. On the other hand, US coal industries expressed support for the decision by the Trump administration, but conversely there are no other companies that support the decision other than them.

Overall, there was no opinion that the US decision would cause the Paris Agreement to collapse nor that it would cause climate actions to be delayed. Also, a number of statements are using the phrase "decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement" rather than "withdraw from the Paris Agreement", which accurately reflects the situation that the US will not withdraw from the Paris Agreement immediately.

(Contact: ce-info@iges.or.jp)

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Comparison between leaving the Kyoto Protocol by President George W. Bush and President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement

President Trump's decision to pull back from international climate agreement is not new in American foreign policy actions. In 2001, President George W. Bush announced that the US would not implement the agreed Kyoto Protocol (KP). These two decisions seem to be the same, but the global state of affairs, reactions, and effect from the two are different. Most importantly, effect from Trump's decision is low.

Although the US remains in the top three largest contributor to the increasing emissions, its share to the current world's CO2 emissions is less than in 2001. In 2001, scientific evidence said that anthropogenic GHG emissions are likely to be the main cause of climate changes. After 15 years, science said it is almost certain.

Climate science has influenced progress in energy reform around the world and in the US, leading towards low-carbon economy. Installed capacity of wind energy in the world in 2016 has grown almost 20 times compared to 15 years ago. Solar energy promotion is even more impressive, having leapt almost 300 times more within 15 years. Contribution from both energies to the world electricity system has increased more than 17 times. In the US alone, contribution from solar and wind energies to the country's electricity generation system has increased 43 times. As a result, investment costs have continuously decreased.

Countries all over the world, cities, businesses, and the general public are aware and support these reforms. The Parties to the Agreement are acting much faster now than they did 15 years ago. While the KP saw only 33 Parties after 4 years of adoption and entered into force after 8 years, the Paris Agreement entered into force after 148 Parties ratified it within only a year. The Paris Agreement also has considerably less differentiation on Parties’ responsibility compared with the Kyoto Protocol.

Compared with reactions to the Bush administration’s decision, the Trump administration has received more, faster, and stronger backlash, and demand to reduce GHG emissions from almost all of its constituents and other countries. Moreover, the reactions are not pessimistic as they were 15 years ago, but voice their intent to act and stand up to the Paris Agreement.

The world in 2017 has stronger commitment and working environment to meet the climate agreement goals than it had in 2001. The data in the table have shown global economic transformation in line with climate actions is already happening and cannot be stopped.

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