The Short Version: Paris Climate Agreement
The point of it all is to break down the headlines, the week’s most controversial issues, determine why a particular issue is important and reveal the best arguments on each side of the story.
In a recent iterations of The Short Version, Cleo Abram talked about how we could end partisan gerrymandering. This week, the topic is climate change and she asks whether the president have withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.
Note: In general, if you have missed any of Cleo’s blogs, just go to our Home Page, type “The Short Version” into Search (magnifying glass icon) and poof, like magic, all her blogs will appear.
On Thursday, President Trump announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change. You may have already heard about it. But that coverage may not have answered a couple key questions: what does the agreement do? Why is it important? And why did Trump decide to leave it?
The accord—once called the first universal climate deal—aims to curb global warming by keeping the global average temperature under 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. From 2015 to 2017, 195 nations signed the agreement as part of an effort “to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.”
Why is it important?
No matter what our global politics look like today or tomorrow, the planet is warming. Studies of peer-reviewed articles on global warming show that 99.99% indicate that global warming is caused primarily by human activity. (Scientists refer to this as anthropogenic climate change.)
Certain market trends, advocacy, and policies in other parts of government continue to combat environmental changes and are largely untouchable by the president. But President Trump’s decision on the Paris agreement matters immensely. As climate reporter Brad Plumer put it, “After all, if we want to halt climate change, it’s not enough for US emissions to continue to drop slowly or flatline. They have to drop dramatically. That would’ve been a huge challenge even if Hillary Clinton had been elected president — she was mainly planning to expand some of Obama’s EPA programs at the margins. But it now looks extremely unlikely under Trump.”
Should President Trump have withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement?
More about Cleo Abram:
Cleo grew up in Washington D.C., lives in New York City, and loves to visit her parents in Telluride. She authors “The Short Version,” a newsletter that explains each week’s most important issue and both sides of the debate around it.
Cleo is a digital strategist now working at Vox, a general interest news site for the 21st century. Its mission is simple: Explain the news. Politics, public policy, world affairs, pop culture, science, business, and more.
Cleo’s work focuses on ways to share, educate, and inform using online platforms. While in college at Columbia University, she guided the school’s entrance into online education through her role as the youngest elected representative to the Columbia Senate, which makes university-wide policy.
She continued her work on online education at TED-Ed, the educational branch of the nonprofit, building new programs and online tools to support high school teachers worldwide.
Continuing her work with TED, Cleo founded and led an early TEDx conference, the organization’s community-specific series.
Most importantly, Cleo loves to ski.
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