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0px; font: 12.0px Baskerville; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 14.0px}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}span.s2 {letter-spacing: 0.3px}In 2014, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) initiated the Paris Agreement. Its aim is to charter a united course towards tackling Climate Change based on the belief that global warming is man-made.

197 member states attended the conference and after 4 years of activity, there are now 196 signatories. The only remaining abstention from the Paris Agreement is the United States of America (USA).  While the USA was initially one of the states leading the Paris Agreement, the recent change in political leadership has lead to a controversial change of direction, as President Donald Trump has expressed doubts as to whether climate change is man-made. Following the departure of the USA from the agreement, China may seize the opportunity to take the leadership role in the worlds war against climate change.The UNFCCC was formed amid UN talks concerning the dangerously high levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and methane, which are generated as a result of everyday actions such as burning fossil fuels when using a car, or the release of CFCs as a cooling agent in our refrigerators. The recent withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Agreement has posed a major setback for the convention.

The UNFCCC believes that it is essential the USA attempt to combat climate change through participation in the agreement. As the 2nd largest contributor to global pollution annually, Americas carbon footprint is huge. This is the first influence on the UNFCCCs perspective. America holds such a large stake in the marketing and usage of fossil fuels that even with the participation of every other country in the Paris Agreement, improvements to drastically change the course of the currently increase global warming would be difficult. As arguably the most powerful nation in the world, the USAs withdrawal may go beyond its own nation. As a role model to many other countries, there is a possibility that other states will follow in the USAs path of actively avoiding climate change. This is another reason why as such a powerful nation, it is imperative for the UNFCCC the USA participates in the agreement.

 Should the perspective that the USA re-sign the Paris Agreement be put into action, there would finally be a concerted action nationally and globally aiming to prevent climate change. At a national level the American government would have to begin implementing regulations to help limit CO2 emissions. They can also provide incentives in the form of subsidies to encourage a shift from fossil fuel dependant industries to clean energy based companies. Negatively, it may result in governments diverting resources from other critical industries such as health care and infrastructure. On a global scale, once all countries put their heads together and commit towards the Paris Agreement, positive results may begin to emerge within the next few years. This may begin with the slowing down of global warming allowing for time to develop scientific technology in order to hopefully halt and potentially reverse the effects of climate change.

A strong focus on climate change to achieve stable interactions between humans and ecosystems may also halt ongoing conflicts around the globe as nations come together to tackle a common cause.The USA took a sudden change in perspective over climate change following the election of President Donald Trump. Throughout President Obama’s administration, the USA was a important signatory of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and was aware of the effects of climate change as a global and national issue. Currently, the United States has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement and disregards climate change as a national defence issue. This was a major setback for the UNFCCC, as USA contributes to 15% of global carbon emissions, the second highest in the world. President Trump believes that the recent spike in global warming is naturally provoked and not caused by humans.

 His perspective on the Paris Agreement is that climate change is not real and not worth his efforts to combat and has thus withdrawn from the agreement. He commented, “I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. It could be warming, and it’s going to start to cool at some point”. His skeptical opinions on climate change are an influence on his perspective.

Although contradicting scientific evidence, Trump believes the large fluctuations in global climate readings are a result of natural geological patterns occurring throughout history. Another influence on his perspective is Trump’s self-interest mindset. Trumps actions are favourable towards America’s interest as opposed to that of the world. He is forthright about this opinion as his election campaign slogan is “America first”. By not actively supporting the Paris Agreement, Trump is protecting business assets, as industrial goods play a large role in America’s economy.

This influences his perspective on the Paris Agreement as the agreement may bolster the renewable energy industry and potentially damage international relations and trade partnerships bonded by fossil fuels which contribute to a large amount of America’s income. Should the perspective that the USA do not need to play a role in the Paris Agreement would be heavily harmful to the environment. Nationally, it may mean short term benefits to the US such as the continuation of fossil fuel related transactions. However, it is probable that eventually the USA will be effected by the social impacts of climate change such as agricultural degradation or infrastructural damage. Once this becomes the first priority of America, action will begin to be taken possibly through the signing of the Paris Agreement, however at a much later stage with the consequence of irreversible damages to the environment. The global implications of America refraining from signing the Paris Agreement are just as dire. The withdrawal by America, previously one of the leading country in the initiative may lead to the withdrawal many other developing countries due to a loss in faith in the initiative.

This is unless China or another powerful nation can the role the USA played. America will also continue to be one of the worlds largest CO2 emitters as they will not put regulations in place. Subsequently these will lead to a increase in global warming.The exit of the USA from the Paris Agreement caused upset and anxiety around the globe. However one nation may have benifited from its withdrawal, China. They see the withdrawal of the USA from the agreement as an opportunity to take leadership. China has already began to step up to fill the gap in leadership left by the USA.

The main influence is the opportunities that this role poses for China both economically and diplomatically. “As the USA looses good will, China is building it.” Alex Wang, an environmental law professor at UCLA commented. President Xi has seen this opportunity as an opening for implications to expand the green energy industry. China has intentions to invest $360 billion (USD) into the renewable energy industry by 2020 and aims to pioneer the green energy industry alongside the Paris Agreement, and the worlds efforts to combat climate change.

As quoted by President Xi, China are in the “driving seat” in terms of “international cooperation” regarding climate change.The consequences of neglecting the existing scientific data on the impact of human actions on climate change would be potentially devastating harm to planet affecting not just my generation but generations to come. Due to this I share the view of the UNFCCC in that a united approach of all individuals and nations is required to tackle climate change. As part of the UWC movement, I have been exposed to an echo-chamber believing in the human influence on climate change.  Having been part of humanities units on renewable energy, and projects such as the exhibition in grade 5 I have a solidified view on the human impact on climate change. UWC are wholeheartedly devoted to being as green a campus as possible and for any member of the community it would be very difficult to see past our effort on climate change. UWC also has strong views on the unification of nations in order to tackle a common cause.

This is evident in the strong service system across campuses. Throughout the course of researching, I have held the same perspective on this issue. If anything the knowledge of the drastically increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere, of which America plays a large part, has reaffirmed my views. However the research has led me to deeper understand of what motivates opinions which are against the theory of man-made impact on climate change, such as those of President Trump. I believe that as such a large stakeholder in the future of climate change it is imperative that Trump begin to acknowledge our effects on climate change and put efforts towards combating climate change in methods as simple as signing the Paris Climate Change Agreement in order to regulate carbon emissions.

This is highlighted perfectly by the former UN Security General Ban Ki-Moon, “We are the first generation to be able to end poverty, and the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Future generations will judge us harshly if we fail to uphold our moral and historical responsibilities”. I have already began to attempt to enforce my perspective on a personal level. Everyday choices such as taking public transport and biking are already part of my conscious attempt to play my part in combatting climate change. On a local and hopefully eventually national level I am part of projects aiming in preventing climate change. I am a part of the EastSolarInitiative whom aim to implicate solar-voltaic panels into UWCSEA East’s energy system saving 173,625 kilograms of CO2 annually.

In the future I intend to enter the Technopreneur challenge aiming to implicate a new and revolutional type of renewable energy, piezoelectricity.

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