US move to pull out of Paris climate pact could add 0.3 degrees of warming: UN
President Donald Trump has announced America’s shock withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, prompting a backlash and throwing efforts to slow global warming into serious doubt.world Updated: Jun 02, 2017 19:01 IST
The US withdrawal from the Paris climate pact could “in a worst case scenario” add a 0.3 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures over the 21st century, the United Nations said on Friday.
The head of the World Meteorological Organization’s atmospheric research and environment department, Deon Terblanche, underscored however that the likely impact of US President Donald Trump’s widely-condemned decision remains far from clear.
“We haven’t run new models overnight but the indications are that it could be in the worst case scenario in the order of 0.3 degrees Celsius,” Terblanche told reporters in Geneva, referring to a possible rise over pre-industrial temperatures.
“That is the worst case scenario and this is probably not what will happen,” he added.
Under the Paris deal agreed in 2015, world nations vowed steps to keep the worldwide rise in temperatures “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial times.
Trump announced on Thursday at the White House his administration would immediately stop implementing the “bad” 195-nation accord brokered by his predecessor Barack Obama in 2015 in tandem with Chinese leaders.
The fight against climate change is “unstoppable” and nations should stick to the landmark Paris accord, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said after the US chose to exit the deal.
“Climate change is undeniable and it is one of the biggest threats to our present world, to the future of our planet,” Guterres told journalists on the sidelines of a conference in Saint Petersburg.
“On the other hand, climate action is unstoppable and I urge governments around the world to stay the course, to remain committed to the implementation of the Paris agreement to the benefit of all of us,” he said, adding he was “deeply convinced” that US “states, cities, the business community, the civil society will also remain engaged, will bet in the green economy”.
Terblanche cautioned “it is still fairly early days” to assess the impact of Trump’s “complex announcement”.
UN officials also stressed that the deal was structured to require action from multiple levels of government, including municipal, regional and federal authorities.
With some US cities and states immediately voicing support for the Paris deal following Trump’s announcement, it is unlikely that the country as a whole will see zero implementation of the pact in real terms.
It will take several years before the world “will have a proper understanding of what the implications are” of the US withdrawal, Terblanche said.
The climate expert said WMO would not be complacent or overly discouraged, pledging to continue publishing evidence-based research highlighting the threats facing the planet.
“We will continue to make sure that the scientific knowledge is out there” in hopes of shaping better policy decisions, Terblanche said.
China and the European Union have swiftly moved to fill the leadership void on the Paris climate pact left by the US pullout.
First Published: Jun 02, 2017 18:55 IST