It’s not wise for the U.S. to cede global leadership on curbing carbon emissions while Alaska witnesses the impacts of dramatic warming, says Mike Sfraga of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Polar Initiative and the University of the Arctic’s Institute for Arctic Policy.
On June 1, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, a landmark deal reached by 197 countries in 2015 that seeks to limit global temperature increase to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
“We’re getting out,” Trump said at the news conference. “But we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”
Though expected, the United States’ decision to withdraw from the agreement sent shock waves around the world, with many expressing anger and frustration.
“The science on climate change is perfectly clear: we need more action, not less,” said United Nations environment chief Erik Solheim. “Every nation has a responsibility to act and to act now.”
For those in the Arctic, where climate change is destabilizing coastlines, thawing permafrost and limiting access to food and resources, international cooperation and action is urgently needed. As the United States prepares to pull out, those on the frontline are facing an even more uncertain future.
Arctic Deeply recently spoke with Mike Sfraga, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Polar Initiative and co-director of the University of the Arctic’s Institute for Arctic Policy, about how the U.S. absence from the Paris Agreement will affect climate change mitigation in the Arctic and the U.S.’s relationship with other Arctic nations.
Picture credit:::Patterns of ice and snow are seen on the Reid Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.AFP/SERGI REBOREDO/PICTURE ALLIANCE/DPA