With Donald Trump's climate rollback, how will America fulfil its commitments to Paris deal?

Namrata Tripathi
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United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday (March 28) issued executive orders to roll back former president Barack Obama's signature measure against global warming called the Clean Power Plan.

Trump, remaining true to his industrial preferences over climate, said that rolling back the Obama-era regulations would put an end to the "war on coal" and "job-killing regulations," due to which oil drillers and coal miners are suffering.

The executive order directs the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin a formal "review" to roll back Obama's plan under which states were mandated to reduce carbon emissions from power plants and, therefore, help the US fulfil its commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement — global climate change accord reached by almost 200 countries — signed in December 2015.

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Despite his promises made during the presidential elections last year, Trump has not yet withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement. This means that the US is still obligated to fulfil its commitments made in the Paris deal; however, with the Clean Power Plan gone, how is America planning to do that?

Trump's order on Tuesday raised international concerns on whether the US will do its bit to fight global warming. 

European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete expressed "regret" about Trump's decision of rolling back Clean Power Plan, which he termed as the "main pillar" of the USA's climate policy, in a statement to the Washington Post.

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"Now, it remains to be seen by which other means the United States intends to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement," Cañete said.

"Despite all the current geopolitical uncertainties, the world can count on Europe to maintain global leadership in the fight against climate change. We will stand by Paris, we will defend Paris, and we will implement Paris," the official added.

In the Paris Climate pact of 2015, more than 195 governments from across the world pledged to take actions to maintain Earth's warming levels "well below" a danger zone of two-degree Celsius. The US, as per the deal, is committed to reducing its carbon emissions significantly by the year 2025.

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The Clean Power Plan was an important part of the US commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 26 to 28 per cent below their 2005 levels by the year 2025. 

The international diplomats are set to raise their concerns of the USA's commitments towards climate change under the Trump Presidency in an upcoming gathering in May on the Paris climate agreement.

"We will have to wait to see how the Trump administration explains its actions to other countries when they meet in Bonn, Germany, in May," Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said.

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