The United States is the only country withdrawing from the worldwide Paris climate agreement. U.S. liberals typically argue that we must rejoin, and I have no dispute with this. But liberal rhetoric often leaves the false impression that the Paris agreement represents a gold standard, attributable to U.S. “leadership” under President Barack Obama. Actually, the agreement is just one small step—and its weaknesses are substantively attributable to the negotiating position of the United States.

Scientific modeling shows the emissions reductions pledged in the agreement would result in a global temperature rise of 3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, well beyond the 1.5 degree increase that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates as the ceiling to avert some of the worst effects.

Worse, pledges under the Paris agreement are wholly voluntary—in large part due to U.S. pressure.

Read the full article at In These Times.

Basav Sen directs the Climate Policy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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