What Will the World Look Like if the U.S. Bails on the Paris Climate Deal? – Scientific American

Many scientists view the agreement as an essential step in preventing global catastrophe

Credit: Alex Morse Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

After weeks of speculation, the White House is expected to renege on America’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

It’s been less than a year since the U.S. formally endorsed the Paris accord, which has been ratified by 146 other nations since it was agreed upon in December 2015. The agreement calls on countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in a bid to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

Though the globe appears off-track to hit this target, many scientists view the deal as an essential step in preventing global catastrophes wrought by drought, devastating storms, coastal erosion and the decimation of aquatic ecosystems like coral reefs due to warming and ocean acidification. The Paris accord also establishes an international bargaining table for the energy industry, given the intimate ties between fossil fuel power plants and greenhouse gas emissions.

What would really happen if we pull out of this deal? What would the Earth look like in 10, in 20, in 50 years without U.S. involvement in the Paris accord? We asked a field of experts.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

(read more).

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