The fate of the European Union’s global warming commitments negotiated as part of the Paris Protocol may be in jeopardy as result of Brexit. The U.S. on the other hand, should take a page out of the U.K.’s playbook and not only withdraw from the Paris agreement, but also withdraw participation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change altogether.
Last December, leaders from around the world convened at the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris. The agreement reached at the end of the Paris conference set a target of achieving a 2 degree Celsius warming threshold with intentions to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
To achieve that goal, countries made individual commitments to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, largely centered on shifting away from affordable natural resources such as coal, oil, and natural gas, and toward more expensive, intermittent, subsidy-dependent renewables.
Known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, the Obama administration pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025.
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The EU, on the other hand, submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions on behalf of its member countries, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
How the U.K.’s exit affects the EU’s commitment remains to be seen. As Bloomberg BNA reports:
Without the U.K. included, the 40-percent, EU-wide reduction target will be more difficult, since the U.K. was expected to have a more ambitious internal target, with the Committee on Climate Change, an autonomous U.K. government advisory body, recommending a 57-percent domestic reduction in emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030.
Because carbon dioxide emitting energy sources provide more than 80 percent of the entire world’s energy consumption, decarbonizing the energy economy will drive up energy costs, costs which must be absorbed or passed on. Costs that hit families and businesses over and over again.