Former President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, says the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation is a threat to the ‘whole planet and the US itself’.
His criticism follows an ‘unprecedented’ wildfires raging across the western United States.
It has emerged that the wildfires which started on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, are currently scorching 12 western US states.
The BBC reported Saturday that the “worst affected are Oregon, California and Washington, where entire towns have been destroyed”.
“Authorities say more than half a million people in the US state of Oregon are fleeing the deadly wildfires that are raging across the Pacific Northwest”, the report added.
Mahama's position on the fires
Commenting on the incident on his Facebook page, Mr. John Mahama attributed the current fires and the recent dust from the Sahara Desert to climate change.
According to the former Ghana Head of State, the Caribbean, US and other Asian nations are also experiencing more hurricanes and typhoons “due to warming from the seas”.
He, however, believes that the US government is abdicating its leadership role in the fight against climate change.
“I’ve been watching CNN reports of fire raging across twelve Western US States. This has covered the whole western seaboard in smoke and haze. Also this year, dust from the Sahara Desert blew across the Atlantic and reached as far as the United States
“More hurricanes and typhoons are being born due to warming of the seas and these are pounding the Carribean and US, and on the other side of the world, Asian and SE Asian nations
“It is difficult to understand how the US Government does not see that its withdrawal from the Climate Change Agreement and subsequent repeal of regulations limiting emissions and other environmental controls threaten our whole planet and the US itself. And it abdicates its leadership role in the fight against climate change”, Mr. Mahama's position blamed.
United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement
On June 1, 2017, United States President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would cease all participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation, and begin negotiations to re-enter the agreement “on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers”, or form a new agreement.
In withdrawing from the agreement, Trump stated that “The Paris accord will undermine (the U.S.) economy”, and “puts (the U.S.) at a permanent disadvantage”. Trump stated that the withdrawal would be in accordance with his America First policy.
In accordance with Article 28 of the Paris Agreement, a country cannot give notice of withdrawal from the agreement before three years of its start date in the relevant country, which was on November 4, 2016, in the case of the United States.
On November 4, 2019, the administration gave a formal notice of intention to withdraw, which takes 12 months to take effect. So, the earliest possible effective withdrawal date by the United States cannot be before November 4, 2020, four years after the Agreement came into effect in the United States and one day after the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
The White House later clarified that the U.S. will abide by the four-year exit process. Until the withdrawal takes effect, the United States may be obligated to maintain its commitments under the Agreement, such as the requirement to continue reporting its emissions to the United Nations.