What Is the Paris Climate Agreement and What Happens Next?

  • 2017-06-05
  • Wired

The Paris Agreement was a hard-fought achievement, developed with a loose-fitting framework so as to allow individual countries to develop their own climate strategies.

It was designed not to spook the world's biggest polluters away from the table and to open a dialogue between nations on an international issue. And, while it was criticised for being too lax, it was a step towards a unified front against climate change.

China and India, countries that were initially assumed to be against such a climate deal, have become some of its more steadfast supporters - now more than ever, in contrast with the United States' decision.

In a statement released by a foreign ministry spokesperson, China has maintained its support for the Paris Accord:

"The general trend of green, low-carbon and sustainable development advocated by the Paris Agreement coincides with China's policy of promoting ecological advancement. However the other countries may change, China will continue to pursue innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, bear in mind its domestic requirements for sustainable growth, step up concrete efforts to deal with climate change and faithfully implement the Paris Agreement."

While the Paris Agreement holds no legal obligation, Trump's decision to rescind the pledge of his predecessor, Barack Obama, leaves the United States in a tenuous position on the world stage. It joins a select group of countries that have refused to sign the Accord - Nicaragua, as it believed the deal wasn't strict enough, and Syria, which, at the time of signing, was divided by civil war.