U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement: Reasons, impacts, and China's response

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Applying qualitative and quantitative methods, this article explains the driving forces behind U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, assesses the impacts of this withdrawal on the compliance prospects of the agreement, and proposes how China should respond. The withdrawal undercuts the foundation of global climate governance and upsets the process of climate cooperation, and the impacts are manifold. The withdrawal undermines the universality of the Paris Agreement and impairs states’ confidence in climate cooperation; it aggravates the leadership deficit in addressing global climate issues and sets a bad precedent for international climate cooperation. The withdrawal reduces other countries’ emission space and raises their emission costs, and refusal to contribute to climate aid makes it more difficult for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Cutting climate research funding will compromise the quality of future IPCC reports and ultimately undermine the scientific authority of future climate negotiations. China faces mounting pressure from the international community to assume global climate leadership after the U.S. withdraws, and this article proposes that China should reach the high ends of its domestic climate targets under the current Nationally Determined Contributions; internationally, China should facilitate the rebuilding of shared climate leadership, replacing the G2 with C5. Meanwhile, China needs to keep the U.S. engaged in climate cooperation.




Zhang, H. B., Dai, H. C., Lai, H. X., & Wang, W. T. (2017). U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement: Reasons, impacts, and China’s response. Advances in Climate Change Research, 8(4), 220–225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.accre.2017.09.002

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