UCSF Sustainability Stories

Sophia Labeko

Gail Lee, Answers Questions About the Paris Agreement

Earlier this week, the US officially withdrew from the Paris Agreement, which aims at fighting climate change with the participating countries. Does this mean the US is no longer doing anything to combat climate change?

To better understand what this means we asked Gail Lee, Sustainability Director, to answer a few questions.

What does this exactly mean? What is the US losing by exiting this agreement?
Well, the Paris Agreement central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 C*. It also aims to strengthen countries’ ability to deal with the impacts of climate change and support them in their efforts.

By pulling out of the agreement, the US does not need to commit to any carbon reduction goals. The US has lost its leadership role in the world and is no longer an example for other countries to follow, thus weakening current commitments.

How do we continue to fight climate change? As an organization, state, country.
Luckily, We Are Still In was created in response to the announcement to pull out. It represents 3,927 leaders representing 159M people across 50 states that are still committed to the agreement. We Are Still In is the largest cross-section of the American economy yet, assembled in pursuit of climate action. UC is one of them!

It took four years to exit, will it take the same amount to rejoin?
If Biden wins, he will request that the US rejoin the Paris Agreement immediately. In response to the news, he tweeted “Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.”