Two years ago this week, representatives from close to 200 countries gathered in the French capital and pledged to take decisive action on climate change.
Paris Agreement two years on: Who is taking the lead on climate change?
The Paris Agreement pushed signatories to reduce their carbon output and halt global warming below two degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
The deal was heralded as « the end of the era of fossil fuels » and « a victory for all of the planet » over the days that followed.
Yet some under 18 months later the United States, the world’s largest economy and second biggest carbon emitter, confirmed it was pulling out of the agreement.
While former President Barack Obama described the Paris accord as « best chance we have to save the one planet that we’ve got, » his successor, President Donald Trump, has been far from as complimentary.
The climate pact was shaped around voluntary commitments reviewed and reassessed every five years. But Trump has stated he sees the agreement as unfair to the US and bad for American jobs.
As things stand, the US will be the only country in the world not signed on to the accord when it completes the lengthy withdrawal process in 2020.
Mark Lynas, a British author, journalist and environmental activist who focuses on climate change, says Trump’s decision has only served to « galvanize » the rest of the world.
It’s also left the stage clear for other leaders to come to the fore on the issue.
French President Emmanuel Macron invited scientists, entrepreneurs and NGO workers to move to his country shortly after Trump announced the US would be walking away from the Paris text.
Macron also vowed to « Make Our Planet Great Again, » a pointed play on Trump’s « Make America Great Again » slogan. (CNN)