Pols 285; Section 02
United States v. Paris Climate Accord
People have begun to pay closer attention to climate change because the polar vortex, that usually surrounds the North Pole, has shifted down, extending the harsh cold of winter into the spring season. According to Mark Fischetti from Scientific American (2016), this phenomenon has occurred due to ice in the Arctic Ocean melting in the summer, warming the ocean. The ocean then radiates that heat up into the atmosphere, disrupting the polar vortex and causing it to weaken and move, changing weather patterns. Notable changes in the weather have people growing more concerned with climate change and seeking action to further prevent harm to the Earth. However, the United States has refused to join global efforts to prevent rising temperatures in the recent Paris Climate Accord becoming the only nation not involved in said agreement. Using International Relation theories, such as Realism, Neoliberal Institutionalism, and Constructivism, we can analyze and explain why the United States has refused to join the Paris Climate Accord.
Humans having an impact on the environment has been speculated by few since early Greek times, but many deemed this notion as impossible for many centuries. Interest in the Earth’s climate didn’t arise until Joseph Fourier, a physicist and mathematician from France, proposed a theory that energy enters through the atmosphere, but stays trapped inside, which isn’t accurate but established a basis for global warming. Years later, John Tyndall, an Iris Scientist, tested out what types of gases affected the atmosphere, to which he found out that CO2 was the one that acted more like a “sponge.” “Many greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere for a long time (many decades to centuries) and hence they affect the radiative forcing on long-time scales.” (David Carson, 1996). In 1930, it was calculated by Stewart Callendar that the Earth has warmed up by North America and the North Atlantic region a bit, especially because of the Industrial Revolution because of producing an excessive amount of CO2. This put that the Earth was warming into effect. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1958 was one of the first established laboratories to monitor climate change. This institution hired Charles Keeling who created the “Keeling Curve” that showed a graph of climate patterns. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, people grew more concerned with climate as the weather during this time became extreme starting with lower temperatures and then rising in the next decade. Because of this, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1989 to study climate change’s political and economic impacts with science. Then in 1997, Kyoto Protocol was created and signed by various countries to reduce greenhouse gases, but the U.S backed out of in 2001 because it didn’t benefit the country economically. The next attempt to help reduce clim...