Grand Challenges: After-Effect of Trump's Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement

The arguments of the US administration about the rejection of the Paris Agreement go beyond the world development mainstream. However, the American public understands its importance. After all, we are not talking about the decisions of any particular summit, be it Paris or another, but about very serious grand challenges to all mankind, said Sergey Zilitinkevich, Research Professor at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, in an interview with

On June 1, Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, thus fulfilling one of its main campaign promise and at the same time striking at the legacy of Barack Obama. The new US president explained his decision by the fact that this agreement would lead to the loss of 6.5 million jobs in the USA during a quarter of century.

According to Zilitinkevich, the present US president clearly does not show any interest to the environment protection, he has other more important priorities. There was already a period, when America ignored the Kyoto Protocol. "Donald Trump now just wants to please his electorate, he plays to the audience. But if you take the American science, its achievements are indisputable. Scientists of this country perfectly know the problems of the environment. Therefore, a return to the right decisions in Washington is a matter of time. Perhaps it will be Trump himself, or the next American president. There is no other choice", Zilitinkevich said.

The very process of climate warming in normal conditions can take tens of thousands of years. Another thing is when it happens rapidly.

"Many do not understand how serious the problem is, they say that if, for example, Russia's climate becomes warmer, it would be quite good. But in Russia, 60% of the territory is under permafrost. If it melts, then it will be a huge ecological catastrophe. The Siberian taiga exists only due to permafrost. If it is not there, the taiga would burn out and cannot be restored - it would be transformed into an inferior steppe" – the scientist said.

According to Zilitinkevich, we can observe first serious sign of global warming. "Now the flow of Siberian rivers has sharply increased, and indirect indicators show that this is a sign of a massive permafrost melting, which supplies additional water. In such transitional periods, there are other symptoms: extreme winds, rains and so on".

But this is only one of the indicators of the threat to the global environment, and there are many such indicators.

The heart of the matter is that humanity has already become a natural factor that influences the climate on the scale of the whole planet.  The temperature in big cities is at least by 5-6 degrees warmer than in the surrounding areas. But the main problem is not the warming, but the pollution of the environment," the scientist said.

In mega-cities there is a deterioration of air quality, which annually takes the lives of 5 million people. "No modern war brings so many casualties. First of all, we are talking about China and South America, where mega-cities create monstrous environmental pollution".

"In China, the environment protection is now the number one problem, although a few years ago almost no attention was paid to environmental issues. The Chinese build an expensive network of observation stations to monitor and control the quality of the environment", Sergey Zilitinkevich said.

Unfortunately, the world community does not do everything that it could do if it acted together. “Environmental problems will be worsened and the future generation will have much more difficult tasks", the scientist concluded.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.