I am watching the President make one of the worst decisions that he has ever made; pulling out of the Paris Agreement puts it at bar with Syria and Nicaragua (which has not signed because it does not go far enough).
The Paris Agreement has been signed by almost every country in the world to safeguard our future. It sets goals for countries to meet to decrease the number of pollutants in the air to deal with global warming. Experts believe that global warming will lead to an international refugee crisis because people in low-lying countries will be forced to migrate from their countries to others.
The problem is that international refugee law, as it stands now, does not offer protections for environmental refugees. To qualify for asylum as a refugee, a person must meet the persecution bar under one of six protected grounds, which do not include environmental refugees. I was recently a speaker at a panel discussing the issue at Stetson University College of Law. There are discussions to amend the Refugee Convention to allow victims of climate change to apply for refugee protections if they were truly subjected to persecution based on environmental issues. Applicants would be able to claim that they were persecuted by their government by the latter’s failure to protect the environment to protect them. This change would be cataclysmic and would be a major change in refugee law.
I think the decision was erroneous for many reasons. We are the world’s only remaining superpower and with us pulling out of the agreement, other countries will follow suit. International law is customary in nature, and such action will undoubtedly lead to major changes. It is enough for the United States not to sign the International Criminal Court’s treaty for many countries to refuse to ratify the convention. On a side note, this will be an issue in the 2018 election.
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