Trump intends to depart from the World Health Organization; effects of leaving the Paris Climate Agreement

Darvin Nelson, Features Editor

Since 1948, The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) has been working globally to promote health and improve medical research and access. On July 7, this year, Trump formally announced his intention to depart the U.S. from the W.H.O., despite being in the middle of a global pandemic.

President Trump blames the Chinese government for not doing enough to prevent the spread of the virus, and accuses the W.H.O. of covering up the early stages of the spread in China. “The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” Trump said in speech in May.  

The withdrawal notice was sent to the United Nations, and will take effect next year on July 6, 2021.

This action is similar to when Trump departed from the Paris Climate Agreement a few years ago. 

The Paris Climate Agreement is a global agreement, created in 2015, that commits almost 200 countries to limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Trump claimed that the goals of the agreement would hinder the job growth, manufacturing, and coal mining, natural gas, steel, and cement industries, according to Encyclopædia Britannica.

The Paris Agreement went into effect in 2016, the same year Trump was elected. In 2019, Trump announced the U.S.’s official departure from the agreement, which will be finalized this year, on November 4. 

The Climate Action Tracker (C.A.T.) says that “The Trump Administration’s intended withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement and its rollbacks of domestic climate policy will leave US greenhouse gas emissions at least 3% higher in 2030 than with the policies still in place. Nevertheless, the C.A.T. projects US emissions to be 2% lower than what we projected when Trump came to power, which is 13% below 2005 levels.”

Leaving the W.H.O. might be a dangerous step for the U.S., especially in the middle of a pandemic. Of course Trump would have to go through congress and other officials, but if this does go through, how could this affect coronavirus vaccine research and future health crisis? Would litigation ensue? Would this affect the UNF MedNexus?

U.S. health and the W.H.O. is entangled, as over 80 universities, research institutes, and government agencies collaborate with the W.H.O. More than 20 of these are within the C.D.C and National Institutes of Health, “where they focus on areas Congress has identified as priorities, ranging from biosecurity to travelers’ health, cancer, and smallpox.”

The C.D.C relies on the W.H.O. to process global information sharing, such as epidemiological data needed to prepare health systems and viral genomic sequences needed for tests, according to Foreign Policy. It was through the W.H.O. missions that scientists were given access to the epidemic in Wuhan, China.

“Abandoning our seat at the table leaves the United States out of global decision-making to combat the virus and global efforts to develop and access vaccines and therapeutics, leaving us more vulnerable to COVID-19 while diminishing our position as the leader in global health,” Infectious Diseases Society of America President Thomas M. File, Jr. said to Roll Call in a statement.


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