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To assess Trump's claim, it is important to understand that when we ask how much countries should cut their greenhouse gas emissions, we are essentially discussing how to distribute a limited resource. It's as if we were discussing how to divide an apple pie when more hungry people want a big slice than there are big slices.The people wanting big slices are the countries that would like to emit large quantities of greenhouse gases.By this standard, was the Paris accord unfair to the U.S.? Hardly. The U.S. currently has less than 5 percent of the world's population, but emits nearly 15 percent of the world's greenhouse gases. If fairness means that everyone's slice of pie should be the same size, it is the U.S. that is being unfair, by grabbing a slice that is three times bigger than it should have.India, by contrast, has 17 percent of the world's population and emits less than 6 percent of its greenhouse gases, so it would be entitled to almost three times its current emissions.
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