Mr. Donald Trump has just made what is arguably the worst decision of his short, yet too-long, presidency. He has announced that he will withdraw the United States from the Paris Accords. He has decided that there will be ZERO commitment from the United States to control and reverse the lethal effects of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. He has, in essence, announced that the United States will do absolutely nothing to save the planet on which we live. But wait … it is even worse than that. Mr. Donald Trump, the man who swore his goal was to “make America safe again”, has just made a decision that erodes our national security. Mr. Donald Trump is a fool and an imbecile.
There are many angles that need to be considered, and to do so in a single post would be unwieldy, at best, indigestible for certain. This post is Part I, and there will be at least one more, possibly two in the coming days. To some extent, I want to put some time and distance between the announcement and my writing, because there will be fallout over the next few days that may affect what I write. But for today, I am addressing some general thoughts and reactions from others here in the U.S.
There are 196 or 195 countries on this globe, depending on how you feel about Taiwan. Of these, all but two, Nicaragua and Syria, signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. Donald Trump brings that number to 3 … we are now aligned only with Nicaragua and Syria on the most important issue of the century! And do you know WHY Trump made this disastrous decision? There may be a subset of reasons, most having to do with his uber-rich friends in the fossil fuel and auto industries, but the main reason … the driving force behind his decision … is that he is pulling out of the Paris Accords simply because our last president, the one with a brain in his skull, signed it in 2015. That’s right, folks … Trump promised his supporters that he would erase all signs that President Obama ever existed, thus if President Obama’s name is on it, it must go. A fourth-grade playground mentality has no place in the world of international relations and governance. Go, Trump … go back to your playground with your filthy rich, hedonistic friends, and get out of our lives.
The U.S. is the world’s second largest contributor to carbon emissions, second only to China, and the highest contributor per capita on the globe. We put more harmful filth into the environment, doing more than our share to destroy the planet, but we are unwilling to do any part to help correct the problem.
I firmly believe that none other than Steven K. Bannon was the driving force behind this decision. Remember Bannon’s comment when talking to a New York University academic?
“I’m a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
Well, who knew that he also meant to destroy the very environment upon which we must depend for our lives?
Trump considers himself to be the ultimate deal-maker, as he wrote in his first published book, The Art of the Deal. So, in his announcement this afternoon, he said that he intends to negotiate a new “fair” deal that would not disadvantage US businesses and workers.
“In order to fulfil my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord… but begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States. So we’re getting out but we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair.”
Less than two hours after his announcement, French President Emmanuel Macron told Trump in a phone call that the Paris climate deal could not be renegotiated and that while France would continue to work with Washington, it would no longer discuss climate issues with the United States. I suspect the rest of the western nations will respond similarly. It is either/or, all or nothing at all. This is not a business deal, not a child’s game. This is the very life of our planet and it is far too serious to allow Trump, the man with no values, to call the shots.
The line “In order to fulfil my solemn duty to protect America …” is an extreme oxymoron. With his words, his actions today and also last week in Brussels and Italy, what he has actually accomplished is to make the U.S. far more vulnerable. When Trump refused to affirm our commitment to Article 5 at the NATO conference last week, he created a huge rift between us and our allies. Article 5 stipulates that the G7 countries will come to the aid of any other G7 country that is attacked by a foreign entity. Trump would not make that commitment, choosing instead to berate the other nations and claim that they “owed” money to the U.S. Nothing could be further from the truth, but then, when has truth ever mattered to Donald Trump? According to Foreign Policy magazine, it was an attack against all of NATO. The one thing that should be obvious to even the least enlightened citizen is that if we will not commit to help our allies in their time of need, how can we reasonably expect them to come to our aid?
And now that he has announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Accords, he has just driven another nail, perhaps ultimately the final nail, into the coffin. Let us take a look at some reactions from the home front.
Two groups notably applauded Trump’s announcement: the coal lobby, whose spokesman said, “We support President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement. The previous administration volunteered to meet one of the most stringent goals of any country in the world, while many other countries do far less to reduce their emissions. Meeting President Obama’s goal would have led to more regulations, higher energy prices, and dependence on less reliable energy sources.” (It should be noted that many of those ‘other countries’ are underdeveloped nations who put very little carbon into the atmosphere.) What they fail to understand, apparently, is that the coal industry is one in death throes with or without the Paris Accords. The other group to support the move was, of course, those die-hard Trump supporters who long ago traded their brain for a box of Cracker Jacks.
“I’m celebrating, he’s saved jobs and businesses,” James in Virginia
“It’s not worth the paper it’s printed on,” said Will.
“I think it was a bad deal in the first place,” said Cathy.
Marta in Texas said she wasn’t too familiar with the accord, but was “fed up” of environmental groups, which she views as “exclusive clubs”.
By leaving the Paris Accord, President Trump has unraveled another thread of Barack Obama’s legacy, and that’s another reason many of his supporters are celebrating.
And of course, lapdog Pence said, “The American people & the wider world will see once again – our President is choosing to put American jobs and American workers first.”
More encouraging, however, were responses from the mayors of 61 cities around the US who have joined together to reaffirm their commitment to the Paris agreement. In an open letter, the mayors – representing 36 million people from Arkansas to Vermont – promised to “intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy. The world cannot wait – and neither will we.”
And … The governors of Washington state, New York and California have announced the formation of the “United States Climate Alliance, a coalition that will convene US states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change”. They said they are “committed to achieving the US goal of reducing emissions 26-28% from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan.” California Governor Jerry Brown told the BBC earlier this week he would now work with China on the issue.
Trump has made the worst decision of his term to date. However, a large portion of our population are firmly convinced of the dangers of climate change and that we need to take immediate action. I believe that in many areas, such as renewable energy sources, we are past the point that Trump has much leverage. However, what he has done to our alliances is another story, and one that I will address soon.