03 June 2017

Trump's hot air on the Paris agreement

Trump has finally kept a campaign promise -- and, in doing so, brought near-universal opprobrium upon himself and potentially inflicted some real damage on the world. We'll probably never know whether Trump personally "believes in" anthropogenic global warming (if that's even a meaningful question in the case of a man with such disjointed mental processes), but that doesn't matter.  The important thing about what leaders and governments do is the practical effect, not the motivation.

First, the opprobrium.  Trump's decision has been met with near-universal condemnation from business leaders, state and local governments, foreign governments, and even The Weather Channel.  The harm to our relations with other countries will be far-reaching.  Trump is isolating the US on this issue (found via Progressive Eruptions, which has more commentary).  On one of the major issues of the day, he's abandoned the US leadership role.  And this decision is unlikely to be reversed even if he's impeached, since Pence is just as clueless on climate change as his boss is.

Next, the prospective damage.  Here's a discussion of the likely consequences if the US fails to curb greenhouse-gas emissions (written before Trump's announcement), and they're dire indeed.  However, the world may escape the worst of those consequences after all.  Much of the shift from fossil fuels to clean energy is market-driven, and Trump can do little about that.  Already three US states containing 66 million people (more than a fifth of our total population) have formed a "climate alliance" to uphold the Paris agreement, and other states will doubtless join.  Several US cities, including "red" ones like Atlanta and Salt Lake City, and even private companies have similarly committed themselves (found via Tell Me a Story, which has more).  Blue states and major cities account for most of the country's economic output.  If they stick to the agreement, US greenhouse-gas emissions will still decline, perhaps by almost as much as they would have without Trump's action -- and that's what counts.

I concluded some time ago that the main effect of Trump in the Presidency would be to weaken the US position as the world's leading country, and this decision is certainly an example.  But here he's even weakened his own government's role within the US -- as states and cities, like foreign countries, start to work around him in order to get the necessary job done.

[Image at top:  Paris city hall illuminated in green to protest Trump's withdrawal from the agreement]


Blogger Donna said...

LOVE that pic! Boston City Hall was lit up in green too. http://static.lakana.com/nxsglobal/feedsite/photo/2017/06/02/Boston%20City%20Hall_22284680_ver1.0_640_360.jpg

03 June, 2017 05:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Companies will follow the money. The money is in clean energy, even without government tax breaks. I doubt we will even lose being the world leader in clean energy.
The Trump administration is also going to open up oil drilling in Alaska, except no oil company will invest the huge sums needed to get that oil. There is excess oil on the market now and for years to come.
The president of France put out a call for Americans to come to France and work in the clean energy business that they have committed to following. So the smart businessman is actually chasing away jobs, not creating jobs.
Trump's other businesses have ended up being sued, or in bankruptcy. Trump is pointing America in the same direction. With his greatest tax cut in history (which the Republican Congressional majority will probably pass) we go even deeper in debt.
The stock market is overvalued now and a crash is coming. There is no way Trump can get a 3, 4, 5, or 6 percent growth out of an economy whose workforce is shrinking.
I would move out of the country, but when America fails the rest of the countries in the world will feel the same hit. Just as in 1929 and 2007. To top it all off, Trump is just itching for a war.
Americans have been electing these Republican nut jobs for decades and now a vast majority of elected offices from the president down to local office holders are Republicans.
Good luck everyone!

03 June, 2017 08:49  
Blogger Green Eagle said...

Weakening our position in the world and weakening the public support for the government within the United States are two sides of the same coin for Trump. He is carrying out his side of the bargain he made with Vladimir Putin by doing everything he can get away with to weaken the United States, to leave Putin free to pursue his own goals. Sorry to anyone who disagrees, but that is the only explanation that covers his behavior. This is treason on a scale so massive that it dwarfs the petty traitors that sold a few documents to the Soviets, who were formerly considered the ultimate traitors. As is usual for Republicans (see the Republican health care bill, or the pending tax cuts for the rich) the strategy is to go for something which is so massively evil that very few Americans, propagandized all their lives about what a great country we have, can wrap their heads around the idea that it is happening.

03 June, 2017 09:58  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

My state (Mass.) and city (Boston) have already broken with Trump's foolish decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Other governors and mayors are doing the same. This will demonstrate to the country and the world that not only is Trump out of step with a majority of Americans and the world, but that many Americans will and can ignore the promises to his anti-environment-crazed base. The country will learn that, in this instance, we don't need them.

03 June, 2017 18:07  
Blogger Ed Smith said...

I am totally behind the idea of the Paris Climate Agreement if only because there isn't anything better.
I am not disappointed that #45 did this.

To me the worst negative outcome of him doing this is the hit to America's global leadership credibility.

No one can honestly believe that if #45 publicly declared that America would remain part of the Paris Climate Agreement that his administration would not be doing every dirty trick in the book to sabotage, undercut and generally violate every stated rule of the agreement.

At least now, with him thinking that he has nothing to hide, he will do all his anti-environmental shit in the open rather than trying to be sneaky about it.

As long as they still believe that the majority of the country supports them like a death cult they won't bother hiding their most heinous acts. This has strategic advantages. They are too incompetent to pay lip service to any reality-based issues.

03 June, 2017 22:30  

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