Yes. Considering the President of the Maldives has already described the decision as his nation’s ‘death sentence’. Yes, this does matter quite a lot.
In his speech announcing his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accord of 2015, Trump said, amongst other things, that ‘We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore, and they won’t be’, and that other countries are ‘taking advantage’ of the US and that he was ‘Elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris’. Apparently Trump’s decisions aren’t going to be funny anymore and all those countries that have historically taken advantage of the US are going to stop. Did you hear that Iraq, Syria, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile? Basically all of Latin America and the Middle East? You can stop taking advantage of the United States now, because it’s getting annoying. As for those Pittsburgh workers you claim to represent, considering ‘the number of jobs in the US coal industry is now just a half of the number employed in solar’, how exactly is your completely non-personal nostalgia for coal and steel production going to drive the US economy forward?
Whilst topless horseback supermodel Putin said he would not ‘judge’ Trump’s decision, consensus amongst international leaders was of regret and alarm, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying it is ‘extremely regrettable’. Elon Musk also took to Twitter to announce that, after doing ‘all I can’, to convince the President to stay in the Paris Climate Accord, the entrepreneur has left all advisory boards. Meanwhile Michael Brune, a representative of the US Environmental Organisation named Sierra Club, called the withdrawal a ‘historic mistake which our grandchildren will look back on with stunned dismay at how a world leader could be so divorced from reality and morality’.
I will not use this as a chance to spout the obvious colossal s**t brick house of overwhelming evidence that human activity is affecting the planet and will, at its current rate, bring us nearer to ecological catastrophe. To simply surmise, as pointed out in The Guardian, ‘This (the rising rate of ecological damage) would have grave implications for coastal cities facing sea-level rise, parts of the world already blighted by heatwaves and food insecurity, and the planet’s endangered species’.
The reaction to the Trump administration’s decision to opt out of an agreement, which in essence is: ‘a series of voluntary non-binding goals submitted by countries … essentially a statement of intent, a signal from governments to their citizens and businesses that low-carbon economies are on the way and that this inevitability should be financially supported’ — should be to continue steadfastly with our united effort to shift our society and economy to a sustainable present and future, and to continue with our support for those within the US working tirelessly to make our way of life work alongside, as opposed to the detriment of, the natural world and our fellow species.
Forecasts reveal that if the US fails to pertain to the goals and emission limits set out by the Paris Climate Accord, an agreement ‘in which nearly 200 nations have pledged to limit global temperatures to a 2C (3.6F) increase on the pre-industrial era’, this one nation’s effect on global temperatures could cause a rise of 0.3 degrees centigrade by the end of this century.
Whilst scuffling around the Internet reading up on this, I made an effort to understand the position of the Stateside-heavy squabble of Climate Deniers who, subsequently, are supporters of Trump’s decision to take the US out of the Paris Climate Accord. My two highlights were Benjamin Zycher, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Jake Novak of CNBC.
Mr Zycher wrote in The National Review that ‘the entire Paris/UNFCCC process is silly and destructive as a strategy to engender environmental improvement, but it works beautifully as a mechanism to transform the climate industry into a perpetual-motion machine’, and that those involved are, ‘myriad other human leeches that are proud to be citizens of International Climatopia’. Meanwhile Jake Novak waxes lyrical about how, ‘The green movement in the U.S. and around the world has been off the tracks for decades mostly because of its faulty belief in globalist politics and big government as the solution to environmental challenges’. There is a similar air to this as there was with the whole anti-EU bureaucracy debate here in the UK, and what both seem to represent is an acceleration of individualism into the sphere of state politics; a mix of nationalist nostalgia with a Stalinist-esque ideal that, like the USSR deserved ‘Socialism in One Country’, the US deserves ‘jobs in one country’, and the UK should put Britain First.
In a job in a café I had a few years ago, I had a conversation with one of our regulars, a roofer named Gary. He was reading The Sun and he looked up at me and said, ‘Mate, this climate change thing’s apparently a pretty big deal’. From this I took the lesson that we need to share the findings of the scientific community wherever and with whomever we can, because as history shows, awareness and knowledge are the driving forces of change. Let’s work in the face or the arrogance and ignorance of a Trump administration that is not prioritising the workers of Pittsburgh, because with climate change the poorest will always suffer first. In his paper ‘Green Ethics and the Democratic Left’, Professor Patrick Curry writes of how ‘like some bloated ruling-class which lives by exploiting those “below” — it currently expropriates between 20 and 25% of the total net terrestrial photosynthetic energy, not to mention about 50% of its accessible fresh-water run-off’. Although this is in relation to humanity’s relationship to other species, the same can apply within our own.
In the face of a threat that could displace 250 million people by 2050, bring states into conflict over resources and starve countless, Trump taking the US out of the Climate Accord is a shambolic decision but it doesn’t have to matter. With the sharing of information, we need to continue and lobby for climate action everywhere for the sake, primarily, of places like the Maldives.
Buildings across the globe, from Paris City Hall and monuments in Mexico to One World Trade Centre, Boston City Hall and The Wilson Building in DC were lit-up with green in protest at Trump’s decision. Luke Kemp, an expert in International Environmental Policy at Australian National University, points out that ‘The US and the Trump administration can do more damage inside the agreement than outside it’. Kemp writes that, ‘wanting the US to remain is a short-sighted, knee-jerk reaction … The international community should be much more worried about the real domestic actions of the US, rather than whether it is symbolically cooperating internationally’. Here in the UK we need to continue the fight for ecological welfare, for example by fighting the cuts to solar industries, and to support the government and various grassroots movements across the globe. An issue like climate change can only be fought internationally. No one country can solve this, we need to work globally and together.
To quote Macron’s sarcastic twist on Trump’s infamous catchphrase, I remain hopeful that we can ‘make our planet great again’.