The United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.
By George Harvey
President Donald Trump made his long-awaited decision on the Paris Climate Accord. He announced:
“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris Accord or a really – an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate and we will will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great, and if we can’t, that’s fine.”
Of the countries you might see on a globe or world map only two, Nicaragua and Syria, have not signed the Paris Climate Accord. Donald Trump has decided to align this country with those two, standing apart form all others.
We should understand that the Paris Climate Accord was ratified by an overwhelming number of nations. It is not a contract that can be broken. It is a matter of International Law. Withdrawing from it is not something that can just be done on the whim of a petty dictator or delusional bureaucrat.
Nevertheless, countries of the world had already started to prepare for an attempted withdrawal by Trump. They have not given any indication that they would sit down at a negotiating table to appease him. They are not following his lead. Instead, they have said they are going ahead with the plan, regardless of what the United States does. France, Germany, and Italy have already issued statements saying the the deal cannot be renegotiated.
A number of countries are are already talking about how to respond to what they clearly regard as a lack of faith on the part of Washington. Some, for example, are talking about trade sanctions.
The United States, abdicating its leadership role, has created a power vacuum. Our old adversaries, Russia and China, benefit from the void created by Trump’s irresponsible lack of leadership. And the European Union is also mounting an effort to fill that void, without an American government its leaders no longer trust.
The damage goes further than that. In leaving the agreement, we are walking away from our place at the table. We would no longer have even a voice on an issue many believe is the most important before the world today.
Trump has not made America great again. He has made it irrelevant.
Nevertheless, the United States is not entirely dropping the ball on climate change. A number of states, including California and almost all of those in the Northeast, are already pushing hard to address climate change. California Governor Jerry Brown has already said that if Trump withdrew from the Paris Accord, his state would take up a leadership role and represent the nation. Brown has had responses from abroad, notably China, which is already in direct negotiations with California.
It is not just states that are taking action on the climate. Counties, cities, and towns, corporations and non-profit groups, are all in action to protect the environment from climate change. Elon Musk has resigned from two presidential commissions in protest. And about 70% of all citizens of the United States say they want action on the matter.
Without a leadership role in its own country on a matter that many people believe is the most pressing one before us, the Executive Branch of the Federal Government has become irrelevant here as well as abroad. And with that, Donald Trump himself is irrelevant.
Donald Trump cannot stop climate change by denying it. It will go on, regardless of how he feels. Ultimately, it will claim Donald Trump as a victim. And that will not be pretty.