Today was a historically sad day as POTUS announced he is withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. I watched his speech announcing this with frustration and anger but am now residing myself that maybe it is for the best. My frustration and anger stem from the flawed logic and false narrative that are being used to justify the exit. The primary focus was about the agreement being a bad deal for the U.S., how it is a ‘massive redistribution of wealth to other countries’ and how if the U.S. remained it would ‘become the laughing stock of the world’. He went on to boast about our existing “natural” (fossil fuel) energy sources and the value of using those to drive our energy needs. He went on to paint a picture of ‘brown outs, black outs, and businesses coming to a halt if the U.S. were to remain in the agreement’. Sometimes I think POTUS chooses to undo things his predecessor did or do the opposite of them just to stick it to him and then creates a narrative to support that, as opposed to critically thinking about what is truly best for our country.
In my opinion, if we were not already, we most definitely are now the laughing stock of the world. We join Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations not to be signed on to the Paris Climate Accord. Ironically, Nicaragua is not on board because they felt the goals were not aggressive enough and Syria has other priorities as you can imagine. Scott Pruitt (EPA) got to follow on and mentioned how ‘America finally has a president who answers only to the American people and not to special interests’. Which American people does he answer to when making such decisions? It is not the hundreds of U.S. based companies who asked him to remain in the accord, it is not the leaders of organized religions, it is not the countless U.S. scientists, and it is not the majority of Americans who support remaining in the agreement.
Consider that in the U.S. the clean energy sector is growing at 10x the rest of the U.S. economy. The idea of making America great again by reviving the coal industry, fracking, and drilling is short sighted and today marks the most irresponsible act of this president to date in my opinion. The silver lining is that had the U.S. remained in the accord, we would have been a total PITA for the other nations under the current administration. Now, they can forge ahead uninhibited as they have declared they will. As other nations adopt a clean energy economy with a carbon fee and dividend policy, It is logical to assume that the U.S. will at some point in the future face tariffs, sanctions, and taxes on our exports to account for the cost of carbon used to create those. If we follow the current MAGA mantra, the U.S. is certain to be left behind and let a huge opportunity to be world leader and innovator pass us by. It is sad that we cannot count on our own government to protect the habitability of our beautiful planet, but perhaps we can get this done via cities, states, and businesses until such a time that we have a leader with common sense and courage.