After weeks of hype and speculation, America’s most puerile president decided to give the finger to all the citizens of the world in order to please his oil, gas, and coal buddies by abrogating the commitments the US made to the other nations of the world in the Paris climate accords. (Syria and Nicaragua are the only other countries to refuse to participate, due to civil war and dissatisfaction that the agreement isn’t stronger, respectively.)
Who cares if more people die due to carbon pollution? Who cares if industry befouls America’s lakes and rivers? Who cares if Americans don’t have clean water to drink or clean air to breath? Get out of the way! There’s money to be made!
The corruption at the heart of the Trump administration is rampant and is there for anyone to see. Alone among modern presidents, Trump refuses to place his personal business and investment activities in a blind trust while he attends to the business of running America. Indeed, he has invested personally in several oil companies and Energy Transfer Partners, the nefarious group that can’t wait to turn on the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines so they can transport the liquid death known as Bakken crude from the Alberta tar sands, spilling only socially acceptable amounts along the way
There was a time when a politician who used his office to enrich himself was called a crook and would be jailed for corruption. Mysteriously, that standard doesn’t seem to apply to Trump, who is playing Americans for fools as he stuffs his pockets full of ill-gotten gains at their expense.
Following the official announcement, Elon Musk gave Trump the heave ho.
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017
He also retweeted an article from Scientific American that talks about the progress in renewable energy China plans to make while the US retreats to the Dark Ages.
Under Paris deal, China committed to produce as much clean electricity by 2030 as the US does from all sources today https://t.co/F8Ppr2o7Rl
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017
Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who was deeply involved in the negotiations that led to the Paris climate accords, said Trump had turned America into “an environmental pariah in the world.” Former president Obama released a statement warning that the countries that remain committed to the Paris climate change protocols will “reap the benefits in jobs and industries created.” He added that US states, cities, and businesses “will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.”
There is a good chance Obama is right. The economic case for renewable energy is now clear. Renewables are now cheaper than coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear power. Philosophical differences aside, commerce reacts to pricing signals, which is a fancy economics professor way of saying that businesses want the lowest cost option, all other factors being equal.
How will the rest of the world react? We don’t know. But it seems that few will have any interest in subsidizing America’s profligate fossil fuel ways. Trade sanctions are a possibility. The result could be a decrease in American economic output as others turn their back on a nation that refuses to pull its weight in the fight against global warming.
Trump’s America First pandering could well lead to the US being isolated by its neighbors. If so, America won’t need to enact stringent new immigration policies. Few if any people will have any interest in coming to a land that has both feet firmly planted in the past and has such a hostile attitude toward those from other lands.