Originally published on Red Green & Blue.
Yes. Donald Trump made it official this afternoon, after weeks of hints and speculation. For all the wrong reasons, he is pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which took years to negotiate and to which every other country in the world has signed on except of Syria and Nicaragua.
That’s the bad news. The good news: he can’t just pull the plug. Under the terms of the agreement, it’ll take four full years to officially exit, which means the next President can put a stop to this nonsense in 2020. In the meantime, Trump says he wants to renegotiate. WTF?
“In order to fulfil my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord,” Trump told a handpicked Rose Garden crowd of staffers and climate deniers. “But begin negotiations to reenter the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are favourable to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its workers, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out. But we will start to renegotiate, and we’ll see if we can make a deal that is fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”
He is, of course, wrong on all those counts.
- US businesses had urged Trump to stay IN the Paris agreement
- US workers overwhelmingly favor staying IN
- US taxpayers aren’t going to save a dime, especially once the cost of dealing with climate change is factored in (estimated in the TRILLIONS)
Since the Paris Climate Agreement is already a voluntary association with benchmark goals staggered over the next 20+ years, and since the Prexit Process is formal and takes four years, “withdrawing” this afternoon is essentially meaningless.
Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement will:
- NOT change US regulations (the regulations Trump is trashing were put in place long before Paris, and aren’t a part of the agreement)
- NOT bring back a single US job in dirty fossil fuels like coal , oil and gas.
- NOT slow down the growth of clean energy jobs in wind, solar, and geothermal – clean energy jobs continue to grow at 17 times the rest of the US economy, and that won’t change.
What Trump DID accomplish by today’s grandstanding action:
- Stuck it to the global community, our European and Japanese allies, and our friendly rivals in China and India. They spent years negotiating this deal, and they’re staying the course – although they are angry that the testy toddler who somehow stumbled into the White House has walked away from the table.
- Thrilled what’s left of his base – although his approval rating continues to hover at catastrophic levels, and even his strongest partisans are starting to waver.
- Thrilled the looters of the rabid right, like the Mercers and the Koch brothers, who are pleased they can suck a few more years of double-digit profits out of the American public (aka “Trump’s base” – the beleaguered Midwesterners who’s jobs are being exported and whose safety net is being shredded).
What’s next? A cadre of climate deniers, led by Pollutin’ Pruitt of the EPA, will sit down at the table with our global partners and demand a better deal – and they will be laughed at.
And who knows, maybe four years from now the next round of climate agreements will actually have mandatory goals and benchmarks, and commit serious money to changing over the global economy?
Image by Tom Toles
Reprinted with permission.