If you are upset about Trump and upset about Trump pulling the US out of the Paris agreement, please let me help you get through the day.
Trump announcing that the US is pulling out of Paris does not mean the end of Paris, the end of action on climate change, or much else about global warming. I’ll explain why in a moment. The US pulling out of Paris could even be interpreted as better than the US staying in. I’ll explain that too.
I’m not saying that Trump should have pulled out, I’m just saying that at the moment, if you are deeply concerned about the climate and the future, which you should be, don’t let this get you down too much because when you add up all the complications and nuances, Trump’s decision about Paris is not that different than his decision about immigration. A big league tweet followed by an awkward presentation of his racist America First agenda followed by not much.
First, I’m going to list a few reasons that PAREXIT is not the end of the world. None of these arguments individually means much, but this will give you an idea of how this is not YASBTTTD (yet another simple bad thing that trump did). Then, I’ll tell you the real meaning of PAREXIT and why, in my view, this will backfire on Trump. Then, I’ll give you a few money quotes and links to commentary by my smart and trusted colleagues so you can read all about it.
1) We have made arrangements and are part of Paris already, and leaving the Paris agreement therefore will take time. It will likely take a few years, which is longer than trump will be President. Here is the President of the European Commission explaining that since Trump does not “get close to the dossier” (translation: can’t read or think) he has announced a thing he can’t really do.
2) There are almost 200 nations in the agreement, and the US would have been only one of them. Yes, we are the bigliest and the bestliest and among the most polluting and all that. But think about this for a second. How many times in the past has there been something like a 200:1 ratio of countries on two different sides of something? Answer: Never. Not once has that ever happened. Even Hitler had a couple of other bad hombres on his side. The sheer yugeness of this imbalance makes what Trump does not count for much. See below for more aspects to this part of PAREXIT.
3) If the US were to remain an active participant in Paris, with Trump and his anti-environmental, anti-planet Republicans in charge, they would ruin the agreement. Right now, there are a lot of people quietly breathing a sigh of relief that the next few years of acting on Paris can ignore the US.
Trump has said and done a lot of dumb things, and among those things have been a number of serious insults to other countries. The whole building a wall along the Mexican border thing is a good example. Trump’s attack on a huge portion of the world, directly, and insult to everyone else, indirectly, with his stance on Immigration seriously affected the view other countries have of the US. His coziness with Putin pisses off Europe. Every chance he has had to be nice vs. insult a foreign leader, he’s chosen the bully-brat approach and mostly insulted.
All this together made everyone else in the world look at Trump with suspicion. But, world leaders remained diplomatic, sometimes even hopeful, said nice things, and tried to live with it all.
Then, Trump went to the Middle East and Europe. While in Europe he violated the old proverb, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” By the time Trump returned to the US, his standing among world leaders was pretty nearly ruined.
But not totally ruined, there may have been some hope, and he still got along with the Orb People.
But then, PAREXIT happened and the Trump is now on the very edge of being a full on pariah globally, and the US is teetering on the edge of utter irrelevance in the areas of diplomacy, trade, or anything that requires cooperation or conversation. The following graphic is optimistic, allowing for a tiny bit of hope which we assume Trump will erase within the next week or two.
And that is the true meaning of PAREXIT
This all sounds bad but it can be good, and here’s why. Once the rest of the world is allowed to no longer take the US seriously, and more importantly, once the rest of the world is required to not take the US seriously for their own preservation and protection, then they can do something about trump and the Republicans.
For example, if other countries are trying to meet Paris goals, they may need to suspend trade with the US. If you are Argentina and you are mostly non-fossil fuel powered, you can’t really buy cars or electronic parts from the Dirty US, can you? You’ll get them from Germany or France. If you are Mexico, and you are trying to meet Paris goals, you can’t let American based airlines land in your country. It is not Trump that is going to shut down all the trade agreements. It is everyone else.
When US business that supply manufactured good and technology overseas are shut down by the Paris countries (= all the countries) and all those nice people in Wisconsin and Michigan who want to fly down to the Maya Riviera next January can’t, the disastrous nature of Trump’s decisions and Trump himself will gain special meaning.
And it goes on from there. The US has to negotiate and communicate and get along. Remember just a few days ago when the UK intelligence services said they would stop sharing certain information with the US because of photos from Manchester being released? That was a line of crap. The photos were released to news agencies by a British based source. That was something else going on. It was the UK intelligence services creating an opportunity to “USEXIT” the special relationship before it became a disaster, because trust with the US was gone. Just to be clear, the thing that keeps getting called the “special relationship” is not just some valentine’s day card aphorism. It has a specific meaning. It means that the US and the UK share intelligence between each other at the same level that we share intelligence within our own services. No other two countries do that, or maybe a couple but not most. The UK has been for years in a special place within that special relationship, having experienced the worst case of double-agent caused loss of trust ever, years ago, and ever since then the Americans have been able to hold the UK’s feet to the fire and make them feel bad whenever necessary. It was like the UK had an affair and the spouse (the US) could never really trust them again. Now, with Trump, the shoe is on the other foot, an the UK is seriously reconsidering the marriage.
Every single thing the US does from now on will be tainted, until Trump is gone and not replaced by the equivalent. The US is now a second-level power. It is now Russia, China, and the EU (with Germany leading) that run the world with Japan.
Look for big moves. Look for the “G-7 minus one” because if you are the other 6 countries in the G-7, you do not want Trump at the table. Maybe Mexico will build a wall and make Trump pay for it. Other things. Many other things.
PAREXIT is not about Paris or the climate. It is about the end of American exceptionalism, and there are both bad and good things about that.
And now the other things. Some of this is from before PAREXIT but very much related.
Donald Trump’s climate policies would create dozens of failed states south of the U.S. border and around the world. They would lead to hundreds of millions of refugees and more authoritarian demagogues like Trump himself.
Trump’s policies would assure that a tremendous number of people become veterans of one of the ever-growing number of climate-related conflicts.
Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris treaty is a mostly symbolic act. America’s pledges to cut its carbon pollution were non-binding, and his administration’s policies to date had already made it impossible for America to meet its initial Paris climate commitment for 2025. The next American president in 2020 can re-enter the Paris treaty and push for policies to make up some of the ground we lost during Trump’s reign.
However, withdrawing from the Paris treaty is an important symbolic move…
Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement means that the United States formally abdicates its role as world leader on November 4, 2020. By coincidence, the United States will hold a referendum vote – and, make no mistake, it will be a referendum vote – on November 3, 2020.
RL Miller, cofounder of Climate Hawks Vote, states: “Trump’s fuck you to the world redoubles our determination to end his regime. We will take back Congress in 2018, expose him for the traitor and grifter that he is, and elect climate candidates up and down the ballot, culminating in the election of a climate hawk President on November 3, 2020 to restore America’s place in the world.”
In President Trump’s speech today announcing his intention to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement, there were several false and misinformed statements.
In a speech from the White House Rose Garden filled with thorny lies and misleading statements, one pricks the most: Trump claimed that the Paris climate deal would only reduce future warming in 2100 by a mere 0.2°C. White House talking points further assert that “according to researchers at MIT, if all member nations met their obligations, the impact on the climate would be negligible… less than .2 degrees Celsius in 2100.”
The Director of MIT’s System Dynamics Group, John Sterman, and his partner at Climate Interactive, Andrew Jones, quickly emailed ThinkProgress to explain, “We are not these researchers and this is not our finding.”
The foundation for Trump’s dismissal of the Paris deal – and for the people who pushed him the hardest to do it – is the rejection of the science linking fossil-fuel burning to dangerous climate change.
Or rather, Trump’s rejection of the Paris deal was built on the flimsy, cherry-picked and long-debunked talking points of an industry built to manufacture doubt about climate science. Once you fall for those arguments, making an economic case suddenly feels plausible.
Condemnation from environmental groups was swift.
“President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement sends a dangerous signal to the rest of the world that the United States values fossil fuel industry profits over clean energy innovation and the health and well-being of our citizens,” Earthworks’ Executive Director, Jennifer Krill said in a statement. “The over 12 million people living within a half mile of an oil and gas facilities deserve action to reduce air pollution, not head-in-the-sand climate denial.”
To understand why President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the global Paris climate agreement, we might start by looking at the sources he relied on to justify his decision.
But we’re not going to start there, but we will end there.
Instead, let’s go back to the early 1990s….
The Paris Climate Agreement represents rational order. It aligns the planet’s nation-states behind a common understanding of our gravest collective threat. It provides a weak but coherent structure for needed actions. Flawed and tentative though it is, it plants a stake in the ground for humanity’s collective will to save itself. It memorializes what global climate sanity there is.
That’s why Trump can’t stand it….
For the first time in history, the United States has removed itself from a worldwide agreement negotiated to protect the world’s atmosphere.
His decision Thursday to abandon the Paris climate agreement proves he is in reality one of the worst dealmakers in history.
Of course, with six bankruptcies and an astounding 4,000 lawsuits over three decades, Trump has always been less of a dealmaker and more of a con man, as Michael Bloomberg and so many others have described him.
President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement is not only bad for the country, it’s bad for the world.
The Paris Agreement is the fruit of more than 20 years of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The accord was struck almost exactly 50 years after researchers presented President Johnson with the first official expert report warning of the dangers from burning large amounts of fossil fuels.