Thursday, June 1, 2017
Trump provokes fiery response to Paris climate deal exit
It had just been a few hours since U.S. President Donald Trump cheerily announced America's withdrawl from the Paris climate agreement when the press releases and statements started to roll into my e-mail box. I can't even keep up with them all. In case you missed it, or don't know what the Paris Agreement is, it's a deal struck by 195 nations to curtail greenhouse gases and keep temperature rise below pre-industrial levels at 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. And in case you haven't stepped outside the past few years, every year has gotten warmer than the one before it. Cities are threatened by sea level riseall over the world. Famine, drought, hurricanes. With so much pressing evidence of the horrors of climate change, how can the leader of the free world make such a decision? Like all decisions Trump makes, it reeked of being "all business" - except ... There was Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX founder, who tweeted, "Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world." And there were the flurry of businesses who'd already endorsed the accord - even BP (as in the Gulf oil spill), even Exxon (as in their former CEO is now the secretary of state...say what?). Here's a snippet of what's in my in-box: - from Rainforest Action Network Executive Director Lindsey Allen: "The Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the groundbreaking Paris Climate Accord is as unsurprising as it is ignorant. Flying in the face of all credible science on climate change, this decision threatens to return the United States to the age of choking smog, flammable lakes, and a regressive and hopeless energy infrastructure. Nearly every decision from this administration has prioritized shortsighted corporate profits over human rights, Indigenous rights, civil rights and the future of our forests, our climate and our planet. From gutting public education to privatized prisons to stripping away environmental regulations to maximize fossil fuel profits, this administration has been one long demonstration of naked greed and corporate giveaways." - And from Hispanic Federation: “President Trump has turned his back on an unprecedented and urgent global agreement. Perhaps more than any of Trump’s latest actions, exiting this agreement carries the risk of widespread and lasting damage – not just to the planet and future generations, but to our country’s standing in the world. Scientists have been warning for years that a rise in global average temperature will mean widespread stresses on food, water, and a harmful increase in sea level. Moreover, many states that are home to the country’s largest Latino communities are ground zero for the impacts of climate change, including extreme heat, drought, water-borne illnesses, and other infectious diseases. Latino communities in the U.S. already face disproportionate rates of respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Trump’s decision to ignore the science will compound the conflict and suffering that disproportionately affect already vulnerable communities, including immigrants and Latinos. Cities like New York have pledged to uphold the underlying tenets of the Paris Climate Accord regardless of the President’s decision. We urge other cities and states to do the same and take measures to protect the planet and protect public health by making existing federal clean air, climate, clean water, worker safety, and endangered species standards enforceable under state and local law. If our federal government will not prioritize protecting the environment and public health, then we must look to our local leaders to do so. Ultimately though, to avert the worst of these consequences, we need global coordination to solve the toughest problem humanity has ever faced. The U.S. is the second greatest polluter in the world, and our leadership was welcomed when the Paris Agreement was crafted two years ago. Since then, it has been agreed to by 195 countries and ratified by 147 to date. By exiting the climate agreement, Trump has severely damaged our standing as a global leader on arguably the most important issue affecting our planet, and has endangered our ability to prevent catastrophe and widespread human suffering on a global scale.” More tomorrow. PHOTO: Via Wikimedia Commons Images, Michael Vadon.