Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Paris Climate Change Agreement will not be derailed by the ignorance of one man.

The Paris Climate Accord is the world's first comprehensive global climate agreement. A recent Yale Program on Climate Change Communication poll found that nearly seventy percent of Americans, including a majority in all fifty states, support American participation in the Paris Accord.

Despite that, despite the facts of established science, and despite the agreement of almost all of the nations of the world to attempt to ameliorate the manifesting effects of global warming, Donald Trump insists upon denying science and, in so doing, risking the health and welfare of his nation and, by extension, the world.

Even though he teases the announcement as if it were a reality television game show, Trump has indicated his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, ignominiously joining in denial with only Syria and Nicaragua.

And, he has.

This is not just bad science; it's bad business. Leaving the accord could undermine America’s economic competitiveness, technological innovation, and global leadership, and allow China to take the lead in global climate reform. (Per Bloomberg.)

There may still be time to reverse Trump's travesty. According to the terms of the agreement, no country can begin the withdrawal process until three years after the Agreement enters into force, and that occurred only on 4 November 2016.

And folk of goodwill can resist Trump's decision. Read, for example, this reaction (and plan of action) from the Sierra Club's Executive Director Michael Brune:

Donald Trump has made a historic mistake which our grandchildren will look back on with stunned dismay at how a world leader could be so divorced from reality and morality. Trump has abandoned the standard of American leadership, turned his back on the what the public and the market demand, and shamelessly disregarded the safety of our families just to let the fossil fuel industry eek out a few more dollars in profits. This is a decision that will cede America’s role internationally to nations like China and India, which will benefit handsomely from embracing the booming clean energy economy while Trump seeks to drive our country back into the 19th century.

But the world should know that state and local action in the United States is moving strongly forward even in the face of Trump's historic mistake. For every terrible decision Trump makes, grassroots activists, frontline communities, local governments, and concerned people across the country are fighting to make sure clean energy continues to grow by leaps and bounds. With our allies, Sierra Club members and supporters have helped retire more than 250 polluting coal plants and ensured more than 25 American cities have already committed to getting 100 percent of their energy from clean, renewable sources by 2030.

Our resistance is sustainable and we will serve as a counterpoint to Trump’s dangerous policies every step of the way. Like leaders across the world, we aren’t going to wait around for our climate denier-in-chief to play catch up. As we win locally, countries across the world are already moving forward on meeting and surpassing their climate commitments.

Make no mistake: the Paris Agreement was adopted after decades of climate advocacy by concerned citizens across America and around the world, and it certainly will not be derailed by the ignorance of one man.

The Sierra Club seems sanguine of the struggle's result, but a good conclusion is not yet determined. Trump's action is an abdication of his sworn duty as president to preserve, protect, and defend the United States.

But this is greater than a political issue. This is more even than a scientific issue. Climate change is a metastasizing worldwide threat. Shepherding the only Earth that we have been bequeathed is our moral trust. As Americans, we must stand with humanity or we stand against it.

VeggieDag Thursday
VeggieDag Thursday is an occasional Thursday post
on an animal-free diet and ecological issues.

  • This post updated to reflect Trump's decision to leave the agreement, which he announced later in the day.
  • What is the Paris Climate Accord? To answer that, I'll quote Wikipedia. The article there contains several original source references and links.
    The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year 2020.

    The aim of the convention is described in Article 2, "enhancing the implementation" of the UNFCCC through:
    (a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;
    (b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production;
    (c) Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.
    Countries furthermore aim to reach "global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible".
    The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. It was opened for signature on 22 April 2016 (Earth Day) at a ceremony in New York. As of May 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the treaty, 147 of which have ratified it. After several European Union states ratified the agreement in October 2016, there were enough countries that had ratified the agreement for the agreement to enter into force. The agreement went into effect on 4 November 2016.
  • Even brewers have become engaged, if tangentially: Scott Pruitt is hazardous to your beer.

  • Why the name VeggieDag Thursday? Here.
  • Read all the posts: here. Follow on Twitter with hashtag: #VeggieDag.
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