Opinion DC Comment 03 Jun 2017 World must unite, fo ...

World must unite, foil Trump blow to planet

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Jun 3, 2017, 12:25 am IST
Updated Jun 3, 2017, 12:25 am IST
The Paris climate deal represents a moral solution to the emerging challenges posed by overexploitation of the planet’s resources in the past.
President Donald Trump speaks about the U.S. role in the Paris climate change accord, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (Photo: AP)
 President Donald Trump speaks about the U.S. role in the Paris climate change accord, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (Photo: AP)

America’s President Donald Trump has pulled the trigger on the global climate agreement reached in Paris less than 18 months ago. The United States, now the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases but historically the worst offender, will not contribute to the effort to battle global warming. Mr Trump is playing to his constituency, saying: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”. His feeble rationale of seeking renegotiation for a “fairer” agreement won’t cut any ice with world leaders who negotiated for years to make the framework equitable enough and seek to limit global warming to a 2ºC rise. The climate deal, signed by every nation except Nicaragua and Syria, was made an agreement than a treaty to allow the White House to avoid having to seek congressional approval. By pulling the plug now, Mr Trump is playing to his gallery as he keeps a campaign promise.

The US move is more a setback to the environment than to the global leadership role the US is used to playing. Giant US corporations have reason to be nervous about a change in the global economic climate as the rest of the world transitions to low carbon energy resources. There may, however, be less reason to fear over the long run as alternative energy resources are now so cheap to exploit that the US can’t but follow in leaning more on wind and solar energy, besides staying on the gas fracking path to make commercial sense, though the deleterious effect of methane must be endured. It’s Mr Trump’s grandstanding that comes in the way of a more reasonable approach to a global initiative, and his commitment to the US Midwest and other regions which voted him in overwhelmingly, which now sees a reward in his putting American jobs and consumers first.

 

Given Mr Trump’s record in office, this was predictable, but what it may do is strengthen the resolve of other countries to do more to save the planet. China and India, two of three largest polluters, and the European Union are already pledging to do more to prop up the deal and leave the US out of it as it has abdicated its global leadership role. The Paris climate deal represents a moral solution to the emerging challenges posed by gross overexploitation of the planet’s resources in the past. It is a social initiative to try and protect the future for generations to come. There are no winners and losers in this argument. Anyone who doubts the science of climate change is only delusional about the future. Mr Trump’s vision may not extend to the long term, but it is unlikely that his divided country will back him in letting the world down.

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