And then a hero comes along
Maybe Donald Trump is the proverbial alien invasion that unites the world in battling climate change?
SO ... the United States has pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Or more accurately, President Donald Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Increasingly, it seems important to differentiate between the actions of the individual and the entire nation, as they seem to be quite divided over there.
Since this announcement on June 1, whole states and many major US cities have announced that they will continue to work towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, with Hawaii being the first to enact laws to maintain its commitment to the agreement. Which is good.
But be certain, not supporting the Paris Agreement does not help anyone, anywhere.
First, a bit about the Paris Climate Agreement: It is considered a landmark agreement; but at the time of the signing in 2015 – which only happened after years of environmental conferences where nations met, shook hands, agreed climate change was a problem, and that they would definitely do something about it next year (the ultimate in global procrastination) – I felt that the Paris Agreement didn’t do enough.
It agreed to try to limit the global temperature increase by 2°C, largely by having countries set their own limitations. For instance, China vowed to have its carbon emissions level off by 2030, which, to my mind, is 30 years too late.
What I’ve since realised is that the Paris Agreement is important not necessarily because it promises huge changes but because it united almost 200 nations in the first step towards making the changes necessary to really combat climate change.
See, the world doesn’t move fast on things like this, because to really ight climate change means a vast aradigm shift, which, realistially, won’t happen overnight. The Paris Agreement was the first step to maybe seeing that shift in the future.
And so the real danger of the United States pulling out of this agreement isn’t so much the actual impact it will have on the environent but that the entire world is taking a step backward in battling climate change.
And we cannot afford a step backwards. The Paris Agreement was the tiniest of steps forward.
We cannot afford to re-open this asinine debate over whether climate change is happening or not.
It is happening.
Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are at a 400,000 year high at around 400ppm (parts per million) when the previous highs seen in naturally occurring cycles was 300ppm. This increased carbon dioxide level coincides perfectly with the industrial revolution and with humanity’s continued industrialisation. Increased carbon dioxide means increased temperatures. Period.
The other argument against climate change and for the Trumpian (probably a term that will go down in history as synonymous with ignorance) choice to pull out of the agreement is that warming is happening and it is human caused, but the models are overblown.
Does that even matter? No one can predict exactly what increased temperatures will do but it won’t be good. It’s like your doctor telling you to quit smoking but not being able to tell you exactly when you’re going to die of lung cancer – that is not an argument to keep smoking.
And saying that climate predictors don’t know exactly what will happen is not an argument to recklessly pollute into the future and then be surprised when the world ends up with the equivalent of cancer-riddled lungs. That’s just being wilfully ignorant.
Climate change is happening. We are causing it. We need to take action. That is the flow of logic we must follow, we don’t have time for so-called strong men with increasingly isolationist policies who, quite frankly, are on the way out anyway.
But in the wake of Trump’s pull out of the Paris Agreement, the world has rallied and shown its disdain for this short-sighted and ignorant decision.
As I’ve mentioned, cities in the United States, whole states, have reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement and have already started enacting laws towards following it (Hawaii was the first to do so on Wednesday).
Somehow, Trump making his childish decision has united and infuriated the world into going in the other direction.
Which makes me think, is Trump the enemy the world needs? Is he the proverbial alien invasion that unites us? If so, if he is the catalyst that drives the rest of the world to act, then maybe four years of Trump won’t be such a bad thing.
T R U M