And then a hero comes along

Maybe Don­ald Trump is the prover­bial alien in­va­sion that unites the world in bat­tling cli­mate change?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Opinion - star2@thestar.com.my Catch Ja­son God­frey on In­spir­ing Homes on Life In­spired (Astro CH 728). Ja­son God­frey

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

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