No to fu­ture­less growth!

About a fort­night ago, Mr Trump an­nounced his in­ten­tion to with­draw from the Paris Cli­mate Ac­cord, a United Na­tions agree­ment which seeks to deal with green­house gas emis­sions mit­i­ga­tion, adap­ta­tion and fi­nanc­ing start­ing in the year 2020. Cry Al Gore cry

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - ANALYSIS & OPINION - Cle­mence Machadu In­sight

HOWDY folks! Is Mr Don­ald Trump run­ning Amer­ica like he is run­ning a pri­vate com­pany? The Amer­i­can pres­i­dent who spent much of his life in the pri­vate sec­tor, which is nor­mally driven by noth­ing but the profit mo­tive and self-in­ter­est, seems to be ap­ply­ing some hy­per­bolic free mar­ket prin­ci­ples in his at­tempt to achieve what he calls “mak­ing Amer­ica great again”.

In his bid to leave no stone un­turned to achieve the Amer­i­can dream, he has al­ready re­pealed some of the poli­cies of his pre­de­ces­sor, such as Oba­macare.

He was about to sign an ex­ec­u­tive or­der to with­draw from the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment, un­til he was pe­ti­tioned to set­tle for rene­go­ti­a­tion.

While we have no busi­ness in the above, it is his re­cent move that gets us wor­ried.

About a fort­night ago, Mr Trump an­nounced his in­ten­tion to with­draw from the Paris Cli­mate Ac­cord, a United Na­tions agree­ment which seeks to deal with green­house gas emis­sions mit­i­ga­tion, adap­ta­tion and fi­nanc­ing start­ing in the year 2020. Cry Al Gore cry!

Folks, sci­ence has al­ready told us that if our planet’s car­bon emis­sions con­tinue unim­peded, at­mo­spheric pres­sure will keep ris­ing.

Even­tu­ally, the earth will be­come a lit­eral liv­ing hell ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ris­ing sea lev­els, droughts, vi­o­lent storms, you name it.

A global re­sponse, through ini­tia­tives such as the Paris Cli­mate Ac­cord, was there­fore a step in the right di­rec­tion to try and en­sure that ev­ery coun­try con­trib­uted in the re­duc­tion of global emis­sions to pre­vent the ad­verse ef­fects of cli­mate change.

In his wis­dom, Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe signed the Ac­cord on 22 April last year, on be­half of Zim­babwe, at the United Na­tions to mark the coun­try’s com­mit­ment to the en­vi­ron­ment. Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe is on record say­ing, “My coun­try is com­mit­ted to play­ing its part in com­bat­ing cli­mate change im­pacts.

“We have, through our In­tended Na­tion­ally Deter­mined Con­tri­bu­tions, com­mit­ted to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions in the coun­try by 33 per­cent per capita by 2030.”

His sen­ti­ments agree with Sec­tion 73 of Zim­babwe’s con­sti­tu­tion which gives ev­ery per­son the right to an en­vi­ron­ment that is not harm­ful to their health or well-be­ing and to have the en­vi­ron­ment pro­tected for the ben­e­fit of present and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

The same con­sti­tu­tion also re­quires that leg­isla­tive and other mea­sures be taken to pre­vent pol­lu­tion and eco­log­i­cal degra­da­tion, pro­mote con­ser­va­tion and se­cure eco­log­i­cally sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment and use of nat­u­ral re­sources while pro­mot­ing eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment.

In keep­ing with that, En­vi­ron­ment, Wa­ter and Cli­mate Min­is­ter Op­pah Muchin­guri Kashiri moved a mo­tion in Par­lia­ment two months ago for the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Paris Agree­ment on Cli­mate Change.

It was one of the few mo­tions whereby par­lia­men­tar­i­ans spoke with one voice in sup­port of the mo­tion.

This shows that the coun­try is re­ally com­mit­ted to take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion in pre­vent­ing or min­imis­ing the dam­age that cli­mate change can cause.

But what is Amer­ica’s Mr Trump do­ing about the cli­mate in his at­tempt to take the Amer­i­can Dream to the next level by hook or crook?

He is only think­ing in terms of jobs, that the Ac­cord could cost Amer­ica about 2,7 mil­lion jobs by 2025. He does not think be­yond that.

You see, Amer­ica is re­spon­si­ble for not less than 15 per­cent of global emis­sions and should ac­tu­ally be at the fore­front of ini­tia­tives to re­duce the dan­ger­ous fumes.

But Mr Trump, in his self­ish con­vic­tion, knows that pol­lut­ing less might im­ply less rev­enue, as some Amer­i­can fac­to­ries might be com­pelled to go bust.

He for­gets that the con­se­quences of his ac­tions in this re­gard won’t only af­fect the Amer­i­cans he is putting first but will be borne by the whole world.

Should this way of think­ing be tolerated in a world that is faced by such con­se­quences?

Can we learn any­thing from Amer­ica, which prides it­self as a quin­tes­sence of progress?

What Trump for­gets is that when he is say­ing “Amer­ica First”, with such reck­less aban­don, he is merely talk­ing about cur­rent Amer­i­cans, and is not think­ing about fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, how they may have to cope with de­ci­sions that were made only to please one gen­er­a­tion.

Is that the legacy that he wants to live? The en­vis­aged with­drawal from the Ac­cord by Amer­ica there­fore only serves to weaken the global re­sponse to the threat of cli­mate change in the con­text of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

Mr Trump has en­gaged the in­ward-look­ing gear into over­drive and, at this rate, how much would he have done by the end of the year?

I would say the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund was par­tic­u­larly re­fer­ring to Amer­ica when it warned a cou­ple of months ago that, “In­ward-look­ing poli­cies threaten global eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion and the co­op­er­a­tive global eco­nomic or­der, which have served the world econ­omy, es­pe­cially emerg­ing mar­ket and de­vel­op­ing economies as well”.

Mr Trump is prov­ing to be the chief ar­chi­tect of fu­ture­less growth, and set­ting a prece­dent for some of those Amer­i­can pup­pets scat­tered across the face of the earth, in­clud­ing some be­yond the pe­riph­eries of our bor­ders.

Fu­ture­less growth arises when the present gen­er­a­tion squan­ders re­sources needed by fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. The United Na­tions says ram­pant and un­con­trolled eco­nomic growth in many coun­tries is lay­ing waste to forests, pol­lut­ing rivers, de­stroy­ing bio­di­ver­sity and de­plet­ing nat­u­ral re­sources.

It noted that this dam­age is in­creas­ing, driven over­whelm­ingly by de­mand in the rich coun­tries and that, un­less se­ri­ous con­ser­va­tion and pol­lu­tion con­trols are put in place soon, pro­duc­tion will be long past the point of sus­tain­abil­ity.

Folks, we must en­deav­our to meet the needs of our present gen­er­a­tion with­out com­pro­mis­ing the abil­ity of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to meet their own. Eco­nomic growth in and of it­self is fu­tile if it does not give high­est pri­or­ity to the en­vi­ron­ment we live in.

Amer­ica should be ashamed of it­self for think­ing only about its cur­rent gen­er­a­tion.

Later folks!

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