An eth­i­cal point too far for short-ter­mer Trump

Sunday Times - - OPIN­ION -

THE de­ci­sion by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to with­draw the US from the Paris agree­ment on cli­mate change can in no way be seen as good for the Earth, or for life on our planet.

It is the next grim act by a stub­born man who re­fuses to recog­nise that the greater good is more im­por­tant than short-term gains for im­me­di­ate self-in­ter­est and in­stant sat­is­fac­tion.

The Paris ac­cord sets out con­sid­ered and glob­ally agreed goals to stop the av­er­age global tem­per­a­ture from in­creas­ing by a pro­jected 2°C, which would trig­ger huge and prob­a­bly cat­a­clysmic cli­mate change.

Of course there is de­bate on the ex­tent to which cli­mate change can be halted or re­tarded by hu­mans. But surely no one can ar­gue that ev­ery­one must do what they can to pre­serve the planet? And it is on this point that Trump fails so dis­mally.

Given the size and na­ture of the US econ­omy and its con­sumer-driven so­ci­ety, that na­tion’s role in ef­forts to limit cli­mate change is enor­mous.

Trump’s ac­tions again show the base­ness and cal­lous self-cen­tred­ness of the man.

Those who hoped the self­ish, child­ish, un­think­ing and pop­ulist at­ti­tudes he ex­hib­ited dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign were only dis­played so he could win the pres­i­dency must think again.

Trump is what he said he was, and he’ll do what he said he would in or­der to sat­isfy the im­me­di­ate whims and de­sires of the ig­no­rant, no mat­ter what the medium- to long-term cost, es­pe­cially to any­one out­side the US.

In this case, he has used the pop­ulist ar­gu­ment that with­draw­ing from the Paris ac­cord is in the in­ter­est of pro­tect­ing Amer­i­can jobs.

But in the long run, on all avail­able and sci­en­tif­i­cally ac­cepted ev­i­dence, his ac­tions will harm the Earth, the only home all hu­man be­ings — in­clud­ing the US’s blue-col­lar work­ers — have.

It is a mat­ter of choos­ing short-term po­lit­i­cal gain over mas­sive harm.

That, how­ever, is an eth­i­cal point Trump ei­ther does not un­der­stand or does not care about.

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