Trump has used that all too familiar rhetoric of ‘America First’ to leave the Paris Climate Agreement. This monumental decision will unravel the historical deal brokered by the Obama administration and signed by every country in the world with the exception of Syria and Nicaragua in an attempt to prevent temperatures rising 2°C or more above pre-industrial era. Scientists are growing concerned that America’s departure will destabilise the agreement and discourage other world leaders and could influence them to take the same action. Many have condemned the pronouncement including Canadian President Justin Trudeau, The Vatican and Barack Obama while others have reaffirmed their dedication to the Paris Accords such as Russia, China and India.
Trump justified his decision by claiming he was regaining America’s sovereignty and eliminating the ‘draconian’ financial and economic drain of the climate arrangement. Chock full of ‘alternative facts’, Trump announced his decision to the public in front of the white house on Thursday the 1st of June, meaning the world’s second largest emitter of carbon dioxide will no longer claim responsibility for its impact on global warming. Trump, who promised to withdraw during his campaign, has repeatedly insisted that the climate crisis is a hoax, created by China to hinder America’s industrial growth and adding to this his claims that the celebrations that followed the officialising of the Paris Accords were actually rejoicing placing the USA at an economic disadvantage, only serves to underscore the President’s paranoia. Now, while Trump remains fixated on coal and oil, industries and business such as Microsoft and Starbucks are already paving the way to renewable energy, setting goals to lead a change that Trump aborted. Trump’s major issue is that he doesn’t seem to comprehend that the agreement is voluntary and requires each country to set their own goals with the only consequence of failure being shame. So while he rants about “The fact that the Paris deal hamstrings the United States while empowering some of the world’s top polluting countries”, he doesn’t recognise that the only thing that is trying America down is America. Even simple truths such as the USA being the biggest carbon polluter in history, he coats in deceit by claiming that “America will continue to be the cleaner and most environmentally country on earth” which is detrimental as it will, without a doubt, mislead and derail American peoples’ efforts to be more environmentally friendly.
In his speech, Trump made further preposterous assertions in order to distort the reality of the climate crisis and validate his actions. The Green Climate Fund he mentioned? America has committed $3 billion dollars and will not be obligated to pay tens of thousands as the President declared because again, it is voluntary. Secondly, America is by far one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the amount paid by it comparable to its GDP is not as much as other countries contributed; it’s not even in the top 30 for the amount each country gave as a fraction of their GDP.
The President of America has now harmed America’s image and branding, hurt the American populace and has served up a nice steaming plate of hot opportunity to his arch-nemesis China. In his failure to support the funding of renewable energy sources, he has lost the chance to lead the way in a new, rapidly growing industry that will create millions of jobs. Instead, China has recognised this shift and is already pledging to invest $360 billion into the renewable energy industry thus aiming to create at least 13 million jobs. It has also cancelled plans to build hundreds of coal-powered factories (There you go Trump, you can keep all the coal China is apparently taking from you).
As the world continues to forge a path to greener fuel, America will be left in the dust and could have high costs for the USA when the time comes to forget traditional energy sources.