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Trump’s Reckless View of Climate Change Endangers Us All

Donald Trump likes to take things. Money, electoral “help” from outside of the country and civility with a view to rapidly tossing it out of the window. He’s also big on taking the US out of a lot of significant international agreements, such as the TPP and the Iran Nuclear Deal, both of which will have consequences for the US and the rest of world for years to come. However, indisputably the biggest take that Trump has inflicted thus far? Taking the US out of Paris Climate Agreement (PCA).

It’s well known that Trump has an obsession with wacky theories, just look at Birtherism, and rubs shoulders with the political equivalents of Flat-Earthers. Worryingly, after years of railing against climate change, declaring it at one point to be a “Chinese hoax”, whatever that is supposed to mean, on assuming office in 2017, he went full tin-foil hat wearer and pulled the US out of the PCA within six months.

Let’s be under no illusions here. Climate change is very real, very scary and very much here. The alarm bells are ringing, the red flags are a-rising and coastal metropolises around the world are starting to eye up the seas and oceans more with trepidation than admiration.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“Global warming is already having significant and harmful effects on our communities, our health, and our climate. Sea level rise is accelerating. The number of large wildfires is growing. Dangerous heat waves are becoming more common. Extreme storm events are increasing in many areas. More severe droughts are occurring in others.” [1]

Trump removing the US from the PCA is his most reckless act to date. Walls can be torn down, detention cages for migrant children can be emptied and Russian influence can be purged from the US electoral system. All are possible because all are ultimately reversible. However, there is no plan B for climate change, as there is no plan B planet for us to hop onto should humanity, not acting together, fail to implement radical measures to at least stop further climate change, let alone reverse it.

As the US is the world’s biggest economy, and one that is still heavily fossil-fuel reliant, it is a key component of any global strategy in fighting climate change. Yet Trump remains defiant that “he knows best.” Unsurprisingly then, in late 2018, when his own administration released a report based on the findings of 13 federal agencies and over 300 climate scientists that highlighted the imminent threat of climate change, Trump declared:

“I don’t believe it.” [2]

We would do well then to ponder as to what the correlation is between being a former Manhattan property-developer who went on to become a reality TV show star and being a climatologist. No doubt somewhere between negligible to non-existent.

It is a disgrace and deeply worrying that the US has to endure such gross incompetence and willful ignorance from of all people, its Commander-in-Chief. Trump may not be around for much longer, in every sense of the word, but future generations of billions around the planet most certainly will be.

The US needs to re-enter the PCA with immediate effect. It needs to bring its expertise, technology, vision and “can-do” approach to the international vanguard of tackling climate change. The US and the world will only fail in the absence of that.

Support for the PCA is popular with the majority of Americans. Just after Trump’s victory in 2016, a poll found that Americans favored staying in the PCA by an overwhelming majority of 5 to 1. [3] The fact that Trump flies in the face of that (as he does with so much else when it comes to popular opinion in the US), speaks volumes.

Trump and the GOP, with their continuing obsession with climate change denial, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, should hang their heads forever in shame. Let’s leave them behind to gaze at their shoes and regurgitate discredited theories and denials and have the US re-engage with the PCA so as to be at the forefront of this crucial fight.

Literally, everyone’s lives depend upon it.




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