Not surprisingly, our short-sighted president just pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Accord. We will join Syrian and Nicaragua as the three countries in the world not to support the voluntary goals to reduce human impact on global warming.
In this one move, America is abdicating its responsibility to our country, the world, and–most importantly–the future. Climate change is a worldwide existential issue. It would be hard to overstate the importance of reducing our greenhouse-intensifying carbon emissions. If anything, the Paris Accord does not go nearly far enough in providing a global solution to the imminent threat of climate change, but it is a start.
It is a start which could be built upon in the future, but now President You-Know-Who is in effect saying, “Nope, it’s just too expensive! We quit!” Has he considered the economic expense and incalculable human toll that our current energy-use trajectory will take us? It seems unlikely.
Two industries that will benefit from America’s relaxation of EPA regulations and withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord are coal and petroleum. Our world is changing, and along with those changes comes the ability to move into earth-friendly renewable energy sources. Just as we no longer burn kerosene to light our homes, there will come a time when people will be astounded that we burned coal to produce electricity or petroleum to power our vehicles. “Whaaat? That’s nuts” they’ll say of our dependence on fossil fuels.
America has long been seen as a world leader, but canceling our commitment to the Paris Accord is one more step that is rapidly moving us from the position of a leader with foresight to a country that is out of touch with the needs and realities of the world.
What can we do? We can continue to demand that our country, states, local governments, and industries provide the most earth-friendly energy options possible. We can make personal decisions about how to spend our money and what technologies to support. We can make it clear to congress that we expect more from our government and that we will use our voting power to ensure that the future of the world is more secure.