The U.S. Federal Government Is set to leave the Paris Climate Accord, a devastating blow for just about everyone on earth (even if they don’t realize it). In particular, it hurts the U.S. in a couple different ways.
1. It undoubtedly diminishes our status as a world leader on climate change, and because of that, hurts our reputation as a leader on any significant issue. It’s a clear signal to our long-time allies that they no longer matter to us, and that we shouldn’t matter to them. The Trump administration has continually sided with Putin, Duterte, and Erdogan over Macron and Merkel (Except even fucking Russia, Turkey, and the Philippines have all signed the agreement – Only Nicaragua and Syria have not). As global leaders move forward with international policies, the U.S. will slowly fade into being a former superpower turned petrol-state like many of the countries whose leaders Trump admires.
2. Most importantly, this has real, tangible effects on real human beings. Climate change is an externality that disproportionately affects not only the poor in wealthy nations but also the poorest in already-poor nations. The greatest irony, if you can find even a slight sense of humor about all of this, is that climate change will directly lead to more and more refugees that Trump & Co. don’t want to allow into the U.S. So we’ll have growing refugee populations across the middle east and Africa, and they will not be acknowledged by the United States government. It takes a bit of reasoning, though really not much, to see that this is a recipe for further division between the U.S. and Muslims around the world.
3 It has a very serious economic impact. Trump and his administration obviously favor industries of the past over industries revolving around technology. But their claims that the Paris Accord was a job-killer doesn’t really hold up to light scrutiny. It’s a plague that infects the entire GOP, and it’s largely due to the industries that fund them and the parts of the country where they’re from, but traditional ‘blue-collar” jobs are not good jobs and are not jobs that will be around a decade from now. Instead of using any sort of foresight and realizing that there’s an entire economy – both blue-collar and white-collar – waiting in environmentally friendly industries (spare me you solar panel argument), they continue to push for America to reclaim what automation and other nations have already undercut us on. For supposedly being the party of industry, they have a really hard time understanding that once labor prices get undercut, they don’t typically rise again without government intervention. So instead of seizing the opportunity to usher in new era of economic development in the U.S., our leaders chose short-term gains (that are far from a sure thing) to satisfy those who are lining their pockets.
It’s easy to get caught up in the Russia investigation, or our president tweeting out porn links, but this situation is exactly what people were worried about when they found out a spineless, racist, reality tv star was elected president. This is a very real crisis that will affect hundreds of thousands of people, and the U.S. just publicly told the world that we’re not equipped to lead on it.
Also published on Medium.