Renouncing the Paris Climate Accord

Jun 15, 2017


Complacency is the destroyer of success. When we feel threatened, we either fight or turn to flight. It makes for great drama. This is true throughout nature. Whack a hornets' nest and they all come out to defend their home. Our most memorable sporting events have been the great comebacks.  We cheer for the hero who beats the odds to survive a cruel villain.

History is full of leaders whose bravery and resolve lead to success against insurmountable odds and terrible foes.

For that reason, perhaps environmentalists should thank President Trump for renouncing the Paris Climate Accord. Make no mistake, the President's support of the global environmental agreement, support of regulations favoring clean energy and tax incentives for growth could have stimulated the emerging global clean energy economy here at home.

True success can only come, however, if enough of us act locally. A true revolution is pervasive throughout society. In a small fraction of recent recorded history, we have seen revolutions in industry, agriculture, transportation, communications and computers. For real change to come, it has to happen in our city halls, our schools and within our government. More than ever, environmentalists are ready to fight harder for change to happen.

Change is a challenge because it is usually very disruptive. Makers of bronze tools lost their jobs when the iron age came. No livery or stables in Mill Creek? That’s because cars came in and horses went out. As more people buy products at, more brick and mortar stores will close. Do you still have a VHS player? The new player fights for a place at the table. The old fights to stay.

The current fight to reverse climate change is about technology. It is also about the way we live of lives and how we face two common elements that make up the major battles in our society.

What is different is that supporters of clean water and clean air believe this fight is a fight for the survival of our species, if not all life on Earth. Agricultural crops and fisheries are at risk according to scientists. Overuse, pollution and droughts make supplies of drinking water less available.

What makes the fight difficult is that we can't see carbon dioxide or methane. In suburban Mill Creek, we may hear about the historic rapid extinction rate of plants and animals around the world, but we still see rabbits, raccoons and coyotes here. People who have lived live in Mill Creek for more than just the last few years came here when deer and bears had long since moved out.

When the President announced on June 1st at the White House Rose Garden that the U. S. was pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord the plot thickened. Climate change deniers and the aging fossil fuel industry cheered. Climate change warriors saw the ball taken away from their hands and with it, the momentum they had been building on the international stage for a happy ending. The hornet's nest was whacked pretty hard.

Enraged, Elon Musk departed the President's economic advisory council. Michael Bloomberg pledged $15 million of his own money to continue United Nations' environmental programs supporting the Paris climate agreement. Governor Jay Inslee of Washington joined governors from California and New York to create the U. S. Climate Alliance.

Richard Branson declared that history would treat President Trump very badly.

"It just makes so many of us literally want to cry when for some bizarre reason the president of America decides to make such a catastrophic decision," said Branson in a televised interview on CNN.

Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron said the world had the responsibility to continue battling climate change to, "Make our planet great again." France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement of disappointment in the decision of President Trump to leave the Paris Climate Accord while reaffirming the commitments of their countries to the pact. Atlantic magazine featured an article titled "China Poised to Take Lead on Climate After Trump's Move to Undo Policies."

Companies in the United States wishing to innovate with cost saving clean energy products will now compete against the rest of the world. They will compete with countries that are enacting regulations, making public investments, and providing tax incentives to stimulate clean energy technologies and products.

The argument against protecting the environment has been and continues to be that it will cost jobs. That's true. But just like cars replaced horses, there are now twice as many jobs in solar energy than there are in coal mining. That has happened at a time when coal still supplies 30 percent of electricity in this country and solar power provides a mere 1 percent. Imagine what the difference will be when solar supplies 10 percent of our electricity.

The world is changing again. New products are constantly introduced that are more convenient, energy efficient and healthier. The 20th Century belonged to the United States because we invested in education and research. We reaped the benefits with accomplishments and advancements that made the world a better place and benefited us financially as well.

The Paris Climate Accord demonstrated that the rest of the world is committed to a clean energy environmentally sustainable future. Countries large and small are committed with investments and some, already with results that exceed the goals of the Paris agreement. Regardless of any president's decision, it was always going to be up to us for the goals of the Paris Climate Accord to be met. What are you willing to do to make sure we meet the challenge for the future of our economy, for the future of our health, and for the future of our planet?





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