Today President Trump announced that he has withdrawn the United States from the Paris Climate Accord (PCA), which as most know is a committment to decreasing carbon emissions to 2005 levels by the year 2025. Trump’s reasoning behind withdrawing from the PCA was that the agreement was unfair to the United States and was hurting American taxpayers, workers and industry.
By walking away from this agreement, Trump is turning his back on the world and the overwhelming consensus of climate science. The United States is now one of three nations that are not part of the accord, joining Syria and Nicaragua. Throughout the world, 195 countries have adopted the agreement and 146 have ratified or approved it. To most, that level of support is hard to deny and now that the United States has withdrawn, puts this country at odds with the general consensus of the world in regards to climate change.
Recent polls have shown support to withdraw at around 30% of those asked – if pulling out of PCA would be good for the United States. In what seems to be counterintuitive, fierce lobbying has taken place in Congress by companies such as Chevron and ExxonMobil. Logic would say that companies that make profit on fossil fuels naturally would support a withdrawal, but the latter is true. Exxon CEO, Darren Woods, in a personal letter to Trump urged him to stick with the PCA.
The U.S. is well positioned to compete with the agreement in place and staying in means a seat at the negotiating table to ensure a level playing field.
Energy firms like the deal because if favors natural gas over coal. Natural gas, while being a fossil fuel, has a significantly lower carbon emission than coal and could continue to be burned without threatening the carbon reduction goal set for 2025. Other firms, such as Microsoft, Apple, Starbucks, Gap, Nike, Google, Adidas, and Loreal also support continued U.S. involvement in the agreement. With Trump’s announcement today, he’s flipping everyone who doesn’t agree with his decision to withdraw a virtual finger.
During the announcement, Trump indicated that he is willing to renegotiate the terms of the agreement to make it fair for the United States and it’s people. Who’s supporting Trump here? Energy companies are in support of the PCA. Major American corporations are in support of the PCA. Trump is on an island of denial and ignorance, joined by the slowly declining group of climate change deniers.
We all know that Trump has been pro-fossil fuel since the start of his campaign and that has now come full circle with our withdrawal from the PCA. Trump called the PCA a “bad deal.” Unchecked climate change, according to estimates by the Natural Resources Defense Council, could cost the U.S. economy almost $2 trillion per year in current dollars by 2100.
Isn’t the pain of spending money now to mitigate pain 100 times more severe in 50 to 100 years worth it to save our entire planet?