Saturday, June 3, 2017

Cities, states, and other countries step into leadership vacuum on climate

There is widespread condemnation of Trump's decision to take us out of the Paris Accord -- and equal condemnation of his faulty reasoning for doing so. said that "virtually every passage [of Trump's speech] contains something false or misleading. . . .  A proper fact-check would run longer than the speech itself."

Jonathan Chait, wrote in the Daily Intelligenser:

 "Trump was never going to support the Paris climate agreement because a collective-action problem is one of the concepts he is unable to grasp. Paris is built around ameliorating a problem affecting the entire world. Trump only understands zero-sum logic. . . .

"Trump’s description of the agreement is so wildly at odds with reality . . . [but]  To call Trump’s speech a pack of lies is to grant him the probably undeserved compliment of assuming he knows better. The entire case was false — the facts, the logic, the understanding of what the agreement he opposes is even attempting to do."

Trump is backed by his anti-global, anti-science, backward-looking conservative base.   It is an embarrassment to us as a nation to have elected such a man as our president.  We made them put up with Obama;  now they're making us put up with the anti-Obama.

So we will, for a while anyway.   But we do not have to burn up Planet Earth in the meantime.   First, other world leaders are stepping up.   Leaders of Germany, France, and Italy immediately declared their readiness to go forward without the United States.

China is more than eager to step into the leadership role on climate.   They had already announced a $900 billion fund to invest in infrastructure and clean energy projects abroad.   The United Nations estimates that the rapidly growing clean energy industry -- estimated to be worth $6 trillion by 2030 -- will be growing faster in Europe, India, and China than in the U.S.

But America is out in name only.   President Trump is beginning to look a little lonely out there on his limb.   Less than 24 hours after Trump abdicated the role of world leadership, the governors of California, New York, and the state of Washington pledged to continue to lead in the area of climate change.   They are at the forefront of innovation and regulation to reduce our carbon pollution -- and they will continue and even intensify their work.
The mayors of Atlanta and Pittsburgh have similarly stepped forward to pledge the continuation of their cities' efforts.    The Pittsburgh mayor was also speaking out in opposition to President Trump's singling out his city in his speech, when he said:   "I was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not the people of Paris."    The Pittsburgh mayor added that his city had given 80% of its votes to Clinton.

President Trump has badly miscalculated the American people, over-estimating his base of "left-behind" workers.   In his speech, he went off-script to wonder if others are laughing at us --  he thought that it was because we had signed such a bad deal that disadvantaged us.    In fact, I think right now they feel sad and puzzled that we chose so badly when we elected Donald Trump.   But any laughing they do is because of Trump himself, not because of the climate deal Obama made.


PS:   Later, a news release said that as many as 30 states are wanting to join the plan by CA, NY, and WA in pledging to carry out their climate response plans.

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