What Now? Responses to USA Withdraw From The Paris Accord Spark Reaction And Activism
The powerful response of most nations in the world after the US president announced a withdraw from the hard-won Paris Accord, has been mixed. Germany and France have stopped forward in leadership, while outspoken, regional reactions from conservatives, at least in the USA, have displayed their determination to somehow take abstracted man-created borders and make them into a solid, separate victory for America First.
A nation state going ‘rogue,’ as former Irish President Mary Robinson put it, is unprecedented. French Emmanuel Macron grandly articulated that forward thinking people have ‘a second home’ in France. California Governor Jerry Brown noted that while the US goes AWOL, China is stepping in to be the clean energy leader of Earth. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee called Trump’s withdrawal “pathetic.” Many thousands of such responses of condemnation sounded world-wide.
Meanwhile, even the Republicans are divided. Steve Bannon gets to gloat about nationalism trumping globalism. Scott Pruitt, an EPA director who seems to have a made a career out of hobbling the EPA, is said to have been instrumental, while Secretary of State Tex Tillerson urged Trump to stay in the agreement. Although afterward, Tillerson quietly downplayed any negative consequences of the withdrawal. Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia are almost giddy about their profitable, new potential.
In the end, however, it was Trump’s need to deliver the one campaign promise he felt powerful enough to complete, that persuaded the POTUS. Not even Jared and Ivanka, the Pope, or nearly two hundred other nations could stop Trump from seeking approval from his base to soothe his now very vulnerable ego.
Progressive leaders who acknowledge science and the very real documented evidence of Climate Change storms, fires, floods, famines, famines and war, are joining the US Climate Alliance and vowing to stay on track to reduce carbon emissions, promote green energy and economy, and to comply with many of the recommended efforts of the Paris Agreement. Giants like Tesla, Amazon and Microsoft vow to work on what they see as the right side of history, as well.
Seeing the two coastal sides of the USA continent planning to protect our planet, while some middle states seem to be regressing back to the “greatness” of the railroad baron, coal-belching, land-grabs of the nineteenth century feels somewhat surreal.
One wonders if a new civil war looms between the seceding Cascadia/Canada Alliance, and the righteous right-wing, under-represented rust-belt of Gilead. People with genuine concerns have seen manufacturing and fossil fuel jobs threatened. They may not know that an FDR style re-vitalization with a green economy could alleviate their suffering.
It is concerning, that each listener to daily news, is given completely contradictory stories about what ‘America First’ means for a future economy. It really does appear as though Trump intends to favor his narrow base, even at the cost of global leadership in a greening, global economy. He has said that he is protecting ‘Pittsburgh, not Paris’ as if vast, clean energy programs, emission controls and pollution prevention would not promote hope, pride, and green jobs. As disconcerting as his rhetoric is, it should be noted that a great majority of people in the USA favor green energy, just as they favor healthcare and equality for all citizens.
Take what you will from Trump’s stubborn stance, either they really believe in manifest destiny — or is it (only Rich, White) Man Infest Destiny? — or they are willingly putting lives and livelihoods at risk. To many of us this looks like a toddler tantrum based entirely on the presumption that toxins are harmless, climate change is no real threat, and a green economy is not attainable despite our much touted greatness.
On the occasion of John F. Kennedy's 100th birthday, however, I would suggest that we are great, and further, it is time to choose to do “the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” To update Kennedy's wisdom, we can choose to come to the aid of the Earth, rather than the moon, this time.
And, we can create a better world. If it takes a man-child to raze a global village, it can also take all the adults in the room to employ all our greatness toward Macron’s dream of making the Earth Great Again.
Please highlight, share, and comment if you enjoyed this story, Many thanks, Christyl Rivers, Phd.