Climate · Trump

Donald Trump’s Historic Mistake

This post is about an article in Project Syndicate titled Donald Trump’s Historic Mistake.  It was published June 1, 2017.

Before I get into this article, I want to briefly tell you how good Project Syndicate, the site where the article appears, is.

Project Syndicate is an international site that features what are probably the world’s best articles about economics, business, technology, world affairs, politics, culture and society, environment, health and education.   The articles are written by experts from all over the world, and they are read all over the world.  And Project Syndicate distributes its articles to over 500 media outlets at zero or very low cost as well as to private readers like you and me.  In a world awash in fake news and propaganda, Project Syndicate is a source of unbiased news to treasure.

The article I’m reviewing here is by Laurence Tubiana, “a former French ambassador to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, is CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a professor at Sciences Po, Paris.”  It sounds from her name that Tubiana is a man, but she is assuredly a woman.  I guess it’s just one of those French names that we Americans don’t understand.

Tubiana says that Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord undercuts every promise he has made to his base.  She says that “Trump’s decision undermines every one of these goals, and it goes against the wishes of a vast majority of Americans, including many of his own supporters. By turning his back on the Paris agreement, he is increasing Americans’ exposure to the devastating effects of climate change – many of which they are already experiencing. Moreover, he is undercutting jobs in the thriving renewable-energy and electric-vehicle sectors, which are increasingly employing the very workers he purports to represent.”

She says that she is sad to see America being left behind by the rest of the world, but that is exactly what is happening.  She says that, in fact, the rest of the world is already moving on without America.  She says this will become obvious at the G20 meeting in Germany this July, where Europe, China, India, Canada, and Pacific Rim and South American countries are expected to powerfully reaffirm their acceptance of the Paris accord.  The only two countries that have not joined the Paris agreement are Syria and Nicaragua.  She says that “The world’s major economies are reaching new agreements every day to collaborate on research and development, infrastructure investment, and industrial strategy. They are working together to achieve a low-carbon economy, and to make 2020 the year that global greenhouse-gas emissions will have peaked.”

Tubiana says that suddenly climate technology is changing all over the world.  “Even the most optimistic among us did not predict that the old fossil-fuel paradigm would change so quickly. But Europe is phasing out coal-fueled energy production. And India, China, and South Korea are rapidly shifting their investments away from coal, and toward renewable-energy sources.”

If the US does not join with these nations, it will soon be left far behind the rest of the world.  If we do not keep up, if we do not keep up with the new technologies and innovations we will very rapidly no longer be able to compete with the rest of the world.

“Worldwide, the competition is about “who can go green the fastest.” New industries are springing up, at scale, in areas ranging from electrification and smart-grid design to electric vehicles, green construction and recycling technologies, and organic chemicals. The renewable-energy revolution, now spreading at an unprecedented rate, is already transforming entire sectors, not least transportation. In all of these sectors around the world, the excitement and growth potential is palpable.”

Hopefully, she says, even if federal level climate action in America is now blocked, environmental progress will continue to be made on the state and city level.

She ends this short article by saying that “Trump’s historic mistake represents an obstacle to that collective action; but it can hardly stop it. Just as Chinese companies are now training US coal workers to build wind farms, the rest of the world will continue to work together, and build the markets and workforce of the future.”  And America risks falling far behind this surge toward environment and climate change that is sweeping over the rest of the world.  If America doesn’t get its act together very soon, it will be left far behind in the dust.

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A family farm in upstate New York.  My son Jeff and I biked past this farm on our upstate New York bike trip in May 2016,

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