Momentum Continues to Build for Climate Action !
Trump's Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement is Another Blow to
By now it is crystal clear that Mr. Trump has little regard for the global agreements that maintain the order of the global community. Perhaps the concept of a global community has no importance in Trump's world view. So, we were not surprised or amazed when he announced the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Climate agreement. Still, we experienced a visceral reaction of outrage when the withdrawal was announced on French TV during a broadcast of a major football (soccer) match on the evening of June 1.
In the next several days, a firestorm of anger and disappointment ensued. We urge everyone who has not already done so to spend some time reading and listening to the statements of leaders, climate scientists, opinion makers, economists, and many others around the world. Trump did not offer additional clarifications of his announcement and spokespeople could not or would not clarify either. When asked if Mr. Trump believed that humans were responsible for the climate's obvious changes, his staff could not offer any clarification.
Perhaps the Trump administration believes that the American people really don't care about the Paris Climate Agreement and will also believe Trump's rhetoric about the impacts of compliance on the US economy. Yet, a report, "Politics and Global Warming" on a survey carried out by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication in 2016, found that "seven in ten registered voters (69%) say the US should participate in the international agreement to limit climate change (the Paris COP21 agreement), compared with only 13% who say the US should not. For more, click here
Furthermore, the agreement enables each party (nation) to determine its own the greenhouse gas reduction target or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and each party may change its NDC at any time. Therefore, there is no need to withdraw. Mr. Trump could change the NDC of the United States rather than withdrawing, allowing the U.S. to retain a seat at the table.
As the federal government has abdicated the leadership role on climate protection established during the Obama Administration, President Obama expressed confidence that "our states, cities and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we've got." President Barack Obama, June 1, 2017
The concept that the United States will be able to take significant actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions gives us hope that we will still have an important role to play to protect the planet!
Michael Bloomberg, a United Nations envoy on climate, announced his intention to gather representatives of American cities, states and companies to prepare and submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet the United States' greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate accord, despite President Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement. In a draft letter to the United Nations, he wrote,
"While the executive branch of the US government speaks on behalf of our nation in matters of foreign affairs, it does not determine many aspects of whether and how the United States takes action on climate change."
He further stated
"The bulk of the decisions which drive US climate action in the aggregate are made by cities, states, businesses, and civil society. Collectively, these actors remain committed to the Paris accord."
We believe that President Obama and Michael Bloomberg are maintaining an excellent perspective on the situation! There are many ways for the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and states, cities, businesses and civil society have great and important roles to play to protect our planet! In fact, each of us has a role to play! We can all take actions to reduce our own emissions on a daily basis. Just a few lifestyle changes can make a large difference. For example, we can drive less, take the bus, ride a bike or walk, eat more veggies and less meat, use low energy lighting, add energy efficient elements to our homes. For more ideas, just search the Internet!
Susan E. Rice, former Ambassador to the United Nations suggested in an Op-ed in the New York Times, June 2, 2017,
"In the absence of US leadership, the American people should act as informal ambassadors, via contacts through tourism, study-abroad programs and cultural exchanges."
This is an intriguing concept for Nomads like us who are striving to become Global Citizens! We'll give that more thought!
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