Donald Trump has appeared to or has been characterized as pulling back on his promises to “build a wall”, “drain the swamp”, “lock her up”, and more. But if there’s any campaign promise I want him to pull back on, it’s not implementing the Paris Accord. From Democracy Now!:
As Democracy Now! broadcasts from the U.N. climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco, we report that nearly 200 nations have agreed on a proclamation that declares implementation of the Paris climate accord to be an “urgent duty.” This comes just over a week after the election of Donald Trump, who has vowed to pull the United states out of the Paris Agreement and has called climate change a Chinese-created hoax. Meanwhile, climate activists staged protests targeting corporate sponsors of the climate talks.
Even if there were a plausible case for skepticism in man-made global climate change, the gamble of potentially making large swaths of land uninhabitable and unarable is not worth the risk.
In a powerfully argued essay, George Monbiot makes the case we should fly less to save the planet:
The prime minister has just announced that her cabinet will recommend where a new runway should be built. Then there will be a consultation on the decision. There is only one answer that doesn’t involve abandoning our climate change commitments and our moral scruples: nowhere. […]
Are we incapable of making such changes for the sake of others? If so, our ethics are weaker than those of 1791, when 300,000 British people, to dissociate themselves from slavery, stopped using sugar, reducing sales by one third. They understood the moral implications of an act that carried no ill intent, that seemed sweetly innocent.
The perceptual gulf between us and the distant and future victims of climate change is no wider than the ocean that lay between the people of Britain and the Caribbean. If we do not make the leap of imagination that connects our actions with their consequences, it is not because we can’t but because we won’t.
Climate change science and its economic and socio-cultural impact is a fascinating and relatedly terrifying case study into the human condition. The last battle was to limit emissions to curtail warming the oceans to 2C over the pre-industrial era. But this may not be enough, recent science suspects:
The 1.5C report was requested by governments meeting at the Paris climate talks in December where countries unexpectedly agreed to “pursue efforts” to limit warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. 1.5C marks the point, say many scientists, where there is a real danger of serious “tipping points” in the world’s climate. Temperatures have already risen 1C and show little sign of slowing.
I agree with the aphorism that “no one person can do everything to solve this problem, but everyone can do something.” Try to curtail waste in your everyday life, and vote for government that realizes the dangers of global climate change.