Earth Doctor / Climate Troubadour

Trump’s Paris withdrawal will backfire.

Trump’s Paris withdrawal will backfire.

It has been astonishing to watch the growing list of nations, business leaders, and U.S. states and cities doubling down on their climate commitments in response to Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. A sampling:

•Within 4 days, 1200 US governors, mayors and businesses committed to do whatever possible to help the US meet its commitments pledged by Obama. It’s an impressive list:  “We Are Still In”.

•New York governor Andrew Cuomo has committed $1.5 billion in renewable energy investment, further speeding New York’s commitment to climate and on track to add tens of thousands of jobs to their clean-energy economy.

•According to Financial Times, 6-6-17, The CNA Military Advisory Board, a Virginia-based think tank, has issued a warning that the US is falling behind in energy technology, constituting a national security risk. The top brass argue that the US should be leading the transition to advanced energy by stepping up R&D in renewables, energy efficiency and electricity storage.

Under the influence of the fossil-fuel industry, The US has been foiling global response to climate change for a very long time. Both parties have contributed, whether under the Republican mantra “Drill, baby, drill!” or the Democratic energy philosophy of “all of the above”. Both parties have supported extreme energy sources (fracking, Arctic drilling) and enormous oil and gas infrastructure development, as well as military conflict over oil resources. The US contributed to the failed Kyoto Protocol, and unsurprisingly undermined the Copenhagen climate meeting. Some current analysis suggests that the US would be more trouble trying to disrupt the Paris agreement from the inside, given our long and troubling history.

Far from “making America great”, Mr. Trump’s policies have delivered world leadership in advanced energy technologies into China’s hands. Fortunately for the world, both China and India have renewed their commitment to the clean-energy transition, rapidly phasing out coal-fired energy generation in favor of clean and cheaper renewables. “What the Chinese dream about”, according to Financial Times, “is blue sky and blue water”.

Though things are evolving quickly, the early reports are in. Our business leaders, military leaders, peer nations, and a long and growing list of American cities and states remain firmly committed to climate action. Far from wagging the dog, Mr. Trump’s latest blunder has energized the climate movement and will speed up our domestic and global transition to clean energy.

NY Times editorial June 7, 2017: States and Cities Compensate for Mr. Trump’s Climate Stupidity.

Financial Times: The Big Green Bang: How renewable energy became unstoppable.

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