(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Now that Donald Trump has, once again, done the unthinkable—this time withdrawing the US from the historic international climate accord signed in Paris in 2015—everyone wants to know, what will this mean? Responses range anywhere from “very little’ to ‘this is it, we’re done.”
Most likely, the answer will fall somewhere in between, and probably, or at least hopefully, closer to the “very little” end. Not that the climate crisis is anything but dire. Indeed, it might already be too late to stave off at least some of the horrendous consequences involving millions of lives that have been foretold, such as coastal cities being inundated around the world. Any step that isn’t moving quickly away from emitting greenhouse gases, or indeed, any delay in doing so, will undermine any and all attempts to escape those relentlessly-approaching horrors.
While it’s difficult to find anything good in this decision that Bill McKibben aptly, if bluntly, called “stupid and reckless,” there might be a few consolations. While the move will certainly bring the world closer to the brink of climate disaster, it will also likely bring the Trump regime closer to its end as well. That’s because not only will this withdrawal from the Paris accord isolate the US from the rest of theworld (there’s already talk in Europe of changing the G7 to a new G6, designed to “push out the populists”), but here in the US, it will also isolate Trump and his dwindling number of followers, as he moves to a more and more extreme position of nationalistic isolation. Recent polls show that 69% of Americans from every state supported remaining in the Paris accord.
For all of its jingoistic talk, this action, to the extent that it actually amounts to anything substantive, will likely harm the US, including Trump voters as much as anyone.
Let’s take a look at how Trump framed the announcement in the hope that this could shed some light on his thinking. First, he started out by mentioning the casino attack in Manila by a lone gunman, calling it an act of terrorism, keeping up his steady drumbeat of fear, and highlighting his obsession of this issue to the exclusion of all others. This, despite the fact that Philippine authorities have ruled out terrorism as a motive behind the crime.
Next, he switched to the economy, making it clear that his motive for withdrawing would be an economic one. What followed was a series of misrepresentations about economic growth and jobs. He boasted that the economy, which was not doing that badly, at least according to traditional indicators like GDP growth, was “starting to come back and very, very rapidly.” In fact, the Commerce Department reported GDP growth in the first quarter of 1.2%, significantly less that the 1.55% average during the Obama years. and the “more than a million private sector jobs,” he claimed was actually 697,000.
From there, he went on to declare that, “as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”