By Madhurima Dhar
Francis Scott Key called America the land of the free and the home of the brave. But what valour and what freedom are they talking about if they can’t even stand up for Mother Earth.
Donald Trump recently pulled America out of the ‘Paris Climate Accord’, the biggest climate deal the world has ever seen. The Paris Agreement’s crucial aim is to keep the global temperature rise this century below 2ºC because once we go beyond this threshold the damage would be irreparable. Each country is required to set their own goals and reconvene every 5 years to ideally set more ambitious targets. What was so monumental about it was that it brought virtually the entire world to act. We are talking about countries like North Korea and China supporting this deal. Even Israel and Palestine reached a common consensus when it came to global climate change.
Trump says, “The rest of the world applauded when we signed the Paris Agreement, they went wild, they were so happy for the simple reason that it put our country at a very big economic disadvantage.” Mr Trump are you delusional? This is not some conspiracy against America, they were happy as they secured a landmark deal for the future of the planet. If the deal was an economic degradation of any sorts for the USA, the American businesses wouldn’t so vehemently support it. They didn’t only second the agreement but also made a last-ditch attempt to change Trump’s mind. 25 companies like Microsoft and Intel purchased a full-page ad in The New York Times arguing about how this agreement encouraged jobs and economic growth. My suggestion, they should have gone with Breitbart instead.
Does this really come as a surprise? This is the man who tweeted about climate change as ‘expensive bullshit’ and a ‘hoax created by Chinese to make US manufacturing non-competitive. Trump’s deep-rooted paranoia misled him into taking this step as he feared that America would no longer be allowed to set up coal plants. For starters, he should perhaps go through the agreement once as it does not even contain the word ‘coal’ in it for the simple reason that each country sets its own goals.
Secondly, Trump is concerned about the Green Climate Fund which facilitates projects in the developing nation helping them to adapt to the impact of climate change. Trump believes that this deal obligates America to commit tens of billions of dollars to the Green Climate Fund. This statement is completely misleading. Firstly, USA has committed only 3 billion dollars which are highest in terms of sheer dollars but we also must consider that it is the richest country and one of the top emitters. When you rank contributions as a fraction of GDP, USA ranks only 32nd. The deal does not commit or obligate America to do anything because the Paris Accord is not legally binding and has no enforcement clause. Thus, Trump’s description is largely deceptive, to say the least.
Coming to the drawbacks of pulling out. Firstly, is the harm of standing all alone in the world as he is right now being condemned by almost every major global leader including Emanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau. A bad brand name can stick with America for a long time. Most importantly are the adverse effects on the American workers, the very people Trump is claiming to protect because the world realises the need to shift to renewable sources and thereby setting up a new industry and creating countless jobs.
We used to joke about Trump destroying the world, seems like he is doing it. Perhaps mother earth is the one Trump should consider grabbing.