Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Accord today because he believes it’s not good for the country. At this point, we’re used to Donald Trump being wrong. At this point, we’re used to him not caring about facts from scientists, which he dismisses as “alternative facts” or “fake news”. For our administration to care, we would need to our administration to believe that global warming is real.
First off, it’s important to understand that the Paris Accord was a framework negotiated and set by various countries towards the singular aim of preventing the worst-case scenario for global warming. While the framework gives goals for countries, it does not dictate or bind countries to certain climate actions.
However, with the U.S. deciding to withdraw today, we join the ranks of Nicaragua and Syria as the only 3 countries in the world who have not signed on.
So what happens now?
The Paris Accord is undeniably important — there is no questions about it. However, by not signing on to it again, it doesn’t mean global warming has won, nor does it mean we as a country have to shrink away toward apathy.
Though we squandered our name as a “global leader”, we don’t have to worry about other countries potentially pulling out in our stead. In addition to Russian commitment to the Paris Accord, the EU and China are pretty much guaranteed to move forward with the Paris Accord regardless of the U.S. stance.
If the White House won’t take responsibility for the climate change, then individual citizens and states have to lead the charge and fight the good fight. States like California and Washington, who are pioneers in solar and wind energy, have to pick up the pace and do everything in their power in invest further in renewable energy.
The C-40 group on climate change, representing 650 million people, consists of 12 major U.S. cities and over 90 cities across the world, all focused on the singular goal of reducing greenhouse gasses. Citizens must keep their representatives accountable and push them to deliver action regardless of what the Trump administration decides.
Businesses and business leaders must step up, question ridiculous policies, and further move the needle in clean energy. Renewable energy is not as expensive as it used to be with wind and solar energy costs having dropped by over 60 percent and 80 percent respectively. Don’t get sucked into the ideological battles being waged in Washington — now would be the optimal time for businesses to transition into clean energy.
Lastly, it’s on us. It’s on us to be more educated, it’s on us to protest where it matters, and it’s on us to elect the right people to represent us who believe in facts over fallacies and fanaticism. Send a clear message to your elected officials — get on board, or get out of our way.