Donald Trump on Nov. 4 began making good on his ill-conceived campaign promise to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo submitted the formal notification to the UN of America’s intention to exit the treaty, beginning the one-year withdrawal process.
Pompeo trotted out Trump’s crazy argument that the treaty, which the US was largely responsible for putting together, is now a burden to America’s economy.
“President Trump made the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because of the unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers by U.S. pledges made under the Agreement,” said the secretary.
It may be news to Pompeo, but the US—as every other country did, set its own targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Trump's argument that the Paris Agreement is a job-killer doesn't hold water. The treaty focused America’s attention on becoming a world-class leader in clean energy and creating the jobs of the future.
A report from the Environmental Defense Fund found more than four million Americans working in wind, solar and energy efficiency-related jobs.
That level of employment tops the 50,000 coal mining jobs that remain in the US. Coal mines employed 862K Americans in 1923.
Trump, of course, is walking away from the Paris Agreement only because it was one of the major accomplishments of the Obama administration.
He's a climate science denier who calls global warming a hoax cooked up by China to cripple the US economy.
Back in the real world, the American Institute of Biological Sciences released a letter today about the threat posed by global warming. It begins:
“Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.
“Exactly 40 years ago, scientists from 50 nations met at the First World Climate Conference (in Geneva 1979) and agreed that alarming trends for climate change made it urgently necessary to act. Since then, similar alarms have been made through the 1992 Rio Summit, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and the 2015 Paris Agreement, as well as scores of other global assemblies and scientists’ explicit warnings of insufficient progress (Ripple et al. 2017).
“Yet greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are still rapidly rising, with increasingly damaging effects on the Earth's climate. An immense increase of scale in endeavors to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering due to the climate crisis (IPCC 2018).
To our national embarrassment, the US is the only country to begin the withdrawal process from the compact ratified by 187 countries.
There is a silver lining in the timing of the countdown clock.
The US will be out of the Paris Agreement on Nov. 4, 2020. Election Day 2020 falls on Nov. 3.
That leaves enough time for President Elizabeth Warren to stop the Paris Agreement withdrawal clock and re-engage federal Washington with the global scientific community and its effort to curtail global warming.