This site (and particularly me) tends to stay away from national and international politics. There are far more qualified people than myself to weigh in on worldly affairs.
In light of Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, today will be different. Montana’s special election, legislative foibles, administrative and congressional missteps pale in comparison to the president’s action on climate change.
Trump broke ranks with more than 190 countries, joining with just two nations — Nicaragua and Syria — in denying the role of carbon emissions in the slow death of our planet. Nicaragua did so because the accords didn’t go far enough and Syria, well, we’re in good company with Syria.
In Montana, we can expect more forest fires of greater intensity. Droughts will increase, dramatically affecting agriculture and that trout stream you’re so fond of. Glacier National Park will have to be renamed.
Note that former U.S. Representative (supposedly a Montanan) and now U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, praises his boss’s decision. We can be assured that Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte supports Trump’s pull out, too. (I’ve tried to get an answer from Gianforte on where he stands on the accord but he is nowhere to be found. Calls to his campaign manager, Shane Scanlon, have gone unanswered.) Sen. Steve Daines is in Great Falls at the Montana Ag Summit. No mention of the effects of climate change on Montana agriculture, though. There’ll be no need for these summits in future decades.
It’s an old line, but how can you tell if Trump is lying? His lips are moving. Every major media outlet has debunked Trump’s reasoning for withdrawing from the accord. Here are just a few of the fact checks from The Washington Post, The New York Times and Associated Press.
He talks about the economic costs to the U.S. from the Paris agreement, which compared to the costs of not addressing climate change, are miniscule. In a (pre-Trump) EPA report, there would be an estimated “$180 billion in economic losses because of drought and water shortages.” This figure doesn’t include shoring up coastal cities or failing infrastructure due to extreme storms. And worldwide, according to the Brookings Institute:
Unmitigated, climate change could reduce global GDP by over 20 percent by 2100 – a number roughly 5-10 times larger than current estimates … the 80 percent of countries that are either at the current global optimum (temperature) or already past it will be harmed as temperatures warm—and this include both poor countries in the tropics, as well as many wealthy countries such as the U.S. and Japan.
Trump insists that U.S. energy and manufacturing jobs would be lost under the accord. He fails to recognize that one of the fastest growing occupations is in green energy, number one being wind turbine service technician.
There are pundits saying that the U.S. wouldn’t be able to make the Paris accord targets anyway, so what’s the big deal. Had America adopted that sort of “can’t do” attitude in the ’40s and ’60s, the Nazis would control Western Europe and a Russian would have been the first to walk on the Moon.
Here’s the real deal. The U.S., and the world, can survive crises like recessions, terrorism, even war (short of nuclear). The suffering associated with climate change is incomparable and unfathomable, and the U.S. will be, in large part, to blame.