Vermont Business Magazine President Trump formally notified the United Nations that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change – an agreement that the United States played an instrumental role in negotiating.
This decision is nothing more than the fulfillment of a cynical and reckless campaign promise made for the sole purpose of currying favor with the fossil fuel industry. It comes in the wake of the latest National Climate Assessment, by our country’s top scientists, which was unequivocal: Climate change already affects every sector and region of our country, threatening millions of Americans’ health, homes and livelihoods.
This July was the warmest month in history. The last five years were the warmest years ever recorded. The United States alone has reportedly experienced more than $400 billion in weather and climate disaster costs since 2014. Rising seas, increased storm surge, and tidal flooding threaten $1 trillion in coastal infrastructure and property.
Let’s not forget that in 2017, President Trump claimed that he would make a better climate deal. The truth is the opposite. The only thing he has done is roll back environmental protections put in place by his predecessors. The United States is on course to be the only country in the world that is not a party to the Paris Agreement.
President Trump has long asserted, whether he actually believes it or not, that Paris is some nefarious globalist plot to harm American competitiveness and empower countries like China and India, which are parties to the Paris Agreement. In fact, leaving the agreement will harm the U.S. economy as our country retreats from a global technology market that is expected to value in the tens of trillions of dollars. This decision also empowers China, because the agreement is actually designed to hold it accountable for its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
History will remember this foolhardy and infamous decision. Valuable time to stop global warming will be lost, and future generations, and this generation as well, will pay a heavier price. It is up to the American people, the Congress, state and municipal governments to demand the kind of leadership on this vital issue that our nation and the world need.