One Half-Cheer for Trump?


Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/07/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21604

June 1, 2017, Donald Trump announced that "The United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord," setting off alarm bells and outraged protests in U.S. cities and around the world. We would suggest that under present circumstances, he chose the better - well, less bad - of the existing options.



Trump overrode the pleas of his main corporate advisors, including many fossil fuel executives and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who argued that "keeping a seat at the table" would enable Washington to obstruct, slow down and sabotage any part of the Paris accord that it deemed damaging to "our economic interests."

Indeed, as negotiated under president Obama's leadership the climate accord allowed each country to set its own voluntary carbon-reduction targets, which could be watered down at will. What was to be gained from pulling out, aside from Steve Bannon's appeal to Trump’s hardcore nationalist supporters, the megabucks pumped in by the Koch brothers, and the applause of coal-country voters who bought Trump's lies about bringing back the miners' jobs?

Had Trump followed the stay-and-sabotage course, the result might have been a collective sigh of relief. Instead, four U.S. states - California, New York, Washington and Connecticut - close to 200 cities including the used-to-be coal and steel center Pittsburgh, and scores of academic institutions have been reaffirming their own commitments to the Paris targets.