As I heard about this new political occurrence regarding Trump and the Paris Accord, I had a lot of questions. This has been weighing on my soldiers and I wanted to investigate further. I have a particular work style, and I'm much more successful at studying or working if I'm creating something. For example, every year of AP history (which, yes, has only been 2), I like to create a physical timeline on my wall. (I also always accept an excuse to exercise my sharpie collection).
Days away from the end of my school year, I realized I hadn't been posting as much, and thought it would be interesting to do a piece on this event in history. I've been preparing for college applications, and plan to spend the next few months writing my little heart out (in a professional yet personal yet interesting yet braggy way (?!?)), so I thought this would be a fun platform to practice these skills.
My mom raised me to be environmentally aware. "Hippie" and "tree-hugger" are some names I've been called throughout my school life, but I've always accepted them with pride. I question, though, why so many people label the environmentally aware, and it worries me. Just as everyone should be a feminist, everyone should care about the environment. Its our home, y'all!!!
I told myself I wouldn't get too opinionated or biased in this post, but, lets face it, that's an unrealistic expectation of myself. My opinion seems to always be displayed, but with curiosity and respect towards others. I want to explore this alarming event with an open mind in order to understand why the Trump administration thinks this is okay.
Firstly, what is the Paris Accord?
In Dec. 2015, 195 countries adopted a universal and legally binding global climate deal set to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. In short, the governments plan to:
1. maintain a goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. One study shows that 2015 was likely the first time in recorded history that global temperatures were more than 1 degree C above pre-industrial levels.
2. have an aspirational limit of 1.5 degrees C, because this would significantly decrease the risks and impacts of climate change.
3. recognize the need for global emissions to peak as soon as possible. This was a bit confusing to me, but this interactive website helped shed light on what it means. Also, I think BECCS is a crazy (and expensive) solution which I hope we can avoid using.
4. undertake rapid reductions after said peak in accordance with the best available science. This was the most intriguing to me, because I am proud that they promise to use the science available to them for good, unlike the policy makers of today. We currently have the technology to significantly reduce our impact on the environment, yet we are not taking advantage of it.
At first glance, this seems like a step in the right direction. Bias may blind me, but I can't find any reason (other than the cost of it all) as to why anyone would oppose this plan. I am filled with curiosity about what Trump believes about this entire deal. The exerpted videos of his announcement lead me to believe that he's treating this situation like a business deal, where we (America) will be as stubborn as possible until we receive what we desire.
So, what do we desire?
Trump discussed how China and India are both receiving more leeway in the Paris Agreement than America, and I wondered what he meant by that. His sentiments seem nearly Populist in essence, with such an emphasis on American workers. These are, apparently, some of his reasons for exiting the agreement:
1. The Paris Accord is bad for the US economy. Trump believes these procedures to limit CO2 emissions will result in a loss of jobs, or the absence of the creation of more jobs to fit our rising population. To me, the first obvious contradiction to this would be all the jobs gained in the "new" green energy industry. Additionally, the Paris Agreement in a nonbinding agreement, which means that the US would not have to implement these procedures at all. For the entirety of Trump's (hopefully short) presidency, he would not have to enact any of these programs. Therefore, Trump could have remained in the Paris Accord with no affect on the US economy. It would have been considerate for the next president who will hopefully have a more empathetic heart and moral conscience, and choose to be a valuable player in the agreement.
2.The Paris Accord does not allow for the American Free Market Economy. By manipulating the economy towards investment into cleaner, greener energy, the agreement curbs the ever-powerful free market economy. This aspect of American economy is deeply rooted in American pride, and is a powerful use of pathos directed towards the American People to influence them against this agreement.
3.China and India don't have to reduce emissions like America does. This is a little childish. China and India both have less developed infrastructures and economies than America. They realistically do not have the resources to create as large of an impact as America does. Moreover, America has emitted 30% of the excess CO2 emissions currently in the atmosphere, which is the same amount as Europe. America is simply more responsible for/capable of affecting the creation of CO2 emissions that are contributing to global warming.
5. Trump believes the Paris Accord is politically unpopular within America. When I watched the excerpt of his speech, one of the first things I noticed was the pathetic applause. 1 out of every 3 people was not clapping. Maybe this is actually reasonable (assuming they choose a politically diverse group to be in the audience), but it was just a sad applause. Nobody was passionate about it, and nobody was happy. All those clappy republicans had a little shame on their shoulders, I believe. Nevertheless, 7 out of 10 Americans were in favor of and wanted to be a part of the Paris Accord. Trump is in denial.
America is now part of the 3 nations not part of the Paris Accord (the other two being Syria and Nicaragua).
this website, this one, and this video.