Quitting Paris, Trump Damages America’s Economy.

by Pitt Griffin on June 1, 2017 · 0 comments

in Climate change, Trump presidency

The Paris climate agreement is voluntary. There is no mechanism to enforce any of the signatories goals. Legally it makes no difference whether we are in or out. But symbolically the decision is significant. With Trump’s decision to ditch the deal, America announces that the world’s largest economy, and second largest polluter, puts profits ahead of people.

And this despite the fact that many of America’s corporations urged Trump to stay in the Paris agreement. They know the economic argument favors staying. The future – with its concomitant jobs and profits – belongs to those who pursue new technologies. The global engineering and science talent that always looked to America for opportunity will now increasingly search out positions in Asia and Europe.

China and the EU stay committed to the project – forging ahead with plans already initiated.

Even Exxon urged the administration to stay in.

So why did Trump do it? Politics. Congressional Republicans support the action. The right-wing commentariat is aflutter with giddy enthusiasm. Because at its root, the decision isn’t based on a calculation of what is best for Americans or even American business. It is the product of a reflexive belief that any regulation is a de facto negative.

And far more importantly, it is a grunting, visceral rejection of anything that Obama did.

Maybe I have missed something. Perhaps there are like-minded countries, with well-considered reasons for pursuing the reactionary path. Are we alone in turning our back on the global community? No. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Syria and Nicaragua. So there’s that.

The Paris agreement is like a  homeowners association requesting that residents maintain their properties and don’t litter the road. Libertarians will kvetch that it is an unacceptable constraint on individual rights. But reasonable people understand that a few guidelines increase the value of everybody’s property.

It works best if the miserable shit in the big house agrees to join in. However, if he doesn’t, the rest of the neighborhood can still benefit – while the big dope sits in his deteriorating property.


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