Thursday, June 1, 2017

Exiting the Paris Accord

6/1/2017—Of course exiting the Paris Accord is a disaster for America and for the planet and it is another example of why we should never have elected Donald Trump President.

Having said that, however, there is another way of looking at the exit. Why was Donald Trump able on his own to accomplish such a momentous act? The answer is that there was nothing behind American participation in the Paris Accord except the signature of President Obama. The Paris Accord was an important event. In our system, such actions must be ratified by Congress. It was the failure of the Obama administration to go to Congress that allowed the Paris Accord withdrawal.

But, of course, it will be pointed out that Congress would not have endorsed the Paris Accord. What does that mean? Many people are saying right now that most Americans support the Paris Accord in particular an action to alleviate global warming in general. What then allows the Congress of a more or less democratic country to refuse to endorse a popular measure?

What I am pointing to is the anti-political attitude of the left in America. There was no stomach in the Democratic Party for going to the mat on global warming. There was no strategy to fight for ratification of the Paris Accord. But, he who lives by executive action, dies by executive action.

It is true that it is hard to gain political traction when benefits of the action are diffuse and the pain is particular. Coal miners will vote against politicians who favor action on global warming, but most Americans who favor such action will not vote in favor of politicians who support action on global warming because there will always be other issues of more significance to them.

But, really, isn’t all of this just another way of saying that the American people have never been convinced that global warming is really a threat and a crisis? And, since people are not really stupid and since people really do love their grandchildren, whose fault is it that the political battle was not won? I never heard one word about global warming in the presidential debates. I never heard Secretary of State Clinton argued that Trump was lying about global warming and that all of our grandchildren’s lives were at stake. That is the truth but I don’t think people realize it still.

What is needed is politics, old-fashioned politics. We don’t need direct action. We don’t need resistance. We just need to elect a new Congress. On the issue of global warming, there is really not that much that is complicated.

No comments:

Post a Comment