Only this time it’s the US under Donald Trump filing official notice with the UN that it’s leaving the Paris Accord climate treaty altogether. While the alarmist crowd rushed to decry the decision, its practical effect was to make the US the only honest player in town. Everyone else, like Canada, will continue to preen about their virtue by remaining in the treaty, while failing miserably at meeting its targets which wouldn’t matter anyway. The US, as the Trump administration pointed out, reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent from 2005 to 2017, but ended up damned for inaction anyway. So they’re out. Further proof, as we already pointed out, that Paris, like Kyoto before it, is doomed to predictable failure.
When Trump originally announced his intention to withdraw from Paris in June 2017 it triggered a process that required a 2-year waiting period, which has now ended. The decision this week is a testament to this unusual administration’s willingness to go against the tide, act according to its own convictions and do things it said it would. Coming as it does on the occasion of Greta Thunberg’s visit to the US, and the inevitable crowds and celebrity swooning, the timing could not have been more suitable.
The decision was predictably slammed in the Washington Post by former Obama Administration Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel, calling it “a dark time for America”. But their Op Ed, in addition to rehashing just about every climate cliché from rising seas to California wildfires (but not extinct polar bears) to the miracle of the “clean-energy economy”, managed to miss the point spectacularly.
After wailing about “America isolated” they conceded that “The Paris agreement was a start, not a finish line” before calling for “a World-War II style mass mobilization”. But in what direction? Well evidently the main thing is the mass production of rhetoric.
They wound up chortling that “We have an election in our country on Nov. 3, 2020” and “can rejoin the agreement any time once we have a leader willing to do so…. America will be back.” But they didn’t say anything about how the nation might meet its Paris commitments or what good it would do if it did.
Which is kind of the point.