Une Mauvaise Affaire

“We came together around a strong agreement the world needed. We met the moment. We have shown what’s possible when the world stands as one.” — Barack Obama

The historic Climate agreement deal has been signed by 197 countries within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), of which 147 countries have ratified it as of June, 2017. This agreement was a significant step towards jointly combating climate change and fighting its adverse effects. Member countries are bound to take bold steps towards combating climate change and reduce carbon emissions, in order to ensure global temperatures don’t’ rise above 2 more degree Celsius. This was a very momentous step, and the first time that so many nations of the world came together to fight climate change.

This Paris agreement was well on its track until the USA President Donald Trump backed out of the Paris Agreement, arguing that this step was a pernicious threat to the economy and American sovereignty. He says that the decision of him from backing out of Paris agreement will protect 6.5 million jobs, it will scrap the unconstitutional treaty and will ensure safe, reliable and affordable energy.

How justified is Trump’s move? United States is the second big polluter after China by carbon dioxide emissions according to Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR). If we pollute the earth at this alarming rate (and increasing), then there will be no earth left for our posterity to live upon. US holds the second position in the carbon emission statistics and is one of the most powerful countries in the world, so with the position and power comes the responsibility, the responsibility to lead a change.

President Donald Trump thinks that he is saving millions of jobs by backing out of the Paris Agreement but the reality is that he may actually be losing them. The energy sector has been attracting lots of investors in the recent past. Bill Gates pointed out that energy, along with AI and Biosciences was one of the big-impact opportunities of the future. The energy sector is generating millions of jobs in America, according to the U.S Energy and Employment Report (2017). In 2016, America provided 1.1 million jobs in the traditional energy sectors such as coal, oil and gas and while it generated 800 thousand jobs in the renewable energy sector. As the market of renewable energy is slowly and gradually increasing year by year, jobs in those traditional energy sectors will be replaced by the jobs in renewable energy sector. Taking this into account, it is obvious that Americans will not lose all those jobs but will instead replace it with a more promising sector.

The arguments pointed out by Trump were baseless and instead of making America great again, it will only make it worse. The Paris Agreement was a united step toward making a change in the world, it was the global step which pointed the global ship to the right direction. Despite the (shockingly) large number of climate skeptics, science points to climate change being a harsh reality. While debate on its scale is justified, choosing to ignore it, as Trump does, will only stall discourse, or worse, push it backwards. Trump believes that the Paris Agreement will be pernicious to American sovereignty. What is remarkable is that Trump does not seem to understand that America is a global powerhouse, both in terms of soft power and otherwise. This means that they take up matters of global importance, and push the agenda forward. However, Trump seems loath to either understand or implement this, and by pulling America out of the Paris Agreement, he is inadvertently pulling the whole world back into the Dark Ages, not just his own country.

Understandably, there has been backlash. Elon Musk, who was a part of Trump’s Business Advisory Council, chose to quit over America’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Other businesses in the US have also vowed to uphold stringent environmental regulation, probably feeling a sense of responsibility towards the world. We as of today have only one home to live and that is earth and by destroying it we are not only destroying our home but we are destroying us also with it. There will be no firefighters to save us then from this burning planet. While global leadership is playing dice with the climate, dithering on what is a ‘fair’ agreement, it is up to each of us individually to play our part and pressurize our leadership to take firm action. In the end, that is our only hope. In the words of Elon Musk, ‘Climate change is real’. And it is too close to dither over for the sake of financial gain, especially by the President of the most powerful nation. Hopefully, global consensus will emerge before it is too late.

This article was first published on Free Lunch.