Persevere in a Lunatic World: Donald Trump and the Paris Agreement

Tom Schueneman
Published in
3 min readJun 3, 2017


Posted on JUNE 1, 2017 Written by TOM LEAVE A COMMENT (EDIT)

A personal reflection on Donald Trump’s “epic fail”

I admit that I had held out hope until the very end. Until I received the news alert at 11:45 Thursday morning, I thought that even Donald Trump would recognize the lunacy of pulling out of the Paris Agreement. That is, of course, my mistake. Just like the sucker punch of election night (which, until then, had been a great birthday celebration), Trump has once again rattled my perception of reality.

That’s a good thing. If there has been one iota of “normalizing” a Donald Trump presidency, then his Rose Garden ramble was the slap in the face I needed. Humans aren’t designed to be on high alert all the time. It can’t be “fight or flight” 24/7, but that is no excuse to let our guard down. Even when it feels hopeless

The spirit of Paris

In Bonn, Copenhagen, and Paris, I’ve been fortunate enough to see the UN process from the inside. It is often a grinding, disheartening experience. But COP21 was truly remarkable.

Reaching beyond the short-term, self-interest endemic of global nation-states, Paris marked a threshold in human progress. For the first time in the troubled history of our species, we looked head on into the tragedy of the global commons and managed to chose a path of mutual cooperation.

Then along comes an infantile, arrogant, ignorant narcissist. Unconcerned with the truth, out of touch with his own humanity — let alone anyone else’s — and the delicate balance of international diplomacy crumbles in a heap.

Decades of hard-fought negotiations may seem for naught, but it is not so. It just means the United States will no longer lead the global effort. The train has left the station and Donald is nowhere to be found. America suddenly becomes on par with Syria and Nicaragua.

His announcement on Thursday belied either his utter lack of knowledge of the Paris Agreement or willingness to lie about it. It doesn’t really matter anymore. Donald Trump, if there was every any doubt, is not to be trusted.


I’ve chased after the global warming beat for awhile now. I may just be tilting at windmills, but I’d be a coward to stop now.

More than ever, I — we — can’t allow the despair that inevitably bubbles up dissuade us from the notion that there is another way to live.

In the meantime, we must persevere in a lunatic world.




Tom Schueneman

Environmental Writer, Online Publisher, Speaker. Founder of the PlanetWatch Group. Member, Society of Environmental Journalists and Pacific Media Workers Guild