Trump made many promises on the campaign trail that left climate change champions ready to cringe. The latest discussion surrounds the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Just in case you need a tiny blurb of background information: The Paris Agreement’s mission is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperatures from increasing by 2 degrees Celsius. The Agreement asks that all ratifying parties essentially “do their part” to reduce emissions. Ratifying parties are encouraged to assist developing countries and those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. (That’s the short version)
The United States, a top world power and an extremely powerful influence on the rest of the world is threatening to back out of the agreement. Britain has it’s first coal-free day since the 1800’s and is planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. Clean energy projects are growing in Africa and China is on track to curbing emissions and sourcing 20% of its energy from clean sources by 2030. Yet, the United States is planning to shy away from its responsibilities to the planet that houses our nation to save an industry that is dying rapidly.
Two things come from this revelation, one is that the coal industry in the United States is not going to return to its former glory. Even though the current administration is taking great strides to stop the climate change movement the private sector is driving on. There is no stopping the forward progress of clean energy projects, solar farms, wind farms, solar panels on the roofs of homes, and all other projects being developed to save this great planet. There is hope when companies like The Berkeley Energy Group and EDF Renewable Energy are exploring the option to turn the top of their strip mine into Kentucky’s largest solar farm. Get this…they even plan to create jobs and train out-of-work coal miners to work those jobs. Imagine that! Imagine that we could move forward with not only “doing our part” but also providing a new and lucrative job industry that has a bright future ahead.
The second revelation (at least for me) is that currently there is no penalty for not following through on the commitments to the agreement. The current administration could continue to play in the game but change its commitments and settle for less stringent greenhouse gas reduction goals. If this is the future plan the administration would be selling this country short. Trump would be ceding the opportunity to be one of the globes top leaders on climate policy. Guess who he would be ceding that power to..none other than China and of course the EU.
This very vast and talented country has the ability to lead us into a more stable and cleanly enhanced future. Why not take advantage of that? Why not take the opportunity to show the world that the United States can be good and do good? I sincerely hope that we remain apart of this forward movement and that we can be one of the leaders of the charge. I’d like to stop being the country getting the side eye from other countries and be the country that everyone stops and pays attention to because for once in the last year and a half we are doing something right.