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If you are upset about Trump and upset about Trump pulling the US out of the Paris agreement, please let me help you get through the day.
Trump announcing that the US is pulling out of Paris does not mean the end of Paris, the end of action on climate change, or much else about global warming. I’ll explain why in a moment. The US pulling out of Paris could even be interpreted as better than the US staying in. I’ll explain that too.
I’m not saying that Trump should have pulled out, I’m just saying that at the moment, if you are deeply concerned about the climate and the future, which you should be, don’t let this get you down too much because when you add up all the complications and nuances, Trump’s decision about Paris is not that different than his decision about immigration. A big league tweet followed by an awkward presentation of his racist America First agenda followed by not much.
First, I’m going to list a few reasons that PAREXIT is not the end of the world. None of these arguments individually means much, but this will give you an idea of how this is not YASBTTTD (yet another simple bad thing that trump did). Then, I’ll tell you the real meaning of PAREXIT and why, in my view, this will backfire on Trump. Then, I’ll give you a few money quotes and links to commentary by my smart and trusted colleagues so you can read all about it.
1) We have made arrangements and are part of Paris already, and leaving the Paris agreement therefore will take time. It will likely take a few years, which is longer than trump will be President. Here is the President of the European Commission explaining that since Trump does not “get close to the dossier” (translation: can’t read or think) he has announced a thing he can’t really do.
2) There are almost 200 nations in the agreement, and the US would have been only one of them. Yes, we are the bigliest and the bestliest and among the most polluting and all that. But think about this for a second. How many times in the past has there been something like a 200:1 ratio of countries on two different sides of something? Answer: Never. Not once has that ever happened. Even Hitler had a couple of other bad hombres on his side. The sheer yugeness of this imbalance makes what Trump does not count for much. See below for more aspects to this part of PAREXIT.
3) If the US were to remain an active participant in Paris, with Trump and his anti-environmental, anti-planet Republicans in charge, they would ruin the agreement. Right now, there are a lot of people quietly breathing a sigh of relief that the next few years of acting on Paris can ignore the US.
Trump has said and done a lot of dumb things, and among those things have been a number of serious insults to other countries. The whole building a wall along the Mexican border thing is a good example. Trump’s attack on a huge portion of the world, directly, and insult to everyone else, indirectly, with his stance on Immigration seriously affected the view other countries have of the US. His coziness with Putin pisses off Europe. Every chance he has had to be nice vs. insult a foreign leader, he’s chosen the bully-brat approach and mostly insulted.
All this together made everyone else in the world look at Trump with suspicion. But, world leaders remained diplomatic, sometimes even hopeful, said nice things, and tried to live with it all.
Then, Trump went to the Middle East and Europe. While in Europe he violated the old proverb, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” By the time Trump returned to the US, his standing among world leaders was pretty nearly ruined.
But not totally ruined, there may have been some hope, and he still got along with the Orb People.
But then, PAREXIT happened and the Trump is now on the very edge of being a full on pariah globally, and the US is teetering on the edge of utter irrelevance in the areas of diplomacy, trade, or anything that requires cooperation or conversation. The following graphic is optimistic, allowing for a tiny bit of hope which we assume Trump will erase within the next week or two.
And that is the true meaning of PAREXIT
This all sounds bad but it can be good, and here’s why. Once the rest of the world is allowed to no longer take the US seriously, and more importantly, once the rest of the world is required to not take the US seriously for their own preservation and protection, then they can do something about trump and the Republicans.
For example, if other countries are trying to meet Paris goals, they may need to suspend trade with the US. If you are Argentina and you are mostly non-fossil fuel powered, you can’t really buy cars or electronic parts from the Dirty US, can you? You’ll get them from Germany or France. If you are Mexico, and you are trying to meet Paris goals, you can’t let American based airlines land in your country. It is not Trump that is going to shut down all the trade agreements. It is everyone else.
When US business that supply manufactured good and technology overseas are shut down by the Paris countries (= all the countries) and all those nice people in Wisconsin and Michigan who want to fly down to the Maya Riviera next January can’t, the disastrous nature of Trump’s decisions and Trump himself will gain special meaning.
And it goes on from there. The US has to negotiate and communicate and get along. Remember just a few days ago when the UK intelligence services said they would stop sharing certain information with the US because of photos from Manchester being released? That was a line of crap. The photos were released to news agencies by a British based source. That was something else going on. It was the UK intelligence services creating an opportunity to “USEXIT” the special relationship before it became a disaster, because trust with the US was gone. Just to be clear, the thing that keeps getting called the “special relationship” is not just some valentine’s day card aphorism. It has a specific meaning. It means that the US and the UK share intelligence between each other at the same level that we share intelligence within our own services. No other two countries do that, or maybe a couple but not most. The UK has been for years in a special place within that special relationship, having experienced the worst case of double-agent caused loss of trust ever, years ago, and ever since then the Americans have been able to hold the UK’s feet to the fire and make them feel bad whenever necessary. It was like the UK had an affair and the spouse (the US) could never really trust them again. Now, with Trump, the shoe is on the other foot, an the UK is seriously reconsidering the marriage.
Every single thing the US does from now on will be tainted, until Trump is gone and not replaced by the equivalent. The US is now a second-level power. It is now Russia, China, and the EU (with Germany leading) that run the world with Japan.
Look for big moves. Look for the “G-7 minus one” because if you are the other 6 countries in the G-7, you do not want Trump at the table. Maybe Mexico will build a wall and make Trump pay for it. Other things. Many other things.
PAREXIT is not about Paris or the climate. It is about the end of American exceptionalism, and there are both bad and good things about that.
And now the other things. Some of this is from before PAREXIT but very much related.
A Veteran’s Day warning: Trump’s climate policies will create more war, more refugees
Donald Trump’s climate policies would create dozens of failed states south of the U.S. border and around the world. They would lead to hundreds of millions of refugees and more authoritarian demagogues like Trump himself.
Trump’s policies would assure that a tremendous number of people become veterans of one of the ever-growing number of climate-related conflicts.
Trump just cemented his legacy as America’s worst-ever president
Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris treaty is a mostly symbolic act. America’s pledges to cut its carbon pollution were non-binding, and his administration’s policies to date had already made it impossible for America to meet its initial Paris climate commitment for 2025. The next American president in 2020 can re-enter the Paris treaty and push for policies to make up some of the ground we lost during Trump’s reign.
However, withdrawing from the Paris treaty is an important symbolic move…
REFERENDUM NOVEMBER 3, 2020 ON TRUMP’S WITHDRAWAL FROM PARIS AGREEMENT NOVEMBER 4, 2020
Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement means that the United States formally abdicates its role as world leader on November 4, 2020. By coincidence, the United States will hold a referendum vote – and, make no mistake, it will be a referendum vote – on November 3, 2020.
RL Miller, cofounder of Climate Hawks Vote, states: “Trump’s fuck you to the world redoubles our determination to end his regime. We will take back Congress in 2018, expose him for the traitor and grifter that he is, and elect climate candidates up and down the ballot, culminating in the election of a climate hawk President on November 3, 2020 to restore America’s place in the world.”
Paris Agreement: What Experts Say vs. What the White House Says
In President Trump’s speech today announcing his intention to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement, there were several false and misinformed statements.
Trump falsely claims Paris deal has a minimal impact on warming
In a speech from the White House Rose Garden filled with thorny lies and misleading statements, one pricks the most: Trump claimed that the Paris climate deal would only reduce future warming in 2100 by a mere 0.2°C. White House talking points further assert that “according to researchers at MIT, if all member nations met their obligations, the impact on the climate would be negligible… less than .2 degrees Celsius in 2100.”
The Director of MIT’s System Dynamics Group, John Sterman, and his partner at Climate Interactive, Andrew Jones, quickly emailed ThinkProgress to explain, “We are not these researchers and this is not our finding.”
Trump’s Paris exit: climate science denial industry has just had its greatest victory
The foundation for Trump’s dismissal of the Paris deal – and for the people who pushed him the hardest to do it – is the rejection of the science linking fossil-fuel burning to dangerous climate change.
Or rather, Trump’s rejection of the Paris deal was built on the flimsy, cherry-picked and long-debunked talking points of an industry built to manufacture doubt about climate science. Once you fall for those arguments, making an economic case suddenly feels plausible.
Trump Abandons Paris Climate Deal At Bidding of Fossil Fuel Interests
Condemnation from environmental groups was swift.
“President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement sends a dangerous signal to the rest of the world that the United States values fossil fuel industry profits over clean energy innovation and the health and well-being of our citizens,” Earthworks’ Executive Director, Jennifer Krill said in a statement. “The over 12 million people living within a half mile of an oil and gas facilities deserve action to reduce air pollution, not head-in-the-sand climate denial.”
Tobacco To Fossil Fuels: Tracing the Roots of Trump’s Claims on Paris Climate Deal
To understand why President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the global Paris climate agreement, we might start by looking at the sources he relied on to justify his decision.
But we’re not going to start there, but we will end there.
Instead, let’s go back to the early 1990s….
We’ll always have….oh, never mind
The Paris Climate Agreement represents rational order. It aligns the planet’s nation-states behind a common understanding of our gravest collective threat. It provides a weak but coherent structure for needed actions. Flawed and tentative though it is, it plants a stake in the ground for humanity’s collective will to save itself. It memorializes what global climate sanity there is.
That’s why Trump can’t stand it….
Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord Makes Covfefe Sense
For the first time in history, the United States has removed itself from a worldwide agreement negotiated to protect the world’s atmosphere.
Trump’s reputation as a dealmaker is a sham, walking away from Paris proves it
His decision Thursday to abandon the Paris climate agreement proves he is in reality one of the worst dealmakers in history.
Of course, with six bankruptcies and an astounding 4,000 lawsuits over three decades, Trump has always been less of a dealmaker and more of a con man, as Michael Bloomberg and so many others have described him.
The world needs the U.S. in fight against climate change
President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement is not only bad for the country, it’s bad for the world.
The Paris Agreement is the fruit of more than 20 years of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The accord was struck almost exactly 50 years after researchers presented President Johnson with the first official expert report warning of the dangers from burning large amounts of fossil fuels.
The amazing Betty Folliard, former school board member, Minnesota house representative, and the woman behind a number of important political campaign, has a radio show on AM950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota (where I occassionally voice as well, but on a different show) called “A Woman’s Place.”
Today, Betty interviewed Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto, who is running for Governor of Minnesota.
Here’s the interview:
Rebecca explains why she is running, and gives us a run down of her background, including the time she took over Michele Bachmann’s old senate district.
I support Rebecca for governor. I know her because she is married to my friend, Shawn Otto, who is well known to all the readers of this blog. This is all connected in an interesting way, which I will write about some time (I don’t think Rebecca or Shawn are aware of that connection, now that I think about it).
So, listen to the podcast, and GIVE HER SOME MONEY HERE.
Scott Adams is suddenly interested in global warming. Why? It isn’t a new issue and he doesn’t really have anything new to say about it. I think the answer is that he has become a Trump fanboi and is running cover for Trump; or is still over-obsessed by his own perspicacity; or perhaps it is just a momentary interest. Or like covfefe we may never know.
Aanyway, having cartooned it once – and not again, and my patience is now exhausted – he’s blogged it a bit, and has finally said something sensible1. Or at least, sensible compared to the rest. And since it is close to one of my hobby horses, I thought I’d parade it in the ring.
SA starts badly with “What the heck is “climate denial”? Is that even a thing?”. Ermm, yes it is. If only all the world’s knotty conundrums could so easily be unravelled. He then continues, in somewhat self-aggrandising terms, to attempt to distinguish GW science from the economics. And if you think that’s a distinction that doesn’t need to be made, then try reading climatecrocks report on the cartoon (although irritatingly cc seems to have just copied then garbled P Z Meyers take; and more irritatingly freethoughtblogs is currently down for me, so that’s an archive of Google’s cache, oh this modern world is so complicated). Anyway, that’s kinda my point. I thought – but didn’t say at the time so I can’t prove this in any convincing way – that the correct answer to SA’s cartoon argument was to point out that not trusting the economic models doesn’t make you a science denier4. The economic models are different, and require different understanding. Arguably, most-to-all states today are indeed economics deniers, because they insist on tariffs not free trade, and on subsidies not carbon taxes3. But you’ve heard that one before.
I didn’t really want to say much about Trexit because everyone else already has. How about I just point you at ATTP’s Trump and Paris, which you’ve already read, and say that I agree with most of it. The important thing to do is to not waste your time analysing the reasons Trump gave for leaving. They are all fluff, chaff, smoke and mirrors, and of no importance. The real reasons are the obvious ones: he promised his fanbase he would; Repubs on the whole dislike it and Dems like it; it was an Obama policy. What more reason does he need? This isn’t a thinking president.
1. Part of what he said that is sensible is hidden in another post, which is Disclosure: My current view on climate science is that the climate scientists are probably right on the basic science, and their climate models are probably directionally right too2. But no one has created a credible economic model around climate change…. It is weak and I think deliberately vague, but at least accepts the science – or fails to dispute it – whilst worrying about the economics.
2. Note that in the cartoon, SA rather obscures this point, by having his scientist say “dozens of different climate models and ignore the ones that look wrong to us”. That’s not quite totally incorrect, but definitely at least misleading in context.
3. And so, dear reader, I suspect, are you. But that doesn’t worry you because of <excuses>. Of course your excuses are good excuses and in no way resemble the excuses that Bad people make for things that you dislike.
4. His continuing point, that this argument is a killer because there are no credible economic models, is simply stupid. Economic models are used all the time for policy making because, imperfect as they are, they are better than nothing.
* Us at Peterborough, IM3 heat. Sadly we came third. I’m just visible at 7.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto is running for Governor of Minnesota. She will seek the DFL (Democratic Party) Endorsement. There are several other candidates either declared or likely to run, but Otto stands head and shoulders above all the others, especially in three areas:
1) Honesty and integrity in government.
Otto has been recognized nationally by the auditors around the country, and this is for good reason. In fact, she’s recognized internationally. The Minnesota Auditor’s office, under Otto, is one of those places the US State Department sends people from other countries to figure out how they should set up their own Democracy. (I’m not sure if the State Department will still be doing that ….)
2) Eschewing the false balance and finding real common ground between desperate parties.
This is Rebecca Otto’s super power. I’ve seen her do this right before my eyes.
The whole state saw her do it in Minnesota. There is a large mining region here, and mining companies want to start a new phase, extracting copper. Have you heard of the Environmental Movement? The US Environmental Movement has multiple roots, including my own home town Hudson River, with the sloop Clearwater and all that. But it also started in Minnesota, with the mining companies up on “The Range” (a place in Minnesota) where the miners were killing Lake Superior with their effluent. There has always been a fight on The Range between those who want more jobs and those who do not want to kill the Great Lakes and other natural wonders.
A couple of years ago, Rebecca cast a principled vote on a committee the Auditor serves on, the only vote among her fellow Democrats, to put environmental considerations on equal footing with jobs and other issues. She didn’t want to see the big mining companies leave The Range in the same sort of mess, with respect to local costs of cleanup, lost jobs, etc., as they have in the past, and like mining companies tend to do. That move got all the Republicans and some of the Range Democrats mad at Otto, and they have been viciously attacking her ever since, because they want all those Range votes for themselves.
Meanwhile, Rebecca went to The Range, talked to people, helped all the parties find common ground, and on voting day, she outperformed the Democratic Governor, and the Congressional candidate in counties and precincts she should, according to common wisdom, should have lost. Twice.
(See this analysis of the elections.)
3) Rebecca Otto is a true Climate Hawk
And this is why climate scientist Michael Mann endorsed her. Among other things, Mann said:
… Otto is a shining example of the kind of integrity and leadership we hope for in our elected leaders but too rarely see: someone who puts their money where their mouth is. I’m proud to support Rebecca Otto for Governor of Minnesota, and urge everyone who is concerned about climate change and clean energy to join me in supporting her. … As the Minnesota State Auditor, Rebecca issued a nationally award-winning report on how local governments can reduce energy costs dramatically by switching to clean, carbon-free energy sources…
Go HERE to read the entire endorsement.
I asked Professor Mann why a climate scientist working in Pennsylvania would worry about a governor’s race in Minnesota. “In climate change, we face a threat that knows no boundaries—continental boundaries, national boundaries, or state boundaries,” het told me. “We must support politicians everywhere who are willing to act on climate. Rebecca Otto has demonstrated that she places great priority on science-based policymaking on climate change and I am happy to support her candidacy.”
Make sure, when you visit that site, you watch Rebecca’s one minute video. See those solar panels she’s sitting in front of? I helped install them!
Screw the so-called Federal Government, once part of a great democracy, now a great joke run by an insane clown and his posse.
Most of the hard work in the energy transition needs to be done at the levels of the state and the individual anyway. So, with Trump taking the so-called Federal Government, which most of us now recognize as illegitimate and an annoyance at best as is slowly disappears bit by bit and becomes nothing other than a way to transfer tax money to rich people (until we stop paying our taxes), let’s just get on with saving civilization, the planet, our children, and all that good stuff on our own.
And, at the state level, I’m proud to announce that Minnesota has joined the new “Climate Alliance.”
Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday joined a group of governors who are committing their states to upholding the Paris climate deal’s emissions cuts despite President Trump’s decision last week to withdraw the U.S. from the pact.
Organized as the U.S. Climate Alliance, member states aim to reduce emissions by at least 26 percent from 2005 levels and meet the federal Clean Power Plan targets.
“President Trump’s withdrawal will cause serious damage to our environment and our economy,” Dayton said in a statement. “Nevertheless, Minnesota and other states will show the world what we can achieve by working together to conserve energy, to use cleaner and renewable energy, and to leave a livable planet to our children and grandchildren.”
There’s over 12 other states in the group now, last count.
Of course, this is all for naught if we dont’ elect a Democratic governor here in 2018. For information on that, see this.