Trump’s decision today to pull the United States out of the two-year-old Paris Agreement on global climate change:
When the Paris accords were reached, the world looked to the United States to help lead the way, and the Obama administration was eager to carry the mantle. We vowed to work cooperatively with international partners, and in the process, we persuaded developing nations – many of which have economic incentives to pollute more, not less – to do the right thing. So many countries signed on to the agreement precisely because they saw American leadership at work.READ MORE: “The World Is Better Off If We Leave the Paris
Today, Trump told the world that ours is a country that won’t honor its commitments, won’t make decisions based on reason or evidence, and won’t even try to serve as a global leader anymore.
Let’s say Americans tire of Trump’s ridiculousness and elect a new president in 2020. It’s easy to imagine, in early 2021, that new president turning to the global community with fresh and heartfelt assurances. “Don’t worry, Trump is gone,” he or she will say. “You can trust the United States once more.”
But at that point, many around the world will choose not to listen – in part because they’ll have just seen an ignorant American president who thumbed his nose at 195 countries, deliberately abandoning our unique responsibilities, and in part because they’ll have no way of knowing when the American electorate might again elect someone of Trump’s ilk.
We’ve taken great pride in the modern era of our president being the Leader of the Free World, and today effectively marked the end of a once-great era. Donald J. Trump has managed to betray the climate, the world, America’s standing, and his own legacy in one fell swoop.
History will not be kind.
Agreement,” by Susan Matthews (Slate); “Everything Conservatives Said About the Paris Climate Agreement Is Already Wrong,” by Jonathan Chait (New York).