Is Trump Paying for his Actions on Climate Change?

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The devastating widespread flooding caused by Tropical Storm Harvey, in 50 counties of the U.S state of Texas is an ample testimony that the ‘almighty’ U.S is not immune from the threats of Climate change.

But the country’s current President Donald Trump has never taken issues related to the global climate serious.  As of today, more than 30,000 people are expected to be placed in temporary shelters due to the storm.

As of today,  31 people have been reported killed in the storm and the flooding that followed, according to media reports. While property worth billions of dollars are claimed by the disaster.

Despite efforts to shelter the victims through humanitarian and government supports, the U.S disaster agency has predicted that more rains are expected in the coming days.

In his bid to console the victims, President Trump took to social media especially Twitter to tweet: “Wow – Now experts are calling #Harvey a once in 500 year flood! We have an all out effort going, and going well!”

On Tuesday, he flew to Corpus Christi to assess the damage, caused by winds and the bulging Gulf.

Trump’s Actions

President Trump in June this year denounced the Paris Climate Agreement,  or Paris Agreement, which is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.

The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 196 parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris, France and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. As of August 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the agreement, 160 of which have ratified it.

According to the Paris Agreement, each country determines, plans and regularly reports its own contribution it should make in order to mitigate global warming.

The agreement has no mechanism to force a country to set a specific target by a specific date, however each target should go beyond previously set targets.

President Trump shocked the world by announcing his intention to withdraw the U.S  from the agreement. His action was greeted with worldwide condemnations in the European Union, Africa, Asia, among others.

Widespread agitations

Denouncing President Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris Climate Agreement, Greenpeace International,  a leading non-governmental environmental organization noted that the decision would cost the US,  its global leadership position and its share of the economic benefits of the clean energy transition.

The Greenpeace Africa Executive Director Njeri Kabeberi said: “Thursday, June 1st 2017 will be written in history as the day the US, under the administration of President Trump, turned its back on those who needed its leadership, ambition and compassion.

“The millions of people living on the African continent are on the frontlines of climate change, and it is critical that polluters are held accountable for the suffering and injustice global warming is already inflicting.

Climate change impacts are already a daily reality, and action to stop catastrophic climate change cannot be delayed. Our global community will take action, and is already taking action, with or without the US government, and it is critical that major emitters like South Africa step up and take a leadership role.”

Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International Executive Director, added: “Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement will turn America from a global climate leader into a flat earth society of one. It is a morally-bankrupt decision that Trump will come to regret. Global climate action is not a legal or political debate; it is an inescapable obligation to protect people and the planet.

“Trump is surrendering US global leadership to real world leaders who are seizing the momentum to protect their country and the climate by transforming their economies to clean energy. We are witnessing a seismic shift in the global order as Europe, China and others lead the way forward.

“Almost 200 countries committed to climate action in Paris and only one has decided to withdraw. This is how far out of step Trump is with the rest of the world. It is the changing of the global guard – as the US bows out, world leaders, CEOs and people across the world can and are moving forward into the future.”

Greenpeace East Asia Senior Global Policy Officer Li Shuo said: “President Trump is taking his administration in the opposite direction to the rest of the world. While China cancels coal power plants, Trump cancels climate action.

“Trump’s attempt to sabotage the global transition to a safer clean energy future won’t succeed. It will only corner the US and present China with an opportunity to reap the economic benefits of America’s withdrawal.”

Private sector joins the fight

Even President Trump was not spared in his homeland. As major companies have urged him to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement on climate change for the good of the U.S. economy.

“By expanding markets for innovative clean technologies, the agreement generates jobs and economic growth,” the letter says. “U.S. companies are well positioned to lead in these markets. Withdrawing from the agreement will limit our access to them and could expose us to retaliatory measures.”

The companies  went ahead to sign a full-page ad letter to stop President Trump from leaving the Paris Agreement but he did not mind them.

They  included: Adobe; Apple; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Danfoss; Dignity Health, Facebook; Gap, Inc.; Google; Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Ingersoll Rand; Intel Corporation; Johnson Controls; Levi Strauss & Co.; Mars Incorporated; Microsoft; Morgan Stanley; National Grid; PG&E Corporation; Royal DSM; Salesforce; Schneider Electric; Tiffany and Co. and Unilever; and VF Corporation

These companies are among the top U.S. tech, power, retail, health, consumer goods, manufacturing, and financial services companies, with a combined market capitalization of over $3.2 trillion.

The full-page ad in The New York Times on Monday 15, 2017 was part of a six-figure ad campaign in the TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and New York Post for week.

The campaign was sponsored by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) in cooperation with the sustainability nonprofit Ceres.

Benefits of the agreement to U.S

The companies also argued that continued U.S. participation in the agreement benefits U.S. businesses and the U.S. economy in many ways:

  • Strengthening Competitiveness: By requiring action by developed and developing countries alike, the agreement ensures a more balanced global effort, reducing the risk of competitive imbalances for U.S. companies.
  • Creating Jobs, Markets and Growth: By expanding markets for innovative clean technologies, the agreement generates jobs and economic growth. U.S. companies are well positioned to lead in these markets. Withdrawing from the agreement will limit our access to them and could expose us to retaliatory measures.
  • Reducing Business Risks: By strengthening global action over time, the agreement will reduce future climate impacts, including damage to business facilities and operations, declining agricultural productivity and water supplies, and disruption of global supply chains.

As businesses concerned with the well-being of our customers, our investors, our communities, and our suppliers, we are strengthening our climate resilience, and we are investing in innovative technologies that can help achieve a clean energy transition. For this transition to succeed, however, governments must lead as well.

U.S. business is best served by a stable and practical framework facilitating an effective and balanced global response.

The Paris Agreement provides such a framework. As other countries invest in advanced technologies and move forward with the Paris Agreement, the companies believe the United States can best exercise global leadership and advance U.S. interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort.

Source: Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh || African Eye Report


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