It is now clear now that the current administration has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement for specious reasons. Trump will take us off the world stage, away from 195 countries who do recognize the risks of ignoring global warming, ocean acidification, and climate change.
Global warming as a concept is not new. Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish chemist and Nobel laureate wrote in 1896 on the risks of continued burning of fossil fuels and the resultant accumulation of Carbon Dioxide (CO2)in the atmosphere [On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground]. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere had been stable for hundreds of thousands of years – under 300 parts per million (PPM). In under 200 years we have raised the concentration to the current value of over 400 PPM, 150 percent of the value at the start of the industrial revolution.
Despite the relatively simple physical principals involved and despite the evidence from air and water temperatures, rising sea levels, and melting ice, President Trump still thinks that global warming is a hoax. He seems fixated on the idea that developing sustainable energy supplies will drag our economy down. Is there evidence of such?
Very simply, no. Germany has installed more solar photovoltaic energy systems per capita than any other country yet they are running a trade surplus with the United States. On a good day Denmark can produce 100 percent of its energy from wind turbines and runs a considerable trade surplus with the United States. Ironically, much of their surplus involves selling wind turbine technology to us. We do have a small industry manufacturing wind turbine blades, but the company is Danish. China has leapt to the head of the pack for producing solar panels and we all know about their trade imbalance.
What do the captains of industry here think? Big fossil fuel producers such as Exxon-Mobil support the agreement. Even coal companies support the agreement. Walmart supports the agreement. Of course forward looking companies like Alphabet, the parent company of Google, Apple, Tesla support the agreement. Polls shows that the majority of Americans in every state, across the political spectrum support the agreement.
The agreement that we are walking away from is first and foremost voluntary. The agreement would in no way allow foreign influence of our laws or sovereignty. The agreement calls for international goals for reducing the rate of global warming by reducing the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses.
The US goal was a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 27 percent of 2005 emissions by 2025. This is doable with a combination of energy efficiency, sustainable technologies such as wind and solar and switching from carbon intensive coal to natural gas. These changes to our economy are already underway and by participating in the agreement we show the world that we care about collective actions for all humanity, even for all life on this planet.
By not joining the agreement we turn away from 195 countries and join with Syria, torn by a violent civil war, and Nicaragua, who thinks the agreement doesn’t go far enough.