Oh how we laughed at Donald Trump as he rose from nowhere to become the Republican candidate, and how we laughed a lot less – but still chuckled – when he became president. After all, it didn’t affect us in the UK – really – did it?
Well no one’s laughing now, as the whole world has to bear the brunt of his idiotic decisions as he confirmed that America would indeed be withdrawing from the Paris agreement, signed in 2016 to bring the planet together to attempt to tackle the existential crisis of global warming.
Yes, he said he would do it in his run for president, but even so, it is still a shock to see it actually happen.
And no one has summed up the immediate anger at his decision better than leading Democrat, and former presidential candidate, John Kerry.
This statement, released in the wake of Trump’s announcement, is already going viral, for very good reason, as it condemns the decision as “one of the most shameful any president has made”. However, it also urges people to fight against it, and to not give in.
For all our sakes, we hope he’s correct.
My thoughts on today's big mistake by President Trump to put America last - and the big fight he's started:
The President who promised "America First" has taken a self-destructive step that puts our nation last. This is an unprecedented forfeiture of American leadership which will cost us influence, cost us jobs, and invite other countries to walk away from solving humanity’s most existential crisis.
It isolates the United States after we had united the world.
In 2015, because of American leadership, nearly 200 countries came together around a science-based agreement to grapple with a global threat. For a President to follow that historic step forward by unilaterally walking backwards from science and backwards from leadership on behalf of polluters and fringe ideologues may be the most self-defeating action in American history.
Among the only two other countries who didn’t sign on to Paris, one thought it didn’t go far enough and one is embroiled in a bloody civil war. What’s our excuse?
In public service, there are tough calls that can go either way. This wasn’t one of them. For our economy, security, leadership, competitiveness, and health, the clear-cut choice was to remain in the Paris Agreement. There is only one reason to instead make this choice: an ignorant, cynical appeal to an anti-science, special-interest faction far outside the mainstream. That is no basis for a decision that will affect billions of lives.
Those of us who have spent a lifetime fighting on this issue know that America pulling out of Paris will not only result in lost leadership, it will also result in lost momentum. If the world doesn't press forward faster, we’ll see stronger storms, longer and more intense droughts, more wildfires, more strains on agriculture and fishing, a swell of climate refugees, and, as military brass has been warning for years, intensified conflict around the world. This choice will rightly be remembered as one of the most shameful any president has made. It is a global stain on our credibility that we will spend years, if not decades, working to remove.
The president’s abdication of responsibility complicates the U.S. climate effort, but it doesn’t kill it. Today is the day for cities, states, and businesses of all sizes to publicly commit to "Live by Paris." I urge concerned citizens across America to join in this effort. Together, we can join the world by honoring the Paris Agreement, despite President Trump’s willful ignorance. Twenty-nine states have passed renewal portfolio standard laws. Another eight have adopted voluntary renewable standards. In total, those 37 states represent 80 percent of the U.S. population. America doesn't have to cede leadership even if its President has. America will not abandon the global community and put its children and grandchildren at risk. While Donald Trump may turn his back on facts and science, America will not.