Trump’s comments over the weekend regarding climate change are alarming. President-elect Donald Trump said on Sunday that “nobody really knows” whether climate change is real. Now I don’t think Trump is dumb. In fact I think he is probably a very clever man. However to make such claims in the face of copious amounts of peer reviewed science flies in the face of reality.
It begs the question of what is Trump up to? Many of his election-promises he has little hope of delivering. Politicians have a long history of making bold statements during campaigns but then never really intending to deliver. The Great Wall of Mexico at $10bn was never going to happen. Congress has many things it could put $10bn towards – building a wall to prevent low-wage workers from coming in and helping the economy is never going to be one of them. A similar case can be made for many other election promises.
Trump though is in a difficult position. He must deliver on some things or the electorate that put him in power may just as quickly dump him out in 4 years time. This is maybe where his recent comments are interesting. A US withdrawal from the Paris “Agreement on Climate Change” could be an easy victory for him. Polar Bears, Wolves and Coral Reefs after all don’t vote. Trump’s main argument in this is that reducing the US Greenhouse Gas Emissions will make them less competitive.
Yet looking at the numbers, the US is already the worst in the world. They have cheap fuel, cheap power, cheap energy already, and most of it fossil fuel based. Their carbon footprint per capita is appalling – 17% of the World’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) come for the US, and yet they make just 4% of the World’s population. Of the 200 odd countries in the world, the US ranks 12th worst in GHG emissions per capita, but the 11 countries below them are small and don’t compete with the US in any real industry outside of tax haven efficiency. For the US to now withdraw from the agreement will be a dishonest disgrace. As it was, the US garnered heavy concessions during negotiations in Paris and will hardly be an environmental leader in meeting its humble obligations.
I note as well, Trump has just appointed Scott Pruitt, a well-known Climate Change Denier to head the EPA. Now if that isn’t putting the fox in charge of the Hen-House I don’t know what is. A US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change will be a disaster. It won’t “Make the US Great Again”, rather it will “Make the World Shit.”