It was not America’s finest hour! Last week President Trump decided to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, a treaty whose aim is to fight global warming. For the American President, the accord signed in 2015 is a major constraint for economic growth and the country’s sovereignty. The stance contributed to further isolate the United States from the international community. Also, it fosters cooperation among European States and China.
Mr. Trump would have been summed up by Stephen K. Bannon, his strategist, and by Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. These two players succeeded to impose their perspective in comparison to the views of the director of the National Economic Council, Gary D. Cohn, and the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.
During the Paris summit, the US had committed to reducing greenhouse gas emission by 26 percent below 2005 level until 2025. Also, the Obama administration pledged to provide $3 billion in aid for poorer countries by 2020. Promises that won’t be kept under Trump.
The tenant of the White House expressed his will to renegotiate the terms of the Paris deal. European leaders quickly coordinated their statements to refuse such scenario. French President Emmanuel Macron, who was an active actor during the summit in 2015, made a parody of Trump campaign’s slogan, stating that “we can make the world great again”, see the video below.
We all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again. pic.twitter.com/IIWmLEtmxj
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) 1 June 2017
It should be noted that Trump’s decision can be considered shortsighted. Why? Because he’s willing to implement policies favoring fossil fuels. Besides, by doing so, the American president is losing a big business opportunity to develop a new green economy.
If American Federal authorities are unwilling to promote green policies, other States within the Union have a different point of view and are going to keep pushing towards energy transition. The governors of California, New York, and Washington have expressed their desire to establish a United States Climate Alliance.
Also, leaders of private sector announced their disagreement with Trump. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, tweeted as follows:
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 1 June 2017
Musk’s stance is shared by Jeffrey Immelt, of General Electric, and Lloyd C. Blankfein, of Goldman Sachs. According to them the lack of a clear strategy to address global warning in US soil will harm job creation in such sector, leaving room for competitors overseas.
Other nations, on the other hand, are going to make the most of this action. China is already transitioning to a greener economy, not only because of political will, the country’s largest cities suffer from daily fogs of pollution. It became a matter of public health. Despite this urgency, Chinese authorities are aware of the potential of green technologies, and they are not sparing the efforts to produce the devices and solar panels that the world will consume in the upcoming years.
In Europe, Trump is being considered almost a new Jean Monnet, once European States are oblige to improve cooperation due to the stepping aside of the US from its previous engagements. The European Union’s commissioner for climate, Miguel Arias Cañete expressed this idea as follows:
— Miguel Arias Cañete (@MAC_europa) 2 June 2017
As the role of the United States as a global leader shrinks under Trump, and the American soft power is harmed, the international arena will give rise to new actors. The EU and China share the same mindset with regards to climate change, and these two players are going to pave the way of the future until a new American administration comes to power.